Being pregnant is a wonderful experience that a lot of women around the world go through. You're bringing life into the world, you're starting or growing your family, and you're excited to meet your new little person, but it's not necessarily going to be easy.
Pregnancy is hard on a woman's body, and while every new mom in your office might tell you it was completely worth it, there are a lot of symptoms or things they might refrain from talking about that you want to know about too.
Your Hair Is Going To Change
Women often talk about how their hair became thicker while they were pregnant, and it's not something that they're typically complaining about. On the other hand, though, some women experience the exact opposite and their hair thins or even falls out while they're pregnant.
Whether you're suddenly blessed with a lustrous mane or you have some newfound bald spots, after you give birth your hair will return to normal and you'll go back to your pre-baby locks.
People Are Going To Try To Touch Your Belly—A Lot
But you also don't have to let everyone rub your belly like you're a Buddha statue if you don't want to!
For some unknown reason, people love to touch pregnant women's bellies even if they don't necessarily know the person that well, and not every woman is going to like that. If you're someone who doesn't want anyone else's hands anywhere near your baby bump, you're allowed to tell everyone to back the heck off and keep their hands to themselves.
You're Going To Turn Into Spider-Woman Because Of Your Veins
When you're pregnant, you have an increased amount of blood in your body, which puts a strain on your veins. That strain can cause spider veins to happen, which is when veins become more prevalent and darker in color, most commonly on your legs, ankles or face.
While there isn't a way to prevent them completely, if you elevate your feet and legs as often as possible while pregnant and maintain a daily exercise routine, it can reduce the severity.
You Might Get Your First Nosebleed Ever
For the same reason that your gums may bleed or be swollen while you're pregnant, you also may experience nosebleeds, especially in the first trimester.
Your body is producing more blood, and the vessels in your nasal passage are receiving more blood than they're used to which can lead to nosebleeds. If you're someone who isn't used to nosebleeds, it can be a shock, but it's nothing to be overly concerned about unless it lasts more than 20 minutes, in which case you should contact your doctor.
You Could Drool As Much As Your Future Baby
Another fun thing that your body does during pregnancy is to produce more saliva while you're pregnant, especially during the first trimester. The excess saliva is often related to morning sickness, and it can lead to you drooling.
Since it's related to morning sickness symptoms, it will typically go away once you're into your second trimester (usually around 12–14 weeks). Your saliva levels should return to normal and you won't feel like you're drooling all the time.
Pregnancy Acne Will Give You Teenage Nostalgia
You might be someone who never really struggled with acne and you had glowing skin your whole life, or you might've fought acne well into your 20s until you developed a real skincare routine. Whatever your situation beforehand, pregnancy acne doesn't care.
You're already feeling insecure about your growing belly, your swollen feet, your changing hair, and now you have to return to your teenage years. The best thing you can do is keep up with your skincare routine and do your best to not touch your face.
Bleeding Gums, And They Might Be Swollen, Too
Even if it's never been an issue you before, it's estimated that approximately 50% of pregnant women suffer from swollen or bleeding gums after brushing or flossing.
This is known as pregnancy gingivitis, which is a mild form of gum disease that develops due to the hormonal changes that are happening in your body. As long as you maintain good dental hygiene throughout your pregnancy, it's not a cause for concern, and your gums will return to normal after your baby is born.
Your Feet Swell—A Lot
Most people are aware of the fact that women's feet swell during pregnancy, but you might not be aware of just how much they actually do.
The severity of the swelling depends on what trimester you're in, your diet, and your fluid intake, but even factors like weather can have an effect. If you're pregnant during summer months or you live in a hot climate, your feet will likely swell more than someone who's pregnant in Boston in December.
Your Shoe Size Could Change
Beyond your feet swelling during pregnancy, it's actually common for women's shoe size to change during and after pregnancy, and that lasts after your baby is born.
The swelling in your feet will typically go down within a month of your delivery, but many women report that their feet grew a half size—or even in some cases a full size—after being pregnant, so maybe hold off on the shoe shopping until after your baby is born.
At First, You Might Not Realize Your Baby Is Moving
In movies and TV shows, there's often a big dramatic moment where the mother or the parents-to-be feel the baby kick for the first time, and while that is going to happen, chances are it probably started happening before you realized.
A lot of women feel the first movements of the baby and it feels like butterflies in their stomach or some think it's just gas, but then those big kicks will eventually happen and you'll know for sure.
You'll Have Super Spidey Senses
Or at least your nose will. It's very common for women to have a heightened sense of smell while they're pregnant, which can be difficult to deal with when you combine that with morning sickness and a queasy stomach.
You become more sensitive to certain smells and suddenly you hate the smell of freshly baked pie but you love the smell of pickles, but you also have a better sense of smell so you're stuck dealing with it all.
Your Second Pregnancy Could Be Completely Different
You might have breezed through your first pregnancy, had minimal morning sickness, and truly felt like you were glowing, but that doesn't mean that your next pregnancy is going to be the same.
You could experience completely different symptoms and have feet so swollen you can barely walk or wicked heartburn every night, but then if you go for baby number three it could go back to being a wonderful experience. Every pregnancy for every woman is different.
You're Going To Get A Lot Of Advice
Everyone is going to have an opinion on your pregnancy, and everyone is going to want to share their advice with you, regardless of if you're looking for advice or not.
If someone sees you drinking a cup of coffee, they're going to comment on your caffeine intake. If someone sees you stand up a certain way, they're going to feel compelled to tell you about how their wife used to get off the couch a certain way when she was pregnant.
Your Baby Bump Isn't Going To Magically Disappear
We all know that the way pregnancy is depicted on television isn't accurate, but something that comes as a surprise to women is how long it takes your baby bump to actually go down or disappear.
Outside of any baby weight you may or may not have gained, your actual baby bump doesn't go away the second you give birth. It can take six to eight weeks before you start to return to a more normal shape. Be kind to your body.
You Might Turn Into A Sweaty Mess
It's common knowledge that pregnant women have a "glow" to them, especially in their third trimester, but part of that glow could be related to sweat.
A lot of women talk about how sweaty or overworked they felt during their pregnancy, and it makes sense, considering their bodies are busy growing a person inside of them. While no one will blame you, it can't hurt to keep a stick of deodorant in your purse just in case.
Your Might Get Leg Cramps In The Middle Of The Night
You have excess blood flowing through your veins that causes things like spider veins and nosebleeds, but at the same time, you have this person growing inside of you who sits in weird positions and cuts off your circulation. That's how you end up with leg cramps.
The further along in your pregnancy you are, the more common leg cramps are to occur, and they're probably going to happen while you're asleep. So on top of having to get up to go to the bathroom all the time, you also might get painful muscle spasms.
You're Going To Doubt Yourself, But You Shouldn't
If it's your first pregnancy, it's easy to overlook certain symptoms or doubt how you're feeling. After all, you're going through a completely unfamiliar process, and your body is changing in ways it never has before.
While pregnancy does a lot of crazy things to your body, you still know your body better than any pregnancy book, so it's important to listen to yourself and contact your doctor if you think something is wrong. Tap into your mother's intuition and trust yourself.
Feel The Burn—Heartburn, That Is
You're going to have a heightened sense of smell, cravings for weird foods like peanut butter and dill pickles, and you're also going to possibly have to deal with excruciating heartburn. You can add it to the list of things that will keep you from properly sleeping at night.
While pregnant, your body produces a hormone called progesterone, which can act as a relaxant for your lower esophageal muscle that would typically prevent things like heartburn or acid reflux. It will go away once your tiny human is welcomed into the world.
Morning Sickness Can Be More Than Just The First Trimester
While it's most commonly associated with the first three months of pregnancy, morning sickness and the nausea or vomiting associated with it can last into the second or even third trimester of the pregnancy for some women.
On top of it potentially lasting longer than you expected, it also isn't always confined to the morning. If you're lucky, you will have a little bit of nausea at 8 a.m. for the first 12 weeks of pregnancy, but it also could be you throwing up at 4 p.m. during your second or third trimester.
You Might Not Like Being Pregnant
Some women love being pregnant, regardless of all the side effects, because they can look past the morning sickness and focus on their unborn child. Other women, though, really don't like being pregnant—and that's okay!
You don't have to be the woman who tells everyone how much she loves bringing life into the world—especially if you kind of hate being pregnant. You might even put your body through it a second time or third time, regardless of your dislike for it. It's worth it in the end, but you don't have to enjoy the whole process.