During pregnancy, your body experiences strange and amazing things. You'll feel exhausted at times, but that's completely normal.
In the early stages, your system works hard to produce higher levels of blood flow in order to transport a larger supply of nutrients to the embryo. Progesterone, which is responsible for suppressing ovulation and aiding in milk production, is also generated at greater levels, and this increased hormone production is partly to blame for that chronic fatigue you experience during the first trimester.
Why Your Mood Changes Researchers believe these raging hormones are also the reason you experience symptoms, like morning sickness, food cravings, and mood swings.
The latter is the result of a combination of progesterone and estrogen, stress, and fatigue among other factors.
These fluctuating hormone levels can cause chemical changes in the brain, which effect how neurotransmitters process information. Naturally, the anxiety of not only the process of giving birth, but also raising a child is always a contributing factor. The mood swings are most noticeable between the first 6 to 10 weeks, but don't be alarmed if they reappear toward the end of the pregnancy.
Smooth Sailing . . . For Now During the second trimester, some of the discomfort experienced in the early part of the pregnancy will have subsided. However, once the baby starts to show, you may feel pain in the lower back and abdomen. You may also notice moderate swelling in the hands, face, and ankles. This shouldn't frighten you, but if severe swelling occurs, contact your physician right away. The added weight (due to the enlarged fetus) aside, most doctors will probably agree that the second phase in the pregnancy is the most bearable.
However, the difficulties are far from over. As the third trimester approaches, some of the discomfort from the first few months returns. The good news is, before the end of the second trimester, you'll have your ultra sound and the baby's sex.
Taking it Easy As you head into the last leg of the pregnancy, and the fetus continues to grow, you'll probably notice an increase in pain. At this point taking measures to ensure your body isn't over-strained is the best thing you can do for yourself. Wearing comfortable clothes and shoes, using a back rest to help you maintain at least adequate posture, and asking for an occasional back rub are just a few ways to ease a few of the symptoms.
Because of an increase in blood flow, which causes the kidneys to ramp up their urine production, be prepared for frequent visits to the bathroom. And that's without mentioning all of pressure from the baby, who is practically sitting on top of your poor uterus!
You're Almost There Once a discharge of mucus passes through the dilated cervix, you'll know the baby is almost ready to exit the womb. You should be feeling contractions around this time, which is another indicator. At this point, you're almost there, and before long, you'll be holding your beautiful, new child.