Anticipating a baby is the most exciting time in a woman's life. It can also be full of surprises. No matter how much a woman researchers and investigates how her pregnancy will go, there are more than a few moments that will come unexpectedly or turn out entirely different than she imagined.
From the moment she learns that she is expecting, a woman can expect the unexpected — the unanticipated emotions, the nausea that creeps up on her, the urges that cause her to race for the bathroom or the doctor's office. There are the morning sickness, the hot flashes, the cravings and the labor — women think that they know what will happen but they can never fully prepare for the craziness that comes with the baby on board.
She looks forward to the time when she will feel the baby kick, yet she never expects it when it arrives. She anticipates the moment when her water will break for months, but she will still be surprised in the end. Time and time again, things will happen that a mom-to-be could never imagine.
Life is full of surprises, and pregnancy is no exception. Here are 15 times to expect the unexpected when expecting.
15 Proof Positive
Even if a woman has started to have symptoms of pregnancy, she is still knocked for a loop when she sees that pink line or plus sign on a pregnancy test. Getting proof positive that a baby is on the way can be the most exciting — and terrifying — moment of a mom-to-be's life so far.
Sometimes babies come as total surprises. Other times women plan for months and months, track their ovulations, time things perfectly and eeven try a few medical interventions. But either way — when a baby is the last thing on a woman's mind or the very first thing she thinks of each day — learning that there is truly a bun in the oven can feel unexpected and amazing.
It may take days for the news to sink in, and some women don't celebrate until they have confirmation from a doctor or reach the 12-week mark. However the moment that the pregnancy test comes out positive is always an unexpected but amazing one.
14 Out Of The Blue Bleeding
Just about the time that the pregnancy test knocks a woman for a loop, she may be knocked for another when she finds blood in her underwear. The discovery could be devastating, making a woman wonder if that is her period and the pregnancy test was a false positive. Or she could wonder if she is losing the tiny little life that she has already begun to love.
Most likely, though, it is from implantation bleeding, a little bit of blood that comes out when the fetus attaches itself to the uterine wall. It likely won't last long, and it will probably not be much.
Some women have spotting throughout their pregnancy, which can show up at unexpected times and give them scares. Moms-to-be do need to note the bleeding and talk to their doctor, especially if it comes in a large amount. It could be a sign that something is wrong, but most likely it's just another unexpected surprise in pregnancy.
13 Morning Sickness
Sometimes in pregnancy the symptoms can take you by surprise, especially the symptoms that involve getting sick all over the floor. The first run to the bathroom with morning sickness will come at an unexpected, inconvenient moment — maybe at the whiff of a chicken dinner or as soon as you settle down to Netflix.
It's called morning sickness, but if you believe that your nausea will be confined to the a.m. hours, you will be very surprised. Morning sickness can strike in the morning, at lunch time, or in the evening or at any time in between. Some severe cases last all day long.
It usually starts around week six of pregnancy — about four weeks after conception — and for most women it subsides by the end of the first trimester at 12 weeks. But that can be the longest month-and-a-half of a woman's life, full of unexpected and disgusting moments.
12 Sudden Urge
Even before the nausea starts, sometimes the first sign of pregnancy can be the unexpected need to run to the restroom for another reason — to get to the toilet on time to empty your bladder.
Long before the baby is big enough to kick mom's bladder, he still has an impact thanks to pregnancy hormones and all the changes that happen in mom's body. The bladder is next to the uterus and feels the pressure from the very beginning. It can get worse at night, when the fluid that is retained in the legs comes up and is put back in the kidneys. They also have to work extra hard because of the increased blood flow.
The sudden urge to urinate dissipates a little during the second trimester, but by the third, when the baby is quite big, it returns with a vengeance. The problem can even persist after the baby is born. It's definitely a problem that comes up at unexpected times, so it may be a good idea to keep a pad in your panties just in case.
11 Crazy Cravings
No woman ever thought that she had to have a pork rind covered in white chocolate with a pickle chaser — until she got pregnant. Pregnancy cravings can lead a perfectly sane woman to send her husband out in the middle of the night for some of the most unexpected food combinations. It can cause a vegetarian to crave a big juicy steak or a woman who has always hated mustard to require it with every meal.
The cravings can turn on a dime, from a pickle obsession one week to a fruit binge the next one. And sometimes moms-to-be even crave things that aren't actually food, a condition called pica that can be very dangerous.
Pregnancy cravings are another way that a mom-to-be can expect the unexpected during her pregnancy. She should never plan her family's menu too far in advance because she can never anticipate what she will want to eat the next day.
10 First Kicks
For a couple of months, a mom-to-be has known that she is carrying precious cargo. She feels all the symptoms and knows that her body is going through pregnancy, but it doesn't become real until the moment she feels her first baby kicks.
It's hard to pinpoint when that moment will come. For first time moms, it may be five or even six months into the pregnancy before she feels much more than morning sickness and a sudden urge to go to the bathroom. For second- or third-timers, it could be as early as around 10 or 12 weeks.
At first, a mom may not know what is going on. She may have had so much gas that she isn't sure if those first butterfly kicks or if she should prepare to burp. But after a few episodes, she will know that those little movements are signs that her baby is alive and kicking, literally.
9 Hormone Roller Coaster
Every woman knows a little bit about hormones. They hit her once a month, leaving her with a day or two where she doesn't know whether to laugh or cry and sometimes a big old zit. But period hormones are nothing compared to pregnancy hormones.
Between the HCG, progesterone and estrogen that lay the stage for the baby, a woman sometimes doesn't know which way is up. She can expect some unexpected mood swings and crazy emotional moments. She will feel full of love one moment and full of rage another. When she least expects it, she'll switch to fear, and back again.
Pregnancy hormones can leave a mom-to-be on a roller coaster she never imagined. It can be nearly impossible to keep her emotions under control, so she can expect a few unexpected tears along the way.
8 Hot Flashes
Every woman hears about hot flashes in menopause and dreads the day a couple of decades away. But she has to learn to expect the unexpected when expecting, and that means preparing for a sudden crazy spell that feels like a trip to the sauna and leaves her drenched in sweat.
When the first hot flash takes hold during pregnancy, a woman may be tempted to check the thermostat. Or she'll swear that she is a little bit crazy right before ripping off her sweater and sitting in the bathroom with nothing on but a bra and underwear. She'll start sweating all over and will wonder what is going on.
But don't worry; this unexpected hot flash is all a part of being pregnant. In general, women will feel warmer than they usually do, and they'll sweat at weird times — like outside in a blizzard. These periods can be even worse a few weeks after baby is born, so get used to it.
7 Pregnancy Brain
More than one pregnant woman has gone to work with two different shoes on her feet — partly because she couldn't see them below her belly, but also partly because she is suffering from one an ailment that can make her forget which pair she chose halfway through the task. Pregnancy brain has been proven by research as a real affliction for women carrying babies.
It can cause some pretty embarrassing mistakes, from looking for glasses that are on top of her head to leaving her keys in the freezer or forgetting to turn on the oven while she bakes a lasagna. A woman's body is going through so much that her brain can only handle so much at once. It seemingly shuts down at times, which can make the work day rather interesting.
It can happen at unexpected times and leave a mom-to-be feeling flustered and more than a little incapable. Don't let it ruin your try. Sometimes you just have to laugh to keep yourself from crying.
6 Braxton Hicks Confusion
Moms-to-be never know when to expect contractions — and many don't realize that they could have them for months before the big event. That's the cruelty of Braxton Hicks contractions, which can happen at any time.
They are known as practice contractions, but Braxton Hicks really are contractions of the uterus. They are just random and low key and they don't aid in the dilation of the cervix. They usually aren't very painful, but women who experience them do feel something going on and it can sometimes be alarming enough that they seem to be a part of true labor.
Some women never experience Braxton Hicks, and some head to the emergency room five or six times thinking that their contractions are getting started, only to be told it's a false alarm. They can be an unexpected and even unwelcome part of the pregnancy journey.
5 Digestive Rodeo
One thing is certain: things aren't exactly regular during pregnancy, if you know what we mean. With so much going on in a mom-to-be's belly, she also has a lot going on with her digestion, which can lead to some unexpected moments.
First of all, there is the heartburn. It can start out as a burping issue in the first trimester and blossom into a full-blown, can't-lie-down-to-sleep ailment by the third trimester. It can be painful and embarrassing.
Then there is the constipation, which can happen at any time and cause lots of problems. With all the extra blood flow of pregnancy, you can also have hemorrhoids. Add them both together, and that can cause, um, bleeding, not to mention pain. The constipation can end when labor gets close, and in fact one sign that contractions are coming soon is diarrhea.
A pregnant woman's digestion can have all kinds of ups and downs along the way, and she may never know what to expect.
4 Surprising Show
For a good eight or nine months, most pregnant women are blessed to be free from pads during pregnancy (unless they where them in case of a little bladder leakage). The delivery is close, and that is why it can be especially alarming to find a bloody discharge in her underwear at this point in the pregnancy.
But by now, a mom-to-be knows to expect the unexpected, so hopefully she won't be too bothered by this little surprise. It's called the bloody show, and it can look yellowish or really red. It is the mucus plug, which has come out of the cervix allowing it to start to soften for the delivery.
Some women never see a bloody show; others think it means they have to rush to the hospital. But this little surprise is only a signal that labor is approaching, not that it is imminent. She may still have to wait a few weeks before she feels the first contraction.
3 When The Water Breaks
There is no way to know when or how a woman's water will break. It could be before labor begins or the baby could be born inside the sac. But every mom knows that at some point it has to happen. That leaves her expecting the unexpected at any point in the weeks before, or even after her due date.
There seems to be no rhyme or reason as to how a woman experiences the rupture of her amniotic sac. Sometimes she doesn't even notice the slow leak; other times her doctor asks to do it himself to help the labor speed up and progress. But women also seem to envision the type of scene they see in the movies, which often includes a big splash in a public place like the grocery store or when she is giving a big presentation for work. It leaves many moms-to-be highly anticipating the moment without knowing what to expect.
2 Unpredictable Labor
Whether this is a mom's first baby or her fifth, every labor is different. She may think she knows what the pain will be like or how long she can last before an epidural, but every time things are different.
The baby can be positioned in a different way and cause back labor. Doctors say that each subsequent baby can come faster than the last one because the uterus is practiced at contracting and the cervix will dilate quicker. Sometimes that means a more intense experience. But other times that can prove to be false, and things go slower.
There is no way to anticipate what will go on during labor and delivery. It just proves that a mom-to-be should expect the unexpected when she is expecting.
1 Unexpected Ending
There is nothing that prepares a mom for the moment that she meets her baby. Whether she is exhausted from a long labor or getting a snuggle after the baby is treated in the neonatal intensive care unit or whether the baby was born via a surrogate or brought to the family through adoption, there is something magical about the moment a woman becomes a mother — even if it is her ninth or tenth time down that route.
Some moms don't experience an instant connection, but it is still a pretty amazing moment none-the-less. No woman can anticipate the rush of emotions that engulf her as she holds her child for the first time. After nine months of surprises, she knows that so much is out of her control and likely to be different than she expects, and this moment is no different.
She can expected the unexpected while expecting, but luckily this time it will exceed her expectations.