Oh, pregnancy – what a complicated relationship it weaves. On one hand, there are aches, pains, swelling, mood swings, and bathroom runs what feels like every five minutes. On the other hand, it’s such a wonderful, magical, amazing experience to go through. Women get the rare chance to grow and nurture an offspring that is quite literally made from them.
Your baby comes with you, giving you a constant hug everywhere you go. It’s a special experience that women are offered.
So when you’re experiencing what feels like debilitating nausea, or when you’re in the throes of third-trimester symptoms, it can be helpful to look back at all the reasons why pregnancy rocks. From getting the seat on the train to getting the pregnancy glow so many women talk about, there are certain pieces of this experience that you’re bound to miss, no matter how hard the symptoms have been on you.
Beyond these 11 things that are to be enjoyed throughout pregnancy, there’s one bigger, deeper one that encompasses them all. You’re bringing life into this world. It’s a humbling, exciting, amazing thing you’re experiencing here. When all the aches and pains get you down, try to remember that it’s all worth it. It’s all worth it the moment you hear that tiny little cry, and have minuscule fingers wrap around yours.
And in the meantime, enjoy all the perks that come with pregnancy. Try to look past the unenjoyable symptoms of pregnancy and focus on the good ones. Before you know it, they’ll be gone, vanished with this finite stage of life.
16 Feeling Baby’s Kicks
One of the most magical moments in pregnancy is when you feel your baby’s first little nudges and kicks. It usually happens around halfway through the pregnancy, but can come earlier or later based on a number of factors, such as if this is your first pregnancy or not, and location of the placenta.
Those little kicks can be one of the ways that mom bonds with baby, as it suddenly becomes more than just exhaustion and morning sickness, and starts to feel real.
They say fathers fall in love with baby the moment they meet them, but mothers often form that bond earlier (but if you don’t, don’t stress about it – that magical bonding moment happens at different times for each woman).
As your pregnancy progresses, those little nudges grow stronger, until they progress to kicks. In some cases, you may wonder if you have a budding soccer star nestled in your uterus. No matter their strength though, these little kicks are a constant reminder of that little cutie who’s about to come your way. Some moms even feel like it’s getting a constant hug, no matter where they go throughout the day. It’s a pretty special experience, that will change after you give birth and eventually go back to work.
15 Being Able To Eat More
Am I right?? After years of dieting, watching your weight, and counting calories, this is the one time you’re actually encouraged to eat a certain amount of food! While pregnancy doesn’t give you a free pass to the all-you-can-eat buffet, it does give some freedom to indulge in moderation.
Experts generally advise that you can add an extra 300 calories in the second trimester, and approximately 500 extra calories in the third trimester.
While those calories should come from nutritious foods as opposed to say, chocolate cake, it does give you an extra little indulgence that you didn’t have before.
And what about those of us who are carrying multiples? Those extra calorie counts are per baby, so imagine how much extra you get to enjoy when carrying more than one baby!
Granted, the extra appetite that often accompanies pregnancy (especially in the later weeks) does have the potential to eat up those extra calories pretty quickly if you’re not careful. And some women do continue to count calories throughout pregnancy with food trackers such as My Fitness Pal, to ensure they’re getting the right amount of protein, iron, etc. But few people can deny this is an awesome perk that pregnancy does bring to our lives.
14 Getting A Seat On The Bus
While many claim chivalry is dead, there are a few gallant souls out there who can appreciate what women go through while creating another human being, and politely offer up their seat.
Does this happen one hundred percent of the time? No, certainly not. But as you start to get a bigger tummy, and people begin to notice the weight you’re carrying around, and discomfort you may be going through, certain perks start to appear.
Sometimes it’s a seat on the bus or train. Sometimes it’s a door held open for you. Other times, it’s as simple as a co-worker offering to grab you a snack or carry something for you if you’re moving desks.
These little things can make you feel appreciated and special. Once the baby arrives and you’re out on your own, nobody knows the monumental effort of growing and giving birth to a baby that you’ve gone through. Yes, you may get those smiles and doors held when you’re out with the baby. But when you’re hanging solo, you may as well be anyone else out there, even if you’ve only given birth a week ago.
As you feel the aching back, or sore hips, take note of these little perks that people are happy to provide you. They feel good doing it, and you can enjoy feeling good receiving it.
13 The Pregnancy Glow
You’ve heard about it and may have even experienced it first-hand. Some women’s friends notice it as the first sign of pregnancy before the baby bump is even spotted. It’s the magical pregnancy glow, giving women stellar skin during these nine months.
What causes this great skin? It’s a combination of hormones (what else?), and an increase in blood volume, giving you plump skin and a rosy complexion. Additionally, skin regeneration tends to increase, meaning old, dry skin cells are sloughed off as newer, fresher cells come to the surface to take the starring role.
Some women notice fuller lips due to the increased blood volume. Others with chronically dry skin finally notice that extra oil production helps them out. Sufferers of eczema often find that it’s temporarily eased during pregnancy as well. In addition to your complexion, you may experience other perks, such as stronger, longer nails – great for any women who have struggled to grow them out.
If you’re noticing any of these pregnancy beauty perks, roll with it, mama. Ignore the pregnancy symptoms that have you feeling down, and lean into these beautiful ones.
Pose for photos with that gorgeous face of yours, and even consider a maternity shoot. Even if you don’t feel super comfortable in this new body of yours, remember that it’s here for only a short amount of time.
Once you lose the opportunity to capture it, it’s gone forever, so think twice about skipping this step. No matter what glow you have, you’re beautiful and deserve someone to capture that beauty for you.
12 The Crazy Thick Hair
Have you always been one of those people who have battled fine hair throughout their lives? Are you always trying to give it a boost, via curling irons, teasing, hairspray, perms (hello grade seven), or dry shampoo?
Then get ready mamas, because relief may be in sight! Many women sing the praises of pregnancy for the thick, luscious hair it offers them during this stage of life.
Women say that it makes hair thicker, stronger, and fuller, giving them a great bounce to their day. Some even say they can go an extra day or two without washing – hello sleeping in an extra ten minutes! I know many moms will jump at that chance.
The reason? As with so many pregnancy symptoms, you can thank this one to hormones. Yes, the same things that make you tear up at the drop of a hat. The extra estrogen coursing through your body at this point prolongs the growth stage of the growth-transition-rest process of hair before it ultimately sheds.
The unfortunate part is that this extra thick hair is temporary. After your hormones stabilize a few months after giving birth (plus or minus depending on your breastfeeding experience), many women lament that this perk goes away. Not only that, it can leave short fuzzy hairs around your hair line. So enjoy your gorgeous locks now!
11 All The Wonderful Naps
Ahhh naps. Is there anything better? Scratch that – ahhh naps, where you’re not woken up 30 minutes after you fall asleep by a screaming infant. The ability to relax midday and catch up on any sleep that you likely lost at night (hello pregnancy insomnia and restless legs), is a rare treat of pure bliss.
While you may be working the nine to five and unable to indulge in this glorious treat, remember the few times that you’ve been able to curl up in a ball on the weekend and remember them fondly.
Sadly, this will not be the case after the baby comes along. Everyone says to “sleep when the baby sleeps” to new moms. Easier said than done, people! If you’re feeding baby every two hours, think through the time it takes to grab baby from crib, get set up to nurse, go through a feeding session that can take up to 45 minutes, burp, change diaper, get them back in the crib, get yourself back in bed, and take the fifteen or so minutes it takes to fall asleep.
You have mere minutes to enjoy a rest before starting the entire process over again. And that’s if you ignore everything else – your phone, social media, cooking, tidying up, laundry, etc.
I’m not going to lie, the first few months with a newborn can be a challenge. That’s why everyone tells you to rest now, while you can. Even the sensation of waking up in the morning without an alarm (or a crying baby, which can be kind of the same), can be pure bliss. Enjoy it. Revel in it.
10 The Never-Ending Attention
Okay, so this one might be a little selfish. But pregnancy and parenting in itself are known for being a highly selfless pursuit, so I say “you do you” mama! One of the small, yet significant perks of pregnancy, is how people can ohh and ahh over you.
People even often throw parties for you (hello baby shower), where you’re the star of the show! They play games, buy you gifts, and celebrate this new stage of life you’re heading into.
At the office, you’ll sometimes get cards, gifts, and baby showers. Your relatives may make a fuss over you, whether for good or for bad. People out in public offer you passing smiles, hold doors open and are eager to engage around whether you know the gender of the baby and due date. At times, the attention can almost get overwhelming!
So what if you are a person who doesn’t love having a spotlight shone on them? Try to relax. This is a finite period of time, and people are genuinely happy for you and want to celebrate. A new baby arriving into the world brings joy to all, and everyone wants to feel like they’re a part of it. As soon as the baby arrives, you’ll likely be holed up at home for a while, so enjoy the love and attention that the world throws at you right now.
9 Getting Out Of Doing Chores
Whether it’s carrying out the garbage, changing the cat littler, lifting your heavy toddler into bed at night, or the myriad of other (seemingly endless) chores that pile up around the house, there are several that you have a free pass on now.
Of course, you won’t get off entirely, nor should you. There are ways to contribute in smaller ways, such as folding laundry, taking care of finances, arranging logistics, dropping things off, etc. If you end up on maternity leave early, you’re bound to be responsible for a fair number of household responsibilities. But a good chunk of them are easy to delegate to your partner, friends, or family.
Some of them might just be becoming too difficult or cumbersome to do with an ever-expanding belly. Yet some of them that require heavier exertion are more dangerous and should be delegated. We’ve all heard the story of the woman who has gone into labor because she decided she wanted to clear out her garage or install new furniture in the baby’s room, or some other task that could well have been delegated.
Have a real talk with your partner, and figure out a plan that will work for you both. Figure out what responsibilities you really need off of your plate, and which ones you can pick up that you might not have done before. Starting a family is a partnership, with both parties contributing. But there are zero reasons to feel guilty in keeping your feet up and doing it all from the couch. It can be better for you and baby near the end, and helps to keep those little ones cooking.
8 Wearing What You Want Without Guilt
If you’re one of the women who can be self-conscious in a bathing suit (aka pretty much all women), then pregnancy might be one of those times that you can let those fears go. Yes, this is a time in your life when you will have a belly. And some women, despite knowing that the belly comes from such a beautiful thing, still feel self-conscious showing it off.
But for other women, this can the one time in life where showing off your body comes with no shame.
You’re all curves at this point, and finally, don’t have to worry about sucking it in while on the beach or at the pool. And what about clothing?
As it gets more and more difficult to hide your bump, you start to realize something wonderful – that you don’t have to! There are finally no expectations to have a flat stomach or perfect body. You’re expected to have little lady lumps, as Fergie said it, and many women start showing their new body off with pride.
It will only be a few short months before baby comes, and the pressure to jump back into shape arrives. Many women feel the need to follow in celebrity footsteps and be bikini-ready a few short weeks after giving birth. While that can be a whole other post in itself, we’ll just say don’t worry too much about that for now. Just enjoy this special time, knowing that the growth you experience is largely in part to your baby growing and thriving.
7 Knowing You’ll Become A Mom
It’s an easy one, a basic one, an obvious one…but an amazing one. Despite all the other perks (and drawbacks) of being a mom, this one trumps all others. Many women have been waiting their whole lives to finally experience the joys of becoming a mom and meeting their child for the very first time.
I remember thinking the months, weeks, and days were crawling by, and I couldn’t wait to meet my baby (except for the fact that I wanted her to keep growing big and strong in there). Your first child turns you into a parent for the very first time. Is there really anything more amazing than that?
But what if you have some fear or worry about becoming a parent? What if it was unplanned or was planned and now you’re terrified about how you’ll do as a mom?
Try not to stress, mama-to-be. Many, many women feel this way and have felt this way across the millennia. The good news is that the mom and baby bond usually does happen, whether before birth or in the weeks afterward. And if it doesn’t, there are lots of things doctors can help with nowadays.
Either way, there are few things as life-changing as the doctor or midwife placing your baby on your chest for the very first time. Using this time to dream and prepare for the moments to come can be pretty special. You can try writing a letter to your baby, or tracking progress with a journal that you can someday pass on to them. The first few weeks, as magical as they may be, are no doubt exhausting. So enjoy these moments now picturing the best and forming that bond with your little one.
6 All The Shopping
Are you the kind of woman who gets excited loading up a cart (either a physical one or a digital Amazon one)? Then buckle up mama, because this is bound to be an exciting time for you!
Whether you love or loathe shopping, there’s usually no way around it during pregnancy. With a mountain of baby equipment to get (seriously, how do tiny things need so much??), plus new wardrobe pieces to cover your expanding midsection, it’s pretty much impossible to not open the wallet during pregnancy.
Another fun thing about this time? Registries! If you’re already married, have completed college, and are in your own home, this may be the last registry you get the chance to create. So break out that scanning gun at your local baby store, and get ready to fill up the list!
It can be difficult to know what exactly you need from all of these “must have” baby lists. The best advice is to speak with other moms. She’ll tell you what’s more important between sleep sacks and wipes warmers (hint hint – it’s definitely the sleep sacks).
And don’t forget about yourself here mama! From maternity clothing to breastfeeding-comfortable tops, to nursing equipment, new furniture, and the like, there’s plenty for you to consider for your purchases. Oh, and did I say prenatal massages? Yes, definitely prenatal massages.
5 You Won't Miss The Soreness
Have a sore back, mama? What about hips? Ligaments, neck, hands, or feet? Some women may be enthusiastically nodding to not just one, but all of these symptoms. From carpal tunnel to heartburn, to sciatic pain, to all the other aches that have the potential to accompany pregnancy, women can go through a lot.
While there are always a few magical unicorns who breeze through pregnancy without a peep of complaint (who are these women?), almost every mom I’ve heard from has experienced at least one pain that accompanies growing a baby. As we moms put on 25 pounds, 35 pounds, or more to grow our little ones (can I get a raise of hands in the “more” category?), it’s natural that we feel the results of it.
Imagine asking a man to carry around a 35 pound backpack from dawn until…well, dawn, and expect him to not mutter a peep of complaint. We women are strong, powerful beings, and never is that made more evident than in the later stages of pregnancy.
So for all of you who are feeling, or have felt the aches and pains of pregnancy, know that you are superwomen, and that the best part is it’s temporary. I personally believe that one of the reasons late pregnancy can be so difficult, including giving you insomnia, is because it’s preparing you for the even harder newborn months to come.
4 ... Or The Swelling
Fat feet? Check. Swollen fingers? Rings have been removed for weeks. Puffy face? Sadly, yes.
As your body prepares to give birth, the amount of bodily fluids you hold tends to increase as well. Even your blood can increase up to 50% in preparing for childbirth (almost double that for twins!). Thus, it’s natural that there’s a small bit of puffiness in the last few weeks of pregnancy.
So if you’re one of the many, many women who have to remove your wedding ring in the weeks leading up to meeting baby, or if you’ve had to swap out your tight shoes for looser ones, or even go a size up, just know that you’re not the only one.
The one thing to keep in mind here, is if the swelling happens suddenly and unexpectedly, be on guard, as it can be a symptom of some pregnancy conditions such as preeclampsia which can require immediate medical attention. If you’re ever concerned, do bring it up with your doctor as soon as possible. However, if your doctor rules out all medical conditions, this might be just a friendly perk of pregnancy. For some women, the swelling may cause additional frustrations, like carpal tunnel.
The good news? Like many pregnancy symptoms, this one is likely to resolve shortly after given birth.
3 You Definitely Won't Miss The Bathroom Trips
Do you feel as though the restroom has become your second home? You’re not alone. If you’re in the majority of women who feel the need to go mere minutes after using the restroom, welcome to pregnancy! Not only is there pressure pushing on your bladder (pressure that has the ability to actually kick your bladder), but you’re actually recommended to drink more during pregnancy, making the runs extra frequent.
Dehydration can actually bring on Braxton Hicks contractions, so you’re recommended to drink up. But on the flip side, what else can bring on Braxton Hicks? A full bladder.
So there’s little surprise that the run to and from the washroom is more frequently. And did I say run? It’s more like a waddle after you’re able to pull yourself up from a horizontal position with lots of “oof”s.
Not only does this bladder pressure exists during the day, though. It’s there throughout the night as well, waking you up multiple times throughout the night. Combine that with pregnancy insomnia, restless legs, back/hip pain, and all the other fun symptoms of pregnancy, and you may find yourself lying awake in bed for hours on end.
As if you needed another reason to be exhausted. Some people theorize that this is just one way Mother Nature prepares us to be up every few hours with newborns. But this is certainly one pregnancy symptom you’re unlikely to miss!
2 Not To Mention The Mood Swings
You may be the most stoic, level-headed person in your regular day-to-day life. But throw in a thriving embryo, and the surge of hormones that accompany it, and you may be reaching for the Kleenex while doing something as benign as watching TV commercials.
It can be frustrating to have your heart on your sleeve 24/7. Your husband may be wondering where his calm, cool, collected wife went. And your coworkers may not understand how this strong businesswoman now gets choked up in the mildest of disagreements.
Feeling like you don’t have control over the emotions you present every day can be a worrisome feeling.
Unfortunately, this one doesn’t go away immediately after pregnancy. Once you give birth, it can take some time for your hormones to get back to normal. Many women find themselves weeping a few days after birth, as hormone levels adjust suddenly, allowing breast milk to come in. That’s one of the many, many reasons we say “thank goodness for maternity leave!”.
It gives you the time you need to nurture and bond with your baby while allowing your emotional state to slowly recover to what it once was. And what if you’re still feeling down, even after giving yourself some time? Talk to your doc. It’s totally normal, and there are strategies that can suggest helping.
1 And Finally, You Won't Miss Feeling Restricted
Carrying anything over 20 pounds? Sorry, sister. Training for a marathon? Hold it for now, mama. Indulging in your favorite snacks, or poached eggs, garlic aioli, or a pint of beer? Sit tight! While pregnancy brings on numerous benefits, there’s no doubt that there are some things that you’ll be required to give up for these nine months.
The forbidden foods, such as raw eggs, raw fish, undercooked meat, etc. all sound pretty basic, but they can linger in surprisingly frequent foods. For example, Caesar salad is often off the menu, as its dressing includes raw eggs.
Mayonnaise, tiramisu, and chocolate mousse are all other offenders, that you wouldn’t necessarily consider being culprits. You have to be diligent, acting as an undercover detective when eating out at restaurants.
Luckily, some locations and urban environments are becoming more understanding of people’s dietary preferences, and so acting like a celebrity when ordering isn’t as looked down upon as it once was. Though with all the food restrictions and physical restrictions, near the end you can just want your body back to yourself. While breastfeeding still does require your body to go to your child, many of these restrictions in terms of physical and eating limitations do significantly diminish post birth.