As you started along your pregnancy journey, you’ve probably found countless pregnancy timelines and referred to Dr. Google multiple times to see just exactly when you can expect to have SOMETHING happen. Most likely, you’ve come across information on when you will start to show, when you will feel the baby kick for the first time, when your pregnancy is finally viable, when your Braxton hicks contractions will begin and, of course, when you’ll actually go into labor.
Other than that, you’ll find out down to the week how big baby is, when baby has fingernails, when baby officially has parts to identify him as a him or her as a her, when baby can hear, when baby can pee and what he or she is doing inside your uterus (other than practicing kickboxing on your bladder).
Then pregnancy continues on past the initial moment of OMG YAY I’M PREGNANT! Or OMG WTF, I’M PREGNANT?! And things happen. And you wonder, wait, hold on now. Everyone just. Hold. On. Why didn’t I realize this could happen? Or THIS. And you take to your forums of fellow pregos or your experienced mom friends and, well, they tell you that is normal, and you can expect x, y, and z to happen futuristically, too.
These are the real milestones. The ones that you might make you want to sterilize yourself immediately after birth, and the ones you want to write about in a journal to remember forever. These are the ones you’ll make new friends with; the ones you say, OMG, wait until I tell you what happened to me.
7 It’s am, do you know where your fries are?
Maybe you knew you were pregnant from the moment you finished gettin’ it on, or maybe you had no clue and assumed your missed period was due to your being stressed out at work or frazzled from being with the kids all day (can anyone say “threenager?”, or you started a new exercise regiment. Either way, somewhere along the line, hunger kicks in. Not just regular, pass-me-a-string-cheese or a I’ll-just-have-a-banana kind of hunger, but the absolute NEED to have something specific, and it needs to be in your reach the day before yesterday.
Ladies and gentlemen, we present you with the first craving.
- - “I could really go for a chocolate-peanut-butter-banana milkshake.”
- - “Hi. I’d like a quarter-pounder with extra pickles and cheese, some chicken nuggets and a large order of fries, please.”
- - “For the love of God, will someone please just bring me a salty snack?!”
That first craving can kick in as early as six weeks. Sometimes, it can even be the first pregnancy symptom you experience. An uncommon thing to find on any tracker, or write in a journal, but it is absolutely something that marks your pregnancy as very, very real.
But, why do I want all of these things that I didn’t want before, you ask? Well, some may say that these cravings are strictly psychological. “It’s all in your head,” you may be told by some who refuse to be enablers to your need for sugary or salty goodness. You are allowed to remove those people from your life.
In reality, though, cravings can actually be a direct result of the hormonal changes taking place in your body. Your cravings could be your body telling you it needs a specific nutrient. Go on and order that steak! You need your iron!
Just be wary of indulging in too much of any of your not-so-healthy cravings. Too much of a good thing can turn it into a bad thing.
- - If you are at risk for gestational diabetes, it’ll be better if you limit your sugar intake (dang!)
- - Ingesting too much sodium can raise your blood pressure, which can lead to preeclampsia.
The time to go talk to the doctor is if you find yourself lusting over toilet paper or dirt, or your afternoon snack is your kid’s crayons. This is a condition known as pica, and it could mean you are iron deficient.
6 I’m gonna hurl.
If it wasn’t a craving that clued you into your pregnancy, another totally awesome and joyous experience that most, if not all, women go through in pregnancy is that first morning you wake up and it’s there. Your stomach is not your friend anymore. Before you know it, you need to run to the bathroom to heave over the toilet. Sometimes it’s productive, and other times there’s nothing but the sound of you retching your life away.
Sing it with us now: On the first day of morning sickness, my stomach gave to me -- last night’s ba-ked zi-ti. How do we ever mark this one in history?
- - Can we get a special sticker for our calendars to commemorate this day, please?
- - How about a picture of you leaning over the toilet in an engraved frame that reads, “mommy’s first vomit”? It can go on the mantle next to your first ultrasound photo.
Morning sickness, well, if we are being realistic, all day sickness, can begin right around the same time as your cravings begin, six weeks. So, right when you decide you need to eat something delicious, your nausea and/or vomiting can snatch the fun and appeal of that food away. Your body is at war with itself, essentially, and you are the collateral damage.
You can try to ease your body into a state of normalcy by sipping some ginger ale, or even better, ginger or peppermint tea (less sugar), having a snack nearby for first thing in the morning because, ironic as it may be, an empty stomach can lead to a queasy stomach, and being careful with those treats you do indulge in. Eating too much can also make you nauseous.
There is a condition known as hyperemesis gravid arum, and that is pretty serious. You know you have it if you literally cannot keep anything down. If this happens to you, you need to go see your doctor or midwife. You could be dehydrated and may need to be hooked up to an IV for fluids.
5 Sorry, it was me.
It’s not pretty, no one likes to talk about it, and yet, it happens to almost every single woman who has ever been pregnant. You can be proper and call it flatulence or passing gas; if you have kids, maybe it is a “toot” or a “poot”. Perhaps you are creative and call it a “butt sneeze” or “rectal turbulence”. Or, maybe you aren’t original at all and stick to good, old, trusty “fart”.
No matter what you call them, let’s not sugar coat the truth here. Pregnancy brings out the flatulent side of all of us, sometimes leaving you in a tricky situation. You’ll feel those bubbles forming and you have a few options:
- - Waddle your way to the bathroom as quickly as possible.
- - Figure out a way to silence the deadliness.
- - Have no fear and let it rip.
Sometimes you have absolutely no say in the matter, though, and guess what? Your awesome body makes the choice for you. And it happens. You fart. Loudly. In the most inconvenient and improper place imaginable.
- - In a meeting where everyone is listening intently to a presentation (or, even worse, YOU are the presenter).
- - Bending down for peas in the frozen aisle at the grocery store (the aisle WAS EMPTY BEFORE and now there is a convention of attractive people who undoubtedly do not toot, poot or sneeze from their asses).
- - During that moment of silence when oh, no, one thing does not remain silent.
It may not be something that traditional books call a milestone, but if it has happened to you, you undoubtedly remember it. Almost a rite of passage, if you will, when you know your body has reached the point of absolutely no return when you can’t even control your own damn sphincter.
Thanks, hormones! You’re to blame, yet again. Since progesterone is increasing in your body, it can slow down digestion, which allows more time for your body to produce gas. When it isn’t the progesterone, it’s your ever-expanding uterus crowding your intestines. This, too, slows digestion and makes your body produce more gas. The ability you once had to control your gas diminishes as those pesky hormones have a way of relaxing your muscles.
You can try to reduce the effects of gas in your pregnancy by:
- - Exercising. It should help with digestion.
- - Avoid fried/fatty foods, onions, cauliflower and cabbage
- - Limit your intake of carbonated drinks.
- - Eat smaller, frequent meals.
4 Get that chicken away from me.
Okay, so you crave food, and you throw up that food. Then the food you eat makes you fart uncontrollably. Pregnancy is amazing, isn’t it?
How about that time you woke up to your significant other brewing coffee and you dry heaved simply from its smell? Normally a nice gesture of him, to prepare you a cup of deliciousness first thing in the morning, you would head into the kitchen and gleefully pour yourself a cup. Not now, my friend. What was, perhaps, your favourite pastime has now become something you want to throw away and never smell again.
That first food aversion. It comes out of nowhere and makes the foods or smells you once could handle with no problem, or you previously loved, become disgusting, atrocious objects of which you can never even imagine putting near your body.
- - Remember how excited you’d get for Pumpkin Spice Lattes (PSLs, for short)? Then the moment you took your first sip you tossed your cup in the trash.
- - Raw chicken? Sure. You used to handle that like an iron chef. Now, it is banned from your house.
- - You used to stroll the grocery store without a problem, but now you do all things possible to avoid the fish aisle.
Aversions usually starts during the first trimester, right around the time you find yourself running to the bathroom to throw up. Considered a way your body is trying to protect itself, if you look closer at the items you no longer can stand, it might make a little more sense. Limited amounts of caffeine are allowed in pregnancy, but maybe your inability to handle coffee is your body telling you to cut back for a while.
Not that you’d take a big old bite of a raw chicken breast (hi, salmonella), but your disgust for it raw probably is a sure-fire way to guarantee you prevent yourself from getting sick from it.
What if you no longer can stand something healthy? Well, first of all, don’t force feed yourself. It won’t do you any good because it’s probably going to come right back up. Go ahead and give yourself something else to take its place.
The good news is that once you have your baby, the aversion should disappear. In rare cases, they stick around, though (we promise we aren’t trying to freak you out) and you can’t really stomach the things you used to. Let’s just try to be positive here and say YES they will go away!
3 I’ll cry if I want to!
Pregnancy is essentially like riding an emotional rollercoaster with a blindfold on. You know there will be some major highs, lows, twists and turns, but there is no way to know when you are about to hit a major change along the track.
One day, out of the blue, you are suddenly in a puddle of your own tears before you even realized you were sad.What in the world could have led you to this point?
- - That freaking dog commercial with Sarah McLaughlin has you sobbing into your pillow.
- - Anytime anyone has any kind of bonding moment with their child on any TV show/news story.
- - That time you were craving something sweet and thought there was still one more cookie/piece of candy/enough ice cream for one bowl left, but your significant other ate it (this can also bring on a fit of rage, understandably).
“But I am not usually a crier,” you say. Perhaps this is true. Perhaps you are the anomaly to all pregnant women out there and, for that, we admire you. Most, if not all of the time, though, even the toughest ladies out there who think their tear ducts are nonexistent find that something, at some point, makes their eyeballs just a little moister than they usually are.
It’s okay, we promise. Go on and cry with your emotional self.We will not judge you.
Estrogen, progesterone, fatigue, stress – you know, the usual suspects – are to blame for your newly emotional self. Unfortunately, after baby arrives, your emotions will take a hit yet again as your hormones try to regulate after giving birth. Not to worry, though, things should simmer down after a few months (if not, talk to your doctor or midwife).
If you want to try to get a handle on your emotions, think about the things that would help calm your nerves before you were pregnant (as long as it doesn’t involve alcohol, of course). Try to take a walk, allow yourself to take a nap or simply lie down for a little while to relax, take a long shower, meet up with or call a friend. If you have a friend who has already been through a pregnancy, even better. She will lend an understanding ear and agree with you that your tears are justified.
2 Let’s get it on … or not
Oh, we are going there.
Pregnancy can do some funny things to a woman (understatement of the year, we know). Changing countless aspects of your pre-pregnant self, leaving that lady behind as your body grows. Sometimes, unexpectedly, during your pregnancy, you realize your sex drive has totally sky rocketed, whereas in other cases, your libido has been lost, missing in action along with your feet you can no longer see. Sure, we know they are there, but when they are coming back? Nobody knows.
Here are some reasons why your libido might have gone through the roof:
- - Hormones, duh.
- - As your breasts become more sensitive, you may actually enjoy having them touched.
- - Your lady bits are more sensitive , too, which could lead to more enjoyable sex.
And there are plenty of reasons why your interest in sex has plummeted:
- - You do not feel sexy (we promise, you are).
- - You are tired all the time.
- - Your body aches (from incubating a human, of course).
That first time you realize that you cannot get enough booty or, on the other side, do not want any, can come as a pretty huge surprise to both you and your partner.Whether you have got to have it all the time, or you don’t want to be touched at all, ever, it can take some time to adjust to how you are handling your sex drive, or lack thereof.
- - You want it all the time, but your partner is afraid of hurting the baby (let’s all collectively laugh at that one).
- - You do not want it at all, your partner feels neglected and wants to take stock out in lotion.
Regardless, someone’s feelings are likely to be hurt from feeling rejected.
We all know intimacy is really important to keep any relationship healthy and alive, but intimacy doesn’t need to solely be about sex. Communicate, ladies. It is so important to be open and honest. Be sure to talk to your partner about how you are feeling and see if you can find a common ground. Know that, just with every other frustrating moment that pregnancy brings, it will come to an end. You will have your time to adjust after baby is born (but there is no rush!) and eventually you will be ready to jump on it once again.
1 Sorry, I can’t come; I’m boiling nipples.
Once upon a time, you were content with your house. Things could have been “lived in” and maybe a little cluttered, but it didn’t bug you. Heck, maybe you liked it that way. And then you got pregnant. “I’ll get to it,” you thought to yourself. Until it happened:right around the last month of your pregnancy, you woke up in a panic. The house needs major work, and it needs it right. Freaking. Now.
- - The dishes are not perfectly aligned
- - There is dust on the bookshelves
- - The air ducts haven’t been cleaned -- ever
- - Your bottles and/or pump parts are still in the package they came in
- - The baby’s closet isn’t organized by style and size
Suddenly, you are in a frenzy. Like Mary Poppins on speed, just without the bag of tricks and magic umbrella (why can’t someone invent this for real?). No one would think you could be capable of moving so well, but only the best for baby, right?
Not exactly a “milestone,” nesting has become an indicator of sorts among mommies out there that they are getting close to labor. The day is coming. Maybe it’ll be three more weeks, but it is coming.
Nesting is a primal instinct and, in actuality, is something not just we humans do. Momma birds build themselves a nice, cozy nest for their babies while cats and dogs find a place they feel is safe and comfortable for birth. Almost a blessing in disguise, a woman’s urge to nest is her intuition telling her, “sister, get the hell up and prep for this kid.”
Time will not be as easy to come by after you have this baby, and if you have the energy and dire need to clean and organize, do it up. Be smart, though, and don’t push yourself too hard. Try not to use cleaners with strong odors, reach too high or lift anything too heavy and, for the love of all things holy, stay off the ladder! If you desperately need the light fixtures washed and ceilings scrubbed, recruit someone to handle that business for you.
These “milestones” are not the ones you hear about too often, and they are just a handful of some of the moments women experience in pregnancy when she realizes “this is really happening”. It may be hard to embrace some of the annoying times, but just ride it out. Soon you’ll be tracking your little one’s milestones and noting the uncommon ones for him or her, too.