Ahh pregnancy, a time where women hug their beautiful baby bumps, big smiles on their perfectly clear skinned faces, with their hair falling in thick shiny locks around their shoulders. Right? Well no, not really, not most of the time anyway. Don’t despair, there are times where pregnancy is wonderful (hello lovely butterfly baby kicks) but pregnancy is a lot harder for us women than the glossy magazines would have you believe. I am pregnant for the third time and have to tell you, those glowing moments have been very few and far between over the last six months, I could probably count them all on one hand. I understand why we don’t really tell mums to be about all the less than pretty parts of pregnancy, we want them to enjoy this special time and not scare them to death BUT I do think a bit of realism never hurt anybody. It’s best to be prepared, right? So, here I am dishing the truth on pregnancy, sharing the stuff no one tells you about. If you would rather stay living in the land of denial then maybe you should go read something else but be sure to stop by my blog again some other time!
The things no one tells you about pregnancy
The first trimester
Morning sickness can last all day – Don’t let the name fool you, nausea and sickness in the first trimester can strike any time of the day and can hang around for hours.
It’s not all about the vomit – You can suffer with morning sickness but never actually be sick. Instead of sticking your head down the toilet before you’ve even had breakfast, you might just constantly feel on the verge of vomiting all day but never get that momentary relief from actually being sick.
Bloating – Aww, look my cute little baby bump already! Nope, that’s just a whole lot of gas and painful bloating. Your baby is smaller than a grape, that new belly you’ve got hiding under your clothes is mostly gas – nice!
Constipation – I don’t know why, probably hormones or something, but constipation in the first trimester is common and a real pain in the (well, you know).
So sleepy – No one will ever be able to explain to you how tired you will be during the first trimester. It is an exhaustion I have never known at any other time of my life, even the newborn sleep deprived haze. Just be prepared to be falling asleep on the sofa every evening by about seven and try and keep all social events to a reasonable time, like 5pm or earlier.
Am I hungry or not? – With the sickness and the bloating and the generally feeling out of sorts, it can be hard to know if you are hungry or not. You can feel starving but the thought of all food turns your stomach. This is where pregnancy cravings can come in useful, atleast you don’t have to spend ages staring at the fridge, listening to your stomach rumble but unable to decide what to eat.
Shh! It’s a secret – Keeping your pregnancy a secret from friends and family for the first 12 weeks is easier said than done. I didn’t this time, I told pretty much everyone because I felt so rubbish and didn’t want to have to lie about why I felt so ill. Some people don’t tell a soul until they have their scan picture and those are the people you could definitely trust with your biggest secrets.
The second trimester
Fat or pregnant? – There’s a time in the second trimester where your baby bump hasn’t really bloomed yet and people would be forgiven for thinking you had eaten a big lunch rather than you had a baby cooking in there. Maternity clothes are too big at this point but your pre pregnancy clothes have stopped zipping up comfortably, this is not a good time for your wardrobe. My top tip? Invest in leggings.
Thrush – Yea, gross. It’s true though, pregnancy makes you more susceptible to getting a yeast infection. I’m not sure why so I am just going to go ahead and blame hormones again.
Breathlessness – Not all pregnant women get this but I have done my research and getting out of breath quickly is very common in pregnancy and you can guess the reason why, can’t you? Thanks a bunch hormones.
Dizziness and low iron levels – Again very common but not really spoken about when everyone is too busy trying to find out if you know the sex or the baby or not. In pregnancy your baby basically takes everything from your body and if they are busy sucking all the iron from your blood like a vampire then you may find yourself anaemic. Iron tablets will help with the dizziness but be prepared they can make you feel sick, constipated and give you stomach cramps – oh the joys!
Bye bye belly button – As your bump grows your belly button can sort of disappear. No, I’m not lying! Your stretching uterus can sort of make your belly button ‘pop’ out and stretch so it just looks like a circle of weird skin in the middle of your bump. Don’t worry, once baba is out normal belly button outy-ness will resume (ish).
Restless legs – I don’t know what the point of this joy is but for some reason being pregnant can give you restless legs. One minute you’re lying still on the sofa and the next your legs are kicking out all over the place on their own accord, they just suddenly get full of this painful energy and need a good old shake about to get rid of it. Note for husbands: I know this may be annoying if it happens in bed when you’re trying to sleep but it is way more annoying for us so just get over it!
The third trimester
Pelvic pain – That waddle heavily pregnant women do? It could just be because of the weight of the baby, or it might be because of horrible pelvic pain that makes them feel like they are being stabbed in their lower abdomen every time they move. If you’re unlucky (hands up here) this can start earlier in pregnancy and by the time the third trimester hits you sort of feel like you had better just stay motionless until you go in to labour.
Leaky boobs – Don’t get this leaking confused with the proper soak-right-through-your-clothes leaking you will be experiencing in those early weeks of breastfeeding, but it is totally normal for some colostrum to leak when you are still pregnant. This isn’t your milk milk, as this doesn’t arrive until a few days after baby is born. The colostrum is yellow and watery and only really leaks enough to leave a little dot in your bra, it’s no big deal but can be a bit alarming the first time you notice it.
Fanny daggers – Say what now? I don’t know the correct medical term for this but it’s a bit like the pelvic pain except it is focussed completely between your legs and it, well, feels like someone is stabbing you down there. This normally starts happening in those last few weeks when your baby’s head is really low. Not as painful as labour but it still hurts and can take you by surprise!
Sexy times problems – Just because doctors say you can have sex all through pregnancy, that doesn’t mean that it is easy. Positions are extremely limited, you feel anything but sexy and the fear of going into labour in the middle of it all is real.
Sleeping troubles – Sleeping in the third trimester is almost (almost) as hard as sleeping with a newborn in the house. It is hard to move into a comfortable position, you may have to surround yourself with fifty pillows only to then have to somehow roll out of bed because you need to go to the toilet AGAIN.
Gross discharge – Ok, all discharge is gross. In your third trimester as you start getting geared up for labour though, your body starts making more discharge (I think this is why?) and it’s pretty yuck. I suppose it is good preparation for the month long post natal bleed though?
The birth fear – Even the most confident of mum to be will have some trepidation over the impending birth of her baby. As the weeks pass by and your due date gets closer, it is so normal for the fear of giving birth to grow. There’s lots of great hypnobirthing techniques that can help you deal with your fears though and just remember it is totally normal to feel scared – after all, EVERY ONE loves to tell you about how painful labour is.
And finally, this one goes for the whole 40 weeks of your pregnancy, hormones are an absolute bitch! I have no tips on dealing with them because I don’t have a clue, you’ve just got to ride the rollercoaster and hope the people around you are supportive and forgiving of your crazy mood swings.
p.s I know all the photos of me in the post are happy and smiley but, trust me, you don’t want to see a photo of me looking like a beached whale as I try and get up off the sofa or of me dry heaving with my head down the toilet.
First time mums, have you experienced any of these not so glamorous side effects of pregnancy yet? Mamas, did you experience any things during pregnancy and think ‘why did no one tell me about this?’. I would love to hear your thoughts in the comments.
If you enjoyed this post, you may like to read more posts about expecting a baby over in the pregnancy section of my blog.