I was collecting opinions from readers and friends on things they wish they had known about pregnancy and childbirth, only to see an Instagram friend’s reel about the very topic.
It would be silly to redo what she had already done so well, I thought. So instead of reinventing the wheel, I’m sharing her tips as a guest post. So you’ll know what to expect when you’re pregnant.
Sarah’s a former RN turned Mom Boss.
For those who don’t know Sarah McKee, AKA @SarahTheHotMessMommy, here’s some brief background. Sarah started her career in the healthcare industry as a resource pediatric RN, then worked in the adult intensive care, and “retired” as a post anesthesia care RN.
Now, she’s shifted into running an online wellness business for women. She has 3 kiddos: Sydney (4), Sadie (2), and Tessa (5 months).
I adore how she has used her platform to help normalize REAL motherhood experiences–speaking openly about two of her pregnancies being natural and one being the result of infertility treatments, with a miscarriage in between. As you can see, she’s really been through it all. So without further ado: Here’s what to expect during pregnancy.
Take it away, Sarah.
“How many times have you heard a mom say, ‘no one told me that about pregnancy?’ I lost track! There are countless books on the topic, so why is so much of this skipped? Because sometimes those things can be awkward to talk about, embarrassing to admit, and just plain gross.
Well don’t worry mama, I got you. Here is a list of what to expect in pregnancy, so you are not caught off guard. Thank God I did not experience these all myself, otherwise I likely would have an only child.
Here’s a list of 40 unexpected things to expect when you’re expecting and giving birth.
1. It’s OK to not love being pregnant
2. You don’t have to eat for two
3. You might get a dark line down your stomach called the linea negra, which usually goes away
4. Your hair color and/or texture may change
5. You might get melasma or dark pigments all over your face
6. You might become super sensitive to the sun
7. Your nipples might get very dark and/or large and may not go back
8. You might get hair all over body in strange places
9. Or stretch marks all over your body–not just on your stomach, or you may not get them at all
10. You should absolutely do pelvic floor exercises when you’re pregnant and not wait until it’s “blown to smithereens after birth”
11. Your breasts might leak milk early on
12. You might get very swollen lady parts and it might change in color
13. You might get discharge flow like a waterfall
And that’s not all….
14. You may get hemorrhoids that never really go away
15. You might gain weight in strange places you don’t normally gain in
16. Your feet might get bigger
17. Your eyesight may change
18. Here’s some good or bad news: your sex drive might increase or decrease
19. You might have taste aversions, smell aversions, or very strange cravings
20. Your balance might be off
21. Your gums and nose may bleed
22. You will likely have a huge increase in pee frequency after your belly grows
23. You might have nerve changes like restless leg or sciatica
24. Or experience wobbly joints from the increase in relaxin
25. You might be crazy hormonal (this one might be obvious), but you also might not be emotional/hormonal at all which people don’t talk about often
26. You will experience a new level of tired… at least until baby comes. Ha!
27. You might have crazy lucid dreams
28. You might have a nonstop stuffy nose
29. Your stomach may itch like crazy as it grows
30. You might have bad gas or other changes in digestion like constipation or the runs
What to expect when you go into labor.
31. You might lose your mucus plug near labor which is like a huge booger out of your lady bits one day when you’re wiping after pee… however this does not mean labor is coming soon, often it can be a week or more before, but it does mean progress
32. You can be dilated at a few cm’s for a long time, so don’t get your hopes up if you hear you’re dilated, stay patient
33. Your water may or may not break, for some it is a huge gush, and for others like a small trickle of pee
34. Your contractions will start and you’ll think “oh, this isn’t so bad”… then they really kick in and knock you off your high horse real quick, unless you’re a total badass and you don’t think transition phase hurts (but I haven’t met a woman yet that thought so)
35. You will likely get a catheter if you have a c-section, or epidural, and this should not be too painful. Soak up the time to not have to run to the bathroom for once in 9 months
36. Your epidural may only work on one side of body or not work at all
37. You will likely poop while pushing
38. You may or may not tear both above your vagina and back towards your butt most people don’t realize it can tear both ways
39. You’ll have to deliver the placenta after birth, sometimes this can be uncomfortable as well
40. Your delivery and entire pregnancy could also actually be super smooth and easy
You can do this, mama.
But all in all, learn to take these lovely things that may or may not happen when you’re expecting. Roll with the punches, take it day by day, and just feel the feelings. You got this.
I’ve learned so much in my four years as a mother so far. Especially since I was divorced for two of those years, making me a single mom to two kids under two until I married my current husband. I learned the keys to motherhood are: trust your instincts and give yourself a whole lot of grace. In the eyes of our children we are perfect. I try to remind myself of that on my worst days, and I hope you do, too.”
Hopefully, now you have a better idea of what to expect when you’re pregnant.
About to have a baby? Check out my 10 Postpartum Recovery Must Haves, so you’re ready to care for yourself after baby arrives. And here are two more articles you might like: Breastfeeding is Hard, But There is Support, and Set Healthy Boundaries With Guests.
Got anything to add to this What To Expect When You’re Expecting list? Let me know in the comments below. And tell me know if you like this guest post format.
What About Mamas is an inclusive space sharing all motherhood perspectives to best serve the many different mothers around the world visiting every week. If you want to know how this whole thing began for me, it started when I had no idea how to care for my own needs after my son was born.
So now, I’m sharing my motherhood journey, so you don’t feel so alone in yours. I also interview experts in women’s health and wellness to provide practical information to validate and support every future and current mother, with information about mental health, physical recovery, and self-care.
Wait, one more thing!
While you’re here, feel free to check out my little self care gift shop if you want to treat yourself or pamper a friend with something special today. You deserve it, mama. Your purchases keep this blog running, support mama-owned businesses, and mean more than you will ever know.
Psst… please share this article to help another current or future mama! You can also save it for future reference on your “Motherhood Inspiration” Pinterest board.