When I first found out I was having a baby, I felt so happy I could fly. After the initial excitement of pregnancy wore off, I came crashing back down to earth — literally. I've always been clumsy, but being pregnant made me even more unsteady on my feet. That's when I learned firsthand that pregnancy can bring more than its fair share of pains in the neck...or the back. I spent hours on Google after that looking up common pregnancy complaints moms-to-be should know about. And then I prayed fervently to the pregnancy gods that none of them happened to me. Spoiler alert: they did.
Although the body can do all kinds of amazing and weird things when it’s pregnant, it surprised me that some of the most annoying things about my pregnancy had nothing to do with physical symptoms. Sometimes the way other people treated me while I was pregnant became the proverbial pain in my neck. Even though annoyances, aches, and pains aren't always serious, it doesn’t make them any easier to deal with during the 40 long weeks of pregnancy. Creating a small human from scratch is a ton of work and we're entitled to a complaint or two (or 10).
1. All The Barfing
Nausea is a common and annoying complaint about pregnancy that can drastically affect your quality of life. I had to sleep with saltine crackers next to my bed or else I'd get sick before my feet even hit the floor in the morning. Dr. Erin Duncan, an Atlanta-based OB-GYN, wants moms to remember that just because a discomfort is common doesn't mean they have to suffer through it. "There are medications that are available to help ease nausea and vomiting in the first trimester — and good studies about the benefits of ginger!" she says.
"Small frequent meals (no bigger than the size of your palm and always with some protein) also help you stay full without overeating," Duncan adds, "which can make nausea worse."
2. Gravity Hitting You All The Wrong Ways
I'm a natural klutz, but I found out early on that pregnancy also affects your center of gravity when I slipped and fell in my house. No matter how carefully I walked, I could never keep my balance. I took several tumbles during my pregnancy and scared myself witless each time, although (thankfully) I never hurt anything but my pride.
3. Bossy Strangers
Because everyone thinks they're an expert on pregnancy when they see a baby bump in public, people always ask, "Um, should you be eating that?" I even got it from an associate at a sub shop who refused to sell me a cold cut sandwich (that I planned to heat up at home). My pregnancy became everyone's business, and I just wanted them to mind their own.
4. Achey Back
I admit I felt like a true mama-to-be the moment I caught myself in The Pregnant Lady Stance. You know the one: hands bracing the small of your aching back while your baby bump thrusts forward. Back pain, one of pregnancy's most common discomforts, can be caused by a number of issues, including sciatica and round ligament pain.
"Stretching is helpful with sciatica, and well as being aware of proper alignment (take the phone out of your back pocket and try not to carry your older kiddos on the same side all the time)," advises Duncan.
5. Clothes That Never Fit
Nothing got in the way of my feeling like a pregnant goddess more than wearing ill-fitting clothes. I spent half of my pregnancy using the rubber band trick (even though my buttons dug into my belly), because most maternity pants were too baggy and long for my petite frame. Apparently no one makes maternity clothes for women the same height as a 4th grader.
6. Strangers Rubbing Your Belly
I get it — baby bumps are adorable, and people like to pat and rub cute things. But pregnant bellies are attached to actual people. It's rude to touch folks without their permission, but strangers often forget this golden rule when it comes to pregnancy. When people would rub my stomach, I would give them the most awkward look ever until they felt as uncomfortable as I did.
7. Out-Of-This-World Exhaustion
I always thought it was a cruel trick of Nature to gift us with all these nesting urges during pregnancy while throwing extreme fatigue in the mix. How are we supposed to get everything done when we barely have enough energy to turn over during our naps? Maybe it's true the exhaustion is simply prepping us for sleepless nights with a newborn.
8. Quitting Your Favorite Foods And Drinks
I love to eat, so my heart sank when my midwife handed me a list of foods and drinks she recommended I abstain from. The mile-long list included some of my favorites like sushi, coffee, and the delicious soft-boiled egg in ramen. My husband showed his solidarity for my modified diet by eating ceviche right next to me.
I always wanted what I couldn't eat. It makes perfect sense then that I would crave a medium rare bleu cheese burger for the entire pregnancy.
9. Swollen... Everything
Is there a single part of the body that does not swell up during pregnancy? From my fluffy chipmunk cheeks to my newfound cankles, I felt like a water balloon. Even my nose "spread" when I was pregnant. Speaking of my schnoz...
10. Ugh, The Nosebleeds
I had never caught a nose bleed before in my life until I was pregnant with my firstborn. Little did I know moms-to-be experience an increase in blood flow, along with enlarged blood vessels, which can cause the tiny blood vessels in the nose to burst. Interesting... and gross.