6 things I wish I knew about pregnancy before getting pregnant
- I'm a mom of three kids under the age of 5.
- I thought I knew enough about pregnancy, but was unprepared for the reality of it.
I remember staring at the pregnancy test with the two pink lines while my hands shook. I had taken the test "just in case" days before my period was actually due to set my mind at ease. My husband was traveling, I was alone, and we had gotten married two weeks prior.
My frantic Googling started, and I quickly realized that maybe I didn't know as much about pregnancy as I thought I did. Sure, I understood the science of pregnancy, but that differs from going through pregnancy in real life.
Pregnancy was a rude awakening for me, and after going through it three times I wish people talked more openly about everything that happens to your body. Here are the things I learned.
The level of tiredness during the first trimester doesn't compare to anything else
The first sign for all my pregnancies, including the one that ended in a miscarriage, was exhaustion. I'm someone who can fall asleep easily, but the level of tiredness I felt during those first initial weeks is indescribable.
My eyes would start shutting by themselves, and it felt like an impossible task to stay awake.
During my second pregnancy, I was working from home full-time, and I would sneak little cat naps here and there, which made me more productive because I wasn't fighting to keep my eyes open.
Morning sickness doesn't only happen in the morning
I didn't have any nausea during my first pregnancy, which I was happy to report since I have a really hard time vomiting.
With my twin pregnancy, it was a different story. When I was about six weeks pregnant, nausea hit me like a wall of bricks and I couldn't do anything. I was naive to think that morning sickness only happened in the morning, as the name implies, but it turns out that you can have nausea at all hours of the day.
I was so miserable that I remember calling my husband crying from the bathroom floor telling him I just couldn't do this anymore.
My midwives quickly put me on nausea medication which alleviated my symptoms and allowed me to keep food down.
There's a lot of discharge and it can be confusing
From the start, things felt extra-moist down there. At first, it was nerve-wracking because I was constantly running to the bathroom fearing I'd find my underwear soaked in blood. At times the discharge was so intense it felt like gushes similar to being on my period.
Then as my pregnancies progressed, I feared that the gushes were me peeing myself. I would stand up from a seat on the subway and then run out thinking my entire pants were soaked, only to discover it was discharge.
I started to use liners in my underwear to feel more comfortable.
I didn't get any hemorrhoids during my first pregnancy and thought my butt was spared from them for good. Well, I was wrong, and during my twin pregnancy, I was so uncomfortable I had to buy a little butt pillow to sit on at work.
Hemorrhoids during pregnancy and postpartum are relatively common. In fact, according to the Cleveland Clinic, about 30 to 40% of pregnant people get them, which is a shocking statistic to me considering no one warned me about them.
My midwives recommended sitz baths for my butt during my third trimester. The good news is that hemorrhoids usually go away after giving birth.
Your breasts grow before the milk comes in
I was prepared for my body to change during pregnancy. I imagined a round belly and that the rest of my body would stay the same. Imagine my shock when my bras stop fitting me almost immediately after I became pregnant. That's how I learned that boobs grow even before the milk comes in.
Another surprise was that the size of your breasts doesn't correlate to how much or how little breast milk your body will produce. I've always been a small B cup, then grew to an almost E cup during pregnancy, and after birth, I was pumping 60 ounces of breast milk a day.
Gas pains can make you think you are in labor
I have a vivid memory of being bent over our couch and telling my husband that this was it, the twins were coming. He suggested I take a Gas-X before we bolted to the hospital because I had said this before and it was a false alarm. I begrudgingly obliged and like magic, the pain was gone.
Gas pains are intense when you are pregnant. Because your digestive system relaxes during pregnancy, food can stick around longer in the intestine, which in turn causes more gas, according to the American Pregnancy Association.
Pain is not the only thing that can happen with extra gas. The more gas you produce the more you have to release, which made for some hilarious moments when I tried to gently get off the couch at nine months pregnant with twins, and a fart would make its way out.
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