Once a woman discovers she's expecting, her family and friends will begin to tell her all about the fun, and wacky things that come along with the nine-0month wait. She will undoubtedly hear story after story about morning sickness, and her belly getting huge.
Some will share stories of the craziest cravings they experienced...French fries dipped in a chocolate milkshake? What about swollen ankles, and the inability to shave those hairy legs?
Then, the stories become a little more serious. Women will share their labor stories, and there are plenty to go around. One mom will share the story of how labor lasted 20 minutes (don't we all wish we could be her) and another will talk about the agonizing 12 hours she was in labor before getting an epidural and meeting her beautiful daughter.
Some women may feel a little overwhelmed by all of this information, but most women report feeling excited, and as if they have just joined a type of secret club. The problem is, most women don't share, or even talk about some of the scary things that can happen. This is to not upset the mother to be, but at some point, it would be nice to hear these things from friends and family instead of the doctor.
There are plenty of frightening things women can find out during pregnancy. Some are more serious than others, but when we think everything is going fine, anything other than wonderful news can be a little alarming.
15 Blood Transfusion
Here is another little fun one, one that might scare the pants right off of you! Blood transfusions! No one talks about this until your doctor mentions in an appointment that your iron levels are running low. They test these levels early in pregnancy, and then again as you get closer to your due date.
It's normal for your own iron levels to decrease during pregnancy, as your body is using your iron, and many other vitamins to create a small and wonderful person. If your iron levels seem to be getting lower, your doctor is going to recommend that you take a supplement. This will help to increase your level of iron, which is very important for birth.
Some doctors will mention, at this point, that not getting your iron high enough may result in the need for a blood transfusion after delivery. The reason behind this is that iron levels will decrease again due to blood loss during labor, and dipping below a certain level can result in the body shutting down, thus a transfusion is needed.
14 Umbilical Hernias
An umbilical hernia is located in the center of the abdomen, near the belly button. They are caused by a small hole in the abdominal wall that can allow tissue to protrude through. Most umbilical hernias are congenital, meaning you are born with it.
In most people, this small hole will close when they are around 2 years old. In others, this hole never closes, but may go unnoticed their entire life. In pregnancy, it is much more common to have an issue with the unclosed hole, or an umbilical hernia. As the body stretches and the mother-to-be gains weight, the abdominal wall tears and can allow tissue to protrude through.
Not only is this painful, but can be slightly debilitating. The pain is more intense when the bowels are full, or when the person coughs, sneezes, laughs intensely or bends at the waist. If you are a mother of more than one, you know that chasing a toddler when pregnant involves a whole lot of bending at the waist!
The scary part is when you start reading about an umbilical hernia online. You find all kinds of pictures with belly bulges talking about how the tissue, sometimes including part of your intestines can protrude through this hole. Umm, gross anyone? Nothing like thinking your baby was a strong kicker and realizing your organs are just trying to sneak out of a hole in your belly button!
The good news, in the majority of cases, after delivery, the hole will shrink back down on its own, and the symptoms will go away. In rare cases, if the hole does not shrink in size, surgery may be required
13 Scary Preeclampsia
Up to 10% of women will be diagnosed with preeclampsia. Preeclampsia is a pregnancy condition characterized by high blood pressure and protein in the urine. It causes damage to another organ system, generally the liver or the kidneys. This condition will usually appear in women after the 20th week of pregnancy.
It can occur in women who have had perfect blood pressure up until this point. Even a small increase in blood pressure can be a sign.
It causes damage to another organ system, generally the liver or the kidneys. This condition will usually appear in women after the 20th week of pregnancy. It can occur in women who have had perfect blood pressure up until this point. Even a small increase in blood pressure can be a sign.
The problem with preeclampsia is the serious and even fatal side effects for both the mother and the baby. The only cure for this condition is the delivery of your baby. Where this becomes a scary and challenging task is when the pregnancy is not far enough along to make sure the baby's lungs are mature enough to be born.
Normally, bed rest is required, and a doctor will monitor you very closely to see exactly how the pregnancy is progressing.
12 Pregnancy Will Probably Bring On Constipation
So progesterone is that lovely hormone that your body produces a ton of during pregnancy. Part of its job is to slow down your digestive tract so that you can really extract all of the nutrients in your food, thus allowing baby to take everything that he or she needs out of every meal.
The plus side of this, the baby is getting what they need. The downside is this literally slows.shit.down. Literally! In case you were not already feeling completely huge, bloated, gassy and fat, NOW you can't even use the bathroom!
If you are experiencing any other side effects of wacky pregnancy things, such as an umbilical hernia, this only compounds the problem because full bowels put more pressure/pain on the hernia.
Eat plenty of fiber and drink plenty of water, that should help your body to get things moving along again.
11 Doctors Are Anxious To Induce
Yes, believe it or not, we live in an age when doctors simply cannot wait to get that baby out of you. The story you hear about the woman going 2 weeks past her due date, and then suddenly going into labor, are no longer typical. As you get close to your 40 weeks, your doctor will begin checking you to see if you are dilated.
They will start talking about whether or not your cervix is ripening, or effacing, and what percentage of this is complete.
This can be very overwhelming, especially when no one is prepared for when the doctor says, "Nothing is happening, we may need to schedule an induction." Excuse me, a what? This is the process by which doctors give you Pitocin and try to force your body into having contractions, dilating, and giving birth.
Before they schedule an induction, most doctors will try to give you some tips to get things moving on your own, lots of walking, sex, and certain types of stimulation are a good start!
10 C-Sections Can And Do Happen
Another thing few women talk about is the alarming rate at which doctors are performing C-sections nowadays. In some cases, they are deemed medically necessary, and mother or baby is in some type of danger. Other times, it seems like doctors schedule them out of convenience or when labor is progressing as quickly as they want it to.
A cesarean is the delivery of a baby via a six-inch incision through the abdomen and uterus, that allows the baby to be born without passing through the birth canal. This is generally a frightening experience for mom, who will be told that she has a 2-hour window in order to change her acceptance of her previous birth plan.
Not only that, but she will sit alone in the operating room while getting an epidural, all white hubby waits in the hall.
Recovery time is much longer, and can really hinder your ability to take care of your new child and in many cases, yourself. Plenty of proud C-section mamas survive these surgeries every day, but it is not the anticipated birth plan for most.
9 Wacky Nose Issues
Nosebleeds? Check. Runny nose? Check. Stuffy nose? Check. A general lack of being able to breathe, ever? Checkmate. You will find that your nose is doing all kinds of funny things it never did before. If you suffered from allergies prior to becoming pregnant, you may be breathing clearly, or barely breathing.
Even those who have never taken an allergy pill in their lives, find themselves overusing saline spray to try and get some relief.
The other side of your nasal problems will be smelling. You can smell things that you pray you can un-smell, but you can't. The girl in your office, her coffee breath is going to gag you if she doesn't chew some gum. Problem? You have to talk to her at least every 30 minutes for a job-related function. How about food? Make you ill?
Great, you will be dealing with this for a number of months, and everyone in the lunchroom will undoubtedly be heating up whatever it is that makes you ill. Chicken? Broccoli? Yuck!
8 Small For Gestation Age
This one sounds exactly like what it is. The baby is measuring small based on the gestational age that the doctor has predicted you should be. The problem with SGA is that due dates are really just an estimate of gestational age, based upon the last menstrual cycle.
Plenty of women still get their period the first month after they have conceived. Doctors are trying to use measurements as better predictions for the gestational age of the baby.
If a baby really is small for gestational age, there are many growth problems that can be attributed to the pregnancy itself. Some of these babies will suffer from intrauterine growth restriction. This occurs when the baby doesn't get the proper nutrients or oxygen to develop all of the necessary tissues and organs.
SGA can be brought on via issues with the mother, such as diabetes, alcohol or drug use, or even problems with the placenta, such as decreased blood flow or a placenta detaching from the uterus.
7 Gestational Diabetes
Your placenta is working away, making hormones and doing its job. However, many of these hormones can lead to an increase of sugar in your blood. In most cases, women's bodies will produce enough insulin to deal with this. When the body does not produce enough insulin to deal with this problem, you will find yourself with a case of gestational diabetes.
If diagnosed, a mother can help control the symptoms by eating healthy, exercising regularly and taking any prescribed medications. Once the baby has been delivered, sugar levels should return to normal, and the "gestational" diabetes will be gone.
However, it is recommended that anyone diagnosed with the continue to be monitored in the future as they are at a higher risk for developing type 2 diabetes.
6 Incontinence Is Pretty Normal
Yep, you read that correctly! Now everyone shares the constant urge to pee, and getting up in the middle of the night. Hell, they even tell you that you are extremely thirsty all the time, and since you have common sense, you already know this means more trips to the bathroom.
However, what no one DOES say, is that you may not be able to control going to the bathroom. Don't believe me, ask a 9-month pregnant woman who just sneezed!
The baby in your uterus is putting a tremendous amount of pressure on your bladder. Especially as you get into the later months and baby grows in size and turns to assume the birthing position. Don't be surprised if your sneeze, cough, or laugh ends in a little extra something. And that little something may just send you to the drugstore for some small panty liners!
5 One Word, Hemorrhoids!
Has your pregnancy and wonderful side effects been a little bit of a pain in the ass? Well, even better, now you have the pain to match! Because of the additional pressure that your baby is putting on your organs, and the fact that you are now constipated, you may develop hemorrhoids from the constant pushing and straining to use the bathroom.
These veins inside your rectum will become swollen and may protrude, bleed and itch.
Doesn't that sound like a pleasant afternoon? So you can't use the bathroom and when you finally do, you are itching, bleeding and having all sorts of fun things poking out! Hemorrhoids can be internal or external, painful, and just an overall displeasure to have.
4 Losing All Control Of The Mouth
Do this one is a double edged sword. There is the obvious lack of control, driven by raging hormones and mood swings. Is Tom in your office and idiot? Well, you just may tell him this to his face, over the next 9 grueling months. Feel like telling someone, "Guess what? Not my problem!" Go ahead and share this, because your mouth won't hold you back!
Then, there are other situations where you lose control of your mouth. What is up with all of this saliva? Are you "spraying it" instead of "saying it?" You will make a lot of extra saliva so just be prepared for some extra swallowing. How about everything tasting funny. Taste metal? Blood? Yummy!
Or, are you finding yourself snoring and drooling? Waking up to a soaking wet pillow, and your husband sleeping on the couch? This is another side effect of nose issues I mentioned. Buckle up, it's going to be a long 9 months!
3 Even A Natural Birth May Require Stitches
So once someone mentions a C-section, women start to considering all of the scary things that go along with it, incisions, bleeding, stitches, etc. What people fail to tell you, is that even a natural birth may require stitching!
Depending on the size of the baby, how far you are dilated, and the angle of the baby's body, you may tear or need to be cut down there. Yes, between your vagina and your anus.
While the full tear is rare, and only affects one in one hundred mothers, having some type of stitching down there is very common and occurs in very often. Doctors will not normally allow you to leave the hospital until you have had a bowel movement. They don't want you leaving, getting home, and finding out that something is not put back together correctly.
After hearing some of the stories of women who underwent an episiotomy, a C-section doesn't sound all that bad, does it?
2 Contractions Don't Stop When Labor Stops
So your beautiful baby is born, the contractions have stopped, and you are left to recover, heal and enjoy your wonderful little bundle of joy, right? Sort of. However, your body will continue to have contractions for several days. These muscle cramps are the body's way of stopping excess blood loss.
During this process though, the body will actually continue to bleed, and you will want to make sure you are covered in terms of wearing pads, and a crappy pair of underwear that you don't mind throwing away.
Another odd function of these contractions after birth, is that you will find that this occurs, even after a C-section. Many women are surprised by the bleeding that takes place after a C-section, as they assume the blood loss occurred during their surgery, and that this is the end of it.
However, that is not the case, and women should expect 2-5 days worth of bleeding even if a C-section was performed.
1 Feet Can Grow An Entire Size
So not only will you experience swelling in your feet, and widening of feet, and a flattened arch, but you may find that the size of shoe you wear will also change. Women have reported their feet growing an entire size larger during pregnancy. This is in part to the weight gain, in most women that are at least 25 pounds heavier afterward.
Additionally, the relaxed ligaments can play a part in this, driven by the hormones that are raging throughout your body.
The kicker is, sometimes this is permanent and sometimes it is not. If your feet return to their normal size after pregnancy, you can fit right back into those strappy sandals. Otherwise, you may never wear them again. On the flip side, at least you get to buy new shoes!
Sources: Fit Pregnancy, Women's Health Mag, Everyday Family