5 Pregnancy Basics You Need to Know

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Image adapted via Flickr/ David Leo Veksler

Congratulations, you're expecting!

Side note: Does anyone else think it's a bit strange how we tell pregnant women “congratulations”? Like what's the right response to that? “Um, thanks, I had fun making a baby” or “Thanks, IVF was hell!” or “Thanks, this was a complete surprise!”?

{ MORE: Bleeding During Pregnancy: What's Normal? }

But anyway.

Now that you're knocked up, I thought we could brush up on some basic pregnancy facts so you know what to expect over the course of the next nine months.

Ready? Let's go.

 

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Image via Flickr/ Daquella Manera

Why all the pee tests?

It's all about the pee,`bout the pee.

Sorry for getting that song stuck in your head, but let's be real — pregnancy is a time of pee. It starts with peeing on that stick, and then from here on out, you will be peeing in a cup at each and every doctor's visit. But if you've ever wondered what on earth they are actually looking for in all those cups of pee, allow me to enlighten you. According to the American Pregnancy Association, there is a method to the pee-pee madness. Your doctor is screening for:

  • Excess sugar, signifying gestational diabetes
  • Preeclampsia
  • Infection
  • Dehydration
blood pressure
Image via Flickr/ meddygarnet

Why's everyone so obsessed with your blood pressure?

It may seem like it's a bit overkill, between the pee and constant blood pressure checks, but I promise there is good reason for all that monitoring. Your doctor or midwife is watching closely for any signs of preeclampsia, which is a very serious condition marked by high blood pressure and protein in your urine. So stick that arm out and definitely be glad you're in good hands!

{ MORE: 5 Fall-Themed Ways to Announce that You're Pregnant }

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Image via Flickr/ blmurch

Is that discharge normal?

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OK, ladies, I'm going to get all TMI on you now, but it's important.

Pregnancy is beautiful, yes, but it also changes your body. If you notice an increase (and I mean a big increase) in discharge, know that you are not abnormal. It's just your cervix in action protecting your baby, and if you're near the end of your pregnancy, it may be a sign of your cervix dilating and softening.

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Image via Flickr/ jeff_golden

What the heck can I take as far as medications?

Well, if you have a serious condition that requires medication, such as depression, you will need to speak to your care provider about continuing those meds and weighing them with any possible risks to the baby and the health risks to both of you if you wean off of those pills.

{ MORE: There Is Never a Perfect Time to Have a Baby }

For general, everyday ailments, unfortunately, there's not much you can take. Ibuprofen is a big no-no and if you don't find any relief with natural remedies (such as peppermint essential oil to your temples for a headache), acetaminophen is your best bet for everyday aches and pains. But always check with your doctor before taking anything.

Here's a list of some of the most common meds that you should most definitely avoid.

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Image via Flickr/ Colure

Is it normal to both hate and love pregnancy?

Can I just say — YES.

I've never loved my body as much in my whole life as I have during pregnancy, and I've never been more miserable in my entire life as during pregnancy. Some women fall firmly into the absolutes of pregnancy, either totally loving it or totally hating it, but more often than not, I think most of it fall somewhere along in the middle — totally appreciating the miracle of life, enjoying some of the amazing aspects of pregnancy (no waistline! elastic pants! baby kicks!), while fully acknowledging the hard parts.

{ MORE: You Might Want To Think Twice About That Heartburn Medicine }

It doesn't mean you're ungrateful or that you're a bad mom if you're not the biggest fan of pregnancy — you're just a normal, human mother. And if you're anything like me, you're experiencing your first and most important lesson of motherhood early on: mom life is both tough and beautiful, but ultimately, so, so worth it.

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5 Pregnancy Basics You Need to Know

Chaunie Brusie is a writer, mom of four, and founder of The Stay Strong Mom, a community + gift box service for moms after loss. ... More

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