Mighty Mommy has delivered seven babies and will soon be a grandmother. Here are ten pressing questions on the minds of today's pregnant women that they scramble to have answered. This episode covers five questions women grapple with in their last trimester. (For questions women have in their first trimester, check out Part One here!)
Pregnancy is such a special and miraculous time in a woman’s life. As exciting as it can be when you are pregnant, especially for the first time, due to the rapid changes in your growing body, you probably have dozens of questions weighing on your mind.
In my recent episode, Five Important Questions Related to Early Pregnancy, we discussed five questions pertaining to the early part of pregnancy—questions that might’ve been a little uncomfortable to dive in and ask your practitioner.
Although I’m a seven-time veteran to the delivery room, my oldest daughter is expecting her first baby shortly, and has been overwhelmed with questions about all the changes taking place in her body, including her emotional state. With her delivery just weeks away, today we tackle five pressing questions related to the last trimester of pregnancy.
In Episode #507, the following questions were addressed:
- What Early Pregnancy Symptoms Are a Concern?
- Prenatal Vitamins—What if I Forget to Take Them?
- Pregnancy Emotions—Pre-Post-Partum Blues—Are They for Real?
- Pregnancy and Digestion—and Gas—What the Heck?
- What’s Up with These Constant Leg Cramps at Night?
We’ll now delve into the last trimester and discuss five more common pregnancy questions.
- Why am I Swelling, and Not Just in My Belly?
- I’m Embarrassed to Have Sex While Pregnant—Why?
- Am I a Failure if I Contemplate an Epidural?
- How Do I Know When It’s Showtime?
- What If I Don’t Bond With My Baby Right Away?
Let’s explore these questions more closely.
1. Why am I Swelling, and Not Just in My Belly?
For many pregnant women, including myself, once I discovered I was pregnant I became enamored with my belly. Although I found out when I was just weeks along, I was certain my stomach had already started to expand!
Eventually, it certainly did enlarge to the size of a super-large basketball (which I absolutely loved!) but that didn’t happen right away. Other parts of my body, however, did grow and swell right along with my stomach, which is a part of pregnancy I hadn’t expected.
It's completely normal to have a moderate amount of swelling in your ankles and feet during pregnancy, as well as some mild swelling in your hands, legs, and face. This is known as edema, a result of a pregnant woman’s body producing 50% more blood and fluids to support the developing baby.
There are contributing factors to pregnancy edema, such as spending long periods of time standing, being out in the heat (six of my babies were born in the heat of the summer, so I can attest to the extra water retention firsthand!), too much caffeine (which is discouraged during pregnancy) and a high intake of sodium.
Drinking lots of water during your pregnancy, especially during the last trimester, can help reduce swelling. I also relieved my swollen ankles and feet by swimming or soaking them in a cool foot bath. Ah! My doctor also recommended I eat potassium-enriched foods (bananas, sweet potatoes, spinach, and beets were high on my list) as these foods tend to help reduce swelling.
While swelling and water retention is usually a normal symptom of pregnancy, there are also times when it can indicate a more serious condition known as preeclampsia. This used to be known as toxemia and can only be developed during pregnancy as it’s a result of the placenta not functioning properly. Signs of preeclampsia are high blood pressure, protein in the urine, and swelling in the feet, hands, and legs.
Your health care provider will be monitoring your blood pressure and urine at your monthly visits, but if at any time you feel something is not right and are concerned, call your doctor/midwife immediately or go to the emergency room to be evaluated. Yours and your baby’s health are top priority, so don’t ever feel like you’re overreacting by investigating your concerns.
2. I’m Embarrassed to Have Sex While Pregnant—Why?
After years of infertility, three miscarriages, and pregnancies that always started off with spotting (bleeding at the beginning of pregnancy, which can be caused from the embryo implanting and is lighter than a normal period), there was no way in the world I would even contemplate having sex with my husband while pregnant, never mind actually doing it. Not a chance!
Not only that, all those years ago I was much more private about such topics like sex and orgasms—I couldn’t even say the word vagina without turning 20 shades of red. So absolutely never in a million years was I going to ask my doctor if having sex while pregnant was even remotely okay! I’d go without, and so would my poor husband!