Pregnancy. Ah, a wonderful time in life women have the absolute pleasure of experiencing. This amazing and glorious time in a woman’s life is really a miracle. From one single cell, we create an entirely new human being. Pretty incredible, right?! But, with this amazing journey come some indignities that can go along with it, and sometimes it can be hard to accept this new, pregnant life.
Between the morning sickness, monthly doctor’s visits, insomnia, an ever-growing belly, and the long wait of labor, pregnancy can be – need we say it – annoying. While annoying, this is something all pregnant women go through. Think about it: pregnant women have very recognizable habits and tendencies. They will do sweet, compulsive, protective, unpredictable, and very amusing things.
And, with that being said, pregnancy may also be the only time a woman can become shocked and sometimes confused at the words that come out of her mouth. It’s true! The amount of physical and emotional changes the body goes through in just nine short months is nothing short of amazing. And with this remarkable change come confusion, worry, excitement and frustration – all feelings that will make a pregnant woman say the following 15 things during this 9-month journey. Don’t worry, though. These words are completely normal and any expecting mom reading this will absolutely be able to relate.
15 "My Period Is Late"
The most obvious early pregnancy symptom, and the one that encourages most women to take a pregnancy test is a missed period. And though, not all missed periods are caused by pregnancy, if a woman has recently had unprotected sex, it can be a pretty good indicator of pregnancy.
In addition, women can experience some light bleeding or spotting during early pregnancy that many will confuse with a light period. This is usually referred to as implantation bleeding, which twenty to thirty percent of women will experience. This type of bleeding could come around the time a woman’s period is expected to start – usually when the embryo implants itself into the uterus.
There are reasons, besides pregnancy, for a missed period. Weight fluctuations, hormonal issues, fatigue, or stress are other possibilities. Some women will even miss their period when they stop birth control. What’s important to keep in mind is that if a woman is not trying to get pregnant, not to take an irregular period as a “free pass” to have unprotected sex. It is still very possible to become pregnant with irregular periods. Above all, if a period is late and pregnancy is a possibility, it’s important to take a pregnancy test.
14 “I’m Going To Puke”
Throwing up is never fun, and throwing up frequently is even worse. In pregnancy, it’s common for women to get what is frequently referred to as “morning sickness,” and although it's given the name morning sickness, pregnancy nausea can occur at any time of the day.
In addition, most women will want to do everything they possibly can to prevent nausea, however pregnancy hormones can take over and contribute to this awful feeling. Most moms-to-be will experience nausea with or without vomiting – likely in their first trimester. Some women will experience it more than others and a lucky few will escape it entirely. Why are some women so lucky? The exact reason is not known, but some women’s pregnancy hormones may kick in stronger than others.
It’s also common for some women to crave or resist certain foods when they become pregnant. Like morning sickness, that’s also related to hormonal changes. In fact, the effect can be so strong that even the thought of what used to be a favorite food can make a pregnant woman nauseous, or worse, throw up.
13 “My Tatas Are Killing Me”
Constantly cupping those sensitive breasts in agony? You’re not alone. That’s right. Breast tenderness during pregnancy, particularly in the first trimester, is extremely common. The dazzling hormone duo – estrogen and progesterone – can be to blame for the tenderness. Other factors may include the good (and necessary) fat that’s building up in the breasts as well as increased blood flow to the area.
We get it – these milking machines can be a burden for the next nine months (and even during motherhood), but it’s important to know that under all the swollenness, tingles and soreness, is a main source of nutrients for that little bundle of joy living within the womb.
In addition to breast sensitivity, a pregnant woman may also notice the following breast changes during these nine months:
- Darkening of the nipples and areolas.
- Montgomery tubercles, commonly referred to as those little bumps (actually sweat glands) on the nipples and areolas. These bumps are responsible for supplying lubrication during breastfeeding.
- A complex path of blue veins just below the skin’s surface, which carry nutrients and fluids from mother to baby.
12 "When Will This Acne Go Away?”
Suddenly breaking out? Thank pregnancy for that one! Many women experience acne during pregnancy, and while it’s most common in the first and second trimester, it can linger throughout the 40-week duration. Annoying, but true. And an increase in hormones called androgens can cause the glands in your skin to grow and produce more sebum. Sebum – that oily, waxy substance can clog pores and lead to bacteria, inflammation, and more frequent breakouts.
It’s been studied that women who are prone to hormonal breakouts during their menstrual periods have a greater chance of acne during pregnancy. Fortunately though, pregnancy and postpartum acne (yes – it may appear again post baby) is usually temporary and will subside once the hormones begin to regulate.
In the meantime, here are some ways to handle those unpleasant friends that can appear on our faces:
- Don’t over wash.
- Don’t over exfoliate (especially for those with acne prone skin).
- Don’t pop, pick, scratch, or squeeze acne sores.
- Drink plenty of water.
- Clean pillowcases more often.
- Avoid touching the face.
- Always consult a doctor before using over-the-counter treatments. Some ingredients in skincare product could be unsafe during pregnancy.
11 “I’m SO Bloated”
Suffering from extreme bloat during pregnancy? It’s actually very common, especially in the early stages. For example, in the first weeks of pregnancy, the hormone progesterone relaxes the muscles in the digestive system. This in turn slows down digestion to allow more time for the nutrients in food to reach your growing baby. What happens when digestion is slowed down? Bloating, and especially after a big meal. So, if a woman is feeling a little extra puffy in the stomach but has not yet gotten her baby bump, it’s likely the bloat.
During the late stages of the third trimester, bloating will once again commence. Why? Later on in pregnancy, as the baby grows, it will become a bit crowded. This will force the baby to put more pressure on the stomach and intestines, slowing down the digestion of food and will once again leave the mother feeling bloated.
10 “I’m Eating For Two”
When a woman becomes pregnant, she may believe that she should be eating for two. The truth is, however, eating twice as much is not what the doctor ordered. The body is a pretty incredible thing and can work to use the calories a woman consumes during the day the right way. During pregnancy, the body is able to absorb more of the nutrients a woman eats for her growing baby. So, consuming twice as much won’t increase the chances of having a healthy baby. In fact, “eating for two” could actually mean excessive weight gain, which can put a mother at risk for more pregnancy complications.
While calorie intake will vary from pregnancy to pregnancy, an expecting mother who is at a healthy weight will need no additional calories in the first trimester, 340 extra calories per day in the second trimester, and roughly 400 extra calories per day in the third trimester. If a woman is either overweight or underweight, she’ll need more or less, depending on her pregnancy weight gain goal.
9 “I Have To Pee... Again”
Visiting the bathroom all too often? We know what that means! Passing urine frequently during pregnancy is mainly because the blood flow to the woman’s kidneys increases by up to 35 to 60%. This extra blood flow can make a woman’s kidney produce up to 25% more urine soon after conception and the increased urine production is in full effect by about 9 to 16 weeks of pregnancy.
For most women, frequent urination will settle down in the second trimester, as the pregnancy hormones begin to balance out. However, as the third trimester approaches, the growing baby will begin to put pressure on the mother’s uterus, resulting in (once again) frequent bathroom visits. In fact, pressure on the bladder is the main reason why women pass urine frequently in the last three months of pregnancy.
Unfortunately, there is no way around frequent urination during pregnancy. Almost all pregnant woman will experience this pregnancy symptom – or what we like to call annoyance. A woman may be able to reduce her number of bathroom trips by avoiding beverages that have a mild diuretic effect, such as coffee, tea, or soda. With that being said, an expecting mother should never avoid water and should be drinking about 6 to 8 glasses of water every day in order to maintain a healthy pregnancy.
8 “I Can’t Keep My Eyes Open”
Can’t wait to crawl into bed? For a pregnant woman, this is completely normal. During early pregnancy, hormonal changes in a woman’s body will likely cause this excessive tiredness and an urge to keep those eyes closed more often than usual. Because the body produces more blood to carry nutrients to the growing baby, exhaustion is likely to kick in. Additionally, blood sugar levels and blood pressure are also lower, which could also bring forth some light-headedness.
If exhaustion is taking over, here are some tips on how to deal:
- Get more sleep at night.
- Eat nutritious meals more often to keep blood sugar and energy steady.
- Stay active.
- Listen to what the body is saying.
- Drink plenty of water.
- Get fresh air
Above all, exhaustion in pregnancy is normal and will likely subside in the second trimester. However, if an expecting mother experiences fatigue that lasts throughout her entire pregnancy, she should seek advice from her medical practitioner – especially if she experiences other symptoms like weakness, breathlessness or even fainting spells.
7 “What’s That Smell?”
Suddenly smelling every little thing, even if it’s not the most pleasant? Get used to it. Pregnancy-induced sense of smell is something that many pregnant woman experience. It could be food, drink, toiletries or even other people that become more (or less) appealing, but whatever the case, an expecting mother's nose will pick up just about anything.
While there are different theories about a heightened sense of smell during pregnancy, the fact that it happens is not uncommon. Some doctors will suggest that because the plasma volume (blood flow) in a pregnant woman’s body increases by up to 50 percent, anything moving from her blood to her brain will reach faster and in larger quantities. Meanwhile, others will suggest that this heightened sense of smell is the body’s natural protective mechanism to stop an expecting mother from breathing in anything harmful.
6 “My Back Hurts”
Back pain can be a real “pain,” literally. During pregnancy (surprise, surprise), back pain can creep up at just about any time. From early pregnancy, right until about the time baby arrives, an expecting mother can have some issues in the back department.
In early pregnancy, back pain can be linked to hormonal changes. As the body prepares for birth, some of the joints and ligaments are loosening up to make delivery possible. All of these changes added together can cause back pain as early as a few weeks into a pregnancy. It is estimated that about half of all pregnant women will experience this pregnancy symptom.
Later on in pregnancy, a woman’s torso can be thrown out of alignment, and with the weight mostly in the front of the torso, it can strain the back. The feeling is quite like wearing a backpack on the front instead of on the back. Such changes to the posture can put strain on the back, completely shifting a woman’s center of gravity.
5 “I Can't Button Up My Pants”
While every pregnancy (and bellies) progress differently, the general rule of thumb of when a woman should consider switching to maternity clothes is in the fourth or fifth month of pregnancy. Though some women may be able to get away with squeezing into their jeans a little longer, the uncomfortable feeling of not being able to button up those pants could strike at any time.
Aside from purchasing maternity clothing, there are some ways to make a regular wardrobe adjust with a growing belly, they are:
- Wear longer-fitting shirts and blouses work well, as do tunics, stretchy tanks, and tees.
- Wear a favorite skirt higher on your stomach, making sure not to constrict that precious belly.
- Opt for looser-fitting pants and flowy tops during this stage.
- If jeans are a bit tight, jeans can be worn comfortably for a little while longer with the help of a rubber band or elastic hair tie looped through the buttonhole and wrapped around the button.
4 "I Can't See My Feet"
While it’s expected for the belly to grow significantly large during pregnancy, some women will notice growth at different weeks. For example, one woman may pop out at 14 weeks, while another may not until after 20 weeks. Generally speaking, the belly will begin to look “huge” in the last weeks of pregnancy. And yes, some women may actually have trouble seeing their feet when looking down.
Belly Growth in the Third Trimester
Week 29 to 36
Here, the baby is approximately 4 pounds and 20 inches in size. During this time, a woman's belly will grow from 30-36 cm in length from pelvic bone to the top of the uterus. Here is when many women feel begin to feel huge.
Week 37 to 40
In these last three weeks of pregnancy, the baby will put on about half a pound per week. Believe it or not, the belly can grow even larger in these last weeks and if a woman can still see her feet, chances are that belly will grow over those feet anytime now.
3 “I Have Cankles”
Cankles – one of the strange, but real side effects of pregnancy. That’s right. And though they’re totally normal, they can be uncomfortable, not to mention, very unsightly. Swollen feet during pregnancy, otherwise known as edema, is fairly common in pregnant women.
Not only will an expecting mother produce more blood volume, but her bodily fluids increase by 50%. This excess fluid that ensures baby has everything he needs, but at the same time, it can wreak havoc on the feet. This excess storage can cause the feet and surrounding area (ankles, calves, and legs) to become extremely swollen.
What can be done to prevent edema?
- Don’t sit or stand for prolonged periods of time.
- Elevate the feet.
- Stay hydrated.
- Drink less caffeine.
- Balance electrolytes.
- Exercise regularly.
- Wear support stockings, as they will put pressure on the legs to keep fluid from collecting in both the legs and ankles.
2 “I Don’t Even Know Why I’m Crying”
While there’s a lot of physical changes and discomforts in a woman’s body during pregnancy, there are also many emotional changes as well. In addition to her physical health, a woman’s emotional well-being can also play an important role in pregnancy.
During this 40-week period, a woman’s mood can range from happy, sad, excited, scared, angry, etc. These mood changes during pregnancy can be caused by physical stresses, fatigue, changes in metabolism, or by the hormones estrogen and progesterone. For example, significant changes in an expecting mother’s hormone levels can affect the chemicals in the brain that regulate mood. And while a woman can be moody her entire pregnancy, more often than not, these mood swings will mostly be experienced during the first trimester between 6 to 10 weeks and then again in the third trimester as the body prepares for birth.
1 "Yep, I’m STILL Pregnant"
A woman’s due date is an estimate of the day that she will give birth, which is calculates as 40 weeks after the day of her last menstrual period. While this is simply an estimate, it’s usually a pretty accurate one. A woman will usually give birth within a week (either before or after) her due date.
A woman’s due date is determined at her dating ultrasound, where the fetus is measured from crown to rump (also known as the CRL measurement). This measurement will give an expecting mother her precise date of not only how far along she is, but too, the date she can expect her little bundle of joy.
Generally speaking, most babies arrive between 37 weeks and 41 weeks of pregnancy, and as mentioned, usually within a week either side of their expected due date. Twins and triplets, however, tend to arrive before this time frame. In terms of a prolonged pregnancy, that can be defined as one that lasts longer than 42 weeks. Although a woman is more likely to give birth within a week of her due date, it is estimated that between five and ten percent of women have a pregnancy that has lasted this long.
Sources: AmericanPregnancy.org, TodaysParent.com, BabyMed.com, whattoexpect.com, BabyCenter.com