What are some pregnancy things you wish someone had warned you about?
March 12, 2016 4:46 PM   Subscribe

I am six weeks pregnant and already, a few weird things have come up that none of the books I mentioned warned me about. I'd love to hear from the pregnancy vets about other surprises which might be in store for me.

Apologies in advance that many of my future asks will likely be about pregnancy topics :-) But anyway, I am very much a research type and have already read three books. They were quite clinical and described things like the schedule for doctor visits and proper diet/vitamins.

What they did not do is warn me about the quirky weird things, like the time I looked down during a shower and noticed that my hands were blue :-) I looked on Dr. Google (which both my husband and my doctor have asked me not to do) and there was an explanation about the veins appearing larger due to increased blood flow. The blue-looking hands were not a danger sign :-) But they sure were creepy.

So...any other quirky little surprises of this sort coming my way? What do you moms with the pregnancy people had warned you about before it happened?
posted by JoannaC to Health & Fitness (75 answers total) 34 users marked this as a favorite
From my husband to yours, if you have a vaginal birth, the baby will come out and the cord will be cut. Shortly after, there will be a sound. This sound will be you birthing the placenta. Your husband should not turn his head to look. Likewise, I looked down when my daughter was crowning and immediately called her "meatball head." Childbirth is wonderful and beautiful and super gross. You'll likely void your bladder and/or bowels in the process.

Pregnancy and parenthood made me cry a lot. Like, at commercials. I was not prepared for that.

If you're a back sleeper, get used to sleeping on your side.

I just asked my husband about this, and he immediately said "Get a cup. There will be more groin injuries than you'd expect."
posted by Ruki at 5:00 PM on March 12, 2016 [3 favorites]

You may start producing milk much earlier than expected. During my 27th week, I was taking a hot shower and BOOM. Letdown!
posted by heathrowga at 5:10 PM on March 12, 2016 [1 favorite]

The major thing I learned about being pregnant was how variable the experience is from woman to woman and pregnancy to pregnancy.

I had nasal congestion for nine months. I have psoriasis and it vanished during the first trimester only to come back with a vengeance during the second and third.

That the symptoms I had tended to last for two weeks so once I worked out how to handle them at work (I do manual labor so it was complicated) I only had a week of being totally functional and then things would change again.

A lot of this involved what I needed to eat and when so I didn't get hangry at various times during the day. I ended up embracing an almost Hobbit eating schedule that had two breakfasts.
posted by sciencegeek at 5:16 PM on March 12, 2016 [6 favorites]

Get ready for skin tags everywhere. My books warned me about acne but not skin tags.

Know that HCG levels vary so much for each woman - mine did not increase the way the doctor expected them to and she basically told me I would miscarry. Baby Kitty is almost a month old and doing great.

I had terrible hip pain from sleeping on my side so much. Sleeping on my back just hurt too much.

On preview- stuffy nose for 9 months. Pregnancy congestion is a thing and it sucks. Also nose bleeds.
posted by Suffocating Kitty at 5:18 PM on March 12, 2016 [3 favorites]

Your feet may grow -- permanently!
Your sense of smell may become very sensitive.
Your hair may change. Having a lot more wispy flyaways around your face is pretty common.
You may get that line from your belly button straight down, the linea nigra.
You may need to carry crackers with you at all times to avoid nausea. On the nausea front too, a lot of women who are card-carrying salad-eaters find that they cannot stand to even think about green vegetables during the first trimester or so.
The shape of your body may change post-pregnancy and never really go back to the way it was.
Basically, all manner of weird things happen, too many to capture in a book!

Oh, one more -- not to scare you, but the last month or so can be PAINFUL, especially if you're small like me. Because there is a pretty large baby inside of you, pressing on your bones and internal organs in all sorts of uncomfortable ways.
posted by chickenmagazine at 5:19 PM on March 12, 2016 [5 favorites]

My stepmom lost a bunch of hair and went grey and was really surprised. She liked fish and turkey a LOT before and then these were like the top things that made her ill - it went away afterwards but she has never liked them as much since then. She and my mom say their hair and skin have never felt the same since their first.

There was a ton of blood after, which horrified (and scared) everyone who visited except the nurses and mothers in the family. They didn't clean it up before I visited (I was 13 so it was pretty long after the delivery) and that was kind of scarring to be honest.

And babies look kind of like spider monkeys at first. Wrinkly purple spider monkeys. They take a while to look like a baby is supposed to, especially if all the newborns you've seen have been on American TV. The most realistic TV newborns I've seen were on "Call the Midwife."
posted by SMPA at 5:21 PM on March 12, 2016 [2 favorites]

Bone crushing soul sucking exhaustion during the first trimester. This caught me so much by surprise. If you can't do anything after work but stagger home and lay on the couch, don't fight it. It will pass. I mean, you'll be tired later, but nothing like first-trimester tired. Don't let it scare you into thinking you have to power through because this is what the rest of your life will be like.
posted by telepanda at 5:22 PM on March 12, 2016 [12 favorites]

my baby looked like Gollum for the first week
posted by St. Peepsburg at 5:25 PM on March 12, 2016 [12 favorites]

1) Our daughter kicked the hell out of my wife's ability to hold her pee. Ever since, when she feels the urge, there's no option but to find a facility NOW!

2) She also experienced spontaneous milk leakage at the sound of any crying baby.
posted by Thorzdad at 5:27 PM on March 12, 2016

I have long, extremely curly hair that even re-curls itself five minutes after flat-iron straightening. About six months into my first pregnancy I woke up one morning to discover my hair was stick straight. It stayed that way for about two days before going curly again.

That never happened before or in the 18 years since. I've decided to assume it was my son's way of saying hi from inside.
posted by _Mona_ at 5:28 PM on March 12, 2016 [5 favorites]


The most bizarre and unexpected thing that happened to me: my leg hair growth slowed down noticeably. It wasn't particularly distressing (at least it wasn't for me! I liked having another day or so between shaving), but it was definitely pregnancy related--it went away once I wasn't pregnant anymore, and it's starting up again now that I am pregnant for the second time (I'm about a week and a half ahead of you). It's certainly not a symptom I had ever heard of before.

Some of your former favourite foods may become unspeakably disgusting all of a sudden. Recently the smell of cooked garlic has made me want to hurl, so Mr. Sockdentity has stopped cooking with garlic for now--I had no food aversions during my first pregnancy, so this strong reaction to garlic took me by surprise. On the other hand, some things you've always been "meh" about may become cravings.
posted by Secret Sockdentity at 5:32 PM on March 12, 2016

Spontaneous nosebleeds at least 2x a day from month 3 on. No trouble falling asleep at bedtime but I'd wake up around 2 a.m. some nights and never be able to fall back asleep. Both these things stopped the day I gave birth.
posted by whitewall at 5:36 PM on March 12, 2016 [1 favorite]

Pregnancy made my hair much thicker and gave it some great waves. Sadly, it did thin out post partum, but the waves stayed! I consider my curly hair to be an awesome gift from my babies.
I also had some joint pain during pregnancy. I found I could not walk barefoot because it hurt my knees. This has thankfully gone away. Congratulations!!
posted by areaperson at 5:40 PM on March 12, 2016

Agree about the skin tags. Worse than that, skin-wise, are the sun spots I got on my face during my pregnancies... Which are permanent. So use sunscreen if you're fair.
posted by amro at 5:42 PM on March 12, 2016 [1 favorite]

Constipation is no joke. Stay hydrated, lots of fiber.
posted by goggie at 5:52 PM on March 12, 2016 [2 favorites]

Also? You are going to feel panicked about how much your body has changed about 3-4 weeks after you have the baby. You'll still not fit your old clothes, you'll be squishy and it's going to feel like you are ruined. You're not ruined. Things will keep changing and will get better. Whatever it looks like, that body just did something absolutely miraculous. Be kind to it.
posted by goggie at 5:54 PM on March 12, 2016 [14 favorites]

A few things:

1) I, too, developed tons of skin tags during pregnancy. They've all since disappeared.
2) I'd have appreciated it if someone had warned me about lightning/lightening crotch.
3) My husband and I went to get our tires changed when I was about halfway through pregnancy, and I had to leave the tire shop and stand outside - because suddenly, the stink of new tires was the worst thing I'd ever smelled.
4) Just wear the goddamned support hose.
5) I never had morning sickness. But in my second trimester, I developed the frailty of vomiting whenever I see something I find extremely gross. It never went away.
6) I did not overeat and I didn't stop doing my typical exercise, but I still gained a ton of weight. This part might not be entirely under your control.
7) Round ligament pain :(
8) After my baby was born, my belly looked weird as hell for a while. For the first few days postpartum, you could clearly see my intestines moving. And my belly skin was much darker than the rest of my skin. That took months to go away.
9) Even weirder, the interior of my belly button was VERY dark. And I assure you, it was not dirty. Then one day, the skin inside my belly button all started peeling off, and the dark color flaked off with it. So, so weird.
10) I was a bit short of breath for the first week or two after birth, and it was because my abdominal muscles were so stretched out that they weren't doing crap for me.
posted by Coatlicue at 5:59 PM on March 12, 2016 [2 favorites]

Pregnancy does all sorts of small weird things to your body, and it's a complete crapshoot what fun things you'll get. I had bloody snot for weeks (but never full-on nosebleeds), I went through an extra-sweaty phase, and my armpit hair practically stopped growing. In the last few weeks, my right leg would get tired after walking a couple blocks. Only my right leg. A couple times I saw swimming lights in front of my eyes. And I think Baby Metroid Baby wedged a foot under my ribs and kept it there - I'd periodically get a weird ache there that wouldn't go away. Nothing horrible for me, just a lot of strange small annoyances in succession.

OH, AND THE CRYING. The weirdest things gave me the feels: cartoons, Mighty Mighty Bosstones songs, this one time I passed a person walking a dog and I cried because it was a pretty dog. Sometimes the crying wasn't really attached to any emotion; I just needed to cry like you might need to blow your nose.

The one thing that really threw me, though: colostrum can be bright yellow. Like, margarine yellow.
posted by Metroid Baby at 6:00 PM on March 12, 2016 [2 favorites]

Your eyeballs change shape due to the increased fluid volume in your body. It can throw your vision all out of whack.

Ask for stool softeners as soon as you deliver and take them RELIGIOUSLY for a week or two after delivery. Post-partum pooping is THE WORST, especially if you've had a C-section and can feel it moving along your intestines behind the scar. The whole thing is just more pleasant with stool softeners.
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 6:03 PM on March 12, 2016 [5 favorites]

Gawd, so many scary things! I personally never have had much of these side effects, beyond first trimester morning sickness. I guess I will add:

Flutter of movement. That is just the best feeling ever. Knowing the baby is alive and inside you and OMG it's there, for reals!

The last trimester was the worst for me. Swollen ankles, feeling of heaviness. Going to bed at night and the baby decided that was the time for gymnastics and a elbow or leg moving across my stomach at 11:00 at night.

There is, after all, a baby inside you. You don't really get it until they get big enough to shift around and the bulbous arms and legs poke up and make weird shapes on your stomach. But then you realize it's a healthy baby and you start to talk to it like a little human. It's like pre-bonding.

Then the last month or so, you're like, ugh, I can't do this anymore. Baby come out, Baby come out, Baby come out. But baby has to grow and he or she can't be rushed. You just have to wait it out. Then being scared about delivery, but it's really not that bad, and then you get a baby out of it! *Pro Tip: don't listen to other mothers' labor stories, just hang tight and do your thing and you will be fine.
posted by Marie Mon Dieu at 6:14 PM on March 12, 2016 [3 favorites]

I had really bad joint pain in my hips and knees that started around 5 months and didn't go away until about 6 months postpartum. I was on a prescription anti-inflammatory for it after the baby was born. Also had a terrible pinched nerve on my outer thigh that eventually left a numb area - there's still a small area with no feeling. I acquired super sense of smell that hasn't decreased at 2 years out. I had hardly any of the traditional symptoms though, no nausea, no peeing when sneezing, no heartburn.
posted by bizzyb at 6:14 PM on March 12, 2016 [1 favorite]

Yes to nosebleeds. A cool mist humidifier by my side of the bed helped that as well as the irritated throat from the congestion.

Invest in the body pillow for when hips and knees hurt or you need tummy support.

The big thing that I never really thought about until we got there was that babies don't just kick outwards. Pretty much from the time I started feeling kicks, baby Grr was kicking straight down. I swear there were nights he was doing the cervix tap dance.

If you decide to find out the sex, it's sometimes hard to tell. We had several ultrasounds as I was higher risk and it wasn't until near the end that we were able to find out. Even then, not always accurate. My cousin had a surprise recently because of that.

Congrats and best of luck!
posted by MandaSayGrr at 6:27 PM on March 12, 2016 [1 favorite]

Nthing skin tags. Also weird sleep things - however you slept before you got pregnant, it will change while you are pregnant, and change again after giving birth. Like Coatlicue, the interior of my belly button was very dark for a long time after my son was born. Like, months, almost a year. My body hair also pretty much stopped growing during pregnancy, but I noticed zero change to the hairs on my head. No getting fuller or changing texture or even falling out after giving birth.

I didn't prepare myself at all for what might happen if I gave birth super prematurely - I wish I had educated myself about the symptoms of pre-term labor. When I did have complications, they were so extreme that I couldn't ignore them, but I have a friend who almost lost her baby because she didn't realize she was in labor at 26 weeks - the symptoms are different from full term labor.

No one warned me about symphysis pubic dysfunction, where the ligaments that hold the base of your pelvis together relax and give out. I had grating pain there for over a year - rolling over in bed was excruciating. No one warned me about diastasi recti. I didn't get it, but I got paranoid about it.

And on a happy note, no one prepared me for the out-and-out perspective being pregnant has given me. I have a deeper respect for every single one of my female ancestors - it's hard, and I have all sorts of modern benefits they didn't have. I feel so much closer to my own mother and grandmothers just based on this shared understanding - suddenly I realized that I have had no idea all my life how much I was really loved. I have a greater sympathy for all people everywhere, actually - realizing that every single person on this planet ever grew inside of a woman somewhere, was birthed in pain and power, regardless of what our individual lives are like, we all share this experience. It's humbling and awesome to contemplate.
posted by peanut_mcgillicuty at 6:41 PM on March 12, 2016 [24 favorites]

Ok, no one else is saying it, so I'm going to say that after the very standard first trimester queasiness and exhaustion had faded, hot diggity daffodil was sex fantastic. I was not expecting that at all.

Aside from that, I'm going to flip your question around a little and say, don't be surprised if the things that "happen to everyone" don't. I felt like myself for most of the time, just hungrier and clumsier. I felt like society set me up to feel like some strange new species, but for the most part I felt normal, just with a strange heavy belly.
posted by tchemgrrl at 6:49 PM on March 12, 2016 [4 favorites]

During pregnancy:
Get a Snoogle. It will change your pregnant life. I used mine for a long time after kiddo was born as well; it was just so easy to curl it up into a very comfy shape to lean against while breastfeeding in bed.

Pantyliners will become your best friend. I won't go into greater detail.

I was repulsed by most food for months -- all fruits and vegetables smelled rotten to me, like "forgotten in the back of the fridge for months" rotten -- and had to force myself to eat for about 4 months there. I was also repulsed by mint, which was one of my favorite flavors my entire life. It took about 6 months postpartum before I could even smell mint again without wanting to barf, and about a year before I could eat it (I'm back to loving it). Apparently things like this are totally normal.

You will have more blood drawn than you've probably ever had in your entire life. Get used to it.


My feet permanently grew a half size.

I have not been able to sleep a full night's sleep since I was 5 months pregnant (kiddo is 2.5 years old). Even if nothing external wakes me up anymore, I now wake up for about 30-60 minutes sometime between 2 and 4 AM. I hope this changes eventually, but it's been my life for 3 years and I've just come to terms with it.

If you're not the kind of person who cries for "no reason," you may become one. I went from a stoic passive observer of the human condition to the kind of person who cries at Disneyland when they play "When You Wish Upon a Star" during the fireworks.

I can no longer read news articles about dead/sick/abused children. At all.

Other people's bodily fluids suddenly are no big deal. It's fucking bizarre; a switch in your brain just flips and suddenly you can handle puke, poop, pee, whatever, like you've been doing it your entire life.
posted by erst at 6:57 PM on March 12, 2016 [5 favorites]

SO thirsty. I've never had any trouble staying hydrated, but during my pregnancies I drank -- and peed -- what seemed to be constantly. Was, in fact. It cracked my husband up that I got up in the middle of the night, staggered into the bathroom with a bottle of water, and poured it in one end while it was coming out the other.
posted by kestralwing at 7:14 PM on March 12, 2016 [1 favorite]

I'm 33 weeks now and what surprised me was...how normal I've felt for most of it? I got the first trimester fatigue, the crying at commercials and some moodiness/anxiety, and that was about it. (Although I did get reclassified as higher risk and need extra monitoring). I didn't have real morning sickness, just some vague distaste at the idea of a lot of foods. So it took me a LONG time to "feel pregnant" and I would keep forgetting and reaching for some of my husband's beer and then catching myself. A lot of my girlfriends have since confessed to me that they had pretty uneventful pregnancies too, it's just that no one volunteers that information since other people have a hard time.

Also, I didn't need maternity clothes or start showing until way later than I expected.
posted by ellebeejay at 7:16 PM on March 12, 2016 [2 favorites]

Vaginal bleeding for the first 8 weeks post-partum, and you can't use a tampon. The first few days were so heavy I'd bleed on the floor getting out of the shower before I could reach the pads. So have some decent menstrual pads around for when you get home. But not the awful diapery kind! Get the decent kind, the high tech kind that are thin and don't feel like diapers, but have "wings" to protect your underwear.

If you get a c-section, the anaesthesia may inhibit your milk coming in for DAYS. Mine came in on day 5 after I'd given up hope that it would.

My hands and wrists went haywire a few weeks after I gave birth. I temporarily lost all the strength in my hands - couldn't grip anything, etc. Terrifying. Went back to normal eventually.

In retrospect it feels very strange and terrible that NOBODY, including my doctor, warned me about any of this and I was so scared.
posted by fingersandtoes at 7:17 PM on March 12, 2016 [3 favorites]

Oh and pubic symphysis as someone said above, during late pregnancy. Very painful. I found a chiropractor who was able to help; if I were to do it again I'd look for a pregnancy specialist physical therapist probably.
posted by fingersandtoes at 7:20 PM on March 12, 2016 [1 favorite]

My shoe size grew with each pregnancy, and I had to say goodbye to wearing normal sized shoes. I didn't know about the post partum bleeding nor the fact that many woman poop during childbirth. I had heard so many stories about LONG labors that when my labor was fast and intense, I couldn't figure out what was going on because nothing was progressing like the books or class said they would. I was in labor for only 6 hours. Buy yourself a non-maternity outfit to wear home from the hospital- you will not want to put on your maternity clothes. Have a nice nightgown for the hospital because you will have so many pictures taken with your baby, and the hospital gowns don't look good on anyone.
posted by momochan at 7:27 PM on March 12, 2016

So, one major "weird" thing that I very much hope doesn't happen to to you that I haven't seen described above - some of us are sick for the whole pregnancy. Like, nausea and vomiting in labor. I couldn't be in the same room as a vegetable (much less meat) for my whole pregnancy. I couldn't drink liquids without heartburn (and I was so, so thirsty). The issues disappeared immediately after birth, in my case.

If it happens to you, don't feel guilty or scared about only being able to eat crackers and cream cheese!

The other, more common thing, I think, is headaches. I had low-grade headaches in my first and second trimester that sucked.

And, like the folks above, I had pregnancy rhinitis - for probably six months. Brutal.
posted by Pax at 7:27 PM on March 12, 2016 [1 favorite]

A cake donut and coffee was the only thing that absolutely righted my morning sickness, which was exactly one month long.

You uterus grabs as much blood as it can at startup, so you are tired in the first trimester. Make lunch your high iron meal, and wash it down with orange juice, not calcium fortified. Don't take calcium rich food, tea or eggs an hour before or after your iron rich meal. You will absorb the iron much better. You have been taken over by a life alien to yours and its processes are alienating. Within hours of delivery, you will feel like yourself again.

Your baby might not like your favored gait, and will brace its self uncomfortably or painfully, and suddenly. You might have to work out what they like. Sing while pregnant and talk to your baby, read it a story so it learns your sweetest voice. Everything seems a little off during pregnancy. Some people really thrive on it. You can google questions but use reliable sources.
posted by Oyéah at 7:33 PM on March 12, 2016

Oh, and the hair. It will get so thick, and your ends won't need to be cut for ages.

(Except later, your hair will fall out (X months post-partum), and then it will grow back with a million maddening baby hairs. For years.)
posted by Pax at 7:39 PM on March 12, 2016 [1 favorite]

Currently in week 27, and goddamn, I hate pregnancy. I used to be a super fit, let's go hike 20 miles sort of person. Today I had to take an early evening nap because I... chopped an onion and some garlic to help my husband out with preparing dinner and a friend visited with his 14-month-old daughter for a couple of hours during the afternoon. That all tired me out.

1) The fatigue of the first trimester can be unbelievable. The nausea was rough, too, but the fatigue kept me in bed for a month straight, and then working from home for another month. If you need to rest, rest. If you need to stay home from work, stay home. Pushing through makes it worse, not better - and you just can't push through the way you could pre-pregnancy. This was overall way worse than anything I could imagine. It's gotten better, but I still tire easily.

2) FOOD AVERSIONS! Eat whatever will go down (and stay down) if you get it bad. For awhile there I was surviving on string cheese, frozen bean & cheese burritos, and Kraft instant mac. It's gotten better for me, but there are still some days where I have to be very thoughtful about my food choices (white things like dairy and potatoes are always good, as is chili, for some reason). Sometimes eating something small makes other things go down easier. The fetus is also getting first dibs on all the nutrients, and you're getting whatever is left over, so lack of eating can make the fatigue even worse. Neither this nor #1 are things I hadn't heard about, but it was wayyyyyyy different experiencing it first hand.

3) My nails and hair are growing really fast now - I need to cut my nails once a week. And I have fine light hairs all over my lower stomach and upper thighs, which are new. I also have more snot.

4) Pregnancy brain - really, brain fog from fatigue/nausea - is a real thing, and you may not realize you've got it until a few days pass and it lifts. There are days where I look over my spreadsheets from two days prior, and wonder what sort of idiot would do this. Some days I think I've literally dropped about 30 IQ points, and it shows in my work product and ability to tackle complex projects in the office. I feel like a shitty feminist saying that, but it's the truth, and I've told my boss to take me off of anything challenging because I can't guarantee that I'll be capable of turning out a good product.

5) One day in the office I didn't try to grab lunch until 1:30 pm (got into a groove on something), and my blood sugar dropped bad. I got the shakes (shattered a glass bottle I was holding on a hard floor), and nearly passed out. It came on pretty suddenly.

6) Symptoms can come and go. I have good days where I can eat just about anything, and I feel pretty like my normal self, at least for a few hours. Then, suddenly, I'll have a run of bad days where I operating in a fog and can only eat white bland things. Sometimes I'll get out of breath going up the stairs, and sometimes I'll be fine. Take advantage of the good times (while leaving some gas in the tank), and know during the bad times that it'll get better.

7) The fetus moving can make you feel nauseated. This was more a problem when he was smaller and his movements lighter - say, around week 20 - but can still occasionally occur. Something about the movement just triggers the nausea circuit in my brain

8) As things get more crowded down there, pooping become more awesome. Suddenly there's a bit of space!

9) Hiccup-vomiting.

10) Maternity jeans are pretty great. I wish someone had told me to get them earlier. They're so comfy!

11) Scary, uncontrollable crying for a couple of days straight. This one straight-up frightened my husband and me, and it's happened three times so far this pregnancy. I've never had depression before, but this is pretty much a severe depression that rolls in, sticks around for a bit, and then rolls out. Just... can't stop crying, everything is horrible and sucks and is not going to get better, and then, suddenly, everything is fine. If you're having more bad days than good days (or even some really bad days), talk to your doctor. Prepartum depression is a real thing, it just hasn't gotten as much press as postpartum depression. And having prepartum depression puts you at higher risk for postpartum depression. It's so clearly a random brain chemistry thing (especially in my case), so don't feel like you're failing at something if you get it - just get some help.

12) If you have a rough pregnancy (and I hope you don't!), remember that there's an end in sight. There were days in the first tri where I really didn't think I could get through it, and let myself seriously consider aborting a very wanted pregnancy because I couldn't see making it through for nine months. So you aren't alone if you feel that way. It's okay, and things will get better at some point, even if it's after you give birth.

13) Oh! Bad tension headaches in the first tri and early second tri. The only thing that helped were having my husband push HARD all over my scalp, and getting a professional prenatal massage every 10 days or so. Totally worth every dollar. They're gone now, but I still get a massage every three weeks or so to help with soreness as everything shifts around (e.g. glutes start doing more work as the core becomes less capable, hips loosen up, etc.)

14) I smile at babies a lot more now! I've always liked kids, but never been a big baby person, but now I just melt when I see babies. They're so cute!

15) One of my dogs totally gets that I'm pregnant, and she's become so watchful of me, and has stepped it up in terms of guarding the house. She checks on me every time I'm in the bathroom throwing up, and curls up next to whenever she gets the chance. The other dog has absolutely no clue.
posted by Jaclyn at 7:39 PM on March 12, 2016 [4 favorites]

Things that surprised me? Massive weight gain (like, 60 pounds) despite eating perfectly normally. Having delightfully thick, luxuriant hair for the duration of the pregnancy, and then losing enormous quantities shortly after giving birth. And this is probably an overshare, but So. Much. Horniness. Oh, dear god, the horniness. From the second trimester up until the very end, I was a seething sea of desire. If it weren't for online porn and my vibrator, I might have exploded.
posted by pleasant_confusion at 7:43 PM on March 12, 2016

Regarding the post-partum bleeding, go to like Kohl's or some similar off-price housewares store during the linens sale and buy three or four big, dark bath towels in navy or maroon or purple, in a color that looks nice in your living room. Then you can leave them folded in the living room without drawing so much attention to them, and always have one to sit on so you don't worry about blood staining your couch. Get them cheap and not the same color as your regular towels so you won't confuse them and can throw them away without guilt if you want. Nice dark colors don't show stains. They're also great if you get a projectile spitter-upper, you can just throw one across the back of the couch when burping baby and not have to scrub spit-up out of your upholstery.

Made me feel much more like a person to be able to sit on my couch without worrying about ruining it and without having to sit on a waterproof hospital sheet or a ratty, obvious towel that matched nothing.

(Also I am glad to know other people get skin tags, none of my friends did and I felt like a weirdo.)
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 7:44 PM on March 12, 2016 [1 favorite]

Oh, intense dreams! I've never had such involved, detailed, vivid dreams that lasted through what felt like half the night. I dream whole chapter books some nights.
posted by Jaclyn at 7:48 PM on March 12, 2016 [1 favorite]

Useful to know: Target has a nice maternity section. I was reluctant to spend money on pregnancy clothes, and as I recall upscale shops like Pea in the Pod didn't have my size anyway, but Target has nice pregnancy jeans and decent tops in all sizes. And they have excellent, supportive nursing tank tops (with sturdy but comfy built in nursing bras) which were my favorite thing to wear for weeks post partum.
posted by fingersandtoes at 7:49 PM on March 12, 2016 [1 favorite]

I had really minimal pregnancy changes except for:

1) a weird rash that developed under my platinum wedding ring. My fingers didn't swell a lot so it wasn't from that, but I couldn't wear it for more than 12 hours at a time. That went away completely after my first pregnancy, came back with #2, and improved but never really went away. I still can't sleep in my ring.

2) My feet got wider. I used to have widish feet but was just choosy about B width shoes; now I wear a full on C width.

3) The skin tags. My largest one never went away and had to be removed. My husband suggested that I was reproducing asexually as well as via the normal route.

4) A bizarre craving for cheap ice cream sandwiches.

5) When my milk came in I had gigantic cartoonish porn boobs for 3 days until everything settled down.

Friends of mine had, variously, terrible migraines, weird food aversions, carpal tunnel syndrome, cholestasis of pregnancy manifesting as uncontrollable full-body itching, and diastasis recti (separation of the abdominal muscles).
posted by The Elusive Architeuthis at 8:02 PM on March 12, 2016

Seeing faces in everything, in the damask patterns of the curtains and the swirling soap suds of the bath. One day I was convinced there was a monkey in our backyard. It was a stack of wood, which had been sitting there for approximately eight months.

I'm short-waisted, and I was surprised by how solid the baby felt, and how little I could breathe by the end. Sometimes she'd get wedged under my ribcage while I was driving and I had to really shove her away.

Once she dropped, I could take deep breaths again, but my crotch swelled horribly. My pregnancy libido was bad but after the baby dropped, it was insane.

Something that surprised me about the postpartum period was that even though I was no longer pregnant, I still had to pee more frequently than I did pre-baby. First, because I was drinking a ton breastfeeding (so. thirsty. all the time). I'm still breastfeeding my two year old, and water goes right through me in a way it didn't before. I figure my body is super efficient at processing it.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 8:14 PM on March 12, 2016 [1 favorite]

Sometimes, when the baby kicks down or shifts in a certain way, it feels like I'm developing a UTI. Like that throbbing and pulsing feeling in the general area of the nethers? I mentioned it to my doctor, and they tested my pee, and nope. Just baby.

I have an old shoulder injury that has basically stopped hurting now that the tendons in my body have all loosened in prep for giving birth. In return, I have surprise spider veins on my hips.

Now that I'm deep into the third trimester, sitting up is super hard. Mister Machine has to help me out of bed sometimes in the morning because I just don't have the strength to prop myself up on my hands, especially when my hands are tight and stiff and hurt from all the fluid that has shown up in them.

Last week, I had to get help unbuckling a seat belt because I'm right handed, the seatbelt was on the left and wedged under my giant ass, and I couldn't get the job done with my nondominant hand -- and my right arm is now too short to reach across me. I had not anticipated this. Hurray, surprise indignity! ("Hurray, surprise indignity!" could be the title of my pregnancy memoir.)

I have carpal tunnel-y symptoms, and do a lot of typing at a keyboard as part of my job, so the morning carpal from fluid redistributing while i sleep is no joke. It makes getting breakfast/grooming myself in the morning super hard.
posted by joyceanmachine at 8:14 PM on March 12, 2016

Oh also everyone's heard about crazy pregnancy cravings, but I found all I wanted to eat was the crappy processed food of my childhood. Chef Boyardee and Kraft mac and cheese. I once cried because my husband got me the fancy pasta sauce instead of ragu.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 8:20 PM on March 12, 2016 [6 favorites]

I keep thinking of more. My emotions changed palpably during both pregnancy and breastfeeding. I expected the former, but not the latter. I gave up eating dairy for about 6 months in my daughter's first year of life because thinking about the mother cows and their babies being separated made me weep. Real tears! I exuded earth mother peace and love vibes but had no libido whatsoever (plus sex hurt anyway; breastfeeding makes things very dry and your vaginal tissues very thin and prone to tearing). All of this changed like a switch had been flipped when my period came back at 13 months postpartum. About two weeks before, I started eating cheese again. Within a month, I was as libidinous as I'd been pre-pregnancy, which is a fair amount.

Oh, and your thighs might turn your toilet seat blue while you're pregnant.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 8:25 PM on March 12, 2016


- My nipples randomly turned white for like two days during my first few weeks.
- I suddenly went off chocolate at about 5 weeks, by 6.5 weeks I was feeling low appetite, and by 8 weeks I was basically off all food ever. I survived literally for weeks on fruit juice and the occasional yogurt. I lost 15 pounds and only started having an appetite again at about 14 weeks. I never vomited. I never had cravings. Even after I got my appetite back (and started getting faint and HANGRY if I didn't eat every few hours), I was completely off red meat for the duration of my pregnancy, off my usual black tea for another trimester, and was off chocolate for most as well.
- The tiredness. The bone-deep exhaustion of the first trimester. God. I have no reference point against which to accurately describe it. But if I hadn't gotten a positive pregnancy test I was sure as hell going to get checked for mono.
- Lots of acne in the first trimester, just on my cheeks. As soon as that trimester ended my skin cleared to be the best it's been since before puberty. That has, fortunately, mostly stuck around since.
- I was still really tired right about at the start of my third trimester. Turns out it was anemia! Don't blame everything on just being pregnant!
- The horniness thing is not universally true and that's depressing when it happens to you
- My hair! My hair got thicker and for the first time in my life didn't get so oily that it required washing every day. I could easily go two or sometimes three days between shampoos. It came out left and right after delivery and is back to being oily and limp again.
- My feet got a bit wider. Most of my dress shoes no longer fit.
- I'm prone to migraines, but during third trimester I got them a bit more regularly and they were often accompanied by numbness that would spread from finger to finger on my left hand, to the point I couldn't grip anything. Freaked me the hell out.
- Somewhere around 20 weeks, I suddenly couldn't sleep comfortably. Snoogle, yo. Nighttime heartburn hit pretty badly around then too. Until just recently (16 months post partum) I couldn't sleep on my side without the Snoogle or a similar pillow setup because my whole pelvic region was still incredibly painful in that position.
- Random stabbing pains up my back above one or the other buttock, or the pulsing bruise feeling on my pubic bone, just because.
- So thirsty all the time! So much peeing all the time! It continues throughout breastfeeding! And even after that actually! I drink so much water overnight now.
- Random thick dark hairs in awkward places. But I never got the linea negra or stretchmarks.
- I started pregnancy overweight but between the first trimester weight loss and being "all baby" I actually looked pretty good immediately post-partum. That lasted maybe 8 weeks and then I gained back to where I was pre-pregnancy. Contrary to some other women here I actually miss that post-partum body, as unhealed and bloody as it was.
- omg, I'm so glad to hear someone else had a randomly dark belly button after birth! I mentioned something about it to a midwife and she made me feel like an idiot (maybe she thought that I somehow thought my belly button had something to do with childbirth the same way the baby's does.... I just don't even know) and told me it was "probably just dried blood" (there was a lot of blood at my delivery; I hemorrhaged) but no, it wasn't! It was so weird.

But whoever said it varies widely among women is right. Don't assume anything will or won't happen and just roll with whatever does come up. Google is your friend when you wonder "Is this normal?" Sometimes it makes you freak out, but mostly it's your friend.
posted by olinerd at 8:33 PM on March 12, 2016

Be prepared for none of these things to sound even vaguely familiar to you as you progress through your pregnancy. Other than "baby in uterus for some amount of time," there is no such thing as a universal pregnancy symptom.

I'm literally unable to watch presidential debates right now. I read accounts of them afterwards but actually watching them makes me too emotional. Weirdly, it was probably a pregnancy side effect that I took Donald Trump seriously as a candidate from minute one. While everyone else was saying "what a joke!" and watching the Republican debates for laffs I was like "WHAT IS WRONG WITH YOU MORONS NOTHING ABOUT THIS IS FUNNY" and uh who's laughing now? Still not me, I guess.

So, this pregnancy has made me a real downer at parties. No drinking and no sense of humor. Last pregnancy took more of a physical toll on me but I was also a lot more creative and fun.
posted by town of cats at 8:34 PM on March 12, 2016

Those first few months when they have you pee in a cup at every visit? Really pay attention to where you are holding the cup. Because those last few months, you won't be able to see the cup.

Don't let people scare you. I came away from three healthy, vaginal delivery pregnancies with no skin tags, no stretch marks, and a very tidy vagina. I was back to my pre pregnancy weight within a year of each birth, without diet or exercise. Everybody is different.

Your first few poops after giving birth may be somewhat spontaneous. Plan on being at home for that first week. No quick trips anywhere.

Your sex drive is going to go crazy, if it hasn't already. This is normal.

Around the 4th month, you are going to think that you are having a heart attack and might possibly die. You are not having a heart attack. Your baby has figured out the exact spot to rest his tiny toes to trigger acid reflux. If you walk around a little, you might be able to jiggle him free.
posted by myselfasme at 8:37 PM on March 12, 2016

Congratulations! I'm just past 26 weeks. I had blue hands too. Another thing multiple people told me but that hasn't been a big issue for me is bleeding gums. Ugh I've had acne - I look like the "before" picture in a Proactiv commercial. I think my hair looks great and I'm not the type to just say that. I've also been tired though it got better in my second trimester. In my first, I would come home from work, nap, eat dinner and go to bed.

I've learned to keep snacks in hand because sometimes I will just need FOOD NOW whether I have a granola bar or crackers or salt and vinegar chips.

Surprisingly sex has been great - again, less so in the first trimester but it picked back up. And I realized today that this has actually made my husband and I closer. It sounds cliche but I think it's totally true for us. He's amazed that I'm doing as well as I'm doing and I'm amazed by how much he bends over backwards for me/us.

I feel like maybe two weeks ago, I was showing but I could disguise it if I wanted. Recently though, I feel like fetus is like, I WILL NOT BE IGNORED. Sleep is weird because I'm tired and previously could sleep through a war if I wanted but now, I'll just be awake for no reason.

The biggest thing for me lately, and I'm sorry for the TMI, but oh my god the constipation. Get in front of that yesterday. I added fiber to my diet - no use. I'm taking fiber supplements, stool softeners, and drinking Metamucil and that's barely enough to keep things working.
posted by kat518 at 8:50 PM on March 12, 2016

Ante- and post-partum depression.
posted by The corpse in the library at 9:13 PM on March 12, 2016 [1 favorite]

Oh, I thought of more. If you have a vaginal birth, the hospital may give you an ice pack to keep in your skivvies. This may seem weird, but it's really the best thing ever.

If you get an epidural, they'll tell you to ring a nurse if you need to pee. Hours later, you might think you're okay, but no, ring a nurse.

When I was in the throes of morning sickness, I ate colorful foods so my puke was visually interesting. Wicked gross, but it really did break up the monotony of puking every day at work.

PPD is very real, so make plans in advance to deal with it, because you likely won't be able to when you have it.

MeFi could write the BEST book on what to expect when you're expecting.
posted by Ruki at 9:22 PM on March 12, 2016 [3 favorites]

Don't be in a rush to ditch favourite shoes if your feet expand. Mine grew a full size. I tearfully parted with many beautiful pairs. Three-odd years later I was back at my old size. I'd heard shoe size increases were a thing, but not that decreases, *years later*, were possible.

I disagree with "So have some decent menstrual pads around for when you get home. But not the awful diapery kind!" The hospital had disposable underpant things and on my way home I bought a box of Tena whatevers, and they were terrific. Pads are shifty and bunchy and just not up to the job; adult diapers were great for lochia.

I had totally random stabbing, shooting vaginal pains for a year postpartum. A friend who had a similarly lousy forceps delivery described the exact same phenomenon.

You will hear enormous quantities of total bullshit. Obstetrical nurses seem to be particularly good vectors; they heard a myth about nursing in 1974 and are still passing it around.

Kate Figes' "Life After Birth" is a worthwhile read.

The best thing I brought was a cooler which had vegetarian lasagna and Guinness and other delights I knew the hospital was not about to serve up on demand. That and a black cotton bathrobe.

For some weeks any news story about anything remotely bad happening to a child triggered a comedically enormous milk let-down. Fortunately I like to read the paper in the bathtub.

Re. cartoonishly large breasts before milk production settles down (which can take months and months): you can lie down on your side with your kid next to you, nurse away, and end up having to shove your mobile phone under your tit because the thing has deflated so much it needs propping up (or else you'll have to wake your baby who is minutes away from dreamland).

Most nursing bras are pretty stupid; just buy something stretchy you can yank down.

It is easy to go totally nutso about trivia if it is your first kid. My daughter had clothing that was far too nice. If I'd had a second, "clean, more or less fits, comfortable" would have been the extent of my interest in infant attire; as it was we had some silly finery. Steer clear of places selling $75 boxes of baby socks; they don't even like socks.

I never quite felt like my internal organs returned to precisely their original places. Pre-pregnancy I was absolutely not a belcher and had no idea what "burpless" referred to on packets of cucumber seeds. Now, I...say 'excuse me' a lot. At some point there were gas pains, also new to me, that were insanely painful. Some other things that I assumed would go away postpartum never did -- mild vertigo showed up in the third trimester and I thought it was sensible enough that my body might not want to go up on a ladder in its unfamiliar shape. Almost nine years later I still have trouble with even relatively low heights.

And there were *loads* of pregnancy troubles that are extensively discussed that just never happened. I don't think I threw up once, I didn't shit the bed, was wearing my old pants a month later, etc. Don't go into it expecting miseries! Just...your own particular brand of 'body is different.'
posted by kmennie at 9:42 PM on March 12, 2016

I'm 23 weeks with my first and I've had zero pregnancy symptoms except needing to pee all the time. I felt and continue to feel perfectly normal, albeit increasingly overweight, and recently, feeling what I guess is the baby moving.

I continue to marvel that everything is okay when I get an ultrasound or listen to the heartbeat, because I honestly don't feel different at all. Nobody warned me that this might be the case -- I expected all the early and mid-pregnancy stuff everybody's talking about in this thread. In particular, I was afraid of morning sickness (thanks in large part to an old Ask about dealing with vomiting at work, and it sounded horrible). But I never even had a hint of nausea.

I don't hear a lot of people talking about feeling normal during healthy pregnancies, and I don't know if this is going to continue to be a healthy pregnancy or if I'm going to continue feeling normal, but it's something else you may want to be prepared to experience.
posted by sock puppet du jour at 9:49 PM on March 12, 2016 [1 favorite]

Acid reflux so bad by the last trimester that I vomited in my sleep, often. Also my ribs expanded so rapidly and with so much extreme pain that I thought I had dislocated a rib bone. I had not, but it turns out that other mothers I know did. The rib cage is now permanently larger. On the good side, because my rib cage expanded (front and back), everything repositioned resulting in resolving a 10+ year long back problem that I had been seeing specialists for and otherwise had been unable to resolve. So that was pretty awesome. Also I had to switch temporarily to clothing that sops up sweat that is designed as workout clothing for sweaty men. REI membership definitely paid off.

Oh and my stomach expanded so quickly that the skin broke open and I was bleeding, a la aliens. Seriously. This happened.
posted by Toddles at 10:21 PM on March 12, 2016

Things I Didn't Know Before I Got Pregnant (Twice):
- I could make it into the second trimester without realizing I was pregnant! (!!!) Like some others here I did not feel pregnant until around 24-26 weeks, but after that it quickly turned into a very unpleasant physical experience (punctuated by moments of joy, of course. There's nothing quite like it in the human experience and it's amazing despite all the physical challenges)
- Morning sickness, although extremely mild for me, was only noticeable late at night, and I now know this is not uncommon either. Got better if I ate some raisins or crackers.
- That because I am short with a short torso, I would have crippling pain in a band around my lower ribcage from the stretching for the entire third trimester. It was slightly better the 2nd time around.
- I can get charley horses every night so bad I would scream. And although I've been a little prone to charley horses at other times in my life, during pregnancy is the only time I've gotten them in my feet and hands. They are horrible. Magnesium seemed to help.
- The importance of taking the laxatives postpartum even if I wasn't taking narcotics for pain and didn't think I would need them because I've never been constipated before in my life.
- I should have just brought my own Tylenol to the hospital because asking the nurse for my Tylenol didn't result in actually getting Tylenol until like 3 hours later. Painful hours.
- I'm very surprised someone wrote to bring a non-maternity outfit to the hospital because you'll be sick of wearing maternity clothes - I wish this were not the case, but I believe the more common experience is that when you leave the hospital you will still look at least 25 weeks pregnant and not be able to fit into non-maternity clothes for weeks to months afterwards.
- That I had way over prepped my hospital bag but under prepped for post-vaginal delivery and breastfeeding complications (i.e. frozen pad-sicles, lanolin, doughnut pillow to carry everywhere I went, etc).

Pro tip for the end game that is common knowledge in the healthcare world but not outside of it: the more detailed your birth plan is, the more likely you are to need a C section. This is purely anecdotal but believed to be true by many!
posted by treehorn+bunny at 10:32 PM on March 12, 2016 [1 favorite]

My stomach kept jerking rhythmically, and I didn't know why, and I was kinda freaked out. Turns out fetuses can get hiccups.

The first time I had my period after giving birth, it was extremely painful, and heavy. Like, I thought maybe I was having a miscarriage. No one warned me about that.

The baby's first few poops are black and incredibly runny. As in, she might as well have not even been wearing a diaper.

No matter how many baby blankets you have, you actually need twice as many.
posted by MexicanYenta at 10:40 PM on March 12, 2016

The baby will use your bladder as a trampoline around month 8
posted by MoseyMe at 10:45 PM on March 12, 2016

Shit nobody told me:

*Everyone always mentions the food aversions during pregnancy but nobody told me you could get them immediately post partum. Since I was a kid I loved Philadelphia cream cheese, like eat it straight from the package love. Post partum after my second, I was preparing a snack for Peanut the First and almost retched all over because the smell was suddenly disgusting to my nose. A year on, Philly cheese and I are back on wary speaking terms.

*Also nobody told me you can break/severely bruise your tailbone pushing during labor. That happened with both and it sucked.

*In the hours immediately after giving birth, you might feel the coldest you have ever felt in your life, shivering so hard you can't hold a water bottle without sloshing it all over the room. This is apparently normal and caused by hormones. You might get lesser bouts in the following days.
posted by romakimmy at 11:45 PM on March 12, 2016

There is so much good stuff here.

For me, it was really hard to deal with the ways having a big belly changed the way I walk. I had a lot of mental and emotional difficulties with feeling like I couldn't exercise as much as I wanted to without pain.

Snacks by the bed are great so you don't have to get up to eat in the middle of the night.

Making mom friends while pregnant was great for me. The first few weeks and months are hard, especially if you don't have family nearby. Being included in parenting groups before having my kid really helped smooth out the transition.

Hydration is a blessing and a curse. Feels good to be hydrated, but the amount of peeing is absurd.

Your joints will get really loose, which can make you really really good at yoga all of a sudden. It was really neat to have a giant belly and manage to feel graceful getting into deep lunges.

And the best thing someone did tell me: no food shaming is allowed during pregnancy. You're going to be hungry and need to eat. If what you really want is junk food, have some and be nice to yourself about it. Your hormones are going through some crazy shit.
posted by ohisee at 11:48 PM on March 12, 2016

My wife became full on lactose-intolerant with both kids. Things that were very bad in Pregnancy 1 got much better in 2 by chewing a lactose pill before eating anything with milk or cheese.
posted by Potomac Avenue at 11:48 PM on March 12, 2016

- You can end up being pregnant for longer than you had planned. My daughter was 16 days overdue. (There is induction, but the decision and timing and success of that is not always straightforward for various reasons, so... In short, you can be pregnant longer than you had planned.)

- Related: it is actually possible to outgrow maternity clothes.

- Pregnancy can do weird things to migraines. Sometimes it causes them or makes them worse, but sometimes you go from regular migraines to none at all.
posted by Catseye at 12:09 AM on March 13, 2016 [1 favorite]

This thread is a real trip down memory lane. I got a weird numb spot on the top of my belly. Even my OB who has been practicing for 20+ years said she had never heard of that. I found scattered reports of other women on the internet with the same thing, though. It faded a few weeks after giving birth.

+1 for midnight charley horses (ouch!) and long, beautiful, healthy fingernails. No one told me ahead of time but chills and hot flashes immediately after delivering and lasting about a week post-partum.
posted by whitewall at 12:41 AM on March 13, 2016

I had a skin tag that swelled and got terribly itchy - at some point in poking it it released a ton of pus. It continued to do this periodically for nearly a year after the birth. Gross.

Your ligaments get all stretched out and for months I felt this weird floppiness to my gait, like I was wearing clown shoes.

The breastfeeding hunger... I was a bottomless pit for the first year!
posted by jrobin276 at 1:33 AM on March 13, 2016

Hm. Other things:
I had broken/cracked a rib earlier in the year and when the kid started getting bigger it hurt like hell.
Pregnancy insomnia is a thing.
Migraine frequency went from 1/year to 1/week for about six weeks.
Sciatica - it can present as a thin band of numbness on the outside of your hip/s or as the feeling of someone jabbing a knitting needle into your buttock.
Some people are constantly thrilled to be pregnant - glowing, joyous, etc - some aren't. Even if the pregnancy is quite wanted and they're excited about having a kid.
You will go from having monthly doctors appts to every two weeks to weekly. It will make your life at work complicated unless you're lucky like me and work an unusual schedule which gives you a week day off.
I worried about the cats causing trouble with the baby - they haven't.
Leg cramps in the middle of the night.
People have opinions about pregnancy and kids. Some of this is based on the whole "every pregnancy is different and every kid is different" some of this is just people being a pain in the butt. Some will actually be helpful. Smile when they're giving you advice and then feel free to ignore it. If it is actually medically harmful or total BS, depending on the person you can tell them about the nice fancy medical research that disproves their suggestions.
The first couple of weeks postpartum are tough - the thing that nobody seems to articulate is that you've just gone through a major medical event (possibly including abdominal surgery) and now you have to take care of an infant that needs to be fed on average every two hours - and that means you start feeding every two hours but the act of feeding can take from 20 min to an hour. It is hard.
posted by sciencegeek at 3:08 AM on March 13, 2016

Oh yeah, I'd forgotten about the charley horses! I used to get them in my calf when I woke up, and they were awful. I discovered that if I flexed my foot and stretched my calf the moment I felt one coming on, it would stop.
posted by Metroid Baby at 4:14 AM on March 13, 2016

I didn't have any nausea or food aversions to speak of but my appetite was small. I lost a bit in first tri, gained about 15 lbs total, and at 5 mo pp I am 15 lbs lighter than I was prepregnancy.

Became suddenly lactose intolerant. The worst pain I had during the whole experience turned out to be gas that sent me to the ER because I'd started worrying about my calcium and drinking daily glasses of milk.

Constipation throughout and hemorrhoids late in second tri.

Early in my third tri, I had 12 visual migraines in 2 weeks. I am prone, so they were familiar, but usually only get 3 or so a year.

My feet swelled but they've gone back to normal. Unfortunately now my favorite shoes are way stretched out.

It never occurred to me that I might deliver early. When I had a placental abruption at 36 weeks, we were not at all ready at home and there were a dozen things I'd wanted to do.
posted by vunder at 9:25 AM on March 13, 2016

Being emotional with hormones doesn't just mean being weepy. I have gotten supremely upset a few times now - once when my husband made a joke at my expense, and another when the movie "Me, Earl & the Dying Girl" LIED throughout the movie about the girl surviving and she dies anyway. So mad, and yes weepy.

Having to go pee no longer feels like the usual pressure, it feels sharp and uncomfortable.
posted by lizbunny at 9:47 AM on March 13, 2016

The two big ones for me were:
- With my older son, I had itchy legs in the latter half of pregnancy. Apparently this is just a thing that happens sometimes, almost exclusively with first kids, and usually when the baby is a boy. It felt like ants were nibbling on me. I used lots of cold compresses.
- Diastasis recti -- with my second, my abdominal muscles just kind of gave up. I've had PT to help reassemble my abdomen.
posted by linettasky at 9:54 AM on March 13, 2016

Okay, I didn't take the time to read all of these (only about half), but just in case anybody's missed mine:

1. ITCHING. I ended up having PUPPP and cholestasis of pregnancy, both which cause itching. At first, though, it was dismissed because apparently itching is normal in pregnancy.

2. I think someone else mentioned, but the eyesight thing surprised me. I had no idea.

3. I had a headache for almost the entire fourth month of pregnancy, during which I was still, mind you, exhausted all the time like I was during the first three months.

4. If you bleed early in pregnancy, it may not mean the worst. This shocked us when my wife was pregnant with our first child, but apparently some spotting and light bleeding in the first trimester is not uncommon. It can be basically something like your cervix having a nosebleed. Except it's not a nose. You know what I mean--your body has a lot of extra blood, so it's easy to get nosebleeds and cervix bleeds and so forth. I mean, of course, call your doctor if this happens! But yeah.

5. Not just skin tags, but also weird additional moles and such.

6. I also had crazy thirst and had this weird fear that my amniotic fluid was going to get low (...not generally something that happens) if I didn't drink enough.
posted by hought20 at 11:07 AM on March 13, 2016

Also, okay. I can't believe I'm telling anybody this, but most of my pubic hair fell out shortly after I gave birth. Everything is, uh, fine now, but that was so, so freaking weird and alarming.

I share this because I was so annoyed at how much nobody tells you about pregnancy.
posted by hought20 at 11:15 AM on March 13, 2016

I got little tiny broken blood vessels all over my hands and chest, which are still visible 13 years later. They look like little freckles, not ugly, just...different.

Also, my nipples stayed soooo dark for about 4 years after, and then gradually faded again. Weird.
posted by zinful at 4:20 PM on March 13, 2016

If you are in the middle of swallowing something and the baby kicks just right, that food can come right back up again in a very startling way.

Hard lemon drop candy for morning sickness. Always having a tiny, little bit of something in your stomach helps.

Also, some stretch marks don't really show up until afterwards.
posted by SLC Mom at 7:34 PM on March 13, 2016 [1 favorite]

Congratulations! I would just say that everything above is scary sounding but sometimes an even scarier thing is when you feel no pregnancy symptoms whatsoever. Don't stress out if you don't have morning sickness or any other of the "typical" symptoms in your first, or even second trimester. Pregnancy is different for everyone, and every time (currently pregnant with #2 and it's very different from #1). I'm just grateful not to have had cystic acne so far this time (but I have three months to go, so it may still show up, ugh).

Also, aha! I can't believe I never made the skin tag connection. I have a million of these, they haven't gone away. But now I know where they came from.
posted by echo0720 at 7:42 PM on March 13, 2016

Oh, I forgot to mention: Tinnitus. I got sick while pregnant and, because I was so congested, developed tinnitus in both ears. It went away in one ear, but did not go away in the other. I still have it 3 1/2 years later, and now that I'm pregnant again, it has gotten much worse. I'm holding out hope that it will disappear for good after this baby, but my doctor tells me this is unlikely. I don't think the tinnitus thing is common, though.
posted by echo0720 at 7:45 PM on March 13, 2016

I had round ligament pain, and oh, sciatic nerve pain. I ended up buying a pair of shoes TWO SIZES larger than I usually wore that were low heels - elevating my heels above my toes helped tremendously. And I had carpal tunnel in my left hand, i was so worried because I had no strength, no grip in that hand, but as soon as I had the kid and lost all that extra fluid - boom. off with the brace and back to normal. But very often, I'd have to sleep with my hands just hanging off the edge of the bed because nothing else helped. The end of my pregnancy, sleeping was a misery; I ended up sleeping in our recliner and that was the only way i could get comfortable. and YES the itching! Very itchy thighs and back, and it's apparently completely normal.
posted by lemniskate at 9:16 PM on March 13, 2016

A couple more that have recently come to mind:

- if you start burping a lot, try taking tums to see if that helps. Sometimes heartburn comes out as (non-painful, non-acidic) burps, and the tums (which are perfectly safe during pregnancy) can help reduce the burping.

- yeast infections are more common during pregnancy - you may have already heard this. But did you know that you can get yeast infections in places other than "down there"? I didn't! I've ended up with a yeast infection in the corners of my mouth - angular cheilitis (can have other causes) - which manifests as little cuts/sores on each side where my lips meet each other. Treatment is with your typical 7-day yeast cream, but it takes a little while for the cuts to heal.
posted by Jaclyn at 7:04 PM on March 17, 2016

I wish I had known that our first ultrasound at 8 weeks (and the second and third within two weeks) could show a baby with no heartbeat — a miscarriage. I wasn't prepared for that. I didn't know that my body might keep a non-viable pregnancy going with no outward signs that anything had gone awry.

I hope it isn't the case for you, but it is a not-uncommon outcome that we don't talk about much. If this does end up being the case and you want some resources, drop me a MeMail.
posted by sadmadglad at 8:46 AM on March 20, 2016 [1 favorite]

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