**This was written at 31 weeks**
Going into pregnancy, I pretty much just knew what was portrayed in movies: morning sickness in the first trimester and back pain when you are about to burst in the third trimester. I was unaware of pretty much every other symptom I would encounter. However, every symptom I’ve had has come into occurence so gradually that I can’t tell you a specific day that it started. I also only deal with one or two of these at a time so it’s really not bad at all😋
Honestly, I’ve had a very easy pregnancy thus far. It is not over by any means and I know things start to progress rather quickly in the last few weeks. But I feel blessed to have had it so easy up to this point so I might be due some hardships haha!
Here’s some stuff nobody warned me about:
–Extremely sore breasts. This is the first symptom I encountered and for a week or so it felt like they might fall off. Yay for hormones! Little did I know this was my body’s way of telling me I was pregnant before I even took the test.
-Vivid dreams. I woke up many days with such bizarre dreams. A lot were fears I had about pregnancy or raising a baby. I’ve always been a worrier but never had so many realistic dreams about something before.
–I was starving. I ate all the time and treated myself out to eat a lot. I ate Stoby’s and Tacos for Life SO much. I’m not for sure if this was because I was stress eating and coming to terms with the fact that I was pregnant, or because of whatever happens hormonally in the beginning. Plus I’m sure me not having morning sickness like most people do factored in as well. All I know is I was a bottomless pit.
-Sore Tailbone. At first I thought I was going crazy. Actually, I’m in the third trimester and just found out that this is a real common complaint among pregnant women. Relaxin and hormones cause your pelvic floor to stretch. This makes your coccyx (the joint at the bottom of your spine that sits behind your uterus) move and causes soreness. Not to mention, the baby pressing against it as well. Often women will mistake tailbone pain for lower back pain. I would say this is my worst symptom.
–Round ligament pain. This seemed to last only a few weeks before I stopped noticing it. I was definitely unaware this was a thing so you can imagine my surprise when a very sharp pain hit my stomach and I was like well I know it’s not period pains sooooo what could this be? Then good ole google explained the phenomenon.
–Hip cramps and leg cramps at night. This hasn’t happened in awhile but it sure was weird to wake up to! It happened more towards the beginning of pregnancy and I’ve moved on to other symptoms since.
–Baby kicks. This was the most precious feeling I have ever known. The first time she kicked me, I was laying in bed playing on my phone. I felt a small tap tap on my belly and I immediately knew it was her. I texted my fiance within a few minutes telling him that she was kicking and how much I was enjoying getting to feel her. Everything started to become so real then and that’s when I started to fall in love with my baby.
Now I can feel her hand or foot push up and it is so cool to feel like I’m holding her hand if even just for a second. Her squirming at night however is finally getting less cute. Like last night when she kept balling up in my ribs which I did not appreciate at all Haha.
–Your belly may not be proportional to your midline. My belly button is off center to my right side. It is as if it is tilted in one direction which is actually quite common. Every women is built uniquely and her belly is no different. Some simply have a more prominently lifted side.
–Eating large meals makes your ribs hurt. Apparently a full stomach can push your uterus up against your ribcage-causing you to feel uncomfortable. I also wake up at night with my sides aching so I will have to flip over to the other side before drifting back to sleep. This is one of if not my worst symptom (along with the sore tailbone).
–Feet expansion. My feet would swell and hurt pretty bad back when I was still in college. My first and second trimester had my feet hurting more than they do now! It occured on those days were I had classes all day and then went straight to work.
Now I do not work as much and I’m graduated so that lessens the amount of walking I do. My feet occasionally hurt a little but it’s pretty rare. However, they do seem to be bigger. My size 7.5 shoes just doesn’t work anymore.
Sure, my tennis shoes are fine because I can loosen them up quite a bit. But my cute shoes? Not really working for me. They are all too snug which I assumed was a temporary problem. I’ve learned though that the loosening of foot ligaments can be permanent which means I may need to buy some bigger shoes!
–Clingy to my fiance. I am not sure if it is because this is the time I started doing so much research and realized how much change we are about to go through in both our relationship and lives in general. And how much I will need him to be in my corner rooting for me through the birth process. Or because I just started getting bigger and everything seemed more real. Or maybe I just had a surge of hormones that made me want to be cuddling 24/7. Could also have been that I was dealing with school, work, and pregnancy. It did get a little overwhelming at times.
All I know is that I wanted him to be in the same room as me constantly. Not that I verbalized this necessarily or acted on it but it was still very real nonetheless. Now I have calmed down and don’t currently feel that clingy but you never know how the last few weeks will go.
-Nesting. This can become a whole new level of crazy. My anxiety is sometimes on steroids. My energy level will go extremely high for no reason and I plan plan plan and research for hours. Or I will clean and organize everything at once. Now that my energy is slowly declining, I don’t do this as much. I feel pretty calm now and more prepared by the day.
–My abs disappeared. I don’t mean physically because I obviously knew that would happen. I mean that I have very little core strength anymore. Yoga is so different right now and I struggle with poses that seemed effortless pre-pregnancy. If I’m laying on the couch in a weird position and seem to be struggling to get up, my fiance will give me a helpful push😅. I never imagined I’d need help sitting up but it’s definitely a thing.
–I have no belly button!! I guess this makes sense that as your belly expands your belly button naturally stretches to virtually nothing. But these are things I’ve never really thought about before so it came as a surprise to me🤷🏼♀️.
–Tingling feet first thing in the morning. It’s uncomfortable to walk on and then fine within a few minutes. According to the wise google engine, this is due to my uterus pushing on the nerves in my legs and feet.
–Tingling up under breasts. I thought it was my bra moving or coming unattached but nope it is just the baby! I had no idea the uterus would expand to be that size. I guess I sort of knew but I was just taken aback by how she once was way down low and all of the sudden she’s journeyed to the top of my body. Apparently the uterus expands to 500 times its original size during pregnancy. Then, about 6 weeks postpartum your uterus should be back to where it was before. How cool is pregnancy?!
–Everyone interprets your body growth differently. I’ve had a woman tell me I look so tiny and that she could not believe how far along I was and then have a man no more than five minutes later continue to ask if I have twins inside of me. And say, “Are you sure?! Because you look so big!”.
Depending on the day, my inner responses vary widely. Most days I like being told I still look small-I mean I am a woman haha. Other days I would be frustrated that people couldn’t even tell I was pregnant until I told them because I wanted people to notice my baby bump. After all, I was working hard to create this baby!
Some days I would laugh at the people that called me “so huge compared to what I used to be!!” knowing that they meant no harm. And, it is also a very accurate statement. If I wasn’t getting bigger, that would be alarming. Other days I would roll my eyes thinking “Okay, I guess you’ve never had a wife because you certainly would’ve known to NEVER insist to a woman that she has to be having twins because she is so big.”
Pregnancy is a weird time of learning body acceptance in a body that feels foreign and changes too fast for you to keep up. Deep down I know these people were just trying to make conversation. And I don’t want to be one of those bloggers that writes “20 things you don’t tell a pregnant women” and then scare people from ever talking to us. I’m just saying your body image can be up and down as you stare wide eyed at what is supposed to be your reflection yet looks like a stranger.
A lot of women beat themselves up for how big of a belly bump they get or how much weight they put on. This is crazy when we consider how individualized pregnancy is for everyone. Some women have an anteverted uterus which means it is tilted outward. Others have a retroverted one that tilts backward-making their bump appear much smaller than most peoples.
As far as weight gain goes, a woman is expected to gain anywhere from 15-40 pounds. 15 is recommended for overweight women and 40 is recommended for underweight women. Here is the breakdown of 30 pounds of weight gain from the American Pregnancy Association:
-7.5 pounds is average for your baby.
-2 pounds goes to the amniotic fluid.
-7 pounds goes to the maternal stores of fat, protein, and other nutrients.
-The uterus accounts for 2 pounds.
-4 pounds is due to fluid volume increase.
-1.5 pounds is the weight of the placenta.
-Breast tissue increases by 2 pounds.
-An increase in blood volume makes up 4 pounds.
As you can see, weight gain is not simply because we are gorging ourselves with donuts as we cry over silly things. True, we do some of that. But eating for comfort really doesn’t explain why our bodies grow so much. They are designed to adapt and adjust to bring forth life. How amazing is all the rapid changes we go through to create a mini us?!
So, for my fellow pregnant women, do not beat yourself up if you are packing on the weight. Most of it will fall off postpartum. Don’t beat yourself up if you keep the majority of it. You are still the same you as before pregnancy. Love yourself in whatever body form postpartum brings. Be proud of those stretch marks and realize your baby doesn’t care how many pounds you weigh. Neither should you. ❤
–Intense sudden urge to pee that goes away suddenly before I get to the bathroom. Then, I realize it was just Emersyn giving my bladder a nice tight hug! Or kick. Whichever. All I know is that it is an odd sensation that had me running to the bathroom as a precaution. Now I know to wait a minute or so to see if the feeling passes.
–Stress incontinence. Yikes, I guess I’ve heard you needed to pee more in pregnancy but I had no idea that you would actually pee your pants!! I’m convinced I have a weak bladder to begin with. Combine that with a baby pushing on it, there’s bound to be an accident eventually. There’s also hormones that interfere with the way the uretha relaxes and contracts. You produce 25% more urine in pregnancy and the pressure of the growing uterus is another contributing factor. Basically what I’m saying is: invest in some pantyliners.
–Women smile at you more. In a world where women are always competing against one another and being told to do better and look better than everyone else, pregnancy sure brings us together. There is something about a baby bump that catches the attention of others. They look at you more warmly, smile sympathetically, and just give you that understanding look that they have been there. Anytime I see a mom or pregnant woman, we seem to exchange looks that say “we are all in this together”. It makes me proud to be a women. I feel very connected to complete strangers these days from sharing the commonality of motherhood.
–Constipation. I already suffer from the worst digestive system known to mankind so I’m unsure if mine has gotten worse or if it is pretty much the same. I hear that postpartum can get pretty bad and that I need to start looking at meds now to develop a regimen. So you better believe I already went to GNC for some psyllium husk to stay on top of it😆.
–I am losing energy rapidly. I didn’t struggle at all with this in my first trimester like lots of women do. I think my mind was going rampant going over all the changes to come that my body was left wide awake all the time. Now I can fall asleep in a car on almost every roadtrip to my parents house (don’t worry, I’m not the one driving).
It’s a 45 minute drive and I just can not resist the urge to lay down and take a quick nap. Used to, I could never sleep in a car because I worry too much about not being in control and I like to watch the road alongside the driver. Now, I am too tired to care.
I also feel like I am ready for bed about supper time. At 5, 6, 7, 8 etc. I am willing to call it a night.
–Back pain. I knew pregnancy caused back pain but I thought it was solely from the weight of the belly pulling you forward. Now I know that our backs shift to accommodate the growing uterus that puts pressure on it. Posture change from accomdating to your growing belly can lead to back strain. That fun hormone relaxin that seems to be to blame for every symptom in pregnancy also takes the fall here. It causes the back ligaments to loosen in preparation for the birth process, causing discomfort or pain.
Doing cat-cow, downward dog, child’s pose, frogs pose, and bridge all give me some relief and make me feel refreshed. Another thing I’ve noticed is that I hurt more on days I am inactive and sitting at home curled up reading a book. When I am out and about shopping or at work, I don’t notice hardly any discomfort because my spine is being stretched and used.
-I’m surprised by the lack of advice I’ve gotten along the way. I’m not for sure if advice for pregnant women is seen as unhelpful because every mom ends up deciding how to raise her kids in the end anyway. Or if this society is just sick of everyone getting so offended all the time that they avoid conversations surrounding pregnancy, childbirth, and parenting all together. I was hoping to get more advice from women who had been pregnant before or who have had kids and have lots of wisdom to offer. However, everyone’s experience of pregnancy alone is so dang unique that it is hard to know where to start. ( I am sure I’ll get PLENTY of parenting advice from family members after they watch my kid and determine what I should be doing differently😉. Oh welllll haha)