coping with physical change

Hello Friends,

i am in week 28 now and having a particularly unnerving stage of my physical shape changing right now. I've had it twice up till now in my pregnancy that I felt my body was "suddenly" changing: the first time it was this sudden unbalance, like I didn't recognize my own balance any more. It took me about a week to adjust and get used to feeling "normal" like this. The second episode was when I sudenly felt like my whole trunk was misshapen - I couldn't recognize my own shape at all any more and felt particularly alarmed abut my breathing apparatus being misplaced and somehow feeling wrong. That also took me a week or two to assimilate.

But now I've had an even more worrying sensation this week: my belly has suddenly wastly and visably expanded outwards and it feels to me like my insides including my baby will fall out of my tummy at any moment when I walk. It is actually painful - so I start holding my tummy muscles like crazy in order to keep my insides in, and I squerm around in daily life. I am very mindful not to walk with an arched lumber curve but this does not alliviate the uncomfortable feelibg one but. This is not something I want to get used too...

The dad wondered if I've just become aware of the tummy muscles splitting further out as the baby gets bigger. But if that's the case, am I supposed to train those muscles, so that they hold the baby well? Or how is this all aupposed to work?

Questions to you all: how do you experience the changing of your bodies? have any of you had weird alarming sensations also and if yes, do you have coping strategies?

Thanks so much for sharing your thoughts. I am going a bit mad right now and there's noone around me who understands what I'm talking about...

5 Replies

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  • Hi stilllearning, I can sympathise. At about 6 weeks I got up, went to get in the shower and jumped when I saw myself in the mirror because my boobs had grown overnight. I've always been slim and not had a big chest, so it was quite a shock! I'm now 19 weeks and just yesterday I was getting changed after work and got a surprise again because my bump appeared to have grown and changed shape during the day.

    It is certainly unnerving. I assumed things would change gradually, not in odd jumps like this! I'm adding it to my list of 'things no-one tells you beforehand', and I'm sure there are more to come.

    At 28 weeks you should be due a midwife appointment, you should mention it if it's bothering you. If you're really having trouble walking I think there are support belts you can get to help save you from backache. Good luck!

  • thank so much for replying - it's a relief to read that you also have experienced changes that seemed so oddly sudden! i wondered whether I was the only one... i was better in the morning and am now monitoring how i change during the day - it seems that there is less space for any food to pass through me, eating makes me feel worse. so i eat only small amounts but more often. still it's very bizarre to not recognize one's own body like this. yes, I'm seeing my doctor next week, I'll ask her.

    I wish you all the best for your pregnancy!

  • I am 17wks +6 days and I have struggled with my changing shape, I am a dancer and dance/fitness teacher so rely on my body for work, so I think I'm more sensitive to it. I went to a class which involved a lot of leaning back in pulses, and when I put my hand to my tummy realised I could feel the stomach muscles coming apart as I did it, I nearly puked! My tummy gets heavier and bigger throughout the day, by the time I teach my evening classes it is really swollen, but does tend to hold itself together whilst I teach and then relaxes when class finishes. I went on a training weekend which involved 5to6 hours of dance classes in a row and by the end of the day my tummy was getting v.hard to the touch like a shell, so I started to take it a bit easier the next day! I am also confused as to whether I should be tensing my muscles during class to protect them or let them relax so as not to strain anything! There seems to be no advice out there for active women's bodies with everyone erring on the side of caution so as not to get sued if the worst happens I think! I think you can get support bands to help your back and tummy muscles support the growing bump which I need to look into. I think it's difficult when you are a person that is very body shape conscious anyway to go through these huge changes in your body that you once trusted and is not doing odd things beyond your control! Xx Good luck!

  • Hello RedRobin1,

    it's so interesting for me to read about your experience. For sure with the lean body have, all the changes from the very beginning will be painfully acutely obvious to you. I was lucky at the start, in that the pregnancy seemed to integrate into my healthy but already quite rounded shape.

    And both our bewilderment shows that this is a subject worth investigating further and getting more people to talk more previsely about - how does a woman experience her changing shape and what are healthy ways of coping with the discomfort of "not feeling at home in your own body" any more and the changing sense of balance?

    I imagine a good approach for you - it's really just my intuition not being a doctor or anything: as your bump grows gradually, your back will get stronger to balance you out. The muscles in your front are certainly important too - you don't want to not use them any more. But you also don't want to fall into the trap of holding the front muscles unduly for subconsciously wanting to hold the extra baby tummy in. It will start showing as it must, but you support your tummy in that process by using the whole musculature of your torso. What you want to avoid is for your torso to "shorten", in other words you don't want to have the back/spine collapsing downwards into the new weight of your baby tummy, which you can't help but being constantly drawn to because you constantly feel it being different.

    Keeping your overall length in your torso is a nice goal for which in your dance training you sttengthen all the different muscle groups, front, back, sides, and all the musculature that beautifully spirals around our middle.

    I hope you find strategies to cope for yourself and can enjoy the journey!

    Just to give you an update, my baby tummy has come out enormeously in the last 10 days but I am more used to it right now - until the next phase...

    Wishing you the best of luck, and if you find any interesting literature on the subject, let me know please!

  • Hi RedRobin1,

    how are you doing? I'm entering week 40, so delivery is nigh... You must be now roughly 28 weeks, am wondering how you are getting on with it all? Of course my shspe has changed again and again and again. Luckily I eventually just got used to that and found it easier to adapt to. Am wondering how you managed so far with your profession. Wishing you all the best, stilllearning2016

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