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There are so many weird things and that can happen during pregnancy that people just don’t tell you about. And so many tips and tricks that they conveniently forgot to tell you about until after the fact. Either they forgot all about it or they just don’t want to talk about it.
But don’t worry, I have NOT forgotten and I LOVE to share! If you are the type that likes to know what to expect so you can gird your loins and prepare, this post is for you!
- What No One Tells You About Getting Pregnant
- What No One Tells You About Very Early Pregnancy Symptoms
- What No One Tells You About Pregnancy- The First trimester (weeks 4-12)
- What No One Tells You About Pregnancy- The Second Trimester (weeks 13-24)
- What No One Tells You About Pregnancy- The Third Trimester (weeks 25~40)
- What No One Tells You About Pregnancy- The Day of (D-Day)
- What No One Tells You About The Womb
- You’ve Made it Through Pregnancy!
I know my body well. I always have, but I wanted to get to know it better. One of the main reasons I became a nurse was because I was so interested in the human body and how it works. I wanted to be able to put an explanation to all the weird aches and pains that a human body experiences.
Working in the emergency room as a nurse gives you quite a bit of insight on strange pregnancy happenings as well. Between the hundreds of co-workers and all the patients that you see, you receive a ton of advice and information! You would think that I would have felt a little more prepared for pregnancy.
What No One Tells You About Getting Pregnant
There are a few different ways to get pregnant. Well not so much different ways, but more like different scenarios. So lets get to it.
Obviously, there are some people who are just naturally really fertile. But there are also some instances where you might not expect to get pregnant.
Yes, you can get pregnant breastfeeding and don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.
Just because you don’t have a period yet doesn’t mean you aren’t ovulating. You very well could be ovulating still even if you don’t have a period yet!
Also, be careful, because you tend to be more fertile after you’ve recently had a baby.
While Using Contraceptives
Yes, you can get pregnant on the pill! Okay, it is pretty uncommon, but I personally know 5 people that got pregnant while diligently taking the pill. For real, 5!
Those minuscule stats you tend to ignore and say that won’t ever be me can become a reality. So don’t rule it out completely.
Easily on Purpose
Like I said before, some people are just fertile. Super regular cycle, really clear signs of ovulation, etc, etc, etc. . . I am not one of these people, normally.
Remember when I said earlier that you are more fertile after you have a baby? Well, you can easily get pregnant on purpose because of this newfound fertility.
It took me ONE TRY to get pregnant with my second. ONE! Ignorant me thought it would take me a few months like the first time around, but nope.
I could tell a little less than 2 weeks later that something was up. I pretty much knew right away (almost didn’t need to take a pregnancy test, the symptoms were so pronounced).
Not so Easily on Purpose
Sometimes we need a little help or just some patience.
Did you know that you can really only get pregnant 6 days out of the month? On average that’s only about a 20% chance if your cycle is 28 days. My average cycle is about 40 days, decreasing my chances by. . . Don’t make me do the math.
It took me several months to get pregnant with my first. It was a super stressful time. I had been on and off the pill practically my entire adult life with ZERO pregnancy scares to boot. I was afraid it wasn’t even going to be possible.
But once I learned to relax, my uterus became a less hostile environment and I became pregnant. Well meaning folks will tell you that you need to relax and not stress out about trying to get pregnant.
I am going to tell you the same thing, but with a crap-ton more emphasis! Relaxing and not stressing about getting pregnant is the KEY.
“New evidence suggests that stress does affect fertility. A recent study found that women with high levels of alpha-amylase, an enzyme that correlates with stress, have a harder time getting pregnant.”health.usnews.com
I kept hearing from people things like, “Just get drunk, relax, that’s how I got pregnant.” So I tried to say I was relaxed by telling everyone (myself included), “If it happens, it happens, if not, then we will figure it out.”
That’s all well and good, but they were all just empty words. I was visibly distraught. Even my mother-in-law noticed.
After a very intense outburst of tears and venting to my mother-in-law and actually opening up to my husband about my feelings. I was finally able to really relax about trying to get pregnant. Then lo and behold, I was pregnant!
I’m not kidding you, it was only a few weeks later.
Some people it will take longer.
Fertility experts say that if you have been actively trying for a six months to year (depending on your age) and still no pregnancy, then it may be time for the two of you to get checked out.
If are still having a hard time, then it may be time for some medical intervention. . .
The treatments may be as basic as putting you on fertility drugs, or something as invasive as IVF.
I found a clear and concise article from parents.com explaining all of the different options. Read about them here. I like that the article also includes pros and cons and average cost.
What No One Tells You About Very Early Pregnancy Symptoms
Woman find out they are pregnant in many different ways, whether it’s from realizing you may be pregnant from the early symptoms, or with an at home pregnancy test, or at the doctors.
Signs You May be Pregnant:
There are so many clues that try to scream at you, “You are pregnant!” Some are pretty common knowledge and others people forget to mention or just glaze over them. Let’s dive in.
“Nausea during pregnancy is typically one of the most experienced and complained about symptoms that women report. Up to 70 percent of expectant mothers experience nausea at some point during early pregnancy.”American Pregnancy Association
My post on preventing nausea during pregnancy goes over specifically how to deal with this very thing. I know, everyone already talks about this, but no one talks about it enough!
I would consider this one of the MOST annoying aspects of being pregnant.
The absolute FIRST symptom that I noticed was gagging while brushing teeth. Brushing my teeth became super nauseating. I usually don’t gag when I brush my teeth, but when I am pregnant, I can barely get through a 2 minute tooth brushing session.
Check out my post here on preventing nausea in pregnancy for my easy but super effective tips on keeping the nausea to a minimum; like scraping your tongue FIRST before brushing your teeth.
Some non-pregnant people will say have the nerve to tell you that “pregnancy tired” is NOT a thing. Well. . . It is SO REAL!
This is one of the common first symptoms of pregnancy. The sudden hormone shifts and, you know, growing a human causes extreme exhaustion.
Have you ever taken Benadryl (you know, for allergic reactions)? It’s astonishingly difficult to keep your eyes open after a good dose of the stuff, right? Well, pregnant tired would be the equivilant of a double dose, IV injection of Benadryl.
Driving was scary. Once I had to pull over to close my eyes for 5 minutes so that I wouldn’t slam into the car in front of me.
The instant my body was horizontal, couch, bed, even the floor, I was asleep. This was a tell-tell sign that something was up with me because even though I am a great napper, I could always stay up if need be. You know, like when I should be driving with my eyes open.
During pregnancy, progesterone increases the flow of blood to your baby, resulting in lower blood pressure and reduced blood flow to your brain — giving you that dizzy feeling all over.whattoexpect.com
The dizziness in early pregnancy feels very similar to a low blood pressure type of dizzy. If you go to the emergency room for dizziness, we will often ask, “Does it feel like the room is spinning or does it feel like you are going to pass out?”
Pregnant dizzy usually feels like the passing out one. It can be from dehydration or low blood sugar from nausea and/or vomiting, or from the increase in blood flow to your baby resulting in decreased blood flow to you. The room spinning one is usually Vertigo (an inner ear issue).
Everyone already knows about the moody pregnant person. Let me just give you an idea of what it’s like.
You know when you are about to start your period, and you are just not feeling like yourself? You feel extra sensitive and emotional? Try multiplying those feelings by. . . Lets say 10.
Sometimes I felt like a blubbering idiot. Like when I would be holding back tears of disappointment because the store ran out of my favorite brand pistachio ice cream. I had to secretly wipe away 2 rogue tears that fell down my cheek. Mind you, they still had a several different brands of pistachio ice cream available. Seriously. It’s really like that.
It seems like you lose all the coping skills that you gained over the years. But don’t worry, you’re only pregnant. It won’t last.
I know everyone says their breasts are sore, but they don’t tell you HOW sore! They can be so tender that taking a shower is painful. When the water would hit my breasts I would flinch and cover them with my forearms. Just another sign that this was more than just me about to start my period.
It was to the point that I couldn’t give anyone front hugs. I became a side hug person for a while. Not my style.
Inability to eat certain foods
Chicken. It was my nemesis, first pregnancy only. Loved it my second pregnancy.
I usually get one of those rotisserie chickens from Costco every time we go. When I get home I like to tear off a thigh and go to town. Love that dark meat!
But even before I put that chicken in my eager mouth, I was gagging. Of course I tried to eat it, then gagged some more as I spit it out. I knew something was up.
In the break-room at work if someone was eating chicken or even had just heated up some chicken, I could NOT be in that room.
Some people it is soda, some it is fish. Everyone is different. You will find out your own aversions in no time flat.
Intense desire to eat foods you normally would not eat
You hear about the weird cravings that pregnant people have. But not all of them are like pickles and ice cream.
Milk. I had NO idea milk could be so delicious! I’m normally one of those that can’t even comprehend the thought of drinking milk without a cookie or some cereal. Plain milk is just out of the question.
But when I was pregnant with my first, milk might as well have been candy! I couldn’t get enough of it. I would wake up in the middle of the night to eat a PB&J sandwich with a tall glass of delicious, ice cold milk!
After being discharged from the hospital from having my baby I was looking forward to some yummy milk. I made myself a PB&J sandwich, poured myself a nice cold glass, and spit it out as soon as I took a sip.
Oh well, back to hating milk again. . .
Your cravings will be all your own. It’s like your taste buds change just for the duration of the pregnancy. My advice is to try everything and enjoy your newfound faves (while it lasts).
Ways to Actually Confirm Pregnancy:
Now that you suspect something is going on, it’s time to confirm those suspicions!
At Home Pregnancy Test
Sometimes, depending on your situation, you will do an at home pregnancy test after you experience some of these symptoms. Sometimes before. Whenever you happen to do it, just don’t spend a ton of money on it.
Did you know that in the emergency room we use the exact same pregnancy test that the 99cent store sells? Ya, No one tells you that.
I’ve worked in a few different emergency rooms, and every time it is the same 99cent pregnancy test. Yup. Your welcome. You just saved like $8.00!
Usually it lights up right away. 2 lines, you’re pregnant! But sometimes it can take up to 2 minutes to show up. After 5 minutes, if no second line shows up, it is considered negative. Do not wait longer than that, it can register as a false positive if left too long.
This will need to be done at your doctor’s office. It is the primary way to confirm a urine pregnancy test. And, yes, they have to draw blood from your arm.
This is the best, most thorough way of confirming pregnancy. They can see the structures of the fetus forming and can confirm a heart beat (usually around 6-9 weeks).
One time, a friend of mine thought she was pregnant. Positive at home test, positive blood test at the doctors, but when they did the ultrasound, they found out that her pregnancy was something called a blighted ovum. Unfortunately, the fertilized egg never turned into an embryo. Blighted Ovum is the most common form of miscarriage.
A doctor will always confirm with an ultrasound by 18 weeks of pregnancy, but they will most likely do one sooner to make sure they can predict your due date. Also, if you are having symptoms like bleeding or cramping, they may order before the 18 week ultrasound.
So something to prepare for:
Usually, that first ultrasound they do to check the baby and determine the due date is transvaginal. You know, the one they stick up your “you know what.” People forget to mention that too.
What No One Tells You About Pregnancy- The First trimester (weeks 4-12)
Not only do you experience all these upcoming symptoms during the first trimester of your pregnancy, but remember, all the previous symptoms still persist, and can sometimes get much worse before they get better.
And so it continues. The worst part is that for some people it continues throughout the entire pregnancy! Fingers crossed that won’t be you.
Morning sickness is definitely not just for mornings. Mine was ALL day, but I started to realize that there was a pattern to the madness.
If you can believe it, I was nauseated every time I was hungry. Imagine my nauseated self having to shove food down my gagging face in order to feel better!
It was so weird. But it worked! As soon as I got a few bites of food in between the gags, I was golden. The nausea stopped instantly.
Just be aware that your morning sickness is all your own, and that you really have to scour the internet (or my website) to find solutions that work for you. My tips on morning sickness worked great for me and a lot of my friends, so check them out here. Maybe they will help you too!
What is happening?! How come you have to go pee so much already? The baby is only the size of an olive!
It’s a combination of increased blood supply and the pregnancy hormone hCG (the one that causes your pregnancy test to be positive). HCG increases blood flow to the kidneys, making more urine.
People say it’s nature’s way of getting you ready for frequent night feedings, which I wholeheartedly believe.
HCG also increases blood flow to the reproductive organs, causing an increase in sexual drive. Just FYI.
Pregnancy Brain is Real!
It’s not just an old wives tale! Well, at least in my humble opinion.
Forgetfulness, inability to concentrate, decreased attention span, and just a general not feeling as “sharp” as you normally do, are all symptoms of pregnancy brain. “Momnesia,” as some like to call it.
While I was doing some investigating, I found evidence based research arguing both sides. Boo, still doesn’t change my mind that pregnancy brain is real.
But just to argue my point, there was a recent study done on the effects of pregnancy on the brain,
“The results found that compared to non-pregnant women, expectant mothers performed worse on tasks measuring attention, decision-making, planning and memory.”www.independent.co.uk
It may have something to do with a combination of 17 times more hormones running through your brain and body, sleep deprivation, and/or stress and anxiety about becoming a parent. They still can’t pinpoint exactly the cause. Either way, all these changes in your body may cause you to feel “foggy” at some point.
First Trimester Fatigue
I know I mentioned exhaustion before, but there is a reason why I mention it again. It gets worse!
You know when you are so tired and watching TV and your eyelids are so heavy that you just can’t keep them open? Like that, but all. . . the. . . time! I could practically take a nap anytime, anywhere.
I’ve always loved napping but this was like narcolepsy. If I laid down, I was asleep, if I reclined, I was asleep. One time I was standing, leaning against a wall, and I fell asleep!
During my 30 minute lunch break at work in the emergency room (12.5 hour long shift) I would sleep on the recliner in the break room and skip eating so I could get a full 30 minute nap. Don’t worry, I still fed that fetus MANY times throughout the day.
I LIVED for those 30 minute naps at work. I would not have made it if I didn’t take them. Let’s put it this way, if the recliner wasn’t available, I wouldn’t take my ‘lunch.’
But some good news! You get used to the exhaustion eventually, sort-of. But you are growing a human, so you have a good excuse.
The Foot and Leg Cramps
So these are not your average leg cramps. They grab onto your leg like a vice and won’t let go! I’m not usually one to get leg cramps, so when these started, I was in tears rolling around on the floor trying to massage it out.
Unfortunately, these don’t really get better as the trimesters progress. In fact, they probably get worse.
But the main problem with them is that they can come on so frequently and so randomly. If it happens to you driving, please pull over. They can last longer than you think.
Luckily, most of mine happened at home at night, but beware, they can strike at any moment! And they hurt so bad.
One tip that helped: When I added in some serious deep breathing with the usual massaging, they seemed to get better faster. Maybe it was all that extra oxygen?
What No One Tells You About Pregnancy- The Second Trimester (weeks 13-24)
Hurray! Congrats, you made it through the first trimester to what is known as the Honeymoon stage!
The nausea may be decreasing or completely gone, all of a sudden you feel an increase in energy, and you actually have a super cute baby bump now instead of the baby bloat, but you don’t feel like an elephant yet. It’s the best!
Your Hair Doesn’t Fall Out
People say it must be the prenatal vitamins, but really its estrogen. When you are pregnant, your hair doesn’t fall out. Weird, right? My hairdresser told me that generally people naturally lose up to 100 strands of hair a day!
The lack of shedding has something to do with the extra estrogen in your system that increases the growing cycle of your hair, keeping it from falling out. So you get to have beautiful luscious locks during your pregnancy.
But be forewarned, after you have your baby and as soon as that extra estrogen from pregnancy gets cut off, all that hair that was supposed to fall out but didn’t, is going to fall out. It feels like it’s all at once too!
I naturally have a lot of hair, and even I was scared I was going bald! Like handfuls of hair loss in the shower DAILY!
Two things to note:
One, most of the time, your hair will grow back normally (eventually). But for some people, it either won’t all come back, or even weirder, it will grow back different! Ya, if you have straight hair, it may grow back wavy! Rare, but possible. It has happened to a couple people I know.
Two, when your hair grows back in, it’s going to look a little weird for a while. It looked like my 3 year old decided I needed the shortest bangs of all time and took scissors to my hair. My “bangs” would stand straight up too!
My hair grows fast, but not fast enough. it took months to look more normal.
You don’t hear about pregnancy rash too often, but when you ask moms about it, some will vaguely remember having one at one point.
I put this section in second trimester only because it happened to me right when the second trimester started, but it can technically happen at any point during your pregnancy.
Your doctor will call it PUPPP (pruritic urticarial papules and plaques of pregnancy). A fancy way of saying that you have developed a rash while pregnant.
It usually starts around the areas you would normally get stretch marks and can spread to the rest of your body. I was weird. It started in my back and ran down the backs of my arms.
It will go away on its own when your hormones shift again, or after you have the baby. Until then, you can use the techniques I used in the itching section of my post for staying comfortable during pregnancy.
Be warned, it can be so very uncomfortable. Clothing and warmth would exacerbate it. But it doesn’t last forever.
Hormones are life. They regulate almost everything in your body. There is a surge of extra hormones when you become pregnant, with lots of side effects to boot.
Why did no one tell me how oily you can get when you are pregnant? It was literally dripping off my face. It contributed to the “glowing” look of pregnancy.
Towards the afternoon, if I didn’t wipe the excess oil off my face, I was doing a little more than glowing, I was reflecting! Oh hormones!
EVERY PREGNANCY IS DIFFERENT! I was fully expecting to be oily with extra toner and face blotting paper stocked up, but this was not the case.
I could not be drier! It made me think I was having a girl (because it was so different from my first pregnancy). Again, just weird hormone shifts.
So I can’t tell you which you will be, but be ready either way because your skin will most likely not stay the same.
Technically there is an increase in circulation from the start of pregnancy. But you really start to notice it in the second trimester.
Swelling, itching, frequent urination, increased libido, and some more glowing are all partly from increase in blood volume (circulation).
Some people start to experience swelling in the second trimester, but most really notice it in the third (I expand on swelling in the third trimester section).
Pregnancy glow is from the increased circulation. You know how wonderful your skin looks after a good workout and shower? That’s because of the increased circulation from the heart pumping, sweating, vessels dilating, etc. Enjoy it!
Your body needs to get used to the increase in blood volume, but until it does, sometimes you can experience generalized itching. Take cool showers and exfoliate. It will get better.
Your Skin Gets Darker
Okay, not really. But parts of your skin can temporarily darken. There is an increase of melanin when you are pregnant. It is responsible for the darker pigmentation in your skin.
Some people start to develop a dark line that runs straight down the middle of the belly all the way down to the pubic bone. It will go away after you have the baby, but it will take a while, like up to a year.
Your nipples will likely get darker. Supposedly it is because newborns can really only differentiate black and white, so nature makes your nipples darker and bigger so that it’s and easier target.
Sometimes pregnant women can experience something called melasma. This is a condition where there is darkening of your upper lip, nose, cheeks, and forehead. It ends up looking like a mask, hence the nickname pregnancy mask.
The only treatment for it is to deliver the baby and it will slowly get better. Skin irritation and UV rays will increase pigmentation, so stay out of the sun and don’t do anything to irritate your skin (no waxing).
It’s true. It’s so true!
This heightened sexual desire is not in your head. The increase in circulation to your lady parts bring more stimulation to the area. Some woman even experience swelling of that area! Guilty!
There are crazy amounts of hormones pumping through your body that wasn’t quite as abundant before. This also makes for some seriously horney pregnant mamas.
Also there is usually an increase in natural lubrication to help keep bacteria away from the opening of your uterus (just another safety precaution mother nature takes to keep your baby safe).
This extra slipperiness ‘down there’ contributes to the increased libido in pregnancy.
OH! Almost forgot! Usually around this time your extreme, almost painful breast sensitivity turns into just regular not so painful sensitivity. And when your breasts feel extra sensations, the ‘love hormone’ gets released from your brain, again making you a very horny pregnant person.
Hey, just enjoy it! You know not all pregnant people get to experience this. . .
What No One Tells You About Pregnancy- The Third Trimester (weeks 25~40)
You are getting there mama. There is a slight sense of relief when you hit the third trimester. The chance of survival if the baby happens to be premature increases drastically from this point on.
Survival statistics from verywellfamily.com:
|Length of Pregnancy||Likelihood of Survival|
|23 weeks||17 percent|
|24 weeks||39 percent|
|25 weeks||50 percent|
|26 weeks||80 percent|
|27 weeks||90 percent|
|28 to 31 weeks||90 to 95 percent|
|32 to 33 weeks||95 percent|
|34+ weeks||Almost as likely as a full-term baby|
I know it seems like I’m being slightly irrational and paranoid but working in the emergency room sometimes does this to you.
Let me put it to you this way. If you happen to have vaginal bleeding during pregnancy and you come into the ER to be checked out, if you are not yet 20 weeks pregnant, we DO NOT send you to labor and delivery.
The baby is not considered what they call ‘viable’ and will not survive outside of the womb. People don’t like to tell you that. Hence the paranoia.
I said all this to say, YOU MADE IT TO THE THIRD TRIMESTER! YAY!
Here is some other information people won’t readily admit to you about the third trimester.
The third trimester is when the swelling tends to begin. The baby is big enough now that he or she is pushing down on your vessels and restricting return blood flow back up to the heart, causing swelling.
See my post on maximizing comfort during pregnancy. I go over tips and tricks for staying comfortable during pregnancy swelling (and all sorts of other discomforts).
Swelling during pregnancy is pretty much common knowledge, but I think most people are assuming that it only happens in the lower legs and feet. Don’t get me wrong, it can be pretty bad. My toes really did look like sausages!
Luckily, my swelling was pretty mild until the last month of pregnancy. But then my toes, feet, ankles, lower legs, knees AND thighs (so weird) began to swell with a vengeance.
Maybe not quite twice the size of normal, but not too far off from there. It definitely felt twice as big!
But FYI, other things swell too. . .
Lady Parts Swelling
Swelling is not particular. It doesn’t mind hanging out at your feet, ankles, legs. It even doesn’t mind swelling up your vagina!
I was the victim of such swelling.
My ‘area’ started swelling in the third trimester. SOOO WEIRD! It was kind of hard to tell at first because my big ol’ belly was in the way. But eventually I discovered it did not look or feel like it usually does.
No one will tell you about these things. . .
Oh, and unfortunately, some people can even get hemorrhoids and/or varicose veins from the pressure of the swelling.
Belly Button Changes
Your growing belly inevitably causes changes to your poor cute little belly button.
My innie turned into an almost outie during pregnancy and sometimes it can be super sensitive or even hurt.
My sister-in-law told me that she had to put a band-aid over hers to keep it from rubbing and bumping too much otherwise the discomfort was unbearable.
Be prepared. After delivering your baby, your belly and belly button WILL NOT look the same as before. It will look wrinkly and weird for a while.
But it will start to look better after a few weeks and after a few months it may return to almost normal.
I can say that I am officially happy with my belly button again, but like I said, it does not look the same as before.
Relaxin is the hormone responsible for loosening your joints and ligaments in preparation for delivering the baby. But relaxin can also have some weird side effects.
Relaxin loosens your joints and you quite literally waddle. Its not just because you are carrying this big watermelon in your belly. Your hips start to sway on its hinges.
I didn’t waddle. I walked like an old lady with back pain, but my joints never really loosened. This would explain why I had such a hard time during delivery.
Your Feet Get Bigger
Relaxin cannot target just your hips and pelvic area. It is systemic. In combination with the weight of your body and gravity, this can have an unwanted effect on your foot size.
Some people’s feet end up growing up to one size bigger! And sorry ladies, this is not reversible.
But don’t worry, this does not happen to everyone. And they say that if you only gain the recommended amount of weight, wear insoles, and do exercises for your feet (to strengthen them) it may prevent foot enlargement.
You Can Shrink
Well, just slightly. Same concept as with the feet. The relaxin coupled with the extra weight and pulling down action from your mid-section and gravity can cause some shrinkage.
Just don’t bank on this if you’ve always wanted to lose and inch or two. It’s not that effective.
The Acid Reflux (heartburn):
Who gets acid re-flux from something as mild as water? Pregnant ME! Acid re-flux happens in later pregnancy from the baby pushing everything else up to make more room for itself.
Obviously there is less room for your stomach to hold its food down, but one other main cause is that the ‘sphincter’ or area that closes to keep your food down
Cure: TONS OF TUMS!!! I prefer the creamy berry flavors. It instantly cures that acidy-pressure feeling in your chest.
Towards the end of my pregnancy though, the acid reflux just stopped and I didn’t have to take any more tums. I know, weird.
Either way, just know it doesn’t last forever (even though it seems like it will at the time). Seriously, SUPER uncomfortable.
The weirdest and best dreams I have ever had was while I was pregnant (and this is coming from a naturally intense dreamer).
I remember hearing stories about these crazy-intense dreams before I was pregnant and remember thinking to myself, “Well, my dreams can’t get any better or more intense.
BOY was I WRONG! I would sometimes wake up in a frenzy, trying to figure out where and when I was! I basically couldn’t tell dreams from reality, and it took me a good 5-10 minutes in the morning to recuperate.
And yes, some of the dreams were surprisingly provocative in nature (and I must say, I didn’t mind them). These were the most disorienting ones to wake up from, for sure.
Dreaming while pregnant: Brace yourself, and ENJOY!
Unsolicited Baby Advice
If you are not one that takes well to people telling you what to do (like me), this part of pregnancy might be truly irritating to you.
Advice is all well and good, but what people don’t seem to realize is that EVERYONE you come across is giving you their two cents.
For some reason, when people see a pregnant person, they feel the compelling need to give (quite forcefully at times) some tidbit of information they learned or heard about.
Everyone thinks they know the best way to do things. They are right to a certain extent, because it worked for them. From their perspective, their advice is golden. (I am guilty of it right now in this blog).
With your second pregnancy it is not so bad because you are already kind of an expert in your own right, and you understand that ALMOST ALL advice needs to be taken with a grain of salt.
ALL BABIES ARE DIFFERENT. People will tell you this but I didn’t quite understand it until I had a second one. Just like how adult personalities vary from person to person, babies personalities, pretty much from birth, all vary. And this goes for in the womb as well.
What works for one pregnancy may not work for the next.
The take away: Do WHATEVER works for you and your baby. No one else is living life in your exact circumstances, so no one can really speak to your situation.
Apparently people feel very “familiar” with a pregnant person. Perfect strangers greet you with their hands already reaching out to touch your belly.
If you are not touchy-feely at all, this may be an uncomfortable stage for you. I am pretty good at fielding off unwarranted touching, but I was caressed on the belly much more than I would have preferred.
Some people were nice enough to ask first, but then you feel bad saying no after they asked so nicely. I eventually just gave into it, then got used to it, then actually kinda enjoyed it. It’s all just more well wishes for you and your baby, and who doesn’t want that?
AGAIN, you say? Yes. It gets worse.
The amount of stretch that has to occur will inevitably cause some itching to your belly. When skin stretches, skin itches.
But no one really tells you about the itching on your thighs, back, breasts, and butt!
Most of the time everything gets bigger (even if you are ‘all belly’). So Everything itches. I go into detail about my regimen for itching on my post about Maximizing Comfort During Pregnancy.
The Milk Production
No one tells you that milk production during pregnancy can be a natural occurrence. Colostrum begins to form in the breasts from 16-22 weeks of pregnancy. Only it is difficult to express so most women don’t notice it.
I was still able to breastfeed my first child while I was pregnant. I slowly weaned him off by 18 months of age (I had just hit my second trimester).
Some Moms will tandem breastfeed, continue to breastfeed their first while breastfeeding their second. More power to them! I was not cut out for such things. Feeding one is a full time job.
Just know that you may notice some stuff coming out of your nipples by the very end of your pregnancy. Don’t worry, it’s normal.
What No One Tells You About Pregnancy- The Day of (D-Day)
There are just a few weird things that you may not be aware of about the day you go into labor. . .
I had never heard of this before, but apparently extreme hunger and cravings are a thing that can occur right before going into labor.
I was talking to my sister-in-law about my day prior to having my first baby and she mentioned that she also had this same thing happen to her with her before going into labor also.
With my first pregnancy, I NEEDED Ethiopian food! The intensity of my cravings were borderline maniacal. I drove 45 minutes that afternoon to the nearest Ethiopian food joint and ordered a crap ton of food to go.
I ate it for dinner, and that night around 10 pm my water broke.
My second pregnancy I had a hankering for Indian/Pakistani food. My husband is half Pakistani, so I’ve learned over the years how to cook several different Indian/Pakistani foods with the help of my mother-in-law.
The day I went into labor with my second son, it felt like I cooked pretty much ALL of the Indian/Pakistani dishes I knew how to cook in one afternoon.
I was soooo hungry! It was a feast when my husband came home from work. Needless to say he was very happy. I kept telling myself all day “Wow, I gotta get off my feet. I really am getting a lot of Braxton Hicks contractions today!”
By the time I started serving the spread I prepared, I would have to stop what I was doing just to brace myself for these “Braxton Hicks contractions.” My husband noticed that I was really starting to get uncomfortable, but I kept brushing it off. I was starving, after all, priorities!
I downed a ton of food in between having to brace myself, then while we were cleaning up, I began to think, hey, these “practice contractions” are coming at a pretty regular rate. So my husband started timing.
Lo and behold, it was every 5 minutes! I took a quick shower, got my stuff ready, told my Mom we were coming to drop off my son, and then drove to the hospital. By the time we got there, my contractions were every 3.5-4 minutes and beginning to become seriously painful. My husband had to go find a wheel chair so we could get into the hospital faster, walking and pausing for contractions would have taken too much time.
I was admitted, I told them I wanted to try to walk. I could not have a repeat of what happened when I had my first son. Still, it was 18 hours later (apparently I tend to have super long labors) when I finally gave birth.
Point being, watch for the insatiable hunger/craving day towards the end of your pregnancy. It may mean that baby is ready to see you!
What No One Tells You About The Womb
On delivery day (D-Day) you may want to be aware of these potential situations dealing the womb area. . .
Your Mucus Plug
Of ALL the people I’ve spoken to about pregnancy and giving birth, how come no one told me about a mucus plug until I was 36 weeks pregnant?!
Well, after I didn’t notice any mucus plug (both times), I began to realize it’s probably because it doesn’t happen to everyone.
If it doesn’t happen to you, all the better. The pictures I googled were gross. It is pretty self-explanatory, a plug made of mucus to cover the cervix (bottom opening of your uterus). Basically really thick cervical fluid, you know the kind you see a lot of right when you ovulate, just thicker. Oh ya, don’t forget the ‘bloody show’ that goes along with it.
If this happens to you, try not to freak out. Just be aware that your cervix is opening and you baby is ready to meet you soon!
The Amniotic Fluid (your water)- To Break or Not to Break
Okay, so the movies have it ALL wrong! I was so nervous there was going to be a huge puddle of grossness to clean up either from my car, bed, or favorite spot on the couch. In my last couple weeks I was using something similar to a heavy duty puppy pad to sit on to prevent the impending mess.
But it is nothing like the movies. It was more like when you are on one of the heavier days of your period (this only applies if you are using a pad, not a tampon), and you’ve been sitting for a long time and then you stand up suddenly? Ya, it’s kinda like that.
***Please note, that if you start leaking fluid early on in your pregnancy, you must see your doctor right away. The amniotic fluid provides nourishment and protection for the baby. The baby lives in a sterile environment and if the water is broken, that means the possibility for infection increases, putting you and your baby at risk.***
With some people, their membranes stay intact and the doctor has to break it, or you may break it while pushing.
Every once in a while, a baby is birthed with the amniotic sac INTACT! I thought it was pretty much a myth (or just super rare) but it happened to one of my nursing students!
SO AMAZING! But I’ve got to admit, a little freaky, right?
Probably won’t happen to you, but just so you know in advance, it can happen.
You’ve Made it Through Pregnancy!
For me, knowing what I was getting myself into prior to having my baby would have helped tremendously. I thought I was ready but I was NOT! I needed a comprehensive, blunt, real life situation crash course.
Since I am the type of person that does much better if I mentally can prepare for things, knowing the good, bad, and ALL the ugly would have helped my cope better. I could have wrapped my head around all of it a bit more.
I write this post hoping to help some of you mom’s out there that may not be receiving all the information necessary to help you grow from just surviving and getting by, day in and day out, to thriving as the best Mommy you could be. Knowledge is key!
Don’t forget to leave me a comment below or email me! I’d LOVE to hear about the unique and not so unique symptoms all of us go through to have these little bundles of joy.
Now that you know everything there is to know about pregnancy, it’s time to deliver this baby!
All the love!
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