Congrats! You're Pregnant and So not Prepared for this S**t!
10 Things No One Tells You About Being Pregnant
1- Organs: I'll let this picture from pregnancy-zone.com do the talking here. We all know that our bodies are designed to carry a baby; we know that our uterus will stretch and the baby will have a nice, comfy house. What we don't know, or really think about, is what happens to the rest of our insides; you know, the ones that normally take the ENTIRE space about to be hijacked by a uterus. Well, they get completely squished and relocated. Why am I constipated, oh yeah, my intestines are now the width of a pinky and squished up near my ribs. Why am hungry all the time? Oh yeah, that's my stomach, now nearly flat. Why can't I breath? Oh yeah, my lungs are all compressed. Why am I peeing myself? What, that's my bladder? It's not even there anymore!
- Relief/ Prevention: I am keeping my fingers crossed that having the baby will relieve these symptoms...I'll keep you updated. Other than that, get a good body pillow and try not roll on your back when you sleep.
2- Constipation: Baby Center happily informs moms-to-be about constipation stating that "Constipation is a common problem during pregnancy. As many as half of pregnant women get constipated at some point." What they don't mention is that your bowels will literally stop! I am convinced the main reason the first trimester is so miserable is due to constipation. Constipation makes you feel pukey, bloated, and tired...all symptoms of trimester one. Considering I spent close to 3 weeks not pooping, no wonder I was miserable. The key to constipation is to stay on top of it. Don't become constipated. Easy as that. It's important to practice prevention because this symptom will be with you for 9 months. As you progress through pregnancy, your constipation may be handled, but your poop won't be normal. It will be large in width, hard, and come out only in little, nugget-like spurts. I am going to be so happy to poo normally again. Actually, the glucose drink thingy gave me diarrhea and it was AWESOME!
- Relief/ Prevention: If you are constipated, take Ducolax. I took two, and, although I felt horrible while they were working, they worked! To prevent constipation, include a naturalstool softener in your daily vitamin routine. I take 2 Senna pills every morning and haven't had to take Ducolax since. Again, the stool softener will keep things moving, but your poo will be anything but soft. Don't force it out or you'll get hemorrhoids, and yes, you may have to help your poo come out on occasion...glamourous right?
3- Exhaustion: WebMD says "Extreme, unexplainable fatigue is probably the most common sign of early pregnancy..." Pretty straight forward right? You'll be tired. Yeah, not quite. Extreme is probably a good word, but someone should have prepared me for the truth- for most of the first trimester, you will be curled up in a hibernating ball in your bedroom. You will cancel on social obligations and leave the ones you do make early. Oh, and the exhaustion doesn't come on slowly; you will go from awake to comatose in a matter of minutes. I literally walked a mile and half to my friends house from a football stadium because I needed a nap so badly. Why does this suck? It sucks because you won't look pregnant, so people aren't great about being understanding. What's even worse? Women who have been pregnant get amnesia and forget how tired/ crappy they felt those first 10ish weeks. These women will say things like "I felt great during pregnancy!," or "I wasn't tired," or "I went to every tailgate and even to bars while pregnant." One of my friends said these exact things to me when I had to leave her party early. Well, a few weeks later she found out she was pregnant, and guess what? She could not stop complaining about how ridiculously tired she was! So yeah, if you're pregnant now, don't forget how tired you were at first. If you really didn't experience exhaustion, don't rub it in an exhausted pregnant woman's face please...it's not nice to mess with tired cranky people.
- Relief/ Prevention: Unfortunately, the only relief is to sleep when you're tired and know that you'll fell spunky again soon- until week 37ish when exhaustion comes back hard-core. There is no way to prevent it either. No matter how much you sleep, you will still need to sleep more.
4- Bloody Gums: WebMD prepares moms-to-be by saying "About half of pregnant women develop swollen, tender gums. Hormone changes are sending more blood to your gums, making them more sensitive and causing them to bleed more easily." The scary reality? You will look like a hockey player after brushing your teeth. You will literally be spitting blood! At first, it was just a little blood and redness when brushing, ok, I was prepared for that, but during 2nd trimester my gums started to swell and spew blood! It was horrifying. I seriously thought I was going to lose my teeth. I was literally spitting out more blood than toothpaste! I was on the first day of weeklong trip when it started, so I couldn't go to the dentist ASAP like I wanted. It turned out to be a good thing because I found a great remedy.
- Relief/ Prevention: G-U-M PerioShield Mouthwash and DoTerra OnGaurd. The mouth wash makes your tongue numb, but the swelling went down and the bleeding stopped in just a few days. Now I use the mouthwash every night, and twice a day if I notice any blood when I brush. I also mixed DoTerra OnGuard oil in my toothpaste to help with infection.
5- Deep Breath: WebMD says "Some women feel mildly short of breath when they first become pregnant...The further along you are, the worse this gets." Ok, so I'll be a little short of breath, no big deal...Ha! no such luck mama. WebMD, and every other website, needs to update this symptom to say you straight won't be able to breathe! I spend the day sounding annoyed because, every so often, I have to take a big deep breath. This is because of the aforementioned squished innards. And then, just to make it fun, your nose gets all stuffed up too. So breathing, in general, is out. I wouldn't plan on doing on it at all, that way it will be a pleasant surprise when you're able to a little. For me, these symptoms hit a around mid-2nd trimester.
- Relief/ Prevention: Saline Mist for stuffy nose relief. To prevent stuffiness, run a humidifier starting around trimester two. This will also help with nosebleeds. Again, get a good body pillow because you have to sleep sitting up right.
6- Leaky Faucet: WebMD says "It's normal to see a thin, milky white discharge (called leukorrhea) early in your pregnancy. You can wear a panty liner if it makes you feel more comfortable..." What WebMD doesn't say is that your lady parts will literally leak this stuff throughout your ENTIRE pregnancy...oh yeah, and it gets worse the further along you get! Moms-to-be may not have their periods to worry about, but you still have to be concerned with getting nastiness in your undies. Oh yeah, and your not allowed to cork it with a tampon, you have to wear a pantyliner...fun! And, not to get too graphic, but you can feel it leak out throughout the day. You'll be chatting with a friend and then "trickle, trickle." It truly is nasty.
- Relief/ Prevention: There is no relief or prevention. This has been the side-effect that has made me feel the most self-conscious. Buy a lot of panty-liners from the get-go so you're well-prepared. I didn't need them until mid-2nd trimester.
7- Morning Sickness: WebMD says "Nausea and vomiting can be some of the first indications that you're pregnant." Ok, we've all seen the movies. We know we are going to be hugging the toilet every morning. Reality: some moms-to-be get the RELIEF of actually throwing up, others have to spend whole the day feeling nauseous! This adds to the crankiness caused by the exhaustion. Personally, I only threw up a few times. Once before I knew I was pregnant after consuming a sweet, frozen, alcoholic beverage (I think my body was expelling the bad stuff), but the WORSE was when I woke up one morning and only felt like eating carrots. I ate my carrots, yum, and then it hit! I was gonna puke! WHAT I WASN'T PREPARED FOR? Throw up will come out of your nose! That's right, I spewed bits of undigested carrots out of my nose! What a way to start the day.
- Relief/ Prevention: Hot peppermint tea and ginger ale do help a little, so drink up! Other than that, just take solace in the fact that it will get better soon. Mine lasted a little into 2nd trimester, so don't get discouraged.
8- Nose Bleeds: WebMD prepares a mom to be for "Hormonal changes [that] cause the mucous membranes lining your nose to swell, which make your nose bleed more easily." I wasn't worried about this symptom because I have gotten maybe 3 nosebleeds in my entire life. But during the start of my second trimester, I woke up nearly every night with a throat full of blood! Luckily they were pretty easy to stop every time, but I did get blood all over my amazing body pillow, which made me sad. But seriously, waking up with a nosebleed was the last I needed, and it would have been nice to have been prepared because a few simple steps could have prevented them altogether.
- Relief/ Prevention: Set up a humidifier...seriously! As soon as I started running a humidifier at night, my nosebleeds went away and they have not returned. So go ahead and do it. It can only help in the long run.
9- Stranger Danger: I consider this a side-effect because I am not one who likes to talk to random people; heck, I'm not even big on talking to my neighbors. I am introverted, and 100% ok with it. No one prepared me for how much everyone will start bothering you everywhere you go. I like that strangers are happy for me, but I am seriously not in the mood to spend 5 minutes answering the same series of questions to everyone that sees me...there aren't enough minutes in the day! The question that kills me is "Are you excited?" I'm sorry, but this has to be the dumbest question to ask a pregnant woman. What do you think she is going to say? I always feel like an idiot answering this question, and sometimes, I confess, I do get a wee bit sarcastic. The other idiot question I get is in response to the gender being a surprise. People will ask one of 2 questions, both equally stupid: "How do you know what to buy?" and "How do you decorate the nursery?" Seriously, knowing what to buy is common sense. Babies need the same basic things regardless of sex. And decorating the nursery? Is that really the most important thing? Don't get me wrong, our nursery is awesome. I paint wall murals on the side and we went with a woodland creature theme. But it doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure out how to dress/ decorate gender neutrally.
- Relief/ Prevention: For most of trimester two, I got by with trying to look ambiguously pregnant/ chubby. Since it was winter, I wore sweatshirts and coats. People were too afraid to ask any questions. But the end of month 7, I straight looked like I swallowed a basketball, and there was no hiding that. I just tell myself "this stranger means well and it's nice to have people you don't know giving out positive vibes to you and your baby." I repeat this over and over and over and over...
10- Acid Reflux: "[Acid Reflux is] caused by extra progesterone production in your body. This hormone relaxes smooth muscles, including the ring of muscle in your lower esophagus that normally keeps food and acids down in your stomach." No big deal, I've had acid reflux before, it's not that bad. Oh no, no, no...I THOUGHT I had acid reflux previously. A more appropriate title would be A river of lava will rise from your gut after EVERYTHING you eat. I have had to sleep sitting up many nights because of how bad it gets. Again, like so many things on this list, acid reflux is made worse by the gut squishing. I had it a little in trimester one & two, but then three hit, and that baby got bigger. Acid reflux has now become my constant companion.
- Relief/ Prevention: Tums, or pregnancy candy as I like to call them! They do help and give you extra calcium, yay for double duty!