Pregnancy is supposed to be (arguably, if a woman can experience and/or chooses to experience it) the most wonderful time in a woman's life, right? Our bodies are building an entire human from scratch, and that's an amazing thing, no doubt about it. Having said that, the process of growing a baby isn't always filled with sunshine and rainbows. For every beautiful and wonderful change our pregnant bodies go through, are some really weird things that happen to our bodies during pregnancy that we just don't anticipate experiencing.
This probably wouldn't be the case if our friends or family or, oh I don't know, the many books about pregnancy, had warned us about the impending weirdness that is pregnancy. But, alas, here you are; reading an article about weird pregnancy things that no one warned you about because, well, no one fully explained the phenomenons that accompany baby-growing to you (or me, or anyone else). How rude, right?!
Fear not, mama bird, for I am here to to first congratulate you on your exciting news and impending trip towards motherhood, and then to make you completely and fully aware of some of the very strange, yet oddly amazing things that your body might subject you to during the next nine (or more) months of your life. Wondering what will happen to your breasts during pregnancy? What about why your skin during pregnancy or you're abnormally high sex drive? The good news is that while some of these upcoming experiences may be odd, you're going to be just fine. The bad news? Well, things are about to get, you know, really damn weird.
Here are 12 things no one warned you about during pregnancy, but definitely should have. Also, you're welcome.
The Complete And Total Exhaustion
Do you find yourself unable to keep your eyes open during your staff meeting at work? What about every time someone tries to tell a story that is longer than two minutes? It's not your fault; the first few months of pregnancy are exhausting. Your body is working overtime to set the stage to grow a human, so that's where all of your energy has since disappeared to. This is actually a great way of testing your tolerance for sleep deprivation, before it inevitably consumes you once your baby has arrived. Practice makes perfect, right?
The Endless, Random Pains
You're going to experience a lot of random pain during your pregnancy, including some super weird and unexpected zings to your vagina. During the first few months that your bump is growing, it may feel like you've done 700 crunches. It's actually just your uterus getting bigger and stretching out your abdominal muscles, causing them to become sore and, you know, tired. Eventually, braxton hicks contractions will play mind games on you for a few weeks towards the end of your pregnancy, causing you to question whether or not you're actually in labor and driving you to the brink of clinical insanity. Then the round ligament pain might kick in and give you those oh-so annoying zings to your groin area, and at some point your baby may decide to take a seat on your sciatic nerves, causing sharp pains in your back and possibly down your legs.
Doesn't that all sound like just the most fun?
All The Swelling
Some women go their entire pregnancy without swelling or gaining much weight at all, but most experience some sort of puffiness at some point. It typically happens towards the end of pregnancy, and is most often caused by increased blood and fluids in your body. If you spend too much time on your feet towards the end of your pregnancy, don't be surprised of they swell beyond the comfort of your shoes. Sometimes, the swelling makes it to your face too. (some women this gives them the youthful appearance that people pay their plastic surgeon for, but for others it sort of makes them look like Will Smith after he had an allergic reaction in the movie Hitch).
While most swelling is normal, sometimes is can be a sign of preeclampsia, which needs immediate medical attention so, you know, it never hurts to talk to your doctor or midwife.
All The Random Skin Changes
You've probably heard that pregnancy gives you that "glow." Well, maybe for some the hormones work in their favor and give them a beautiful and youthful look, but not everyone gets so lucky. There are some pretty weird things that might happen to your skin during pregnancy that usually get pushed to the back-burned in favor of the "pregnancy glow" and all its glory.
All the hormones raging through your body might send your face into a prepubescent state of pizza face (awesome, right?), give you strange and itchy rashes, cause spider veins, or even give you what's known as the mask of pregnancy. The mask of pregnancy often looks like dark, blotchy, or brown patches on your forehead, upper lip, and cheeks. None of these changes are ever fun to deal with, but most of them are completely harmless. The good news is, your skin will most likely return to its normal state a few months after pregnancy. Yay!
Sorry To Say, But The Hemorrhoids
Hemorrhoids are actually quite common during pregnancy, though you likely won't find anyone willing to admit it. Hemorrhoids are blood vessels in the rectal area that have become unusually swollen, particularly in the third trimester due to the added hormones, constipation, and pressure on your pelvic region. They can be itchy and sometimes painful, but are (typically) easily treated. Usually, staying hydrated and eating a fiber-rich diet can aid in their severity.
Even though you probably don't know anyone that is willing to admit that they've got hemorrhoids, there's a good chance you know someone that does. They aren't uncommon and are definitely nothing you should be embarrassed or afraid to talk about, especially to your doctor. Don't suffer in silence.
Your Boobs Are Going To Leak. Like, A Lot.
If you discover a strange substance in your bra while changing clothes, there's a good chance that it's colostrum. Your body is preparing for your baby to arrive, and, as you know, that baby will have to eat. So, towards the end of your pregnancy, you might notice that your breasts are leaking a thin, yellow(ish) fluid called colostrum, in preparation for breastfeeding. Colostrum is the precursor to breast milk and it is jam-packed with nutrients and antibodies that your baby wants and needs. Again, this is normal. Weird, but normal.
All Of The Unsolicited Advice
Everyone, from your neighbor to the teller at the bank to complete strangers in the checkout line, is going to want to offer you their expert advice on how you should carry out your pregnancy. They probably mean well, but be prepared to constantly dodge the unsolicited advice of literally everyone. Also, feel free to ignore them.
The Zero Sense Of Personal Space You'll Inevitably Feel
Everyone, from your neighbor to the teller at the bank to complete strangers in the checkout line, is also going to want to touch your belly. If this isn't something that bothers you, that's great, but if you're the kind of person that enjoys things like boundaries and elbow room and not contracting the germs of complete strangers, your bump is going to bring some baggage, the bigger it gets.
Morning, Noon, And Night Sickness That Actually Lasts For Months
Why do they even call it morning sickness? Why not call it "morning, noon, and night sickness," or "all day, every day sickness," or "don't come within smelling distance of a pickle or you're going to throw your guts up sickness?" The name of this phenomenon is very deceptive, and most women that have experienced "morning sickness" would agree that had had absolutely nothing to do with the morning. Most often, the nausea and vomiting go away after the first trimester, but some women will continue to experience some degree of it throughout their pregnancies, making following a healthy diet (or feeling even remotely good) quite difficult.
All The Damn Food Aversions
Don't be surprised if a food that you previously loved (like, couldn't get enough of and would never in a million years grow tired of eating) makes your stomach turn in all the wrong ways. Food aversions are very common during pregnancy, but that doesn't make bidding your favorite burger farewell any easier. Again, hormones are to blame and your appetite should return to normal once you've had your baby. In the meantime, try not to barf all over your favorite barista while having withdrawals from your (once coveted) morning bagel.
The Fact That You Might Not Enjoy Pregnancy
Some women love being pregnant and tell the tales of their supreme state of femininity throughout their amazing pregnancy. On the other hand, some women don't share the same warm and fuzzy feelings. It's okay to hate being pregnant. Not everyone loves having their body held captive, or constantly wanting to throw up, or getting so big that they walk like a penguin, and that's totally okay. Don't feel guilty, or like you're somehow not equipped to be a mother, if you're not enjoying your pregnancy. Trust me, not everyone does.
The Emotional Roller Coaster You Won't Be Able To Leave
Do you find yourself crying for no discernible reason? Perhaps it's a car commercial or a family of ducks waddling to a pond or even a hockey game that's got your all teary-eyed (even though you actually hate hockey) Maybe you just want to punch your coworker, whom you normally adore, in the face because they're breathing too loud and it's driving you crazy. Honestly, you cannot be held accountable for the varying emotions you'll feel throughout your pregnancy, because you probably have little to no control over them. Hormones are assholes.
So, this all sounds like a lot of fun, right? Pregnancy actually can be a great experience, if you're aware and prepared for all that it could potentially involve. Now that you're read this, you're up to speed on the some of the weirdness you might experience, so chances are, your pregnancy is going to be wonderful. (Or, you know, it won't, and hey: that's okay, too).