From the moment that little pink plus sign popped up on the stick, mom-to-be was glowing. Congrats, on the most exciting news ever! And, this means getting ready for some big surprises. In nine months a baby will emerge from the expectant woman (and that’s putting it mildly). And, she can expect her belly to grow. So, she's all good on the “knowing what to expect” front. Right?
Pregnancy is a three trimester time that’s packed with absolute joy, complete and total happiness and surprises. While some of the pregnancy ‘surprises’ are pretty fab (we’re talking about crazy lush, silky thick supermodel hair here – without the extensions), mom-to-be will also find that are some not-so-nice parts of pregnancy that she never expected. Hey, that’s okay. With the greatest good, comes some moderately bad. It’s all part of the journey.
Some women wonder, “OMG! Why didn’t any of my so-called friends tell me about this?” Or, say to themsleves, “Seriously? This does NOT happen. It just couldn’t.” Um, probably. But, there are just some things moms-to-be have to experience for themselves. Don’t stress. Some of these may seem strange, but they’re totally not scary.
On top of that, no matter what the weirdo symptom is or how the comment that mom now has to respond to makes her feel, she's always getting the better part of the deal – a baby! Whether we’re talking physical change, something kind of gross (that she’d rather keep to herself) or new ways that people act towards her, check out some of the top things that most pregnant women never expect.
15 The Mucus Plug
Ah, the mucus plug. Yuck! As your baby grows in your belly, the mucus plug is working its magic – blocking the opening of the cervix and protecting your uterus from bacteria. But, like the massively famous stone from Indiana Jones, this too must roll out.
Okay, so you’re not really going to notice the plug during pregnancy. It’s hanging out around your cervix, and you can’t feel it. Of course, everything that’s building up inside of you must (at some point) come out. As you get closer to your due date, it’s very likely that you’ll finally get to meet your mucus plug.
Yep, that plug is going to pass. When your body starts preparing itself for birth, and your cervix starts dilating, the plug loosens and comes out of you. You might notice that it’s pink or slightly tinted with blood. That’s normal (gross, but normal). Keep in mind, the passing of your plug doesn’t mean you’re in labor right now. The cervix may gradually start opening over days or weeks.
14 Pepperoni Nips
Aww, those sweet little Hershey’s kiss shaped nipples that stood up so well in that kind of slutty (but, totally stylish) sheer shirt that you used to wear in college were adorable. And, now you can wave goodbye to them.
The further you get into your pregnancy, the more you may notice that your nipples seem larger. Not only do they look bigger, but they’re also getting darker. Don’t freak out. This is completely normal, and happens to most mamas-to-be.
Your body isn’t just preparing itself to grow a baby, it’s also making sure that you’re equipped to take care of the little guy or gal after you give birth. Some of the breast changes that you experience are ways that your body is getting ready to feed your baby after they’re born.
Will your nips go back to their pre-prego grace immediately after your baby’s big birthday? Probably not completely (especially if you are breastfeeding). But, they won’t stay pepperoni-sized forever.
13 Those Bumps Get Bigger
Not only will your nipples grow and darken, but they may seem awfully bumpy too. Suddenly they’re going from smooth to a texture that you certainly weren’t expecting. Yikes! What’s going on here?
First, you’re normal. This isn’t some weirdo skin condition and you aren’t have an allergic reaction to your new sail-sized maternity bra. You’ve always had teeny tiny bumps on your areolas. These are the Montgomery’s tubercles, and they’re oil-producing glands. Before pregnancy you didn’t really have much use for these. So, they stayed small. Maybe even so small that you didn’t notice them.
Now that your body is changing, those glands are growing. Like the other nip changes that you’re seeing, this one happens so that you can breastfeed after your baby is born. The oil that they’ll produce lubricate your areolas and help prevent the spread of bacteria. You’ll appreciate this not-so-expected part of pregnancy later on when you’re getting ready to nurse.
12 Touchy Feely Strangers
You’re walking down the street in your pre-pregnancy days. Some random person grabs your abdomen and starts rubbing it. Whoa! Hello, time to quickly call 911. Right? A stranger touching your body is way more than totally inappropriate. What a weirdo.
Now you’re pregnant. You’re walking to work, sitting on the subway or shopping for dinner – and your baby belly is totally out there for everyone to see. And, apparently for everyone to touch too.
While you might expect your friends and family to give that bump a little rub here and there, you wouldn’t expect complete strangers to reach out and touch you. Oh, but they will. That cute little curve under your sweater seems like an open invitation. Obviously, it’s not.
Most of the time the offending toucher is well-meaning and just thinks babies (even if they’re on the inside) are beautiful. But, that’s still not an excuse to invade your personal space. A simple hand in front of your belly and a, “Sorry, I just don’t feel comfortable with people touching me” will do to stop the intrusion.
11 Constant Body Comments
“Wow! You’re so big now!” squeals your cousin who hasn’t seen you for two months. Geez, when was the last time someone said, “Yeah, you’re fat” and it sounded like a compliment? So, you’re not getting fat. You’re pregnant. We all know that. But, when people are constantly commenting on your body, it can make you feel like you’re more of a mountain than a mama.
You might expect the sweet smiles when your bump passes by strangers’ eyes, but you may not be ready for the comments. Even a well-meaning, “Oh, you must be due any day now” (when you’re still in your second trimester) may make you question just how much weight you’re gaining.
If you’re starting out at a normal weight, you should gain between 25 and 35 pounds, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Underweight women should gain between 28 and 40 pounds, and overweight women should expect to add between 15 and 25 pounds.
10 Underwire Becomes The Worst
Have you heard that underwire bras are bad for you during pregnancy? Well, it’s not true. The old wives’ tale goes that the underwire could inhibit the blood flow to and around your breasts. Not only would this be painful, but it was thought that this could put a pinch on milk production. Don’t worry, it’s not true. So, underwire away! Or, not.
You expect your boobs to go from sorta’ smallish to Playmate sized over the nine months of pregnancy. It’s not exactly a major secret that your breasts are going to expand. But, what you might not expect is the pain that underwire puts them in. Even though it’s safe to wear, this type of bra may make your growing globes hurt even more than they already do (expect loads of sensitivity).
When shopping for maternity bras, you may want to stay away from those super-sexy push-up underwire contraptions. Go simple, looking for support without the added intrusion of wire.
9 Hair, Hair Everywhere.
This one is a double-edged sword of pregnancy. Those kind of hard to control so-so locks are suddenly surprisingly lush. You feel like a mermaid model, and it has nothing to do with your shampoo.
Even though it may seem like you’re growing more hair or it’s coming in thicker, this really isn’t the case. You’re actually keeping more of the hair that you already had. Under non-pregnancy conditions most women lose about 100 hairs a day. The hormones (in this case, it’s estrogen) that are coursing through your body now are slowing this hair loss down, making it seem like you’ve got much more of it.
While estrogen is giving you some pretty stellar locks, other hormones called androgens are giving the rest of you a hairy situation that you may not be so proud of. These hormones may make your body hair grow faster. This means your upper lip, chin, legs and some other select areas will become mountain man hairy in ways that you never expected. Don’t freak it. It’s nothing that a good tweeze or wax can’t handle.
8 Becoming A Gassy Girl
You’re glowing. You’re a vision of pregnancy, and are absolutely in your element. That is, until the major case of gas strikes. It’s normal for pregnant women to be gassier than they would be otherwise. Again, your hormones may be at fault here. The increase in progesterone causes your muscles to relax. Sounds kind of good, right? Maybe in some cases. But, when it comes to your intestines, not so much.
As your intestinal muscles relax, digestion slows down. The slower your digestion, the greater chance that there’s a gas build up. The result is bloating, burping and you know what else. Suddenly you’re farting like a frat boy and you just can’t control it.
As if this isn’t bad enough, your growing uterus is also putting pressure on the inside of your abdomen. This may work to further slowdown digestion, and increase the amount of gas that you’re giving off.
7 A Marathon-Level Thirst
Have a drink, you’re pregnant! No, not a glass of champagne (or anything alcoholic for that matter). Have a big, tall drink of water. Why? Chances are that you’re much thirstier than you usually are. Suddenly you have a completely unexpected thirst level. You feel like it's mid-summer, in the desert and you’ve been wandering around for miles.
Your body needs extra fluids when you’re pregnant. That may very well translate into a superhuman thirst. You’ll need to make sure that you’re drinking enough water to keep you hydrated. This is even more important if you have morning sickness. The water loss you’ll experience from morning sickness-related vomiting will only add to your dehydration.
Even though feeling extra thirsty can be normal during pregnancy, it’s always best to ask your doc about it. In some cases excessive thirst is a sign of a problem, such as gestational diabetes.
6 All-Day Sickness
You’ve heard of morning sickness. Obviously. It’s something that many pregnant mamas have come to very much expect. That queasy feeling and the constant vomiting aren’t exactly breaking news when it comes to things that women experience during pregnancy.
What you might not expect is that “morning” sickness isn’t just around in the a.m. Yes, you might feel worse when you first wake up (and have nothing in your stomach). But, that doesn’t mean you can’t feel equally as bad all day, and night, long. That seasick rocky sensation may stick around well past noon.
It may even become a constant in your pregnant life from the time that you open your eyes until the time that you go to sleep.
Don’t worry, at some point it will subside. This typically happens by the second trimester. But again, pregnancy has its unplanned and unexpected parts. Some women continue to experience morning sickness all day long throughout the second and possibly third trimester.
If you’re losing weight, dehydrated or unable to go through your everyday life because you’re so sick, talk to your doctor about a treatment plan.
5 The Drool
Seriously. Like pillow-case soaking, kind of gap on your own spit, drool. It totally sucks, and it even has its very own special name – pytalism. Excessive salivation typically happens early on in a pregnancy. Even though it’s totally common, the medical community isn’t completely sure why it happens.
It’s possible that the influx of pregnancy hormones causes the extra saliva. It’s also possible that it’s part of your morning sickness.
If you do have morning sickness, you may notice that the extra saliva and excessive nausea go hand in hand. You may also find that all of that swallowing is causing heartburn. Unfortunately, there’s not much you can do about the saliva. That means you really won’t have the ability to stop it. Yay, for pregnancy! Yeah, it’s unexpected.
But, it’s not here to stay. Luckily, for you (and your pillow), it’s likely that the extra drool will dry up after the first trimester.
4 Becoming A Sudden Homebody
You were prepared for the fact that you won’t be having drinks with the girls after work for the next nine months. Obviously, alcohol is a major no-no. So, when everyone asks, you tell your favorite co-workers friends that you’ll tag along and stick to water.
You’re half an hour into mocktails (if you can’t have the real deal, you may as well Shirley Temple it) and suddenly you’re yawning. Everyone’s talking about where they’ll head to next (maybe a late dinner?) and you keep going back to thoughts of your bed.
Pregnancy makes you tired, especially in the first trimester. Even though your baby bump isn’t showing and some people may not even know you’re prego, you feel it. Instead of late nights out, you’re all about hopping onto the couch and snoozing under a comfy blanket. Even the biggest social butterfly may find herself a total homebody during pregnancy.
After all, when you’re tired – you’re really tired.
3 Parting With Simple Panties
Those sexy little bits of lingerie that you once wore aren’t cutting it when it comes to your growing body. Your belly is bumping and your bootie is surprisingly Kardashian-esque. The itty bitty barely there lace thong that you adored just isn’t fitting right. Neither are those super cute boy shorts.
They’re hitting your pregnant belly and curling down under it and they seem to be bunching, scrunching and binding in all the wrong places.
You were already prepared to part with your wardrobe. Those skinny jeans aren’t happening with a nine-month pregnant belly. But, your underwear? Yep, that’s right – you may need to get some new maternity unmentionables.
While some women do feel completely comfortable wearing the same bikinis that they did in their pre-pregnancy days, it’s also common to want some extra coverage. And bonus, you’ll be able to wear those maternity panties post-pregnancy (when tampons are out and extra-diaper-like maxi pads are in).
2 Unsolicited Advice
If you hear the words, “Enjoy this time now, it all goes by so fast” or, “Before you know it, that baby will be in college” one more time you’re going to barf (and not from morning sickness). Yes, people who’ve been there and done that have that insider knowledge that you just don’t have yet. But, that doesn’t mean a stranger on the bus needs to school you on what parenting style you should choose.
You knew that your mom and older sister would be handing out the mummying advice like it’s candy on Halloween. But, you didn’t expect that everyone else from the express lane grocery store cashier to Janet from HR would also feel the need to advise you on being a new mommy. Suddenly, your pregnancy has made you public domain.
What can you do? Try not to get offended. Yes, random people who you don’t know are crossing a line and stepping into your life. They probably mean well tough. A smile and a simple, “Thank you” will do.
1 Crying At Commercials
You’re no sap. Come on, you’re a tough girl and you don’t cry (other than for those one or two pre-period days a month when nothing seems to be going your way). You’ve never been emotional and being sentimental is something that just doesn’t make sense to you.
Now that your hormones are on full force you can’t control that strange drip, drip, drip that seems to be coming from your eyes. You see a seemingly silly commercial that never had any impact on you before. There’s a grandpa who can’t get home for the holidays or maybe a mother bathing her newborn baby.
Sure, the ads are just selling a new mobile phone plan or a shampoo. But, they’re also now seeming like Oscar-worthy mini dramas.
Even the most stoic mamas-to-be can quickly lose it in the face of something sappy and sweet. Hey, that’s okay. No one is judging. At least, they shouldn’t be.