What you wish you knew before pregnancy
Before I got pregnant with Mason, I maybe had two girlfriends at the time who had children and a few that recently announced their pregnancies. One of my biggest fears was delivering and I grew intensely anxious when the pregnancy stick read, “pregnant.” I thought, “Omg, I’m going to go through giving birth.” At the time, I didn’t have a lot of people to ask questions to and remember frantically pouring myself into the book, “What to Expect when you’re Expecting” as I went through unfamiliar symptoms and constantly worried about the changes in my body that first trimester.
Now, with a platform to share whatever I want, I have to ask… why aren’t we talking about this? Why aren’t we… as girlfriends, sharing all the good, bad, and ugly about the most natural and common experience that so many of us go through?
Of course, every woman experiences different symptoms during pregnancy, and not every pregnancy is the same each time. One may have the worst skin, while another may have that pregnancy “glow” that everyone talks so much about and I experienced myself since my pregnancy wasn't that bad at all. Another woman may be bent over the toilet the majority of the first trimester (or entire pregnancy) and another woman never feels nauseous at all. I completely understand that we are all SO different in this journey, yet, why not share our stories or experiences with our friends and shed some light on this topic.
No one told me I’d have to wait 6-8 weeks before I could have my first ultrasound to confirm my pregnancy. No one told me I’d feel normal cramping (implantation) during the 5thweek and worry that I could be experiencing a miscarriage. No one told me not to read the comment section in my pregnancy app during the first trimester because it was FILLED with stories about miscarriages. No one told me I’d get shooting pains in my vagina (aka called Lightning crotch) during my third trimester which didn’t mean I was in labor. No one told me about the excess discharge. No one told me about the quantity of bleeding after giving birth and that it would last 6 weeks. No one told me that I’ll cry for hours, for no reason at all, and that it didn’t mean I was having PPD.
No one told me… but I’m here to tell you everything! At least everything that I know (FYI, I’m not a nurse/doctor/etc. and do not have anyone else helping me on this post other than the information I received from YOU … so I am sure I am missing a lot)
Since we all have so many different experiences with pregnancy, labor, and postpartum …I took to Instagram to include you and get your feedback on the subject. Since I only have one personal experiences, I can only speak for myself and my own symptoms. So below, you will find feedback from so many different women about “what you wish you were told” before getting pregnant.
Every doctor’s office and state are different regarding how many visits and when you can confirm a pregnancy. I didn’t realize you had to wait until you were 6-8 weeks before your first ultrasound. I thought the moment you peed on that stick you could officially confirm. What a tough couple of weeks worrying and wondering.
Your first ultrasound is internal.
Cramping is normal. You’ll find out that cramping around 5-6 weeks of pregnancy means you are going through the implantation phase, it doesn’t happen for everyone, but totally normal during the first couple of weeks. I remember finding out what it was and then worrying when the cramping stopped. You should only be worried and contact your doctor if you are experiencing bleeding during this time.
It’s typical to have only 3 ultrasounds throughout your entire pregnancy. I thought I was going to be seeing his grow during every appointment, which was disappointing to say the least.
It’s OK to not love being pregnant. No one will judge you for not blissfully announcing how happy you are every day. Some people love it, some don’t. It’s OK.
You can get bad groin pain from all the stretching and growing, it can be a shocking feeling but typically goes away after a couple seconds.
Morning sickness is not just in the morning and can last for some the entire pregnancy.
Hormonal acne doesn’t mean you are using the wrong products, it’s going to happen whether you like it or not. It could subside after the first trimester or take you all the way through, but it won’t last forever. Don’t change your makeup or skincare routine to an extreme (other than no longer using anything harmful like retinol, etc.) just bring it to the basics and drink a lot of water.
A lot of women experience really bad heartburn, who never experienced heartburn before pregnancy.
Shooting vagina pains, aka called lightning crotch is the most shocking feeling and may instantly make you feel like you are in labor. This happened to me closer to the end of my pregnancy. It literally feels like someone is stabbing your vagina. Breathe!!!
The glucose test for gestational diabetes is different for so many people. Some say don’t drink it with ice, some give it to you to drink at home, but you have to drink it in 5 minutes and be at the doctor’s office ready for a blood test in 30 minutes after you finish the drink. If you get sick from taking the test, the test is invalid.
You no longer can sleep on your stomach at around 20 weeks, you could experience difficulty sleeping and leg cramping from sleeping on your side.
Don’t scratch your stomach if it itches, this could cause stretch marks to form.
You could be waking up multiple times a night to go to the bathroom. You also could pee your pants if you sneeze.
If you are positive for gestational diabetes, don’t take it personal. It doesn’t mean that you did anything wrong. Your placenta can still be intolerant to carbs and sugar no matter how healthy you were.
It doesn’t matter how small you were before you were pregnant, everyone’s body reacts differently. Don’t compare your weight gain or swelling to anyone else.
Your entire body could swell up. Hands, feet, lips, nose, face…. Everything!
Your nipples can get larger and darker throughout your pregnancy, naturally preparing them for breastfeeding.
Your husband/partner is also going through many changes. PPD for men is also a thing. Communicate and ask for help!
Your vagina can randomly get swollen BEFORE childbirth. It happened to me a few times in the first trimester of my pregnancy and I was SHOCKED.
The more pregnancies you have, the more discharge you’ll have throughout your pregnancy. Panty liners! Panty liners! Panty liners! It can also cause awful itching and swelling from the amount of liquid in your pants. Change them and shower often.
Research being a core blood donor or saving the core blood for your child. It isn’t mandatory to do, but you’ll need to make a decision in the second/third trimester.
Braxton hick’s contractions can begin as early as the second trimester but are more likely in the third. When this happens, the muscles of the uterus tighten for approximately 30-60 seconds and sometimes a portion of your stomach raises.
Having your cervix checked hurts and can sometimes result in bleeding.
Prepare for people to comment about your weight. Whether that means, “you look so small” or “are you having twins?” … its more than likely going to happen to us all.
Edema- water retention aka body swelling causes aren’t due to underlying diseases. It could be eating large amounts of salt, sitting or standing for long periods of time, and medication side effects.
You can order a breast pump through insurance (depending on your insurance) about 30 days before you give birth. Find out through your insurance and make plans before you forget.
Just because you gain weight quickly in the first trimester doesn’t mean you will be over your expected weight the rest of your pregnancy. Some gain quickly at the beginning and taper off at the end and others gain less to start (due to sickness perhaps) and make up for it in the later months.
Pre-eclampsia affects the blood flow to the placenta, often leading to small or prematurely born babies.
Labor/ C section
You won’t always get a huge gush of water coming out when your water breaks, it can slowly come out and for a while.
You push during contractions
All self-doubt goes out the window you’ll likely want to give birth naked
Putting in an IV can be more painful than childbirth
Make sure the nurse doesn’t put the IV on the crease of your hand and arm… you won’t be able to move your hand.
Everyone goes in knowing everything about a vaginal birth but nothing about C sections. There are also other options (VBAC) to discuss.
C sections are worst than natural birth (I was a last minute C Section) the pain never goes away, you will have to sleep sitting up because of the stitches and how painful it is, you experience pain trying to stand up, seat down or go to the bathroom to do number 2.
The pain of a C section stays with you for the rest of your life, depending on the weather you can actually experience minimum pain after 2 years of having your baby.
You are going to need granny panties ( they are going to be your best friend when still having the stitches ).
Getting an epidural is a WEIRD feeling. You have to arch your back in a C position and no one is advised to watch this process (husbands beware).
Pushing is hard work! You feel like nothing is happening when you do.
Even with an epidural, you still feel the pressure and could get pains in your legs.
An epidural is different for everyone. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t.
It doesn’t matter when you get an epidural, get it before it’s too late (if it’s a strong desire in your birth plan) or before you are screaming for it. There was only one person doing them at the hospital when I went in and it can take a little time to do. I remember a woman screaming for it while I was getting mine done.
Your placenta comes out after baby- the nurses will push on your stomach to get it out.
You have the option to use a mirror to watch yourself push.