On the 18th of Feb this year, I was blessed with a baby boy. The first feeling that I experienced on laying my eyes on him was not of joy though – it was a feeling of relief. During the third trimester of pregnancy (i.e., from around the 28th week), I had started feeling several types of physical discomforts – and used to stay constantly worried about the well-being of the little one inside me. Thank goodness the delivery happened without a hitch, and I managed to rejoin office from October. I have here jotted down some of the principal physical problems that I faced during the last lap of pregnancy:
- Considerable increase in body weight – My gynecologist in Kolkata had said that my otherwise svelte figure would get somewhat botched up when I was expecting – but I was not quite prepared for the practically enormous amount of weight gain during the third trimester. During the last couple of months leading up to the delivery date, my weight shot up by nearly 8 kgs! Although doctors assured me that there were no complications, I had problems in freely moving about, due to my increased bulk.
- Mild contractions – I had always thought that contractions started only AFTER a woman went into labor. Imagine my surprise and tensions then, when I started having contractions one evening (this was around week 30). My husband took me to the local pregnancy abortion clinic immediately, where the experts told that such contractions (medically termed Braxton-Hicks movements) were normal and to be expected till delivery. The contractions weren’t too uncomfortable though.
- A constant heavy feeling in the breasts – Well, I had started experiencing this from the latter weeks of the second trimester itself, but the feeling of heaviness increased significantly as the date of delivery approached. The experts from my regular pregnancy and infertility center in Kolkata had told me to report if there were any abnormal discharges from/black spots around the nipples – thankfully, I did not have such symptoms. My breasts became rather painful though, and even touching them was a problem.
- Lack of sleep – This was the principal cause behind my fatigued feeling right through the day. More often than not, I could not fall asleep till well past 3-3:30 am at night, and the daytime naps were too short and far between to be of any help. The obstetrics and infertility treatment specialist suggested regular massage sessions, to keep my body rejuvenated. A mild sedative was also prescribed – but I was too afraid to take it, lest it harmed my baby!
- Skin rashes – As I found out from my gynaecologist in Kolkata later, they were not rashes after all. On both my legs, from below the knee joint, small reddish boils appeared, and they were extremely itchy too. In case you have such rashes, caused by what doctors call ‘spider veins’, make sure that they do not become too large, like hemorrhoids. Rashes and inflammations around the rectum can be rather painful too, and advanced cases might even lead to abortion procedures. Thank goodness, I did not face such complicacies.
- Body aches – If some of my overall physical lethargy was due to the gain in weight, I would attribute the rest of it to the dull, sustained body aches that became a constant companion of mine during the third trimester. The pelvic pains were the most serious, although the ECG tests and ultrasonography in Kolkata done on me did not reveal any aberrations (except for, a happily kicking baby!). Even my fingers became painful. In fact, due to my acute rib pains, my midwife advised me to avoid lying down on my back for too long at a stretch.
- More frequent urges to urinate – On the web, I had read about many expecting moms having painful discharges from the vagina, which generally necessitated emergency IVF treatment procedures. While I was spared from these problems, the urge to urinate increased manifold as the delivery date drew nearer. At times, I had to visit the toilet at intervals of 15-20 minutes. The doctor had told me that the enhanced bladder pressure would be causing this problem, and I definitely felt inconvenienced by it!
- Constipation and heartburn – The slight bouts of morning sickness during the third trimester were pretty much okay with me – but the increasing irregularities in my bowel syndrome did cause discomforts round the clock. I almost never had a good appetite (and the doctor had told me to start eating a bit more than usual!), acid attacks were pretty common – and there were serious heartburns often too. The consultants at the pregnancy and IVF center in Kolkata told me to totally abstain from fried snacks and carbonated drinks, and that did reduce the problems somewhat.
- Increased puffiness – Almost everyone who saw me during this period remarked how heavy my eyelids had become, and how puffy my cheeks and hands appeared. According to my sexology consultant, as the time of delivery drew closer, more fluids were retained by the blood vessels – and this contributed to the excessive puffiness.
To top off all these physical problems, I used to have some truly horrible nightmares about pregnancy during these weeks. There were vivid bad dreams about miscarriages, and at one point, I was almost certain that I would have to go for surrogacy in India. The childbirth process turned out to be hassle-free, however, and I am almost back to my pre-pregnancy figure already too!