Everyone loves a pregnancy announcement. There's usually excitement and congratulations, handshakes and hugs. What's not to love? A brand new bundle of sweetness is on the way, and the next nine months are going to be full of anticipation and joyful planning.
Pregnancy brings so much emotion and preparation. For first time mothers, there’s many books to be read and baby things to be bought. For women who aren’t new to the baby game, they have different challenges, but they usually feel more prepared.
Part of the preparation is listening to other women talk about their pregnancies and experiences. Sometimes these stories are amusing or even educational. Other times these stories might fill a new mom with dread or annoyance depending on what it is that they were told.
There are certain things though, that no one will tell the mother to be about pregnancy, because, well, "Get ready to wonder what has taken over your body" makes for an awkward response to "I'm pregnant!"
Here's what no one told you, and you'll wonder why they never said a word:
15 You'll Have Worries And Fears That Never End
Pregnancy is wonderful because there's a little person on the way that you're going to be responsible for in every way. This is also why it's slightly terrifying. The minute the pee is dry on the test, it begins. Have you taken enough folic acid to prevent neural tube defects? Have you been taking the right multivitamin and eating enough DHA rich foods? Is that implantation spotting or the start of a miscarriage?
The list goes on and on and on, and it doesn't end. The worries may change from whether you lifted something too heavy to whether you've felt the baby moving enough lately, but they're still there. Sorry to be the one to let this cat out of the bag, but worrying and motherhood kind of go hand in hand.
You're never able to only think of yourself, because now? It's not just about you. And even though this is scary and can cause you to doubt your decisions at every turn, it's also really great. The baby you're growing is going to bring you such joy and love that you'll want to consider them a part of you forever.
Also, about 99.9% of your worries will never come to fruition. That's not a statistic I've researched or anything, but I'm pretty sure it's true. Try to relax as much as you can and do your best to handle what you can control. The rest of it isn't in your hands, so let it go.
14 Morning Sickness Is A Lie
Morning sickness does occur in the morning. This is true. It also happens in the mid-morning, afternoon, evening, and wee hours of the night. No one tells you that "morning" sickness is actually an all day, 24 hour thing. It's not until you yourself are bent over a toilet at 4:30 in the afternoon that you begin to wonder why it hasn't been renamed yet.
Now, for most women it will come and go throughout the day. Mine was always worse around mid-morning, and then again around late afternoon. For some women it helps to keep crackers or something small on the bedside table so that they can eat the minute they wake up.
Sometimes that worked for me, and sometimes I threw up saltines in the shower. So, your mileage may vary with that one.
Morning sickness might happen at times other than morning, but there are ways to help it. I found that carrying peppermint candy and popping one in my mouth when I began to feel queasy helped a lot. So did chewing mint or cinnamon gum. Strange as it might be, I also found that eating exactly what I was craving helped the nausea to subside.
Perhaps there's a reason for your cravings. So even though no one tells you this, it's okay. You can't blame them for keeping this one to themselves. Who wants to talk about throwing up? It's bad dinner party conversation. It will eventually pass and you'll feel like you can conquer the world after. Surviving constant nausea for four (or more) months will do that to you.
13 You'll Be Able To Sleep Anywhere, At Anytime
I've never been one that takes an afternoon nap. Even if I was tired, I would power through the day and head to bed earlier, but not by much. When I was pregnant, I basically walked around looking for places to sleep. The level of fatigue and exhaustion that your body experiences as it grows another human can be alarming.
I fell asleep during movie nights, and yawned my way through most of my days, especially in the first trimester. The good news is, by the second trimester, I got a new wave of energy and felt like a brand new woman.
I had one friend that told me that she knew she was pregnant before she even took a test because she actually laid across a pew in church during Sunday services to squeeze in a nap. Often times we don't give our bodies enough credit for the incredible amount of work they're doing around the clock to make another human.
Slowing down and allowing your body to have the rest it desperately needs is non-negotiable during pregnancy. It will force the issue if it has to, and you might just find yourself snoozing in a random place if you're not careful.
12 You'll Get Constipated
Not only will you physically move slower (the waddle is adorable, don't let people say otherwise. They're just jealous.) now that you're pregnant, but your digestive tract doesn't want to be left out and will join in on the fun too. Constipation during pregnancy is a real thing, and it can be severe.
By severe, I mean that everything comes to a grinding halt, and you might begin to wonder how much of your bump is baby, and how much is...well, you know.
Drinking plenty of water is a must, as is eating lots of vegetables and fiber. If you're suffering from constipation and the water and veggies aren't helping, it doesn't hurt to place a call to your doctor to see what he or she recommends. Sometimes there are over the counter products that can help, but it's extremely important you get your doctor's advice on the matter before trying anything.
11 You'll Have Diarrhea At the End of Pregnancy
I know it might seem like I'm writing an article full of opposites here, but your body decides to change it up during pregnancy, and often. At the end of pregnancy, usually around thirty-five weeks or so, the weight of the baby begins to press on your rectum. Combine this with the loosening of your muscles and ligaments to prepare your body for birth, and you've got the perfect conditions for loose stool.
Usually it lasts until birth and isn't too extreme, meaning that you shouldn't get too dehydrated from it. It is a good idea though to up your water intake any time you are experiencing diarrhea to compensate for the lost fluids, and always mention it to your doctor. Though it's an annoying part of the last trimester, it is also helping you to clean your system out before birth, and that's definitely a positive when you're pushing!
10 You'll Contract Long Before Labor
You read that right. During all three trimesters of pregnancy you'll be experiencing contractions. They're called Braxton Hicks, and they are your body's way of preparing your body for birth. They can also result from dehydration which can cause early labor though, so it is always a good idea to sit down with a glass of water if you begin experiencing these.
Your uterus has been contracting off and on from around seven to eight weeks of pregnancy, you just haven't been able to feel them.
As you progress in your pregnancy these contractions might get stronger and more frequent. You'll most likely feel a tightening that begins in your lower abdomen that builds to a peak and then releases. You will feel your stomach harden at the peak of each contraction and then slowly soften as it passes.
If at any point in your pregnancy you experience more than a few of these in an hour, call your doctor to let them know. They might want to monitor you and ensure that you are not in preterm labor.
9 You Might Feel Round Ligament Pain
You uterus is held in place by thick ligaments that connect to your groin. As your womb grows to accommodate your baby, these ligaments have to stretch with the growth. One of these ligaments is called the "round ligament." When you suddenly stand up from a sitting position, or move in another sudden way, it causes this ligament to be strained, which causes a sharp jabbing pain from your abdomen to your groin.
This pain is worrisome, mainly because it is sharp and intense, and many first time mothers think there is something wrong. It is considered a normal part of pregnancy, even though it is annoying and painful. To avoid feeling the strain from this ligament contracting too quickly, try to stand up slowly. Sneezing, coughing, laughing, and rolling over in bed can trigger it as well.
Thankfully the pain is short lived, and though it is often surprising when it happens, it's harmless. That being said, mention it to your doctor like you would any other symptom you are experiencing. Round ligament pain is a quick pain, and does not last longer than a few seconds.
8 Your Joints Get Loose
No one tells you that your joints might loosen to the point of dislocation during pregnancy. Perhaps it's just one of those things that people neglect to mention because they've never experienced it themselves. I have, however, and I am here to tell you- you might feel as though your body is made of noodles by the end of pregnancy.
In my personal experience, it was my hip and knee joints that decided to go all loosey-goosey on me, leaving me feeling as though I could collapse like a baby giraffe if I made a wrong turn.
Relaxin is the aptly named hormone that causes your muscles and ligaments to relax in preparation for birth. It's responsible for the heartburn you have every night (in addition to that spicy food you might have indulged in), and also for the noodle knees (and hips) you're experiencing. I had a lot of hip pain during the third trimester of both of my pregnancies, and my hips would slip out of socket every night while I slept.
It was alarming to wake up to hips that were slightly out of joint, but I was able to keep myself comfortable by sleeping with a pillow between my knees. There's no real cure for this problem, but I can say that you'll be grateful for your "birthing hips" when the time to deliver the baby arrives.
7 Your Nipples Will Leak Before Your Baby Is Born
This is one of those things that no one told me, and I was caught off guard when, for the first time, my nipples seemed to be excreting a thick yellow liquid. I knew my body would produce colostrum after I had the baby, but I had no idea that it would begin before the baby was born. Colostrum is a thick, sticky, yellow or orange liquid that is full of antibodies, carbohydrates, and protein for your baby.
It is easy for your baby to digest, and helps prevent jaundice by having a laxative effect. It helps the baby to pass his first stools which also gets rid of any excess bilirubin in the system. So, if your breasts have decided to suddenly report to work earlier than expected, don't be concerned. Also, if you have not noticed any colostrum production before birth, don't despair.
It does not mean your body is not producing it, or that you won't produce milk or have a low supply. Your body knows what to do, and when to do it. Trust it. It's gotten you this far, hasn't it?
6 You'll Be Hot. All the Time.
Maybe it's because both of my pregnancies were in their final stages during the summer, but during my third trimesters I literally felt as though I was carrying an internal toaster oven that was cranked to the highest setting. Hormonal changes and increased blood volume (40%!) during pregnancy all contribute to why you might feel as though you're baking more than a dozen buns in your oven.
During my first pregnancy I slept with ice packs under my pillow to try and relieve the heat that felt as though it was smothering me from the inside out. I would stand in the grocery store freezer section for much longer than what seemed appropriate, while the other shoppers looked on with pity. It was kind of miserable. So if you're trying to find ways to beat the heat your little one is generating within you during pregnancy, you might need to get a bit creative with your solutions.
Make sure that you're drinking enough water, and carry a bottle with you at all times. Try and stay inside in an air conditioned room as much as possible. If you'll need to be outside on a warm day, pack a bag or cooler with ice and ice packs. I would be lying if I said I didn't keep actual ice packs in my purse during my third trimester. I never knew when I would need to put one on my neck for a quick cool down if I got overheated while walking around.
I also kept wet paper towels or washcloths in my purse in plastic bags in case I needed to wipe my face. Desperate times call for desperate measures. If you begin to feel as though you're unable to cool down, or begin exhibiting signs of heat stroke, call 911 immediately. Symptoms of heat stroke include nausea, faintness, dizziness, and weakness.
5 You're Always Moist
I know that the word "moist" is amongst the most hated in the dictionary, however it is appropriate here. During pregnancy, you'll feel wet, in many places, a lot of the time. The weight gain, hormones, and morning sickness all contribute to a general sense of dampness that is hard to avoid.
Places that you never thought about will now become places that create wet spots on your clothing. Between your breasts and growing stomach, and between your legs are the two major hot spots, shall we say. There's a whole lot of growing and sweating going on. Combined with the vaginal discharge that accompanies pregnancy (panty liners do make life more comfortable), it's enough to make you feel like you can't shower enough.
No one tells you about this because who wants to talk about the fact that you'll eventually feel like your own personal steamer? Aside from making sure that your clothing is wrinkle free, there's really not much to look forward to here. Don't worry though, you'll eventually stop sweating- until then, drink a ton of water, and maybe tell people you just got back from an intense workout.
4 Your Skin Might Think You're A Teenager
Your skin will either get a lot clearer during pregnancy, or it will revert back to your teen years when you desperately reached for the astringent to calm it down. Each of my pregnancies were different. With the first, I had glowing skin that lasted the entire pregnancy. With the second, I had to switch to a medicated face wash just to try and stay on top of the breakouts that plagued me one after the other.
During pregnancy your body produces more androgens which trigger your skin to create more sebum, an oily substance that can block your pores. While this can be annoying and embarrassing, it's also completely normal.
Mine was worse during the first half of my pregnancy, but improved quite a bit during the last half. There are so many hormone fluctuations in your body during pregnancy, that it makes sense there are visible reactions to them. To stay on top of acne during pregnancy, make sure you are washing your face with a gentle cleanser and try to avoid popping the blemishes.
When you're not pregnant, there are prescriptions a dermatologist can prescribe to help, but these are not to be taken during pregnancy. You'll want to avoid taking Accutane, which causes birth defects. Also steer clear of tetracycline, doxycycline, and minocycline, which can cause bone and teeth problems for your unborn baby. Stick with over the counter topical washes, and if the one you've chosen is medicated, ask your doctor first before using it.
3 You Won't Be Able To Take A Deep Breath
As your baby gets larger, there is less room in your body for the other things in it. You know, like internal organs. Many of your internal organs that normally enjoy the luxury of taking up space without bumping into a foot or an arm, are now having to share the space with another person. It can get very cramped. Your lungs are moved up and out of the way as your womb increases in size, causing the act of taking deep breaths to be nearly impossible.
During pregnancy your body needs more oxygen, and your lungs are experiencing several changes. The hormone progesterone sends a signal to your brain to put your respiratory system into overdrive so that your body is receiving exactly what it needs from each breath of air you're taking. Some first time moms-to-be will notice that in the final weeks of pregnancy the baby will drop lower into the pelvis, providing a returned ability to take the deep breaths they've been yearning for.
Though shortness of breath during pregnancy is usually mild and not a cause for concern, you do want to watch out for a sudden change in your breathing ability. If you suddenly experience shortness of breath, or feel faint or like you're unable to get enough oxygen, call 911. Also contact your doctor if you experience a cough alone or with blood, symptoms of a respiratory infection, or worsening asthma.
2 Everyone Wants To Know All About Your Unborn Baby
This one is something that no one tells you, but you'll experience it as soon as you begin to show. I personally, follow the rule that unless a baby is crowning in front of me, I never ask another woman when she's due, or even allude to her pregnancy at all. Other people in the general public don't follow this rule.
You'll be at the grocery store, and the older lady behind you in line will want to know when you're due, what you're having, what the name is, and what your blood type is. (That last one might be an exaggeration, but then again, it might not be. People are weird.)
On top of all of these questions, if you already have a child, regardless of whether the child is a boy or a girl, strangers feel the weird need to comment on the new baby's sex too. So, if you're having a boy and already have one, you might be lucky enough to hear how sad it is that you're not having a girl.
The same goes for already having a girl, and if you're having another, you'll hear how unfortunate it is that you're not having a boy. OR, and this is a fun one, they might skip right over this baby, and ask if you'll keep trying until you DO have the opposite sex. This is one of those times during pregnancy to just take a deep breath (if you can, hello squished lungs) and let it go.
People for the most part just love babies, and they love feeling like for a few seconds out of their day, they got to share in your excitement. As long as they're not being rude, and it's harmless small talk, then try not to get too annoyed by it.
1 How Much Your Life Will Be Changed (For the Better)
Everyone is quick to tell you about the sleepless nights you'll endure, the heavy weight of responsibility you'll carry, and the infamous teenage years that are lurking just a few years down the road. These things aren't particularly helpful, nor are they accurate. When people mention these things they leave out the most important piece of information: the overwhelming love and devotion you'll have for your baby.
When I was pregnant and I imagined having a teenager, I pictured a random person that I didn't know or love, and got freaked out about having this emotional roommate that slammed doors and cursed at me under his breath.
Once I had my children, I realized that I was never going to be the same again. My heart was forever changed, broken beautifully into the heart of a mother that was willing to do anything for my children. This is the piece of the well-meaning advice puzzle that is often left out.
Your baby will change you, but in the best way possible. You'll become selfless and giving. Your priorities will change, and even though life might look unrecognizable, you won't have it any other way. That teenager that lurks ahead in the future? He's the same baby that you will cuddle and kiss, and grow a bond with that feels as though it surpasses space and time. Life will change, that's for sure, but it will be so worth every discomfort and worry.
Maybe no one has told you this about pregnancy and motherhood yet, but I will: You're going to be a great mom. You've got this.