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Getting Comfortable While Pregnant
by Rebecca Garland

In this article:
- The First Trimester
- The Second Trimester
- The Third Trimester
- The Last 6 Weeks

You sit and your feet swell. You stand and not only do your feet still swell, your back starts hurting as well. You lay down and your giant belly makes it impossible to turn over and your hips, which are now loose in the socket, start aching. Is it even possible to get comfortable while pregnant?

The First Trimester
The first trimester, for many women, is a nasty taste of what is to come. A new baby is a blessing and completely worth all of the pain they put you through, but for first time moms (and occasionally experienced moms), it's hard to remember that sometimes. The first trimester brings with it an uncomfortable bloated feeling and for many women nausea.

Morning sickness is a lie. You either have it all day or not at all. If you don't have it at all, never tell anyone else – you'll just be jinxing yourself for later. There isn't much to do with the bloat except wear looser clothing. Keeping things away from your belly helps so go ahead and put away the tight jeans – you won't need them for awhile anyway. The sickness is a different matter.

If you simply feel nauseous, try to identify ways to soothe it. For some women, eating more can help. A belly with food in it helps keep the sickness away. For others, eating can bring on more nausea or even the dreaded vomiting, so you eat smaller portions. Sometimes there are magic foods like crackers or fruit that can help, but the only way to find what works for you is experimentation. Of course, if you are vomiting frequently, you need to visit with your doctor to find relief because you can get dehydrated and hurt yourself and the baby.

The Second Trimester
For most women, the second trimester is what pregnancy is all about. You feel good. You look cute in maternity clothes with a little bump and the energy you lost early on is back in force.

Of course you still get tired early at night, but you're growing another human, so it's okay. This is when many women start back with exercising and have energy to go and start buying nursery items and such.

Enjoy your fun! Be aware though, that your body is still gearing up for delivering a baby. That means your ligaments might be loosening up and your joints might not be able to support heavy lifting. It's also common to get a bit of back pain from shifting your weight as your belly grows. Take it easy with the exercise and remember to stand up straight. This might also be a good time to give up high heels and find some nice supportive shoes (with room to grow) to help support the growing belly.

The Third Trimester
This is where it all falls to pieces again. You may have started off rough, had a few good months, and as soon as you hit week 27, the curtain falls. If you've felt great the entire time, its likely things will start getting a bit sticky for you now. Your joints have been loosening this entire pregnancy, and now with more weight to support, they might start aching. Your now very large belly makes it hard to power walk, and your hips don't mind the exercise break either. As your belly drops a bit, you develop that lovely pregnancy waddle, and your back aches if you stand too long. Swelling might start in your feet, ankles and hands, and it's probably time for the real maternity gear.

Second trimester clothes may not cut it in the third trimester. With huge bellies and even larger breasts, many pregnant women break down in the interest of comfort. Don't be afraid to buy bigger bras if you need them. You can use the extra support and things aren't getting smaller up to for awhile still.

Cute clothes may not stay up any longer, or if you, like most pregnant women, gain weight all over, you just don't fit in them anymore. Comfort is key. There is no shame in the full panel pants and loose fitting shirts. Get what will stay up and keep the belly covered. You will be uncomfortable enough without having to yank your pants up and your shirt down after every step you take. Early in the third trimester, buy big – you have no idea just how much belly you'll have to cover at the end.

The Last Six Weeks
For most women, the last six weeks of pregnancy are a killer. In anticipation of delivery, your hips have widened and your legs are loose in the socket. Sleeping becomes a nightmare because your hip hurts on your sleeping side and rolling over becomes more of a full body heave and flop routine. Invest in a body pillow especially designed for pregnancy to help support your belly and hips. This keeps much of the pain at bay and can help you sleep (at least between trips to the bathroom.)

You may start swelling, and there may not be much you can do about it. Some of the swelling is water, which may reduce if you limit salt and drink lots of extra water to flush it out. The swelling in your feet through, may actually be all of that extra blood in your body, so sit back and put your feet up every now and again to get circulation back up.

If your hands are swelling, go ahead and take off your rings while you can. It's better to be comfortable than have your rings literally cut off if your hands swell tremendously overnight. If you worry about the implications of no rings on a very pregnant woman, go buy yourself a cheap band to wear – you might get some use out of it after delivery if your hands take a while to regain their elegance.

Overall, the best thing you can do to ease the aches and pains of the last few weeks is to relax and recline as much as possible. Put your feet up in your husband's recliner and don't be ashamed to wear what fits and is comfortable. There are plenty of cute flip flops out there that fit swelling (and sweating) feet, and your husband's shirts may offer more coverage than even the largest maternity shirt.

Spending time in the pool or in a warm (not hot!) bath might take some of the pressure off your joints and spine as well. Pillows are a pregnant woman's best friend and she should have several for her head, back, belly, and hips. You may even consider bringing those pillows with you to the hospital where hospital beds and of course labor will make the discomfort of pregnancy a pleasant memory.

Pillows, flip flops, giant clothes and water aside, the best way to feel comfortable during pregnancy is to rest and simply focus on the baby inside. Lay on your left side and count those kicks, but while you do, smile and remember that you are going to be a mommy soon, and all of your discomfort is providing the most comfortable place and best care a little one could hope to have.

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