10 Pregnancy Truths No One Talks About
The first time I was pregnant, I really had no idea what was going to happen to my body. "You don't know what you don't know" wasn't exactly how I wanted to embrace my pregnancy, but it kind of happened anyway.
Since every pregnancy is unique and every family passes along their own old wives' tales... you might feel unprepared for the changes to come, so today I'm sharing a few things that caught me by surprise.
Here's what to really expect during your pregnancy:
1. You might pee when you sneeze.
Yes, it's true. It happens and it’s a side effect of pregnancy. A fast-growing baby and an expanding uterus put pressure on your bladder. A sudden movement like a sneeze, cough or laugh, can cause you to pee yourself a little.
It's more common in your second pregnancy, especially if you delivered naturally the first time. Something you can do to help prevent it is Kegel exercises which tighten the pelvic muscles. The good news is most women don’t continue experiencing the leakage issues post childbirth.
2. Pregnancy cravings are real.
Cliché but true. You’ll start craving things you don’t typically want and have aversions to things you love. The theory is that it's your body's way of getting the necessary nutrients and minerals to help you grow baby. Craving milk? You may need more calcium.
You learn to avoid the foods and drinks that make you feel not so good after having them. For example, I’m a big black tea drinker. When I’m pregnant, though, my mouth feels icky after a cup of tea, so I don’t drink it as often as I usually would.
With both pregnancies, I craved both sweet and savory foods, cookies and cream ice cream and Hot Cheetos being my guiltiest pleasures. I also experienced an odd aftertaste post meals during both of my pregnancies and a normal taste for foods only resumed post childbirth.
3. It’s not easy getting around.
This is especially true in the third trimester when you are at your heaviest and your foundation (your legs) isn't used to carrying all that extra weight. You can be off-balance and trippy so it’s best to avoid high heels and flimsy slippers that don’t provide support. You also want to avoid compact parking spaces as you’ll find it might not be so easy to squeeze yourself through your car door with a baby bump. (And public restrooms, which you may need to visit often as a third-trimester mama, can be a juggling act. I've actually not been able to get into and close the stall door!)
4. Leg cramps will have you requesting calf massages.
OMG they are the worst, and always come when you're trying to get rest. Sometimes these charlie horses are caused by dehydration so make sure to drink lots of water. I've also heard that bananas can help!
5. You may suffer from constipation or diarrhea.
There's a lot happening inside of your body, and your digestive system can either slow down or get over active. As pregnancy progresses, there is physical displacement of the bowel by the growing uterus causing alterations in bowel movements. Other causes in alterations of bowel movement frequency and functioning include changes in a woman's physical activity levels, prenatal vitamins (as they contain iron, which are known to cause constipation), new food preferences during pregnancy, as well as bony and postural changes.
6. Gum sensitivity and nose bleeds.
As you get further along in your pregnancy, your blood volume increases and all over swelling is happening. This can cause your gums to bleed when brushing and random nose bleeds when you blow your nose. Surges of estrogen can also make your gums sensitive. I personally experienced gum bleeding in both of my pregnancies and the occasional nose bleeds in my second pregnancy.
7. Swollen feet are no fun!
They get especially tired and swollen in the third trimester when you’re at your heaviest. Some women have to go up one or two shoe sizes during and post pregnancy (but don't start shopping just yet, others had no problems returning to their pre-baby heels).
8. Breathing is not easy, between the baby pressing into your lungs and the non-stop congestion.
It’s another (s)not so pleasant side effect of pregnancy. You will be extra boogery and have a constant stuffy nose, and maybe post-nasal drip. Partly caused by hormonal changes, but also due to more blood circulation during pregnancy, which can make the blood vessels inside your nose swell and lead to nasal congestion.
9. Your skin and hair may change.
They say a baby girl steals your beauty but I experienced lackluster skin in both of my pregnancies—both boys. My skin was especially dull in the first trimester and then gradually improved and got a glow about it at the end of my pregnancies. Your hair will be extra thick and you’ll have minimal fallout while you’re pregnant, but be prepared to lose all that hair that you didn’t lose during pregnancy after you have your baby. My fallout started at about 2 months postpartum both times and stopped just passed 6 months postpartum. Why do you think so many new moms chop off their hair?
10. You may delay getting out of bed due to the intense pelvic pain.
Somewhere around the end of the second trimester, mamas-to-be often experience pelvic pain that makes it especially painful to do simple things like walk, get out of bed, put on pants, and climb stairs. You can help build your stability with ice or heating pads, wearing a maternity belly band, and keeping your legs close together when doing things like swinging out of the car or climbing into bed.
I hope this list of things to expect while pregnant helps you because I was unprepared for SO MUCH of it. Do you have anything you'd like to add to this list?