ANGER

This is another emotion familiar to most pregnant women. The first three months, when morning sickness is common, provide some reasons to feel annoyed.

You are surrounded by people saying: ‘How wonderful, congratulations, you must be so excited’ and all you can feel is seasick.

There’s another aspect, too — something outside of your control is taking over. I call it the ‘move over, there’s two of us in this body’ phase. The plus side is a delightful feeling of company — a little presence that is now always with you wherever you go. Even the morning sickness is a reminder that this is really happening. But what a reminder! You may be experiencing some of the following:

– Pressure on your bladder, which turns shopping trips into toilet tours.

– Sore breasts.

– Bowel changes and digestion difficulties.

– A general and sharp increase in sensitivity, especially in your sense of smell. For example, the smell of cooking, fish or strong perfumes can all send you dashing out for fresh air. Exhaust fumes, petrol at the service station and cigarette smoke can make you feel sick.

Many women also report greater sensitivity to outside influences, such as feeling more affected by TV programmes and more distressed by news items, especially about children. We are also open to other people’s advice and affected by ‘horror’ stories which people seem to gratuitously want to share.

If you find yourself getting angry frequently, good for you. Your anger is alerting you to the need for changes; go ahead and make them. As with the fears, let people know what you want. You are pregnant — enjoy the power!

Stay around positive people and perhaps give the TV news a miss for the duration of your pregnancy. It doesn’t reflect the real world any-way — just the collected disasters. You and the new life inside you are the real world. Learn to laugh. A funny video to watch (if you can handle the swearing) is Robin Williams Live at Carnegie Hall, where he describes his wife’s pregnancy, including the mood changes — how he would have to come into the house with his hands over his head, kicking the gourmet ice-cream tub along the floor in front of him.

SEX

Many women feel healthy, sexy and full of energy. And sometimes during pregnancy a woman’s libido drops through the floor. It’s hard to feel sexy or romantic when you seem to have been seasick since the beginning of time. This can be difficult for your partner, so it’s important to explain your feelings to each other and to be compassionate. Many couples find ways to give pleasure and reassurance other than their usual patterns of intercourse. Sexual interest varies from woman to woman and within the same woman at different stages of pregnancy. Enjoy the changes and variety.

SANDY, 32 ‘I just never felt like it. I didn’t like my own body or how it felt, and Rob’s attentions made me feel worse. One evening, though, he was less pushy, but didn’t go off in a huff either. He just gave me a very slow, gentle, strong back massage and I started to feel glad I had a body, and stopped feeling like a sack of potatoes. I felt relieved and cared for, and was surprised at the extra energy and interest that were released in me to also care for him.’