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Pregnancy Expectations

Ok....I am pregnant and I am going to have a baby - what should I expect?

     Being pregnant is scary, exciting and confusing all at once. The most obvious changes are physical; weight gain, skin reactions, holding excess water, thick hair, etc... but there are emotional changes as well. Many pregnant women report mood swings, a sudden concern for the state of the world, and bouts of euphoria. Some women experience a sense of awe at their bodies and feel energized by the experience while others feel sad and frightened.

     Every pregnancy experience is different and complications do occur. A normal pregnancy will see you putting on weight, having cravings, feeling both very tired and very energetic at different times in the course of the pregnancy, and at the end of the pregnancy feeling tired and uncomfortable and ready to get the baby out.

     Birth is frightening, it is exhilarating, it is exhausting, it is awe-inspiring and it hurts. It hurts a lot! In the late stages of pregnancy the baby will "drop" moving down into a birthing position. Your hips may displace in preparation for the birth. When you first go in to labor it will feel as if you are having very strong menstrual cramps. Your water may break making you feel as if you wet your pants. As your body gets ready your cervix will dilate, and you will feel an increased urge to push. The urge to push feels very much like the urge to have a bowel movement. If you have a long or difficult labor you may start to feel tired or anxious; this is when you will need a birthing partner the most. When the pushing begins the pain is very intense and you may feel a burning in your vaginal area as the skin stretches to accommodate the baby. If all goes well you will push the baby into the world without complication.

     The second the baby is out of you there is a feeling of intense relief and joy. Afterwards, you will have to push again to expel the placenta; this does not hurt at all. You may need stitches to repair tearing and you will be given a cold compress to keep on your privates. Going to the washroom may be uncomfortable for the next few days. Some complications that may arise include; breech position birth, emergency c-section, mother fatigue and distressed baby. Trust the professionals to help you through these situations and know that you are not alone; very few women have a "typical" birthing experience.

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