Sure, we’ve all heard tons of stories about pregnancy and have at least one friend, family member or colleague who has had a baby. We all have basic general knowledge of what pregnancy involves, but how much do you actually know about those first few weeks… besides the fact that you might get ‘Morning Sickness’?
When you’re a first-time mom you don’t know much, right? A lot of people tend to gloss over all the icky details.
I thought I would look like I was ‘glowing’, instead I looked (and felt) like I’d been dragged through a bush backwards. Nothing knocked my ‘mom-to-be’ confidence quite like figuring out that I actually knew bugger all about the changes my body was about to go through.
After three months of gynae visits and endless hours spent Googling answers to my pregnancy questions, I’ve learned a lot. So, I’m going to share what I’ve experienced with you… TMI included #sorrynotsorry.
1/ The cravings are NOT A JOKE!
Picture this: It’s 3 a.m and your partner rushes to the 24 Hour Engen because you MUST have chocolate ice cream and gherkins RIGHT NOW! We’ve all heard about those scenarios and they sound like a bit of a cliché TBH, but I can 100% vouch for the fact that those crazy cravings are very real. And when they strike, they’re not funny at all.
Research suggests that on average 76% of women will crave at least one food item by the time they hit the 2nd trimester. I discovered that those cravings rarely involve a healthy salad. My cravings? Potato wedges with lots of salt. Hummus and cucumber. Toasties with Marmite and cheese (and I don’t even eat bread BTW). All the cheese! I craved salty foods and the thought of eating anything green or sweet kind of just repulsed me *shivers just thinking about it*.
2/ It feels like someone punched you in the boobs
Yup. Your breasts will be sore AF. You will wince when you accidentally brush up against your nipples and your bra will feel like some sort of medieval torture device. Increased blood flow to your chest (thanks to your surging hormones) causes your breasts to literally swell and morph into gigantic melons.
Your friends who have kids will tell you that your boobs are going to get ‘really big’ towards the end of your pregnancy and that you should ‘prepare’ yourself. Umm, aren’t they already ‘really big’?! ?
3/ Seriously. What’s that smell?!
Congrats, you’ve got a new superpower and you can now smell everything! I sit near the men’s bathrooms in our office and the odours that I could suddenly detect gave me nightmares. Certain smells (like said bathrooms) will definitely turn you off. A report published in Evolution and Human Behavior suggests that pregnant women have a greater ‘disgust sensitivity’, which totally explains why you’ll want to avoid certain scents like the plague.
So, while your super sense of smell won’t automatically make you a member of the X-Men… it will make you want to throw up. Which leads me to my next little nugget of info…
4/ ‘Morning Sickness’ is more like ‘All-Day Sickness’
Look, I don’t know how to break this to you gently — the odds are that you WILL experience some form of nausea and vomiting (70-80% of women do) and you won’t just experience it ‘in the morning’. It will be hell.
The jury is still out as to why nausea occurs during pregnancy, though it’s believed to be caused by — you guessed it — your hormones. I can honestly say I’m one of the lucky ones. I never had my head in a toilet bowl and I only felt nauseous a handful of times. However, those bouts of nausea were so severe that I was left bed-ridden, pale and with a pounding headache.
So, how does ‘Morning Sickness’ feel? Kind of like you’re stuck on a roller coaster that’s doing loop-the-loop all while experiencing what might be the worst hangover of your life… with some food poisoning thrown in for good measure.
I found that nothing really helped me in those stomach-churning moments besides praying that it would be over soon. In a nutshell, you’re going to feel crap. So crap.
5/ Exercise isn’t a breeze
I love running, strength training and yoga, and my inability to bust out a killer workout was probably the most difficult physical and mental adjustment I faced in my first trimester. I just didn’t have the energy to TBH, especially in the very early stages of my pregnancy.
Doctors recommend that you get at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise a week (this number is backed up by the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists). So if you’re a runner then you can totally lace-up. However, you need to be realistic and adjust your workouts slightly… and come to terms with the fact that you won’t be winning a race any time soon.
6/ Sleep is a cruel, cruel mistress
Remember when you used to sleep through the night? Now you’re getting up every couple of hours to pee. For me, 1 and 3:30 am seemed to be the bewitching hours when the toilet beckoned me.
Your dreams will be truly WILD. I mean, like hallucinogenic ‘WTF, that was crazy’ type of dreams thanks to the surge of progesterone in your body.
You’ll also wake up feeling completely exhausted, especially in the first few weeks of your pregnancy. Even getting out of bed to make yourself some breakfast feels like running a marathon.
7/ You’ll be hungry. All. The. Time.
When you aren’t feeling nauseous you will feel insanely hungry. Your stomach is like a bottomless pit and nothing seems to fill it (except for those toasties with Marmite and cheese). Your partner will look at you in horror as you inhale meals that could easily feed a family of four.
The hunger makes sense… you are growing a tiny human, after all.
8/ You’ll be an emotional wreck
You’ll feel incredibly excited and terrified in equal measure. It’ll make you cry. You’ll suddenly become enraged because you forget to buy milk. That will make you cry. You’ll feel anxious because this is all brand new and you will question whether you’re really doing the right things for your baby. Yup, you’ll cry. You’ll feel guilty over that glass of wine you had when you didn’t know you were pregnant. That will make you cry. You’ll feel overwhelmed with love and happiness when you tell your family and friends you’re expecting. You guessed it… that’ll make you cry, too.
See the pattern here?
9/ Is that a bump? Oh nope, it’s just bloat
“Why the hell am I so gassy?!” — a question I’ve been asking myself for months now.
Prepare your partner, because in the first trimester you basically turn into a human whoopee cushion thanks to all the progesterone in your system. Progesterone relaxes the muscles in your body… including the muscles in your digestive tract. Slower moving intestines = bloating, burping and flatulence. Oh. The. Joy.
10/ You’re going to morph into Chewbacca
Your locks are about to become so thick and luscious that you could become a hair model, but there’s a catch… an increase in androgens (male hormones) in your system means that you’ll possibly also develop darker hair growth on your legs, arms, pubic region, and even on the face. Whomp Whomp. My transformation into a hobbit is 100% complete… because I’ve found hair growing on my toes.