19 things no one tells you about pregnancy
19 things no one tells you about pregnancy
Ah pregnancy, that wonderful, glowing time of excitement and anticipation. But while the miracle of creating new life truly is a fantastic experience, pregnancy does also bring its rather less than magical moments! Here we take a look at 19 things that no one tells you about pregnancy – don't say you haven't been warned…
1. You will feel petrified for the first 12 weeks
The scary truth is that successfully falling pregnant doesn't necessarily mean you're going to have a baby. You will spend the first 12 weeks, 'the danger zone', feeling absolutely petrified – having no doubt read and been told countless horror stories about first trimester miscarriages. That anxiety, coupled with morning sickness that makes you feel like shit, can very quickly put a downer on your initial elation and excitement.
2. It's ok to tell people you're pregnant before you're out of that 'danger zone'
You'll need the support of your closest friends and family anyway if, God forbid, anything does go wrong – and, depending on your job, there might be some pretty solid reasons to let your boss know if you can't stop vomming during those early days.
3. Morning sickness isn't just for the mornings
Speaking of vomit, no one warns you that morning sickness is a total misnomer. Don't expect the nausea to stop as soon as the clock strikes midday.
4. You'll have some really weird dreams
Pregnancy dreams have been likened to LSD trips – vivid, surreal, creepy, and often also quite scary and distressing.
5. Your brain will turn to mush
They don't call it 'baby brain' for nothing – during pregnancy you'll find yourself becoming more forgetful, losing things, and of course hypersensitive. Expect tears, and lots of them. On a more serious note, ante-natal depression is far less discussed than post-natal depression, but is a real and serious issue facing lots of expectant mums. Don't be afraid or ashamed of seeking help if you feel you can't cope.
6. Sneezing will make you wet yourself
Particularly towards the end of your pregnancy, there will be leaking – and the slightest sneeze, cough or laugh could set it off. As a result, you'll actually start doing those pelvic floor exercises! Speaking of leakages, get used to waking up in a puddle of your own drool.
7. Your bump will eventually get in the way of absolutely everything
This one seems quite obvious – baby bumps are pretty big by the time you give birth – but you don't necessarily realise the full implications of that until simple tasks like rolling over in bed, putting on your knickers, cooking dinner, or tying your shoe laces become virtually impossible.
8. Your sense of smell will improve
An enhanced sense of smell is another one of those weird pregnancy symptoms that no one mentions. Many women even describe craving smells as well as food, and of course many of those newly heightened smells will make you sick.
9. Your hair will get really thick and shiny
One of the perks of pregnancy hormones – but, on the downside, you'll also start sprouting body hair in weird places, like all over your bump and belly button, and you might even grow a beard.
10. You'll be sweaty and have hot flushes
That 'glow' people talk about? It's actually just a nice way of saying you'll be sweaty as hell.
11. Your feet will grow
Foot swelling is another common symptom of pregnancy, and your feet won't necessarily ever go back to their original size. Get yourself some comfy flip-flops.
12. Your lady parts won't be the same again until after the birth
Besides the leaky pee, you can also expect a LOT of discharge and mucus during pregnancy and, as you near full-term, your vaginal lips will grow. Another seriously alarming side effect that's common in pregnant women in their twenties is a Bartholin's cyst, which occurs when one of the Bartholin's glands (which produce lubrication) becomes blocked. Symptoms include a stinging sensation near your vagina and a horrifying black or angry red lump – and the cyst can't be removed until after you've had the baby and finished breast-feeding.
13. You'll be constipated
But also gassy as hell – there'll be burping, farting, and heartburn like you would not believe.
14. You'll lose all sense of dignity
Being a blubbing, farting mess, and getting naked in front of just about everyone, becomes surprisingly normal.
15. Your boobs will grow, but your nipples will be constantly sore
Breast tenderness is one of the earliest signs of pregnancy – like a more extreme version of the soreness you may get before your period. Hormonal changes during pregnancy cause your boobs to swell, and you may also experience itchiness, darkening nipples, and – again – leaking! Invest in some really good, soft, supportive pregnancy bras, and avoid underwires.
16. Your baby moving can be painful
Although the wriggling and gigging can be adorable and exciting, it's normal to feel pain and discomfort around your abdomen and vagina when your baby moves. Some women call these pains 'fanny daggers'!
17. You'll get weird cramps and pains during the night
Carpal tunnel syndrome – painful tingling and numbness in the hands – is common during pregnancy, as are night time leg cramps. Many women experience painful spasms through their calves and up their legs, or a pins and needles type feeling in their wrists, hands and fingers.
18. Everyone will have an opinion on how you should raise your baby
Don't feel obliged to listen to any of them!
19. You won't necessarily feel that 'rush' of love immediately after your baby is born
Although not strictly about pregnancy, this is another really crucial issue that isn’t often talked about when you're expecting. It's perfectly normal for the unconditional burst of love you feel for your baby to develop over the first few days, rather than necessarily hitting you immediately after the birth, when you'll most likely be exhausted and bewildered.
Despite all of that, preparing for your baby's arrival really is a wonderful time. Enjoy making plans, surround yourself with a great support network, and remember to rely on experienced friends, relatives, doctors and midwives if you have any concerns – don't needlessly freak yourself out by Googling symptoms!