pregnancy and parenthood

11 things about pregnancy that I didn’t see coming

It is easy to focus on the excitement and glow of being pregnant. It’s an incredible journey; that is until you get pregnant and discover some of the ugly truths about pregnancy that women don’t always talk about. These are the top things that have taken me by surprise since getting pregnant, and surely, this list may grow in the remaining 5 months. 700 x 300

  1. The first trimester can be hell. The third trimester must be the worst, right? Maybe I’ll think that once I get to it, but I had no idea that the first trimester would be so difficult. I assumed the smaller the growing baby was, the less symptoms there would be. I was in for a rude awakening, and I’m not just talking about “morning sickness.” Keep reading.
  2. The sheer exhaustion. Skip this if you have kids. (Most moms laugh when first-time pregnant women complain about this, noting that exhaustion WITH kids is much worse,  but we don’t have that to compare to yet).  Honestly, there were days when I didn’t know if I could make it through a normal work day as every ounce of my body screamed at me to sleep. It is the kind of exhaustion that makes you think something is seriously wrong with you, and you can’t load up on caffeine because that’s not good for baby. Meanwhile, your doctor is recommending you to keep up with exercise, so not only do you feel tired but you feel guilty about it, too.
  3. Food aversions. So much attention goes to our absurd cravings, that I had no idea I would have the opposite – food aversions. Mostly in the first trimester, food nauseated me rather than appealed to me. My appetite went down, and for a while I could only tolerate chicken noodle soup and bagels with cream cheese. The heightened sense of smell made it worse. I made my poor husband eat dinner outside for a while because I couldn’t stand the smell of his food.
  4. Dizzy spells. This one freaked me out. I was home alone and just ate a big breakfast, but all of a sudden my eyes went black and I almost passed out in my kitchen. This usually happens whenever I get up from sitting down, and I thought surely something was wrong. Turns out it’s just another common symptom of pregnancy as your body’s cardiovascular system pumps up the blood. Doctor’s advice? Move slowly, which can be frustrating and make you feel lazy as in #2.
  5. Excess saliva, really?  Yeah this can be annoying. It’s a symptom usually in that dreaded first trimester again. It doesn’t help with the nausea or morning sickness you’re dealing with. It gets so bad for some women they need a cup to spit out the excess saliva. Sexy!
  6. Too much technology. This is both a good thing and a bad thing. Information on pregnancy is so readily available in today’s digital world, but I still bought the good old “What To Expect When You’re Expecting” book. I appreciate this book more than anything, because unlike the apps on my phone, this book is there for me when I need it and doesn’t constantly ping me with notifications. Yes, it is nice to be able to watch my baby’s growth on my smartphone, but it is also nice to unplug and let my body do its thing. Especially when you’re at the doctor’s office all the time, you can easily start to feel overwhelmed by “information overload.”
  7. Baby bump or belly bloat? One day it seems you grew a baby bump, and then the next day it goes away. The bloating in early pregnancy is no joke, and it can be really uncomfortable and a total tease. There is no magic week when women start to show; it just depends. But one thing I didn’t know is that women in their first pregnancy tend to show much later than moms who have already been pregnant before because their uterine and abdominal muscles are experts at making room from the first baby.
  8. Eating for two is a total lie, sorry foodies! When you announce you’re pregnant, it’s only natural for people to want to celebrate and throw food at you. “You’re eating for two!” Don’t let this get to your head, it’s grossly exaggerated and can actually be harmful to you and baby. You only need about 300 extra calories a day, but your doctor or midwife will look at your pre-baby weight/BMI to determine what a healthy weight gain looks like for you. For some women, this may be only 25 pounds. For others, it may be 50 pounds. Trust me, you’ll want to focus on healthy eating rather than over-indulging, especially with the symptoms of heartburn that will come around. I. can’t. stop. burping.
  9. Prenatals. Can we just take a moment to hate on prenatals? Gotta respect them. They give baby vital nutrients, but wow they are disgusting. If you can’t do horse pills, say hello to the gummy prenatals. Don’t be fooled, they will taste like candy the first week, and then you will grow so sick of them they’ll become another one of your aversions that you just can’t run from. Sigh.
  10. Um, even my teeth? Turns out you need to go to the dentist a couple times during your pregnancy because your surging hormones even affect your oral health. I had a checkup during my first trimester and was wondering why my gums were bleeding so easily. The hormones make your gums react to plaque more intensely than normal.
  11. The fact that this isn’t even half of it. Pregnancy is quite the miracle, but there is no shame in admitting the crazy things it puts our bodies through! What would you add?
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