Not expecting to ever have a child through pregnancy, I didn’t know what pregnancy would entail and people certainly weren’t jumping at the opportunity to tell me all about it. Now, I’m over halfway through this journey and continue to be surprised by all the crazy things happening in my body. You hear about the nausea (which is a beast) and your boobs getting bigger, but here are some things you may not hear about being pregnant…
Getting pregnant is half the battle. Staying pregnant is the other half.
One thing you learn quickly is that you’re super likely to lose the pregnancy the first trimester. (Super is a medical term, of course.) And you’re never truly out of the woods, either.
Week twelve is a week everyone looks forward to because some see that as the first trimester, but then you learn that the first trimester really doesn’t end until week fourteen. Week fourteen comes around and it’s great that you’re still pregnant, but what if the baby has a fatal heart defect or Trisomy 18 or another fatal disorder? Many (including myself) don’t find that out until week twenty. Week twenty comes around and everything is okay, but now there’s a possibility of preterm labor or premature rupture of the membranes. Your due date comes and anything can happen during birth. All these things can happen, so yeah, getting pregnant is hard, but staying pregnant is just has hard for many people.
Anxiety is a real thing, and you’re not alone.
Staying pregnant is hard, but so is being pregnant. Because you learn about everything that can go wrong, every twitch and ache can (and likely will) give you an anxiety attack. There were two days during, like, week nine that I didn’t feel sick or achy. What did I do? Called my OB in a panic that my symptoms had gone away and surely my baby had died. To be clear, this is a sign of miscarriage, but so is just about every other pregnancy symptom. Back ache? Perfectly normal pregnancy symptom and also conveniently a sign of preterm labor. Some days you’ll worry the baby isn’t moving enough, others you’ll worry he or she is moving too much.
Some days you will feel pregnant, but some days you will forget there is a human just trying to grow inside of you.
It is the weirdest thing, I hit the second trimester and didn’t feel nauseous at all. I still felt pretty tired, and the aches were definitely there, but there would be some days that I didn’t feel pregnant at all. I felt like a normal human being living her life and not actively duplicating. It freaked me out! How can my body act so nonchalantly while it serves as a baby making factory? Being pregnant is weird.
You become flexible as hell. Almost too flexible.
There’s a hormone very innappropriately called relaxin, which does everything but relax your body. It’s actually the culprit of most of your aches and pains while pregnant – specifically your back. In your body’s effort to relax your pelvic ligaments and eventually soften your cervix to prepare for childbirth, your joints and muscles all over your body “relax”. This is cool, right? Unless you’re just doing your thing putting your laundry away and accidentally bend your wrist a little too far back because your wrist can do that now.
As far as nutrition goes, the growing baby inside of you is a parasite.
Prenatal vitamins are more for you than they are for the baby. Crazy, right? The exception being folic acid. But all the other vitamins are vitamins that your baby will leech out of you whether or not you take prenatals. Don’t have enough calcium for the baby? Don’t worry, your body will literally take it from your teeth to give it to the baby. Take the vitamins, for sure, but know that if you miss a day or two the baby is fine, you just might feel a bit out of it yourself.
Babies get hiccups in the womb.
One of my first ultrasounds it looked like our baby was a little jumping bean. It freaked me out of course, but then the OB just told me it was hiccups. That’s bizarre to me. What gets weirder is when you’re twenty-some weeks pregnant and can feel the baby’s hiccups, or stranger yet, see the baby hiccup with your moving belly.
Morning sickness can make you so sick that you can’t imagine eating… but the only way to get rid of it is to eat, which makes zero sense but is a thing.
First trimester I was so sick I couldn’t eat. I was throwing up everything, even water. It was miserable. The only way to keep it away? Consistently snacking. Even if it was just a few almonds here, a cube of cheese there, or a cup of apple sauce, I needed to eat every 30-60 minutes. If I didn’t do this, I would be super sick and wouldn’t be able to eat any actual meals. The fun news is that this whole game made me lose 15 lbs. completely unintentionally. (OB was not concerned and rest assured I’ve gained it all back and more now!)
Every pregnancy is different – don’t compare yours to anyone else’s.
You might feel the first kicks week 20+, they might feel it week 16. Their morning sickness might not end, yours might end week 12. It doesn’t mean anything is wrong with you or them. This goes doubly for any symptoms you do or do not have. A woman at my work and my mother in law both had virtually no symptoms their entire pregnancy, but many women aren’t that lucky. When I read about women having to pee every 10 minutes the first trimester, I got worried because I didn’t. Was my baby not big enough? Was the baby not in the right place? No, and no. I just didn’t have to pee. Sometimes it really is that simple. Being pregnant is a unique experience for everyone, your experience will not be the same as anyone else’s.
Google is your worst enemy and should be banned from any pregnant woman’s phone and computer.
Don’t Google your symptoms. Why? The internet is so helpful, right? No. In the land of Google, everything is an emergency. You have to remember that your doctor or midwife practices medicine, because medicine is a practice. Google and the people in all the pregnancy forums don’t practice medicine and they don’t know you personally. I made the mistake one time of googling shoulder pain while pregnant. In all reality, I probably slept on my shoulder wrong that night, but Google told me I either had internal bleeding, gallstones, or pre-eclampsia. Two of those are seriously life threatening. My shoulder pain went away the next day, and I’m alive to tell the story.
Being sick while pregnant is the absolute worst.
When you’re pregnant you officially have a compromised immune system. You’re way more susceptible to getting sick, and the worst part is that you can’t take much for it. I had a really, really, really bad cold a few months ago and was miserable. I had to take a week off of work and thought I was killing myself and the baby. My doctor’s advice? Tea, Vic’s VapoRub, and sleep. I wanted all the drugs, but instead drank all the water and peed myself during every single sneeze and cough for a week. It was misery topped with misery, with a final serving of misery that week. But hey, I was pregnant and that’s pretty freaking cool.
So that’s what I have. Now you know. These aren’t all fun things. In fact, many of them aren’t fun, but being pregnant is amazing. Baby girl is just flopping around in my belly right now. Her aerobics class started promptly at 5:15AM this morning, and I’m just thankful she’s getting more exercise than I am these days. Good for her.
Bonus Tip: Baby can and will kick, punch, head butt, and grab your cervix. It’s a real thing. Thankfully 99.9% of the time this does not mean baby is about to kung-fu panda his or her way out of you.