For the guys out there, here’s a little insight into a couple symptoms that your lovely partner might be going through, that my wife certainly has. You know those “things they never tell you about” moments in life? This was one of them.
1) Lower Back Pain: This sucks. There’s really no way around it. My beautiful blushing bride has been, at times, reduced to the mobility of a 90 year old because of the pain she has experienced, and there really just isn’t too much I can do about it. I can help her stretch, I can get her water, and I can tell her I love her, but that’s about it. Being pregnant adds a lot of tension to the lower back, and combined with the way in witch the pelvic bones are adjusting for labor, you ladies out there need to be careful.
2) Swelling: Some swelling during pregnancy isn’t bad (if you know what I mean), but when the feet and ankles swell, it’s no fun at all. According to our OB, this can sometimes be attributed to a lack of water, anemia, or too much standing. Elevating the feet above the heart makes a big difference, as well as making sure as the lovely mama-to-be is getting plenty of Iron to make sure the anemia is at bay.
3) Braxton Hicks: Braxton Hicks Contractions are uterine contractions that start about 6 weeks into pregnancy, but your mama-to-be isn’t likely to start feeling them until much later into the pregnancy. For my wife, I think she started really feeling them at about the 21 week mark, but she didn’t know what they were at that point. What she contributed to “tightness” or “cramping” was really her body practicing for the big show. Our doula, who happens to be one of our very close friends, associated it as “muscle tonight for the uterus.” Braxton Hicks Contractions help strengthen the uterus for when it’s finally time for baby to arrive.
4) Sleeping Troubles: So, fellas, I want you to strap a basketball to your stomach, along with about 20 pounds, and then try to get comfortable in bed. Personally, that doesn’t sound like a lot of fun at all, so how about we show the women a little patience as they struggle to get to sleep, shall we? Combine the above factors with a need to pee multiple times a night, and it’s no wonder she feels tired.
So those are just a couple. There’s also the joys that come with hormones and the affect they have on the emotions, as well as the cravings that come and go. (Lately, it’s all about the chocolate lava cake. Before that? Burritos.) My point being, try to be understanding as your partner goes through these big changes. You’re going to have to man up and take care of things while she rests and takes care of your growing baby. Do the dishes, go to the store for her, help her with her shoes if she can’t bend over. Just remember, your job through this all is to be flexible when she can’t, and to make it as easy on mama-to-be as you can.