Expecting mamas: hands up if you’ve got at least a dozen browser tabs open with questions for Dr. Google.
“Why are my gums swollen?!”, “Why do I hate pickles?!”, “Aching vagina + pregnancy”… you name it! For this mama, pregnancy felt like a daily guessing game of what the heck I was feeling.
It’s easy to forget your body is undergoing perhaps the biggest hormonal shift it’s ever experienced and get caught up stressing about the sensations going on. But rest assured, all those weird, uncomfortable and unenjoyable symptoms you’re experiencing are (mostly) common and only temporary.
So for all the soon-to-be mamas, here are ten things that took me by surprise during pregnancy, to help you know you’re not the only one feeling what you’re feeling:
You’re suddenly struggling to walk to your local coffee shop
Extreme tiredness is often one of the first symptoms mums-to-be report feeling. It’s no wonder; in those early weeks, your body is pumping itself with hormones to help maintain the pregnancy. While it might feel like a slog, kick your feet up, send someone else to the coffee shop and ask for help with the housework (perfect practice for after you’ve had your baby). You’ll relish these days once your little one has arrived and you’re on the go 24/7. And hang in there; many women report feeling their energy return during the second trimester.
All you feel like eating are cheese-loaded carbs
Or Bunnings sausage sizzles and fish burgers, if you’re like me. Whatever your jam, the hormones pulsing through your body can make you feel nauseous and change your taste buds, meaning foods you might have liked previously are now on your ‘ew’ list. Get through it however you need, stay hydrated and say yes to that third doughnut if it will make you feel better!
The smell of your deodorant makes you want to hurl
No, you’re not going crazy! Heightened sense of smell is a common side effect of pregnancy (thanks to, you guessed it…the hormones). They can make you sensitive to smells, even those you once liked and even to the point of feeling nauseous. Soldier on mamas-to-be, and do what you need to remove smells that aren’t agreeing with you. Swap to unscented body products, get lots of fresh air or avoid cooking certain foods that tickle your nose the wrong way.
You’re running to the bathroom every two minutes
And you don’t remember drinking any more water than usual. Not only is there more fluid in your body as your baby grows, but your expanding uterus is pressing on your bladder. Bingo! It’s time to pee again! There’s unfortunately not much you can do here as your uterus will only get bigger. But you can take precautions (like this loves-to-overplan mama did!), and always ensure you’re near a good public bathroom.
Your shoes feel like they’re getting smaller by the day
So it’s less your shoes shrinking and more your feet swelling. This is thanks to blood pooling in your legs (sexy!). Your body is making extra blood for your baby, and those lovely pregnancy hormones and your growing uterus make it harder for said blood to flow from your heart and back. Some things you can do to help keep swelling down include avoiding standing for too long, limiting salt in your diet and exercising regularly. Frustrating as it may be, it’s the ultimate excuse to buy those cute new shoes. You deserve it!
Your boobies ache just looking at them
Let alone if your significant other touches them! Much like every other part of our bodies, our boobs change during pregnancy too, to prepare for breastfeeding. They might be big and tender; your nips might look like they’re the size of dinner plates. And while it means saying goodbye to your favourite lacy bras for now, it’s all to help you feed your baby when they’re here.
You cry watching a Netflix comedy special
Yes, you might feel absolutely unhinged but it’s likely just pregnancy hormones taking you for a ride. The same hormones that help your baby to grow can also cause mood swings and uncalled for crying. Keep the pocket tissues handy, and embrace it. Emotions are a good thing!
You’re hobbling around worse than after an eight-hour stint wearing stilettos
It can be easy to mistake your growing baby for a bowling ball strapped to your belly. At least it might feel that way! The extra weight of your baby can wreak havoc with your lower back, making it sore to sit, stand, walk and everything in between. Stash those heels, crack out the Birkenstocks, find a good physio that specialises in pregnancy and repeat after me: ”This is only temporary”.
Your chest feels like it’s on fire
No, it’s not a heart attack…say hello to heartburn and indigestion. Your baby is growing, and as they do, they’re putting pressure on your stomach, which can send stomach acid up into your esophagus (yum). Things like eating smaller meals and sleeping with your head raised can help. The things we do for our little ones?!
You look radiant… without your usual cheekbone highlighter
If you’ve looked in the mirror lately and noticed that your skin is particularly glowy, you can thank the extra hormones and blood pumping through your body keeping it nourished and moisturised. If you’re one of the lucky ones to experience this, go ahead and take those extra selfies. You are growing a human, so show off your gorgeous self!
Don’t forget that pregnancy is personal and you might experience some or none of these feelings, and in different ways. Speak to your doctor if you’re ever concerned and – most importantly – talk about how you’re feeling. You’re not alone in this!
Let us know in the comments what sensations during pregnancy you’ve found most surprising.