I caught up with a newly pregnant friend last week. She is over the moon to be having her first baby, but oh my God, the poor woman is suffering with morning sickness in a big way.
We got to talking about all of those delightful parts of pregnancy that nobody tells you about. Heads up, guys – it’s not like the movies. You’re not going to vomit a few times in the toilet cubicle at work before you transform into a glowing goddess – well not for the vast majority of us anyway.
If your experience is anything like mine, you need to know what you’re in for because shit gets very real when you’re pregnant.
Not sure what to expect when you’re expecting? Here are six of the pregnancy problems I experienced. Feel free to share yours in the comments.
All day and night sickness
Morning sickness is one of the most insulting terms in the English language. Don’t be fooled into thinking you will feel nauseous only in the mornings when you’re pregnant. ‘Morning sickness’ can hit you at any time. I suffered morning sickness from five weeks and it was relentless. The afternoons and evenings were the worst. I was often too weak to move from the shower floor. Yep, I used to vomit in the shower. Vomit and cry – because you can’t vomit without crying, am I right? What a beautiful way to kick off your pregnancy. Sigh.
Your sense of smell will be heightened during pregnancy. I could smell perfume, coffee and spicy food from the next suburb and it would turn me green. I learnt to hold my breath during meetings for fear of losing my gourmet breakfast of pizza shapes over the boardroom table.
Pregnancy books tell you that morning sickness eases as you move into the second trimester. For many of us this is just a big, fat lie. It lasted until well over the halfway mark for me. If you’re especially unlucky you will have morning sickness return in the third trimester, or worse yet, you’ll be stuck with it the whole way through.
Survival tip: If morning sickness persists after 12 weeks, talk to your doctor about anti-nausea medication. If you’re feeling like death prior to 12 weeks, eat small, bland meals regularly.
The Hunger Games
Your appetite will be insatiable when you’re pregnant, which is extremely cruel if you fall victim to morning sickness. If you’re anything like me, prepare to get trapped in an ‘eat and vomit’ cycle for months. I wanted to be the healthiest version of me when I was pregnant to support my growing foetus, but there was a period where all I could stomach was a McDonald’s Happy Meal (without meat). I think my stomach and mind was confused that I was pregnant and not suffering a raging hangover.
Survival tip: Keep salted crackers and pizza shapes on your bedside table – you’ll be too tired to get up to the pantry at 4am in the morning.
Ooh, ouch, ahhh!
You may experience back pain, feel pressure in your downstairs area, and if you’re lucky like me, experience electric shocks down your backside and leg. Sometimes your legs may feel numb or have pins and needles. That, my friends, is called sciatica and it’s not very nice.
Survival tip: Pregnancy massage will give you temporary relief. Be sure to take it easy and don’t spend too much time on your feet.
You'll feel swell *coughs*
‘Dude, look at your feet!’ I will never forget my friend saying this to me after the birth of my first daughter. My feet, ankles and legs swelled to the size of the Michelin Man. For me, swelling came after birth, but you may experience it during pregnancy. Get ready to say sayonara to your ankles and watch your toes transform into breakfast sausages.
Survival tip: Put your feet up to help with circulation. Try gentle exercise – swimming was a favourite for me.
Varicose veins on your vajayjay
I’ll never forget the time my parents’ neighbour pulled me over at Coles in the bakery section and said, ‘So your mum tells me you’ve got varicose veins on your vagina’. I wanted to die a thousand deaths until she told me she had them too! This is up there with one of my least favourite parts about being pregnant.
Your private parts will throb like they’ve never throbbed before – and not in a good way. Varicose veins on your vulva are downright painful, not to mention horrible to look at. You’ll be tempted to get down there with a mirror to take a look. A word to the wise – don’t do it. Just. Don’t. Do. It.
Survival tip: Put your feet up. If the pain is unbearable, you can buy compression pants to help ease the pain.
Bumps on your boobs
Have you ever heard of Montgomery’s tubercles? I hadn’t either until I begged my obstetrician to take a look at my boobs. I noticed strange bumps on my areolas one morning and feared I had a weird disease that my baby would contract when I breastfed her. My obstetrician assured me it was normal, but I didn’t believe him. (Side note: Pregnancy hormones will send you on an emotional roller coaster. I turned into the biggest worrier known to humankind). I was positive I had a rare disease and my boobs would likely fall off. ‘You’re not going to leave until I look at your breasts, are you?’ I remember my obstetrician saying to me. He was exactly right.
Survival tip: They may look awful, but they’re not painful. They will disappear. Eventually.
Pregnancy of course is different for every woman. These are just some of the issues I experienced. You may experience some, all, or none of them.
It’s important to remember that no matter how downright disgusting you may feel during pregnancy, there’ll be a reward in the form of a beautiful baby at the end.
I suppose now would be the wrong time to mention post pregnancy problems, right?!
Linking up today with Kylie Purtell for IBOT.