You may think you're prepared for the morning sickness, the mood swings, and the fatigue, but there are plenty of things that you may not know about being pregnant. Here are 20 things you didn't know about being pregnant...
Being pregnant is one of the most amazing times in your life. And whilst you might be expecting to be glowing and feeling calm and amazed as you’re about to experience the miracle of life, there are a few things about being pregnant that you might not know about.
No matter how many books you read and antenatal classes you attend, there’s nothing that can compare to some advice from those who’ve been there, done that, and had the baby sick down the T-shirt. So we’ve made a list of all the things you really need to know about pregnancy, a whole 20 things that you won’t find in the leaflets. So prepare yourself for big feet, baby brain and even drooling, yes really!
Whilst you may be prepared for the morning sickness, the mood swings and the fatigue, don’t be surprised if, over the next 9 months, pregnancy throws you the odd curve ball.
From the weird to the wonderful, the odd to the plain irritating, we’ve rounded up 20 things you may not have expected when you’re expecting. It might turn out that being pregnant is going to be more of a bumpy ride than you expected – literally!
You’re pregnant and suddenly the smallest smell has become the strongest stench. This heightened sense of smell is so powerful that it may send you retching for the sick bag. In fact, one study found that women born with no sense of smell (anosmiacs) don’t suffer from morning sickness. The good news is that for all those vomit-inducing smells of cooking, body odour and bleach there are other odours like citrus, mint and ginger which will hopefully give you some relief. Keep a hanky soaked in scented oil in your bag for emergencies – along with the sick bag!
Do you wake up with a big wet patch on the pillow, or find yourself drooling like Homer Simpson? That’ll be those pesky pregnancy hormones. Some women find that they produce excess saliva during pregnancy; others experience an unpleasant metallic taste in their mouths. If you wake up to feel like you’ve spent the night sucking on a handful of ball bearings then lemon tea or a mouthwash of either salt or baking soda solution may help neutralise the problem.
You know that your baby’s going to kick but you weren’t expecting your stomach to move around like in a scene from Alien! Watching your baby moving around in your belly can be totally mesmerising and you may find that bump-watching becomes yours and your partner’s latest hobby. If your baby decides to shift position the movements can be quite dramatic. There may even be times when you catch the clear outline of a little foot or limb pressing against your stomach wall. You can expect first movements to be felt anywhere between 14 and 26 weeks of pregnancy. For first pregnancies it’s usually around 18 to 22 weeks.
Eyes can feel dry and gritty and regular contact wearers may suddenly find that their lenses have become really uncomfortable. This is due to subtle changes in the shape of your cornea. These same changes can affect your vision and you may worry that your eyesight is deteriorating. But there’s no need to rush out and get a new prescription. These changes are temporary and your normal vision will return once those pregnancy hormones subside.
Did you know that your feet can actually go up a whole shoe size during pregnancy? This is because those same hormones which help relax your ligaments in preparation for birth also relax the ligaments in your feet. The result? Flat feet or fallen arches!
When pregnant I dreamt that I gave birth to a little girl in a lace bonnet who was a frozen lollipop on a stick. I took her out in the pushchair to find she melted in the sun. It doesn’t take a dream expert to sense I was harbouring a few anxieties about impending motherhood. When you’re pregnant you may have vivid dreams that can be disturbing, exhilarating or frightening. It’s hardly surprising given that you’re tossing and turning trying to get comfy or having to get up several times a night to go to the loo.
Lots of women report feeling forgetful or a bit foggy-headed during pregnancy and this has led to the widely held belief that expectant women suffer a loss of cognitive ability. However, researchers are beginning to debunk the myth that pregnant women’s brains temporarily turn to mush. Instead they now believe that while significant changes do take place, these alter, rather than impair our cognitive abilities by way of preparation for motherhood.
Your partner may need to invest in a pair of ear plugs. A Scottish study of 100 women found that the percentage of snorers amongst them rose from 12% before pregnancy to 41% during the third trimester.
Weird though it may sound, pregnant women are twice as likely to be bitten by mosquitoes than their non-pregnant counterparts. It seems that mothers-to-be exhale more carbon dioxide which draws the little blood suckers in and because their skin is thinner they are easier to bite.
Drink, pee, drink, pee. When you’re expecting you can feel like you’re backwards and forwards to the loo all the time, particularly in the first and third trimesters. There’s not a lot you can do about that but, if you find yourself having the odd ‘oops’ moment when you laugh or sneeze then it could be time for the Tena Ladies. At least then you can go about your day feeling fresh, confident and dry.
Oh the indignity of pregnancy! As though mild incontinence issues weren’t bad enough, your pregnant body seems determined to trump it with a bad case of flatulence. If you do find yourself yourself burping and farting like Waynetta Slob, try and work out which foods are the main culprits and eliminate them from your diet. If you do accidentally let rip in the office lift, just smile apologetically and just say, ‘Sorry, it’s the baby.’
I always thought that bump rubbing was the preserve of bad actresses in low budget sitcoms until, that is, I had my first baby. Like many pregnant women I just couldn’t keep my hands off my bump. Stroking your bump is an instinctive response and one which helps you bond with your unborn baby. Responding to his/her kicks by rubbing your belly is one of the ways you can start communicating even before baby is born.
Funny though it sounds, babies actually get hiccups in the womb. In the third trimester your growing infant exercises his breathing muscles by taking occasional deep breaths and ingesting some of the amniotic fluid baby is floating in. (Don’t worry they won’t drown as they are getting their oxygen from your placenta). This sudden intake of amniotic fluid can cause hiccups, just as it would if you drank something too quickly.
Pregnant women are a bit like Weebles. They wobble but they don’t often fall down. So why is this? Well, it seem that women’s spines are built differently from men’s – a difference which allows them to lean backwards to counterbalance the weight of their developing babies. Yet despite this miracle of evolution, a degree of clumsiness remains the inevitable consequence of weight gain, coupled with a change in your centre of gravity. So don’t be alarmed if you find yourself bumping into doors or knocking into furniture. Armpads and shinpads are always available for the clumsiest amongst you!
Are you one hot mama-to-be? Many women find that their sex drives go into overdrive when they are pregnant. This may be most pronounced during the first trimester when hormone havoc is at its height .
We all know that feeling. You’re sitting in front of the telly and suddenly a thought pops in your head, ‘Ooh I just fancy a bit of toast and jam.’ Food cravings in pregnancy are like this but multiplied by a hundred. If pickled cucumbers rear their ugly head then nothing else will do except for pickled cucumbers. And you’re not gherkin around! Woe betide any partner who tries to palm you off with a cheese and pickle sandwich!
Are you feeling bunged up, like you’ve got constant catarrh or the start of a cold? A stuffy nose can be an unpleasant and unexpected side effect of pregnancy. It is due to an increase in blood flow through your body’s mucous membranes. This causes the lining of your nose to swell, which can lead to you feeling congested. It can also cause you to have nose bleeds. Steam inhalation may provide some relief.
Cheryl Cole eat your heart out. With luck, thick luscious locks will be one of the plus points of your pregnancy. Over the next 9 months the normal cycle of hair growth slows down, resulting in just 5% of the hairs you would normally shed actually being lost. A lot of women panic after their babies have been born because it can feel like their hair is falling out in handfuls. Don’t worry, the hairs you are losing are simply the extra ones you have held onto while pregnant.
You’ve got big, then you get bigger! In those final weeks life can become a bit difficult and you may feel like a fatty contortionist as you try to pull up your knickers, shave your legs or even just wipe your backside!
You may be the size of a whale and practically dead on your feet, but don’t be surprised if, in the final weeks, you morph into a kind of Nigella Lawson/Kirstie Allsopp hybrid. The nesting instinct is no myth. As your D-Day approaches you may be struck with an overwhelming urge to spring clean, de-clutter cupboards, even decorate!