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10 Things You Won’t Hear About Pregnancy

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Pregnancy is meant to be a joyous and magical time. It is time when every woman is meant to feel elated, blissful and beautiful. But let’s get real – between the bouts of morning sickness, ankles swelling, weight gain, and mood swings, pregnancy is not all that it is advertised to be.

Woman to woman, I want to share some of the things about pregnancy that no one tells you about. Don’t get me wrong – pregnancy is indeed an unforgettable, wonderful time of your life. But, it is good to know these lesser known facts about pregnancy so you are prepared and don’t feel bad that you are not living up to the mawkish and unreal expectations of pregnancy laid out in most baby magazines and Hollywood films. So here goes:

1. Klutzy Behavior

Pregnancy can make even the most poised and graceful of women become extremely clumsy and engage in unintentional comedy routines. Why does this happen? For oh-so-many reasons. As the baby inside grows, your center of balance will change transforming you into a human bumper car . Your joints are naturally loosening, and you are retaining water which is probably make you all-thumbs. To add to this, that large belly makes it impossible to see exactly where you are taking that next step. And as the pregnancy progresses that extra weight can make you stop moving daintily and start lumbering and lurching. It is important that you be very careful during this time and slow down to do the things you need to do –  walk down stairs holding the rail, watch out for wet, icy or uneven surfaces, steer clear of crowded spaces, avoid wearing high heeled shoes and most of all don’t forget to ask your loved ones for help.

2. Everyone Becomes Yoda

As your belly grows, so will the sheer volume of advice and recommendations from everyone. And I really mean EVERYONE – parents, in-laws, relatives (close and distant), friends, co-workers, neighbors, random strangers in the grocery store, etc. Everyone loves dispensing their ‘expert’ opinion. You might hear excruciating details of your friend’s experiences with breastfeeding, or your aunt’s experience with child birth, or medical advice from random ladies in the elevator. All this advice, albeit well intentioned, should be taken with a pinch of salt. Listen to your health care provider and a few people close to you. Most of the time people are telling you about their experiences and things might not be the same way for you. You will soon learn to tune out the unwanted advice and focus on the important stuff.

3. Heightened Sense of Smell

Move over blood hounds – there’s a new kid in town. Most pregnant women start exhibiting heightened olfactory senses and an aversion to scents, that prior to pregnancy, where of no consequence. A co-workers perfume, a whiff of your neighbor’s dinner, or an accompanied elevator ride might set you off.  This is mainly due to a surge of hormones, and in the first trimester this keen sense of smell usually makes morning sickness a more frequent occurrence.

4. Peeing In Your Pants

Pregnant women generally have less bladder control and as the baby gets bigger and decides to use your bladder as a punching bag, this pressure gets enhanced. Sneezing, coughing or laughing all put a lot of pressure on your bladder, when pregnant, and there is a high likelihood that you might pee in your pants. Your best bet to avoid these oopsies is to do plenty of Kegels (repeatedly contracting and relaxing the muscles that form part of the pelvic floor) to strengthen your pelvic floor muscles. These exercises are also great for gearing your body up for birth.

5. Momnesia

Pregnancy might take absentmindedness to a whole new level. Research now indicates that “momnesia” or “pregnancy brain” is in fact a real phenomenon that results in pregnant women suffering considerable short-term memory loss which might even continue after the child’s birth. Momnesia could be because of surging hormones, baby-related stress, lack of sleep – take your pick. There are numerous reasons why a pregnant woman develops momnesia. So if you are walking into a room and forgetting what you came in for a couple of times a day, or are feeling fuzzy, don’t worry it is entirely normal. Just start writing down things, try some stress management techniques, and get more sleep.

6. Pregnant Bellies Becomes Public Property

Once your belly becomes somewhat obvious, you might as well resign yourself to the fact that people will treat it like public property. The invasion of the “Belly Rubbers” is not uncommon when you start showing. There is something about a pregnant belly that gives non-pregnant people the itch to rub it. If the touching and invasion of private space becomes annoying (and it will after the first few times!)  have some clever retorts up your sleeve to stave off the “Belly Rubbers” – my favorite ones are “do I look like Lassie? “; “no touchy”; “I’m nauseous – I feel like I am going to hurl”.

7. Hyperpigmentation

Most people tell you about that beautiful pregnancy glow that pregnant women get when expecting. However, they fail to tell you about the bothersome dark pigmentation that occurs in the breasts, groin, under arms, thigh areas and face during pregnancy. The most common type of hyperpigmentation is melasma or the ‘mask of pregnancy’. Essentially, the increase in hormones during pregnancy increases melanin production which results in small brownish patches or darkened areas on the skin, typically on the cheekbones, nose, forehead, forearms, hands, and other parts of the body that are exposed to sunlight. Don’t worry – this pigmentation typically goes away after birth. Wear plenty of sunscreen, moisturize and drink lots of fluids to mitigate some of these skin issues.

8. Nosebleeds and Bleeding Gums

During pregnancy your blood flow increases and the mucous membranes can become swollen and sensitive. As a result, sometimes gums and nasal membranes might start bleeding. You might notice blood in your gums, while brushing your teeth or you might get “pregnancy gingivitis”, as your gums might react more to the bacteria in plaque. Your nose might bleed a little as well, especially when you blow your nose and also since the mucous membranes are swollen, you might feel more congested than usual.

9. Excess Hair Growth

You have probably heard of how thick and luscious your hair becomes when you are pregnant. What is seldom mentioned, is that this hair growth is not confined to your head. A lot of pregnant women might notice an increase in hair growth or thickness in unwanted areas. Don’t worry, this is only due to a change in your hormonal activity and is not permanent.

10. Momsomnia

Catching enough Zzzs becomes a challenge when pregnant, and the sleepless nights begin much before the baby arrives. The cast of characters contributing to insomnia,  in your first two trimesters, might include nausea, heartburn, sore breasts, bizarre dreams, constantly needing to pee, leg cramps, and anxiety. Third trimester usually brings on the onslaught of more anxiety, more trips to the bathroom, the inability to turn in bed without needing a crane, and not to forget your little soccer player practicing for the FIFA World Cup every time you try to catch some shut eye. Read our article, Rockabye Mommy, to get some tips on beating Momsomnia.

Photo credit: Copyright (c) 123RF Stock Photos

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Contributed by Manic Mama

Manic Mama, is an urban mom balancing her career and her extremely hectic life as a new mother. She brings her honest, and hysterically funny, perspectives as a parent to Bright Babyhood. Her articles about the trials and tribulations of parenthood can be found at www.BrightBabyhood.com

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