The female body changes more during pregnancy than at any other time in her life. But not to fear, future fathers, I will go through every organ group and tell you what to expect when expecting. That way you have a better idea of what is and will be going on for the next 9 months. So, if you’re looking for advice, information or explanations because your wife is pregnant, turn to NoMo Nausea’s “Expectant Fathers Guide to Pregnancy” and our dedicated Pregnancy Pukeology Podcast to help you new dads out.
Guide to Pregnant Women for any Dad-to-Be
Want to know exactly what happens after your wife tells you she’s pregnant, does a pregnancy test or a gender reveal? Luckily, this blog will tell you all you need to know. Read on to find helpful tips for all three trimesters, how to stop morning sickness, decrease mommy brain (aka pregnancy forgetfulness), and even what to eat to keep her thyroid in check during these nine months. This is perfect for all couples who are pregnant or women seeking advice for themselves, or their partner.
3 Trimesters of Pregnancy
You sir are just as much a part of this pregnancy process as she is. Remember that communication is key! Women L-O-V-E when you are there for them emotionally. That means trying to understand how she is feeling and the best way to do that is to ask her. This is so important not only during pregnancy but after birth too. Make sure to be supportive of how she’s feeling. I’ll give you an overview of trimesters here, but if you’re looking for more info, check out our blog and podcast Symptoms by Pregnancy Trimesters. As promised, here are a few heads up for each trimester:
Early Signs of Pregnancy & First Trimester
The first trimester is categorized by mood swings, extreme exhaustion, food aversions, muscle cramps, and the dreaded morning sickness. And don’t be fooled by people calling it “morning” sickness. Women can experience is at any time of the day.
Second Trimester Symptoms
The second trimester is the “sexiest” one due to surges of pregnancy hormones, known as estrogen and progesterone. Between weeks 14 and 26, women tend to have more energy, feel less nauseous and still have a small belly. Many women report having a high sexual desire (in other words, they are super turned on) and intense orgasms. Fellas, sex during pregnancy is perfectly safe, let me repeat, sex during pregnancy is totally SAFE. Not to mention, women are usually extremely horny once the morning sickness has stopped. If you’re still feeling cautious and want some tips, or just want ideas to make sure your wife is comfortable during sex, check out 5 great pregnancy sex positions in our blog and podcast Episode 19: Sex during Pregnancy. Beyond having an increased libido, her blood volume also increases to account for the probable 500ml to 1000ml (2-4 cups) of blood she loses during delivery. While most women have a stronger desire for sex during the second trimester, I’m sorry to inform you that as she approaches 3rdtrimester, she begins producing prolactin, the hormone that starts milk secretion, which can decrease a mom’s libido.
Third Trimester Symptoms
The baby is getting big, making physical activity difficult. So be that wonderful gentlemen, open doors for her and don’t let her lift anything too heavy. That being said, don’t go overboard not allowing her to lift anything. After all, at 30 weeks pregnant women can lift 50 pounds still, and at 40 weeks she can lift 24 pounds still according to these guidelines. Like we said earlier, ask and she’ll tell you what she prefers. Heartburn is also something that most women experience during their 3rdtrimester. If she doesn’t want to kiss you, it’s probably just that.
Her body is changing in more ways than one. Did you know almost every organ has a physiological change during pregnancy? Let’s look at them from head to toe.
Mommy brain is real! Forgetfulness, fogginess in remembering details, and overall just not feeling like yourself happens. The University of Barcelona actually showed changes in the mom’s brain from before pregnancy to up to 2 years after birth. They proposed these mental changes were needed to help understand the needs of their babies and to help prepare them for motherhood. Neurologically speaking the volume of the body increases which increases cerebral spinal fluid as well.
Is your wife’s sense of smell becoming incredibly good? YES! Circulating gonadal hormones are proposed as the explanation for a heightened sense of smell. As hCG rises so does the olfactory perception in women. Remember, hCG stands for human chorionic gonadotropin, which is a hormone produced and increases immensely during the first trimester of pregnancy. This new smelling superpower is also why many women get a food aversion, and might also be a reason for severe morning sickness.
Moms have an increased risk of having murmurs (a fancy word for extra sounds originating from the heart). The left ventricle of the heart tends to enlarge, also known as left ventricular hypertrophy often due to the increase of blood volume and stroke volume. This means 2 things: 1, her heart is pumping more blood overall and 2, her heart is pumping more blood with each heartbeat. The heart literally shifts up as pregnancy progresses, showing weird EKG tracings on occasion.
During your first trimester, the amount you are normally breathing out and in (called tidal volume), increases. As the baby gets bigger the diaphragm is also pushed upwards like the heart. But not to worry, the amount you can breathe in and out, remains unchanged. This often leads to “breathlessness without hypoxia”. Basically, this means that while you may feel short of breath, you are still getting enough oxygen. If you have asthma, Mayo Clinic states that pregnancy can cause asthma symptoms to worsen, improve or stay the same. However, severe cases of asthma have a greater likelihood of worsening as pregnancy develops. Luckily, most asthma medications can be safely used while pregnant, but it is always important to check with your doctor or pharmacist. They might change your medication or dosage depending on your situation. Regardless, it is critical that you continue your medication routine for asthma because it is better to take medication than to experience asthmatic symptoms or an asthma attack.
If you’re curious about which asthma medications are safe to take while pregnant, look at this list below. The medications listed below are in Category B. Medications in Category B have been shown to have no risk to the fetus in animal studies, although there is little evidence for pregnant women. In other words, although adverse effects are possible they are not likely, meaning they are generally SAFE for you and your baby. Plus, as we said earlier, it is better to have a medication routine approved by your doctor than experience severe asthmatic symptoms. Remember, this is not a comprehensive list and you should always check with your doctor about medications and dosages when pregnant.
- Pulmicort (budesonide)
- Intal (cromolyn)
- Tilade (nedocromil)
The gastrointestinal system is put to work with morning sickness in the first trimester, which as we said earlier can be affected by an increased sense of smell. The main reason food aversions and morning sickness are often so high in the first trimester is because this is when the baby is most fragile, so the body become over cautious of food. Acid reflux is another common pregnancy symptom caused by decreased lower esophageal sphincter tone (meaning the valve that caps the top of the stomach gets loose) so every time you eat gas and food come back up to the esophagus. Also, there is an increased risk of aspiration during delivery which is why all anesthesia personnel will ask a pregnant woman to not eat for 8 hours prior to an elective C-section (Caesarean Section).
Urinary protein and glucose increase in the kidneys, plasma creatinine decrease (hence why you need to drink lots of water), and there is an increased risk of UTI (urinary tract infection). Pregnant women find that they get sick or infections more often because of decreased immunity.
The musculoskeletal system goes completely wacky. Relaxin, a hormone responsible for relaxing the ligaments to move the hips outward for childbirth, can result in a higher chance of dislocation. And the big belly doesn’t help, so an increased lumbar lordosis happens, meaning your back arches a lot. This means gentleman… rub your lady’s back. You’ll get lots of brownie points.
I wanted to leave the endocrine system until the last because there are so many hormones responsible for all of these changes. Increases in progesterone and estrogen we already talked about, along with relaxin, prolactin, and human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG). Did you know pregnant women need to be checked for insulin resistance? Sometimes during pregnancy women have high sugar levels which can be an indicator of gestational diabetes. This could mean that insulin, the hormone that lowers your blood sugar, is not working as effectively as it should. Cortisol, a hormone that can cause fat storage, increases so the baby never runs out of food. However, this hormone is also why losing baby weight is so hard.
Tips for Morning Sickness
“I need a hero!” Boys this is where you shine. Your woman is a damsel in distress, and the villain is morning sickness. Listen closely, I’m about to tell you about your soon-to-be superpower that will save her (and you), or at least make her feel so much more comfortable. One of the main rules is: natural is always best. Try the following tips or purchasing the following items to help the beautiful soon-to-be mother in your life.
- 1. Foods like saltine crackers on her nightstand, cooking with ginger, lemons in her water, or apples as a snack have been shown useful.
- Try acupressure on her wrist at P6 before you both go to bed and use peppermint essential oil to massage her.
- Buy her a NoMo Nausea Band. Run to your nearest BuyBuy Baby, use your phone to get on Walmart or amazon.com, or if she has small wrists just head to CVS and buy a band, she will thank you for it. This basically combines tip #2 but all you have to do is buy it and slide it on her wrist!
- Check out Home Remedies for Vomiting for even more tips!
If you’re wondering about the NoMo Nausea band, by applying pressure at the P6 point on her wrist (acupressure) it signals her brain to produce chemicals that fight nausea. This makes it nearly equivalent to the effects of Zofran, the most commonly prescribed morning sickness medicine, for some. However, unlike medication, NoMo Nausea bands are all-natural meaning they do not carry side effect risks like OTC morning sickness medications do. Plus, peppermint essential oil when smelled (aromatherapy) helps to stop vomiting immediately because the fastest way into the brain is through the nose. Each technique, acupressure, and aromatherapy, are about 50% effective at reducing morning sickness. And now NoMoNausea Band has made it even easier by combining both into a stylish wristband that is clinically proven to stop 80% of your worst pregnancy upset stomach. Hurry over to www.NoMoNausea.comto buy one.
Tips for Pregnancy Brain
Have you noticed your wife is getting pregnancy brain? She forgets where she put her phone, where her keys are, or important dates often. This is actually proven that women adapt "pregnancy brain" in order to be good moms. If you're curious why, listen to Pregnancy Pukeology Podcast Episode 32: Pregnancy Brain. Not to worry, here are 6 perfect ways to get her brain back on track before your bundle of joy gets here.
- Keep Connecting. There is a strong relationship between maintaining physical health, social health, and mental health. Tell her to have a girl’s night, mom’s day out, join a book club, or set a weekly date or activity (maybe even a yoga or Lamaze class).
- Move it! Physical activity is essential for mind and body health. Go on a walk together, jump in a swimming pool, or sign her up for prenatal yoga.
- Structure creates stability. Hang up a key ring and have her place her keys and purse in the same spot every day she gets home. Go grocery shopping the same day every week, or find a system that works for your family.
- Brain blasts. Work out your brain, and not just an app on your phone. Use both sides of your brain by visiting a museum or taking an art class. Maybe host a game night or do a huge puzzle with friends.
- Good night = great mornings! Sleep is very important during pregnancy. Adults need a bedtime routine. Don’t bring work into the bedroom and turn off all blue lights (cell phone, TV, even the cable box).
Eat right. Give your body some brain food. Pregnant women have a list of what not to eat, but she should know what to eat too! Read or listen to Episode 16 What You Should be Eating in Pregnancy.
- Omega 3s increase the blood flow to the brain and can be found in fish. Salmon and herring are fish that have high omega 3s but have a lower mercury content, which pregnant women are told to stay away from mackerel and tuna.
- Antioxidant foods like dark chocolate & berries. Yes, we just gave you the okay to eat dark chocolate because cacao contains flavonoids, a type of antioxidant.
- Nuts with high vitamin E content include sunflower seeds, almonds, and hazelnuts. She can also add vegetable oils to her diet. Vitamin E protects cells from oxidative stress caused by free radicals and improves cognition.
- Unsaturated fats like avocados, almonds, flaxseeds, chia seeds, and cashews may lower the risk of cognitive decline by reducing high blood pressure.
- Leafy vegetables like broccoli, brussel sprouts, and bok choy are rich in glucosinolates. When broken down they produce isothiocyanates that may reduce oxidative stress and lower the risk of cancer, cardiovascular disease, and neurological disease.
Tips for Managing Hormone Levels
Some women during pregnancy become transiently hyperthyroid as a result of high hCG levels. Hyperthyroidism has many symptoms. The amino acid, L-carnitine, is great for helping to control the tremors and fatigue. It is found in meats, fish, dairy products and in supplemental forms. Generally, B-12 deficiency accompanies hyperthyroidism. So, make sure you’re getting enough B12 too (it’s found in most animal products). This means my vegetarian and vegan mommies, you should start taking, if you’re not already, a B12 supplement. If you’re experiencing anxiety, nervousness or sleeplessness which may be hyperthyroid symptoms, or just typical pregnancy symptoms try lavender essential oils. You may also want to consider NoMo Sleepless Nights, an acupressure infused lavender essential oil wristband researched to help put people to sleep faster and keep women asleep longer.
Now you know what to expect when you’re expecting! Plus, future fathers, you now have your superpower: NoMo Nausea bands and knowledge of what’s to come in the next 9 months. If you want more information, check out our other blogs and if you want to engrain this information further, listen to the podcast:Listen to "Wife Pregnant? The Expectant Father Guide To Pregnancy Pukeology Podcast Episode 24" on Spreaker.