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Pregnancy can be scary, and why shouldnt it be? Its not every day that you grow an entire human being in your belly. But you shouldnt let your fears dominate the next 40 weeks. Most things that keep us up at night are perfectly normal. Here are 14 things not to panic about during pregnancy.
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1: Gaining weight
Once baby takes up residence in your belly, its your job to make sure hes given all the proper nutrition he needs, so theres no sense in obsessing about your size. As long as youre eating healthily and keeping the deliciously naughty stuff to a minimum, your pre-pregnancy body will bounce back. Most women lose more than 10 pounds during childbirth (that includes the baby, placenta and amniotic fluid). And, as your postpartum body rids itself of retained fluids, youll lose even more!
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2: Growing facial hair
Yes, pregnancy hormones do make your hair grow — on your head, your body and your face. But youre not going to look like Tom Selleck circa 1985. Just keep a trusty pair of tweezers handy so you can pluck those unwanted hairs as they appear. And on those days you feel like Cousin Itt, remember: every pregnant woman goes through this, and its temporary. Facial hair disappears entirely within 3-6 months postpartum.
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3: Getting stretch marks
You love zebra print shoes but not zebra print skin, right? About half of all pregnant women get stretch marks during pregnancy, and though there are a zillion creams and lotions that promise to make your skin as clear as a babys behind, research suggests genetics may be to blame (which means theres not much you can do). The good news: stretch marks begin fading 6 -12 months after childbirth. So, embrace those stripes mama, we all have them.
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4: Farting at all times
Raging flatulence comes calling like a most unwelcome houseguest during pregnancy and stays there pretty much until baby is born. The first time you become an accidental tooter, youll pretty much die of embarrassment and then blame your unborn child (we all do). But dont feel too bad, Tootie McTootster — the average, non-pregnant person releases gas about 14 to 23 times a day! Dont you feel better just knowing everyone else is doing it? If not, there are certain foods you can avoid to minimize the amount of gas you pass: beans, whole grains, and vegetables such as cabbage, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, broccoli, and asparagus.
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5: Peeing your pants
Since the time your baby was the size of a cornflake youve had to pee every 20 minutes like clockwork. Whats worse, the bigger and more active your baby becomes, the more often youll have to pee. Whats worser than worse, the bigger your belly becomes, the slower youll waddle to the toilet. The good news is that you pretty much have the go ahead to cut in front of the line in the ladies room whenever you feel like it. Take heart, the constant peeing wont last forever, and about a week after childbirth youll be back to peeing on your pre-pregnancy schedule.
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6: Puking in public
The term morning sickness is a total sham, lets call it what it really is — all day sickness. Be sure to arm yourself with sickness bags and a toothbrush because an ounce of nausea preparation is worth a pound of embarrassment. Fingers crossed that you never have to puke in public, but if you do, simply curtsey and shout out, Morning sickness! People will understand (and heck, maybe even applaud). Hold your head up high (and your hair back); this too shall pass — by 12-14 weeks gestation nausea and vomiting are usually a distant memory.
Mom-approved morning sickness remedies
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7: Having sex
Ah sex, the thing that got you here in the first place. Theres nothing like a perfectly round pregnant belly to get in the way of, ahem, things. Unless youve been told to stop getting busy by your medical professional, you can relax and continue having sex without fear of harming your baby. She is protected by your uterus, a whole bunch of amniotic fluid and that trusty mucous plug that seals up your cervix nice and tight.
Sex during pregnancy — a briefing
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8: Becoming your mother
For some of you, becoming your mother would be a blessing, for others not so much. Only time and experience will determine the kind of mother youll become so theres no sense freaking out about it. Youll have plenty of time to hone your skills and become the very best mother for your child. Besides, no mother turns out to be the kind of mother she set out to be — shes better! Your childs unique spirit and individual needs have a miraculous way of transforming you into your childs perfect mommy match — its true, I saw it on TV.
How to be a good parent without all the anxiety!
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9: Harming your baby
If it seems like just about everything is a potential threat to your unborn baby, its probably because it is — at least according to your mother-in-law. Do your due diligence and read those parenting books, get freaked out and then take a giant step back; this is where common sense comes in. Fearing everything in pregnancy isnt healthy for you or your baby, so use your good senses — unless youre a professional stunt double, addressing any concerns with your doctor will be sufficient.
My somewhat irrational pregnancy fear
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10: Ruining your lady parts
Every childbirth is different, so if you survey your mom friends about their postpartum lady parts youre bound to get a whole bunch of TMI (not to mention the inability to ever look them in the eye again). A very wise mother once warned, Dont take a look-see down below after childbirth; leave that to the professionals. Mama, put down the handheld mirror and give your lady parts a little privacy and time. Vaginal childbirth is the most common and safest form of childbirth and all should be healed within 6 weeks after delivery.
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11: Pooping on the delivery table
Heres the thing, childbirth is a little like driving a minivan through a manhole — with all that pushing, you might just poop. But while it may be hard to believe, no one cares about your poop nearly as much as you do. Your healthcare professional is actually happy when you poop on the delivery table. A bowel movement usually means your vaginal delivery is progressing in the most delightful way and that your risk of needing a Cesarean section is greatly reduced! Well S@#T, thats some good news indeed!
Am I pooping or pushing?
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12: Postpartum depression
While fearing Postpartum Depression wont prevent from happening, educating yourself on the signs and symptoms may provide you with a better understanding of the condition. Early onset Postpartum Depression affects as many as 80% of women and is resolved without treatment within a few weeks postpartum. Late onset Postpartum Depression is diagnosed several weeks after delivery and affects approximately 10-16% of women. If you think youre experiencing Postpartum Depression, give yourself the gift of honesty and seek out support without delay. Unlike some other medical conditions, this one is treatable.
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13: Having an unhealthy baby
Perhaps the mother of all pregnancy fears, weve all faced this one. Not to get all new-agey or anything, but there are limits to what an expectant mother can control. If youre eating well, taking care of yourself and receiving proper prenatal care, then your work is done. Theres nothing like pregnancy to remind you that your body is an amazing machine capable of producing a miracle. More than 96% of babies are born without major birth defects in the U.S. Surround yourself with all that is positive and have faith that the best is yet to come — because it is.
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14: Flunking childbirth
Since the dawn of the ages, women have been having babies. If they could do it, so can you. And when you do, youll feel a sense of empowerment you never even knew existed. But you hate needles, youre afraid of blood and youre scared childbirth is going to hurt, right? Right, but just remember: Your body was designed to do this (no joke). Relax and learn to trust your body; she wont let you down. You cant flunk childbirth; your healthcare professional wont let you.
How to manage labor pain in 10 steps
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