When you think about pregnancy symptoms, your mind likely goes in one direction -- and it's generally not a happy one: Think morning sickness, swollen feet, and crazy mood swings! But ask moms who've been there, and they'll tell you it's possible to miss being pregnant -- and even feel a twinge of jealousy when they hear a friend is newly expecting. Not new baby-envy; preggo-envy!
Turbo-Charged Sex Drive
Let's get right to item number one on everyone's list: Your libido can kick into overdrive when you're pregnant, usually during the "honeymoon period" of the second trimester. A relative leveling off of your hormone levels after the roller coaster of the first trimester, coupled with increased blood flow to the genitals, can create a spike in a mom-to-be's interest in the very activity that got her where she is. But, Dr. Francis says, the second-trimester sexy train doesn't arrive for everyone. "Women worry that they're supposed to have an increased sex drive, and wonder if there's something wrong with them if they don't," she says. But, just as not all women experience morning sickness, not all women have the sudden urge to get frisky while expecting. Nothing wrong with that at all.
Big Time Body Love
Your expanding belly is proof of something so amazing -- your baby is growing! The secondary excitement is that, for once, your tummy is something easy to be proud of. "I loved that I didn't have to suck my stomach in!" Dr. Francis says. Depending on your body's shape, and whether this is your first baby or a subsequent child, your belly will "pop" between week 12 and week 20. Until that point, you may feel like you appear either "normal," or a little bloated. But once that belly starts growing big and beautiful, you'll be able to pat your midsection with a loving smile -- and watch as everyone else smiles along.
The Mane Event
It's not an illusion: Pregnant women really do have hair that could come straight out of a shampoo commercial. That's because of hormones and biotin, also known as vitamin H, commonly found in prenatal vitamins. The hormones are to thank for hair's shine; biotin for its ability to grow and grow and grow. We recommend standing in front of a fan and letting it blow around, supermodel style!
Dr. Francis agrees that you should enjoy it while it lasts. "Within hours of delivery, your hormone levels plummet, and you may feel like your hair starts to shed almost as fast."
A Matter Of Taste
Again, it's time to thank those hormones for a big sensual lift. "Neurologically speaking, your brain has estrogen and progesterone receptors," Dr. Francis explains. "The changes within your neurochemistry cause changes to the way your nose perceives smells, and your tongue perceives taste." That means that a run-of-the-mill slice of pizza or cup of minestrone can suddenly taste like it was made by your own personal Top Chef. Of course, it can also mean that even hearing the words "pizza" or "minestrone" causes you to dry heave -- individual sensitivities to scents and flavors vary a lot from pregnancy to pregnancy. Cravings and aversions are powerful things, and fun to follow; just remember that having a hankering for a food item is not a signal that your body "needs" more than a healthy, moderate serving.
The strong urge to fall asleep in your cubicle -- head pressing on your arm, drool collecting in a little puddle on your desktop -- doesn't usually make it to the top of anyone's "Yes!" list. But many pregnant women appreciate that their body's desires are just so strong they can't be ignored, put off, or minimized -- and that everybody wants you to rest and take it easy. "For me, it was the best part of being pregnant," Dr. Francis says. "Both the feeling of just sinking into a heavy sleep, and the great excuse you have for doing so." Take advantage whenever and wherever you can. Your ability to take those delicious naps won't last for long!
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