I vividly remember back in 2010 when I was diagnosed with PCOS (polycystic ovarian syndrome) and endometriosis and I was told by my doctor that I need to consider having a baby soon – or else I might it be difficult for me to get pregnant. I cried, because I just started my career as a professional singer on television (I just got on ABS-CBN’s ASAP Sessionistas) and I was not even engaged yet to my then-boyfriend (now husband). Fast-forward to 2020 (!) and I am now pregnant with our third child. It only shows that if it is part of God’s plan, it will happen:) (I was also treated for my PCOS and endometriosis by my OB-GYN).
This blog post is about the pregnancy symptoms I personally experienced, and how I cope with them. But first, let me tell you that my doctor was right, it was hard for me to get pregnant naturally, so I had to take medicine or “fertility pills” to help us get pregnant. With our first-born Kobe, I was on two cycles of clomiphene before I got pregnant, and with Milo, I was on two cycles of letrozole – NOTE that this was all under medical supervision of my Obstetrician (please DO NOT self-medicate!). These were also accompanied by follicle monitoring which entailed 3 sets of monthly ultrasounds to see if I get fertile and if there is a viable egg. Then the doctor will tell you and your partner when to “try” to conceive (spell pressure!) So I gave birth to my two boys in 2015 and 2018, and for us, the family was complete! Imagine our surprise when I got pregnant again (naturally and without meds for the first time) and during the pandemic nonetheless! 🙂
Anyway, here the pregnancy symptoms I had/have. Comment below if you experienced these too!:)
Morning sickness, sensitivity to smells, nausea. With my two boys, I experienced the usual nausea and upset stomach, and I was averse to the smell of “ginisa” or cooking garlic and onions… But with this pregnancy, I experienced what other moms say “all-day sickness” – it was very hard for me to hold my food down, and I actually lost a lot of weight during the first trimester. And a lot of smells bothered me – ANYTHING cooking, even rice or “sinaing!” I stopped cooking during my 1st trim, and I would make sure my room is closed when they’re cooking downstairs and I would also turn on the air purifier and open the windows. I think during my 1st trimester, my default facial expression was a “grimace” hahaha! To try to combat my nausea, I avoided my “trigger” smells and food as much as possible. But it was hard. And I could not wait for my 1st trimester to end!
Gestational Diabetes. I had this with my 2nd and current pregnancy. With Kobe (my 1st), I was eating anything I want, which included a lot of halo-halo and ice cream in my 2nd and 3rd trimester (hey, it was summer time! :)) But with Milo, I was diagnosed with gestational diabetes in my 2nd trimester, and with this current one, I was diagnosed early at around 10 weeks. For me, this is one of the biggest challenges during pregnancy, because I had to monitor my sugar (by pricking myself) and really watch what I eat. In my last glucose test at 24 weeks – the one where you have to drink a whole bottle of this yucky, sugary drink and they get your blood three times (1x before the drink, then 2x 1-hour and 2-hours after) – I failed again in the 1-hour mark. My endocrinologist wanted me to start insulin, but I asked if I can try to regulate my diet even more, she said yes and now I am taking metformin before bedtime. To control my sugar, I eat small meals 4-5 times a day. My smallest meal is breakfast (when my sugar is highest) and I usually just eat half a cup of brown rice with a veggie omelette or a small portion of meat. For lunch, I eat half a cup brown rice and we usually have a soup viand like sinigang or tinola, or a fish viand with vegetables. I take a light snack in the afternoon, usually a slice of bread or half a serving of fruit. Then I usually eat the usual dinner but in controlled portions. And I also make sure to take in a lot of water the whole day. Unfortunately, gestational diabetes also slows down your digestion, which leads to the next one:
Reflux, indigestion, constipation. I already have GERD, and pregnancy makes it even worse! See my post here about GERD. In the first trimester, the surge in the hormone progesterone makes digestion slower which results to constipation and gas. Add my gestational diabetes to this and I really have a difficult time making my whole digestive system work properly. Most meds are not safe during pregnancy so the only way to do control this is by eating small, frequent meals, avoiding eating food which is hard to digest (like meat and dairy). Two weeks ago, I had an extremely bad case of gas pain and indigestion, which left me weak and unable to move around for 2 days. 🙁 This was because I was eating a lot of meat and not enough veggies days before which led to constipation.
Aches and pains (back, pelvic area). Oh my, I always tell my friends who ask how I am that I really feel my age with this 3rd pregnancy. I am turning 4-0 end of this year and it’s really taking a toll on my body. Sitting down for a long time makes my hips and pelvis ache. Lying down for a long time makes my back ache. So I need to change positions and even walk a little bit around the house to relieve the pain. I found that I started “waddling” earlier with this pregnancy, at around 18 weeks because my pelvic and hip bones would make me uncomfortable. Honestly, I don’t do anything to relieve the pain except to shift my positions and just ride along with the pain… My OB said I can take paracetamol when the pain is too much but I choose not to take the meds anymore. Anyway, this will be my last pregnancy!
Tender breasts and sensitive nipple area. I tried to wean Milo from breastfeeding when I found out I was pregnant, but I failed. So this is the 1st pregnancy that I am also nursing, and OMGee it is painful to breastfeed while pregnant! The hormones make your nipples extra sensitive so sometimes it can be really uncomfortable. But oh well, the sacrifices to you make for your kids, huh?! See my post “To Wean or Not To Wean.” My lactation consultant friends told me that it is extra difficult to wean at the time of pandemic so just continue, as long as it doesn’t cause any contractions or complications to the pregnancy.
Pregnancy Glow! This is one pregnancy symptom that I love! I am one of the lucky ones who have a pregnancy glow – my hair is thicker and shinier, my skin is more flawless and supple.:) I usually always have one big pimple at any given time and bigger pores, but during pregnancy, my face is perfectly clear! At last, some positive effects of my pregnancy hormones. I’m also one of the fortunate ones who don’t get stretch marks in the tummy area. So far, with this pregnancy, they still haven’t showed, so I am hoping it won’t anymore! I use anti-stretch mark lotions and prenatal lotions on my tummy and pelvic area to prevent stretch marks. Experts say that the key is to keep the skin thoroughly moisturized to prevent the appearance of stretch marks – but if it runs the family, they say that no amount of lotions and moisturizers can prevent you from getting them. My mom had minimal stretch marks, so I guess putting on the lotions helped me too!
So those are my prominent pregnancy symptoms. With my boys, I used to have really bad leg cramps at night but for some reason, with this one (baby girl), I don’t. Sometimes, I feel bloated as well, but what I do is just drink more water and avoid too much salty food. I am approaching my 28th week which means I am entering my 3rd trimester! I cannot wait to see my baby girl in a couple of months! Here are some of my pics during this pregnancy: