During your first trimester, you may feel like you're riding a long emotional roller coaster. "It has to do with hormones," says O'Brien. "You have one hormone called HCG which is rising steadily and then estrogen and progesterone are starting to pick up." You will probably feel like you're not in control of anything, including your emotions and work life. Little things may bother you that never seemed important before.
Morning sickness is also prevalant during the first trimester, as is a drop in energy. You may feel like you're getting sick, but it's probably just your hormones taking their toll on your body. If someone offers to help you, take them up on it. They're not accusing you of being lazy or unqualified; they're just being kind. "The feelings that you're having are very very normal," says O'Brien.
Your second trimester shouldn't be as rough as the first. Morning sickness tends to subside and, "You also start to show and you're getting really excited - you start to feel the kicks of the baby," says O'Brien. But with that excitement comes some stress. During your second trimester, you'll start to have various tests done to check for pregnancy related diseases and abnormalities. While many women get anxious waiting for the results, try not to let yourself worry too much.
In addition, you may be experiencing some relationship woes. While your hormones have calmed down slightly, they're still active. You may snap at your partner for no reason. Your sex life may suffer, too, because your body is going through some major changes. "This is a time when you want to be feeling really close to your spouse, but you maybe aren't feeling that closeness," says O'Brien. Try to be honest and open with your partner about how you're feeling. This may alleviate some of the strain.
By your third trimester, you may be feeling more like a beached whale than a proud mommy-to-be. The bigger your baby gets, the more uncomfortable you're going to be. "I think you just have to keep reminding yourself that there's this really exciting, beautiful baby just at the end of the tunnel. This is very temporary," says O'Brien. Do your best to take care of yourself. It's very easy to get run down at this stage of your pregnancy, so take naps when you can. Just like the first trimester, accept help when it's offered.
Along with fatigue, mood swings can return in the third trimester as well. In addition, many women begin to worry about their labor and delivery. "You start talking to people and they start giving you unsolicited advice and telling you these horror stories about their deliveries," says O'Brien. "You just have to try to keep it all in check." Focus on your delivery - no one else's. Your experience will be unique and, "When you meet that baby, you'll think back and you'll forget about all those tough days," says O'Brien.
For more information on pregnancy and labor, visit www.AmericanBaby.com.
By Erin Petrun