There are many things I wish I’d known about pregnancy before I conceived my first child. Some feel pretty obvious in retrospect, while others caught me entirely by surprise. Here are some of the unexpected things you should expect during pregnancy.
Your body goes through a lot of unexpected changes
We all know that our bodies change during pregnancy. We expect the weight gain that comes with the fetus growing inside us. We know about swollen feet, ankles, and (especially) breasts while pregnant.
But what about the unexpected changes that may sneak up on you?
During pregnancy, your rib cage expands – sometimes several inches! – to accommodate the fetus. It’s one of the reasons some women invest in belly bands after birth to help their ribs settle back into shape. Your skin also stretches, which can make you itchy (especially your tummy). You may also develop dark spots (called chloasma) on your face. It’s perfectly normal! Your hair may grow thicker (or show up in unwanted places like your face, belly, or even nipples) and your nails get more brittle.
Fortunately, these changes go back to normal after you give birth (or stop breastfeeding).
Your dreams may become more vivid or disturbing.
If you start having weird or disturbing dreams while you’re pregnant, don’t panic! This is very normal. Many women experience disturbing dreams (some that involve their babies) while they are pregnant. You also might feel disconnected from your body or from the very idea of motherhood during this time. This is really common during a first pregnancy. It is a manifestation of your anxieties and nothing to worry about. Talk to your healthcare professional if you are having distressing dreams or thoughts. They will be able to help!
Your libido fluctuates – Repeatedly.
Pregnancy can be a wild ride, especially when it comes to your hormones. You may experience serious ups and downs in your sex drive during pregnancy. If you experience this, don’t stress over the changes!
These changes are temporary. You should go back to normal after your child is born.
You want to nest.
Speaking of your hormones, you may find yourself with the very specific urge to nest. This is a burst of energy many women get during the last few weeks of pregnancy that pushes them to get their home ready for the baby. This can include simple tasks like tidying, decorating, or arranging the home. You may even find yourself deep cleaning your cupboards or scrubbing the grout from your bathroom tile before you realize it. This urge typically subsides after birth as well.
Physical activity is important.
Being active during the earliest months of your pregnancy is not only good for you, but also for the development of your child. If you have an exercise routine, you shouldn’t need to make too many modifications to it at the beginning of your pregnancy. If you do not, you may want to start being as active as you can. Taking walks, trying simple yoga, or even just stretching regularly can help a lot!
You should also let yourself nap and rest when you need it! By your last trimester, your healthcare professional will probably recommend more rest for you than before. Take their advice and be prepared to take it easy when it’s time.
Are you looking for more support during your pregnancy or conception journey? Expectant mothers know to expect the unexpected, especially if it is your first child. Wherever you are on your journey to parenthood, MomMed is here for you! MomMed is dedicated to providing helpful products for women trying to conceive and for expectant mothers. After all, the best way to a safe pregnancy is by giving mothers the help and knowledge they need to make the right choices for their babies – and themselves!