5 Things I Didn’t Know About Pregnancy Before I Became Pregnant

pregnancy
Image via Joelle Photography

It took me longer to get pregnant than I’d hoped.  But while I tried, I was able to research, observe, and informally interview my mom friends.

I thought I knew it all.  But when I finally got pregnant, I found myself questioning most every ache, pain, and emotion possible.  

Here are five things I wish my girlfriends had remembered to tell me.

First trimester
Image via Flickr/Aurora Michele

1.  Early pregnancy often resembles premenstrual symptoms.  I was sluggish.  I had back cramps.  My uterus was revolting. And my emotions were out of control.  I was certain that each time I’d go to the bathroom, I’d find that I’d started my period and dreamt the whole pregnancy.  The pinches and pains I felt kept me up at night fearing my body was attempting to miscarry, when in reality, it was my body’s way of preparing for the growth of the baby inside.

We thought we were supposed to feel in the clear after the first trimester, but in reality, it is often very difficult to accept your limited control over something you can’t actually hold in your arms.

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first trimester pregnancy
Image via Flickr/koadmunkee

2.  First trimester fatigue is no joke.  Many of my friends have multiple children, so when they told me about how tired they felt in the first trimester of their pregnancies, I interpreted that to mean they were “a little run down”.  I mean, how tired could they be if they were still capable of wrangling their older children?  Now I can safely say, the women with multiple children are superhuman.  I’m not kidding.  In my first trimester, it was as if I was attached to a slow drip of roofies.  I fell asleep in the world’s most uncomfortable chairs during work training sessions.  Making dinner was a joke, and if I did manage to sling something on the table, it was done in the intermission between my evening nap and my 7:30 bedtime.  I was tired.  Zombie tired. And the thought of even walking to the mailbox often made me want to catch a nap beforehand… you know, so I’d have the energy to make it back.

pregnancy doctor
Image via Flickr/Daquella Manera

 3.  You will want to swap BFF necklaces with your OB.  I can’t stress this enough.  Your OB is IMPORTANT.  Yes, you want your OB to have the medical chops to carry you through a pregnancy and help you deliver your baby without a hitch, but his or her bedside manner is crucial.  If you have a cookie cutter pregnancy with zero complications, this may not seem as necessary, but let’s put on our big girl panties for a minute and consider the alternative.  If, I shudder to think, you experience a turbulent pregnancy or delivery, you will need someone who helps you find strength and shoots it to you straight, all while understanding your vulnerability and fear.  I had a high risk pregnancy, and in the end, would have proposed to my OB had both of us not been married.  Minor detail.

MORE:  When an OB Visit Goes Wrong }

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pregnancy belly
Image via Flickr/Kit4na

4.  You may fire your inner feminist- temporarily, at least.  I was so happy to be pregnant.  I was all, “I am woman, hear me roar!”, but at the same time, I was all “I am pregnant, please take care of me, give me your seat, excuse me while I nap, and let me cut in the bathroom line!”  I felt so empowered – so happy to be of the gender capable of carrying life, but at the same time, so desperately in need of someone to coddle me.  I got over this after having my son, but for a brief moment of life, I embraced the perks and rationalized it by telling myself I was doing it “for the baby”.  Hehehe.

Image via Flickr/serendipityphotographyltd
Image via Flickr/serendipityphotographyltd

5.  You may never feel totally relaxed.  As much as I tried to find my zen, I couldn’t.  Yes, my pregnancy was dubbed “high risk”, but I honestly don’t think it would have mattered either way.  I held my breath until I reached the end of my first trimester, knowing then my risk of miscarriage would decrease exponentially.  But once I hit that milestone, I birthed a whole new set of concerns.  I felt alone on the crazy train.  It wasn’t until the end of my second trimester when other pregnant friends admitted to the same fears.  We thought we were supposed to feel in the clear after the first trimester, but in reality, it is often very difficult to accept your limited control over something you can’t actually hold in your arms.

What’s one thing you wish you would have known about pregnancy ahead of time? What has surprised you the most? 

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5 Things I Didn’t Know About Pregnancy Before I Became Pregnant

Jennifer Bruno is a credentialed trainer by day and a freelance writer and aspiring photographer by night. Raised in rural Kansas, Jen moved to sunny Florida after college where she met her husband, who married her despite hearing her sing Dixie Chicks karaoke. Shortly after saying “I do”, they moved to New York City to fulfill their dream of living amongst the bright lights and skyscrapers. They currently share their cramped apartment with two modelesque miniature dachshunds named Millie an ... More

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17 comments

  1. Profile photo of Stephanie Stephanie says:

    that’s about right. I also wish someone would have told me about all of the vaginal prodding that happens, I mean, you expect some, but if you’re high risk the amount of crap that they have to do triples.

  2. Profile photo of Katie Katie says:

    I found this article spot on for me! Its reassuring to know that it isn’t just me having these kinds of thoughts / issues.

  3. Profile photo of kayla kayla says:

    Im so glad to read that pain in the first trimester is normal! I am 4 weeks and already back pain, headaches, all day sickness, heartburn, CONSTANT bathroom trips. this is not the glowy, happy, every day is a fantastic blessing experience that society makes pregnancy out to be.

    • Profile photo of kayla kayla says:

      Oh and I cry about EVERYTHING. E.G. – oh no you ate all the cheezits = total emotional breakdown for hours

      • Profile photo of catherine catherine says:

        Lol sadly it gets worse if your like me your probably sick of hearing someone saying that but it sooo true the bathroom trips come back with a vengeance in the third trimester as well as insomnia 🙁 I miss sleeping through the night.

  4. Profile photo of Amber Amber says:

    I wish someone had told me HOW BAD the mood swings could be or that urinary incontinence (complete with the need for Maxi pads every day) could be an issue I’d have to deal with long before the 3rd trimester. I mean, wasn’t this the time in life other than menopause that I’m supposed to be free of the need for pads?) I also never knew that the first HALF of pregnancy goes on without your ability to feel or see what’s going on in there…OR that if you have an anterior placenta it can take even longer you to feel the baby’s movements leaving you feel almost ripped off in that part of the experience..

  5. Profile photo of Gina Gina says:

    I wish someone would have told me that you don’t have to have major pregnancy symptoms and your baby can still be okay…I never had any terrible fatigue, overwhelming nausea, constant peeing, cringe worthy breast tenderness, heartburn, headaches, dizziness or anything in the beginning…I was always thinking my hormones cant possibly be multiplying and I must be on the verge of a miscarriage because I didn’t feel pregnant enough until I started to get a decent bump.

    • Profile photo of Katie Katie says:

      I am almost 39 weeks and I am right there with you… I have had a fairly “easy” pregnancy, but I was totally afraid of not having any of the tenderness of the breasts or morning sickness… I was terrified of miscarriage because I had just went through one a few months before getting pregnant with this baby. I have “relaxed” a little being this close but then labor brings its own worries… I just can’t wait to meet our little angel.

    • Profile photo of Heather Heather says:

      Right there with you. I’m 22 weeks and have had very little to almost no symptoms at all. The only time I had morning sickness was during the days I worked, and that’s only three days a week. I have occasional acid reflux, but that’s pretty much all I got going on. I don’t even have cravings. I didn’t stop freaking out really until yesterday when I had an u/s and my ob told me my baby was perfect and developing like she should.

    • Profile photo of Angela Angela says:

      I totally understand you. I am in the same boat as you. An extremely easy pregnancy. Little things here and there but nothng bad. No back pains, no heartburn, just like you mentioned. I am now 29 weeks pregenant and still feeling very blessed by such an easy pregnancy and everything is A OK, Glad to see this comment

  6. Profile photo of Nichole <3 Nichole <3 says:

    I wish someone would have told me that I better know where ALL of the nearest bathrooms are when I’m not at home or else I’m gonna have a serious pee pee problem!! Like I seriously map out turn by turn directions to every single bathroom in my vicinity because if I can’t get to a bathroom as soon as I have to go I feel like I am going to pee myself.. I heard that pregnant woman pee a lot, but I didn’t realize just how often “a lot” truly meant. And no one told me that I would not be able to hold my pee in for longer than 30 seconds, that when you gotta go, you REALLY gotta go..!! 😉

  7. Profile photo of Terra Terra says:

    I’m in my 26 the week, and I’ve had a few things that nobody ever told me about. THE PRESSURE!!! I never heard about the pressure that weighs on your lady bits, and how it’s so painful to try to switch sides in the middle of the night!

  8. Profile photo of Haylee Haylee says:

    I’ve always known about morning sickness, but I wish someone would of told me how awful it really is. I have morning sickness almost constantly and I can’t keep anything down but crackers and cheese! I had a very embarrassing mishap when we tried to eat at a restaurant just last night. It’ll be nice when and if it ever stops.

    • Profile photo of Christina Christina says:

      I had “morning” sickness throughout my whole pregnancy. I found that dry Crispix cereal often worked better than saltines. And, for some reason, oyster crackers were better than regular ones. In particular, the generic ones from Wal-Mart were better than the Premium. (I think they were less salty.) Blue Bunny Slush Pops helped, too.

  9. Profile photo of Phammom Phammom says:

    How it feels when your uterus moves up. Was worse when it was hot out.

  10. Profile photo of Stephanie Stephanie says:

    I wish they would have told me that I was going to bleed for like a month straight after having my baby!

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