When you’re pregnant, a thousand things happen to your body, most of which you have no control over. It can leave you feeling a little helpless and a lot frightened. There are good things, sure. For example, the ‘pregnant glow’ of a pregnant person is alleged to make skin more radiant.
The very idea of having a baby inside of you might be something that makes you feel confident and lovely, and other people might gush and swoon over you because it’s so great that you’re carrying a baby and about to give birth to new life.
Despite all of this, though, it’s hard not to notice all of the things about your body that are changing for the apparent worse. With hormones ricocheting around our brains at a million miles an hour, it’s hard for our bodies not to respond in ways that are less than flattering. These ‘symptoms’ of pregnancy can be good but it’s hard not to sometimes need to take a step back and say ‘wow, this really stinks.’
And while it’s good to remember the good things about pregnancy and it’s good to look on the bright side, this article is going to talk about the bad--the things that you’re tired of whining to your friends and spouse about--all those things that bother you on a day to day basis. Here’s to all of the less-than-glamorous stuff that you might not find yourself talking about but need to be acknowledged.
15 Bladder Control
One of the things we learn to do first as a human being is going to the bathroom in the toilet. It’s a big deal for us, and when we don’t make it, it’s hugely embarrassing. Well, when you’re pregnant, it’s incredibly common for your bladder to not cooperate with your location. It’s common for women to experience bladder leaks—in other words, laughing and sneezing will make you pee, and there’s really not a whole lot you can do about it.
If this is a big problem for you, you can try wearing pads to absorb some bladder leakage. It will save your underwear and outfits from embarrassing trips back home to change your pants. But wow, it’s embarrassing to go out in public and feel like you could pee yourself at any moment! It’s no wonder this is something pregnant women truly hate about themselves.
Something that many pregnant women can’t really control is nausea. No matter what you do, morning sickness is a very real and prevalent concern, and haunts many a pregnant person in the wee hours of the morning or random times during the day—this doesn’t always hit in the morning, as the name would suggest. It’s something that pregnant people are quite powerless to stop, and it can bring a feeling of helplessness or even self-loathing.
This is especially because nausea can come and go. Just when you think you’re about to be sick, nausea will subside, and then come up at any given time, be it in public or at home near the toilet. It can make pregnant people feel exceedingly gross to be constantly throwing up all over the place, and that’s an understandable concern, especially considering that there’s really not much a person can do to keep this at bay. Some people even have to choke it down because of the vitamins required at pregnancy!
13 Stretchy Pants
Who doesn’t love a good yoga pant? Sometimes sweatpants and yoga pants—essentially anything with an elastic waistband—are the first step in creating the perfect, relaxed environment. Some people even feel a little sexy wearing yoga pants because they accentuate the butt. However, most pregnant people have many different opinions when it comes to stretchy pants.
Stretchy pants might feel comfortable or even sexy at first, but there comes a point where you wear stretchy pants all week and you start to feel like nothing else will ever fit again. Body image starts to come up, leaving you feeling gross and unattractive. Not to mention that sometimes yoga pants tend to need to constantly be hiked up, so in public you’ll find yourself constantly yanking your pants up to keep them from exposing your stomach and backside. The sight of elastic gives even the best of us a little of that aforementioned nausea after a pregnancy.
12 Bras Don’t Fit
Keeping with the theme of things that don’t fit quite right during pregnancy, bras can be a pain and hassle. Pregnant people will find during their pregnancy that as the breast swells and expands, their bras don’t fit anymore. This is a hassle because buying new bras is a pain beyond all else, and especially when the breasts are sore and sensitive to being compressed. Why can’t we just go without for a few months?
But of course, going without bras while pregnant has its own set of complications. For one, back pain is already severe enough when pregnant with the huge weight on your stomach. Adding to that by not wearing a bra to support your growing chest is a bad idea, no doubt, and will probably cause you to have more stretch marks. So, instead of there being an easy solution, you’ll find yourself constantly outgrowing bras—it’s such a pain, but it’s something we all go through.
11 Breast Size
We can’t forget the whole reason that bras don’t fit. During pregnancy, your whole body will start shifting and hurting and making weird adjustments for the baby, and the adjustment you might notice soonest is the change in your breasts. Your breasts might get tender to the touch only a few days into your pregnancy and can be an early sign of a pregnancy! In addition, they grow, and they grow a lot.
Most of this growth is to account for future breast milk storage. Your body is also producing huge amounts of hormones. Whatever the reason, your breasts will balloon, get incredibly heavy, and get incredibly sore and sensitive to the touch. A little past the point of pleasure, we might add. The areolas, in particular, will get bigger and rounder, so you’ll be left with a hugely swollen chest that you really just have to hope returns back to its regular perky size someday.
10 Keeping it Trimmed
Something that a lot of people with vaginas do to feel confident and sexy about themselves is maintaining their bikini zone, whether they trim the natural hair there or shave it completely or make some cute pattern with it. Unfortunately, when you’re pregnant, it all gets much more complicated. Not only is it harder to physically reach around the protruding stomach to shave or trim, but other forms of hair removal might actually be dangerous.
For example, you’ll have to say goodbye to your trusty hair removal creams while you’re pregnant. They contain chemicals that aren’t good for the baby. You’ll also have to forgo laser hair removal because it can cause unsightly pigmentation of the skin that’s far worse than any mishap in hair removal would have been. Dealing with a lot of bikini region hair is a pain for those not used to a natural bush, and it’s something that can make a pregnant person feel, in a word, uncomfortable.
Ah, sleep. For many people, sleep is a go-to for a relaxing time. It’s the perfect way to recharge your body, and it’s no surprise that it’s something your body pretty desperately needs to function, especially during the difficult time of pregnancy. With everything else going seemingly wrong, it only makes sense that sleeping is much more radical when you’re pregnant, too.
Sleep schedules can get a little wacky. For one, you might find it harder to stay asleep due to foot cramps and nightmares. In addition, you’ll be woken up early in the morning—in some cases—by morning sickness, so no matter how much sleep you got the night before, you’re sure to be rising early. It can be tricky business to get so much as a good night’s sleep when you’re pregnant and that can feel defeated, to say the least. Sleep is the body’s first defense against all else, so when you’re tired, it makes everything else so much worse.
8 Mood Swings
With all the hormones in a pregnant person’s system, it’s no surprise at all that mood swings come up not too far into the pregnancy. In fact, mood swings are a symptom of pregnancy, commonly dismissed as ‘female problems’ or even PMS. A pregnant person knows mood swings on a much more personal level, though. It’s incredibly difficult to know what’s actually making you angry and what’s just your hormones acting up.
And the worst thing is having to acknowledge that you’re not actually angry. It’s a terrible feeling when you genuinely feel that everything is going wrong and you know in your head that it’s your brain playing tricks on you. Moodiness can be a problem with your partner and friends during times of pregnancy; thank goodness for the people that stick through the temper tantrums and random crying to be emotionally supportive in this topsy-turvy time.
We mentioned earlier how a pregnant person’s breasts will change and morph during a pregnancy, but it wouldn’t be right not to include the entire body in this menagerie. Things get swollen—it’s a fact of pregnancy that everyone has to come to terms with at some point or another. Feet swell, backs hurt, and it seems that everything is getting out of proportion at a rate too quick to handle.
One of the things that cause this is pregnancy cravings. Strange or ‘unhealthy’ food cravings are something that any pregnant person is more than familiar with. The worst part about these is that they’re rarely healthy. Why can’t we crave vegetables and low-sugar fruits? Instead, it seems we can’t get enough of those double-chocolate chip chocolate muffins and absolutely anything fried. How much pregnancy weight is too much pregnancy weight, again?
6 Can’t Drink
Who doesn’t love a crisp, luxurious glass of wine? Or an ice-cold margarita? A delicious beer? It’s a staple of adulthood to get to sip a bit of alcohol whenever we want to, and it’s something that many actually do as a sort of ritual every night or every weekend to wind down and relax. But when you’re pregnant, you have to say goodbye to alcohol. It’s a huge no-no for the baby to be drinking.
Having to pass up a delicious bottle of red wine in favor of regular, non-alcohol lemonade can get a bit annoying. It might make a pregnant person feel like they’re the only person there who can’t be a real adult and enjoy their favorite beverages. If you’re used to using alcohol to wind down, it might be even harder to relax. Sparkling ciders with no alcohol can be a nice replacement for wine because they leave the same dry feeling in your mouth—but who are we kidding? It’s not the same.
5 On the Prowl
Again, we’re going to blame hormones for this one, specifically, the hormones that tend to surface when we’re on our period and just get amplified when we’re pregnant. There’s little worse than constantly feeling in the mood for a romantic night with your partner when you also feel like your body is a gross mess of grossness that you don’t want anyone to see naked. It’s conflicting and a lot of people worry about having sex when pregnant.
The good news is that having sex while pregnant is perfectly fine. It can be really nice, actually, because the body is much more sensitive in the areas where people contact during sex. For heterosexual sex, the cervix provides a solid barrier between the penis and the baby. Contrary to popular belief, you won’t damage the baby having heterosexual vaginal intercourse. Feel free to have fun, if that’s what you want!
Remember when we talked about bladder control? Well, it’s not the only function of the human body that acts upon a pregnant person during pregnancy. Gas is also something that . . . well, happens. A pregnant person might find themselves passing gas a lot more often than before. This is because of the uterus expanding up against everything in your system, pressing your intestines a little more tight than usual, and the result is a lot of farting.
In addition to a lot of gas, you’ll also find yourself pooping a lot more often when you’re pregnant for the very same reason. Gas can be embarrassing, especially if you’re in public, and for the most part, you really can’t hold it in when you’re pregnant. Just know that although it really does stink (no pun intended), no one is going to really hold gas against you as a person. It might be embarrassing but no one will remember a month from now. Well, except maybe your close friends, and they might never let you forget.
Earlier we discussed how pregnancy makes sleeping much harder, whether it’s because of pain or because of nightmares or just general restlessness. Because of a tough sleep cycle, a pregnant person will also find themselves feeling fatigued during the day. Honestly, it doesn’t seem like it’s possible to get enough to sleep to not feel exhausted, and while coffee isn’t horrible for you, it can’t really wake you up enough. At least, that’s what it feels like.
Fatigue can be worsened the further you get into the pregnancy because your body will also be in a significant amount of pain. It can be relieved by exercising regularly and eating healthy, but, come on. When you’re swollen up and feeling miserable, the last thing you want to do is hop on an exercise ball to perk yourself up. It’s easier to just sleep the day away—or, at least, try to.
2 Prenatal Anxiety
Prenatal anxiety. It’s the culmination of all the other symptoms into one cocktail—if you could drink cocktails—of bad, gross, angry feelings. The only thing worse than back pain is the crushing feeling that this baby won’t be alright. That something could go wrong, that you might not be a good parent, or even that you don’t think you can keep being pregnant. Prenatal anxiety is a real, serious concern among pregnant people.
Talk to your doctor if your prenatal anxiety is becoming a serious problem. This is, as we mentioned, a serious concern, and not just typical ‘hormonal rage’ experienced by a pregnant person. Too much anxiety and stress can cause problems in the baby or even trigger an early labor, resulting in miscarriage, so if you’re having severe prenatal anxiety, talk to a professional who can help you start taking steps to combat it. A healthy pregnancy is the best pregnancy.
This one is kind of a given, but we had to mention it anyway. With all of these symptoms—there are much more than are in the article, believe us!—it can feel sometimes like you’re just absolutely drowning in self-pity. It can be exhausting to listen to people be terribly optimistic and genuine when all you want to do is complain. And complain. And then complain some more.
Sometimes one of the problems pregnant people have is that they feel that they’re a burden on their friends and partner for complaining too much. However, it’s very important to have a group of people or at least one person that you feel comfortable sharing the less-than-glamorous details of your pregnancy with. Know when to look on the bright side and when to be optimistic, but make sure you’ve got a place to go and talk about how rough it can be sometimes to be pregnant.