What They Don’t Tell You About Pregnancy (10 Things You Should Know)
Finding out that you are pregnant is exciting! Especially, if you have been planing for a while and you finally see the Big Fat Plus. Now, the next nine months are going to be awesome and super easy, won’t they? After all, you are prepared for the morning sickness, the weird cravings and the frequent pees. You have seen it all on TV and read it in the books. Well, think again.
When I discovered I was pregnant, I started reading and watching everything I could get my hands on. So, what could possibly surprise me? The answer is simple: Everything! Suddenly, I was constantly googleing these weird things I experienced, but no one ever mentioned. Anything I’ve read or heard was actually totally different. I felt confused. I felt cheated! Nobody had told me about the “real” side of pregnancy. I thought women should talk more openly about this. About the good things and the bad things, so it does not come as a surprise which raises anxiety in soon-to-be moms.
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1. Pregnancy Is Hard
Before I got pregnant, I always thought: “I am not going to be whingeing about any pains. I will be far too grateful for growing a baby inside me!” Little did I now! Not only did I underestimate pregnancy as such, but also what kind of emotional and physical strain it can have on you. From sleepless nights to a constantly aching body. Pregnancy is way harder and way more strenuous than anyone can imagine. In contrast to what I have read, the second trimester was the hardest for me. I learned, it is totally okay to complain. You have to vent. That does not mean you are ungrateful. But I am pretty sure, my husband had enough of hearing “My back hurts so bad today!”
2. Morning Sickness Does Not Only Come In The Mornings
Okay, the name ‘morning sickness’ is most misleading! How about ‘all day sickness’? You wake up in the morning, and you feel sick. You go to sleep at night, and you still feel sick. You constantly wonder if you’re nauseous because you can’t eat, or if you’re sick because you ate. My plans for healthy eating went completely out of the window, when all I could eat was plain white bread (not even whole grain!) for the entire first trimester. If there is only one thing you can keep down, eat it. But don’t forget to take your prenatal vitamins! “The morning sickness will subside with the beginning of the second trimester.” That’s what it says in the books and it is what the doctors tell you. Not for me… With the second trimester, the vomiting started and kept going even when I was in labor. Once my baby was out, the sickness was gone.
3. Light Bleeding And Spotting
At the very beginning of your pregnancy you might experience a light bleeding, which can be mistaken for a period. When the fertilized egg implants into the uterus lining this implantation bleeding can occur. Furthermore, light bleeding or spotting can happen after sexual intercourse in any trimester. An increased blood flow makes the cervix more sensitive and tears in the vaginal wall more likely, too. Spotting or bleeding after sexual intercourse should be light and subside quickly. In this case, there is usually no reason for concern. However, if you experience any kind of bleeding that worries you, is heavy or accompanied by pain, or lasts long, see your healthcare provider immediately!
4. Weird Pains
Pregnancy comes with all sorts of weird pains. Your body is growing a whole human being. Therefore, space has to be made in order to accommodate this tiny person. Your ribs get pushed, your organs get squashed. It hurts! Your body is preparing for nursing, so your breasts hurt. A baby’s head pushing onto your lady bits causes vaginal pains or a so-called lightening crotch. Additionally, you are likely to experience ligament pains when your belly expands. Those mostly uncomfortable, yet very common pains got me running to the ER. After the heavily pregnant doctor confirmed that ligament pains are most annoying but nothing to worry about, I felt relieved but also a little embarrassed. But really, when you experience pains that scare you in any way, go to see your doctor!
5. Bad sleep, Weird dreams
At one point of my pregnancy, I did not want to dream anymore. Whenever I found some sleep, I would have the craziest dreams and remember them all. Many women experience strange, vivid dreams during their term. Due to an increased production of hormones, the brain processes emotions, like anxiety and stress, very differently from what it used to. But it is already hard enough to get good sleep with a watermelon for a belly, an aching back and a dancing baby inside.the womb. Not to forget, the nightly peeing sessions. You start to wonder, when you are supposed to “sleep, while you still can” before the baby arrives. Hardly ever was I able to fall asleep before 12 o’clock at night and at 5 am I was wide awake. Surprise: That’s exactly my newborn’s sleeping pattern.
6. Burps, Constipation, Farts And Heartburn
An uglier side of being pregnant is that hormonal changes really mess with your digestive system. During pregnancy progesterone levels in a woman’s body are a lot higher than usual. Since the hormone progesterone causes muscles to relax, your intestines are affected, too. Hence, you can get heartburn and your digestive system slows down, which leads to a built up of gas. This is why, you burp more often and suffer from flatulence. An unusually slow digestive system goes hand in hand with constipation, as well. Apart from producing an incredible amount of gas, you probably spent longer times on the toilet. Try to increase your water intake and get physical activities into your day to help the digestive system going.
7. The Not-So-Pretty
Pregnant women certainly look beautiful, but do they really feel beautiful? Sweaty hot flushes, pimply skin and more body hair can definitely make it hard. Caused by an increased blood flow, the hot flushes can come without warning. I often felt so sweaty and smelly that I would have up to six cold showers a day. Being pregnant in the middle of the summer did not help. Apart from a change of the body’s scent in general, the hormones cause an increased growth of hair. This is super nice regarding the hair on your scalp. The wild growing hair on belly, around nipples or in the face is less welcome. Additionally, the ‘pregnancy glow’ is actually just extra oily skin that can lead to more pimples than in the teenage years.
8. About Your Belly
Baby bumps come in all different shapes and sizes. Unfortunately, you can’t predict the size of your baby or the gender by the looks of you bump. Just as unpredictable is, if and when you are getting stretch marks. Stretch marks can appear any time during pregnancy. Or they don’t come at all. I carried 41 weeks and did not get one. No, I did not use any cream or oils. So save your money on the bump creams! You either get stretch marks or you don’t. Both is perfectly beautiful, because your body did amazing work! Also, your belly button might pop or it won’t. If it does, it will go back in when your belly shrinks to its normal size. In case, your hormonal changes gave you a dark line on your belly (Linea Negra) it stays for months after birth – believe me.
9. Babies Move A Lot And Its Great
One night at about 14 weeks of pregnancy, I was lying in bed trying to fall asleep, but a restless feeling in my belly just wouldn’t let me. I was wondering why my belly felt so bubbly. I knew it wasn’t my stomach being upset. Only later did I realize that the bubbles I felt, actually were my baby’s movements. Most women will feel this “quickening” somewhere between 16 and 22 weeks, or as early as 12 weeks by the second pregnancy. From 26 weeks on wards till right up to birth, you should feel your baby move daily. Movements are most likely felt, when you are not distracted. Therefore, you might think your baby is practicing Martial Arts, while you are trying to sleep. Nonetheless, feeling your baby moving inside you, is an incredibly amazing experience.
10. Don’t Buy Nursing Bras Too Early
While it is important to get well-fitting bras during pregnancy, I don’t recommend buying nursing bras too early. T-Shirt or Sport Bras without underwire that potentially could harm developing milk ducts, are a good investment and a cheaper alternative. You will go through different bra sizes until your baby arrives. Not only will your breast grow, your rips are going to measure differently, too, as your body creates more room for your baby. If you bought nursing bras that fit well in your last trimester, they might be too small in the first days after your baby arrived. When the milk comes in, you feel like you had a boob job overnight. A couple of weeks after giving birth, though, your breasts are about the size during the last trimester.
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