Is This Normal During Pregnancy?
When healthy and common are two different things
- What is common during pregnancy is not always healthy. There are solutions to lots of problems to make things better and more manageable.
- When your symptoms start to become overwhelming, talk to your provider.
- Trust your body. It is unique and different from everyone else’s!
It’s normal, you might hear people say. It’s just part of pregnancy. Very common. That happened during my pregnancy, too.
If something is normal or common, it’s often treated as unavoidable. You’ll hear from many sources telling you “that’s just what happens.” And sometimes, this is true. Hair growth during pregnancy and hair loss postpartum is expected. Your midwife or doctor will back that statement up.
But sometimes, what’s accepted as common isn’t actually healthy. So how do you know when to reach out for help, and when to manage on your own?
The internet isn’t your provider
Looking up your signs and symptoms online can be helpful. There are lots of things that are new during pregnancy that nearly all pregnant people experience. There are also lots of articles written by healthcare professionals. Midwives, doulas, nurses, doctors, and even researchers often write for online publications. These articles can provide information to help you determine next steps.
But where you might get steered wrong is in the internet forums or articles by less reputable sources. What’s healthy, and what’s common? Just because many people experience one thing – making it common – doesn’t mean it’s the way it should be.
Remember that what’s “normal” for others doesn’t mean it’s healthy for you in your unique body.
One example of this is pelvic pain. Many, many people experience pelvic pain during or after pregnancy. It is very common. There are a lot of reasons why you could have pelvic pain! But just because many people experience it, that doesn’t mean pelvic pain is healthy. There are ways to treat pelvic pain. A pelvic physical therapist is a good place to start.
“Unmanageable” is unhealthy
Some things are expected, in moderation. Morning sickness doesn’t happen to everyone, but about 70% of pregnant people experience some kind of nausea in their first trimester. In most cases, it is inconvenient, but manageable. It also tends to fade greatly after the first trimester.
Occasionally, nausea gets out of hand. There are pregnant people who can’t keep anything down or who throw up multiple times a day. Just because nausea and vomiting are commonly expected during pregnancy, there is nuance in how much. Anti-nausea medication might be the answer if home remedies, like ginger tea, just aren’t working. Any time your symptoms disrupt your life substantially, it’s a good time to check with your provider.
Pregnancy really, really changes your body. It changes your hormones, softens the muscles of your pelvis, and expands the size of your uterus. Fluid retention, increased nutritional needs, and trouble sleeping are par for the course. Your body starts to function differently than when you are not pregnant. All these things will happen, whether you want them to or not.
But the amount of change that occurs doesn’t mean you don’t know your body. Even through pregnancy, you – not your midwife, not your doula, and not your best friend – know your body better than anyone else. If something starts to feel off, talk to your provider. You may be experiencing something new and need time to adjust. But you also have a better sense of what feels right in your changing body and what doesn’t. Remember that what’s “normal” for others doesn’t mean it’s healthy for you in your unique body.
Asking questions is healthy
One thing’s for sure: questions during pregnancy are both common and healthy. If you have a question, no matter how small or silly you think it is, ask it! There are people on the other end – midwives, OB/GYNs, doulas, and more – who are there, ready to answer you.