When it comes to pregnancy, how many times do we catch ourselves complaining about all the negatives? Our backs ache, we can't sleep and if we have to pee one more time well, we'll just scream. But despite all the aches and pains, these nine months bring with them a host of welcome surprises too.
The moment you found out you were pregnant, you most likely began making steps toward a healthier lifestyle. While you may cave to the power of a powdered doughnut once in a while, by and large you know that what you eat matters. Pregnancy gives you nine months to make good nutrition and gentle exercise a priority – and those habits won't disappear once baby arrives. During this time, you're creating powerful habits that will serve you well long after delivery day.
You're at less risk for cancer
Scientists aren't sure why exactly, but recent research has shown a correlation between motherhood and a decreased risk of certain cancers such as breast and ovarian. Two factors that do even more good? Your age and the number of children you have. Science suggests that the younger you are at your first pregnancy and the more babies you birth, the greater protection against cancer you can expect long term.
Your heart's in shape
Hoping for a big family? Research is on your side as far as healthy hearts are concerned. One study of American women found those who'd given birth four times at minimum were half as likely to suffer a stroke than women who'd never been pregnant. During pregnancy, a woman's body produces higher levels of estrogen – and it turns out that this hormone is key to keeping heart disease at bay.
Sex is better
Once the nausea of the first trimester passes, and you're feeling more energetic, you may find you're feeling friskier too. During the second trimester, you may be pleased to discover your sex drive once again soaring – and, due to an increase of blood to your pelvic area – sex is better than ever.