There’s that constant talk about the celebrated ‘glow’ women experience during pregnancy. Well, I have been pregnant twice and both times were equally as uncomfortable for me. Don’t get me wrong, I wouldn’t change the outcome (i.e. my beautiful children) for the entire world, but I thought it only fair to share my top pet hates about being pregnant, mostly as a show of solidarity for any women out there experiencing the same thing. Give me a holla if you hear me!
Sciatica is a shooting pain that you feel in your back or down the back of your leg. It’s caused by the compression of the sciatic nerve. I had sciatica during my first pregnancy and often got stuck in a position that I could not get out of without help. You can only imagine how awkward that turned out to be. I used to scream out for my husband to come and assist me, and THANK GOD it didn’t happen in public. With sciatica, I also found that I could not lie on my back at all so I found scans and examinations excruciatingly painful, and sleep towards the end of my pregnancy, well… That was nigh on impossible!
I had some physio to treat my sciatica and it involved doing stretches which were interesting to say the least, and more tricky to perform as the bump grew!
Symphysis pubis dysfunction is a problem with your pelvis and causes pain in the pubic area and groin, as well as pain in other areas. It’s at its worst when you have to part your legs. This ‘dysfunction’ makes even the most trivial tasks seem completely unattainable. Try getting in and out of the car. Or walking. Especially up the stairs. Ouch!
I was also treated by a physio for SPD, stretches were given by way of treatment, as well as some guidance on how to make daily activities a little easier. For example, sliding both legs right round before getting out of the car. Tiny amendments to day-to-day actions helped a lot.
Indigestion & heartburn
There’s an old wives tale and it goes like this: if you suffer from bad heartburn during pregnancy, you’ll give birth to a baby with lots of hair. I suffered from dreadful heartburn throughout both my pregnancies but the large bottle of Gaviscon from the doctor worked wonders! And ps – neither of my children resembled a baby gorilla when born.
I think every mother I know has suffered from some sort of morning sickness. To be fair, in comparison to some women, mine wasn’t as bad. My second pregnancy served up just a mere 18 weeks of constant nausea. A real walk in the park.
It’s sometimes claimed that a pregnant woman has the right to ask for a policeman’s helmet to urinate in, because the need to go can be just too much, and even the best of us can get caught out in public. The need to pee can be overwhelming, especially at night… I guess I’m lucky my husband is a policeman! Seriously, it seems so unfair to have to wake up and make 5 trips to the toilet every night at 8 months pregnant, with everything else you’re having to deal with.
Your body holds a lot more water than usual during pregnancy and you might find your feet and ankles swell up. You can wave goodbye to the Jimmy Choos as you’ll want to invest in something a lot more comfortable. In a size bigger. I found all of my high heels were suddenly way too small while I was pregnant, on reflection, it was probably a good thing as it forced me into flats and minimised my chances of falling flat on my bump.
I’d often heard about baby brain before I was pregnant and I’d always assumed it was just a great solution for getting away with forgetting things. After two children, I can tell you, scientific research or not, this does happen, and my baby brain seems to have stayed with me. Whether or not it’s because the mind is preoccupied with the birth, or the baby once it arrives, I’ve found that I’ve gone from being very organised, to very much not so. My advice? Write everything down. Keep a diary, update a wall calendar, use your google cal. Whatever works for you. Still, despite this, just two nights ago I got a text from a friend saying they were on their way over for our pre-arranged evening get together, and I had totally forgotten to put it on the calendar! Luckily I hadn’t got into my PJ’s.
Your nipples are going to do some funny stuff…
When I was just five months pregnant with my first child, my nipples went a purple colour and started to leak! I was absolutly disgusted by this and totally embarrassed in front of my husband. No one ever told me it would happen this early but apparently it can happen from as little as TWELVE weeks, so get the nipple pads at the ready! This is just one of the freaky things that can happen to your boobs. Leading nicely on to my next point…
Well, we all know what these are! I thought I’d gotten away with it, during my first pregnancy. I used creams religiously every day and was still stretch mark free up to 30 weeks pregnant! In the last 9 weeks my belly resembled a tiger and and my second pregnancy added to my collection of stripes. I’ve tried pretty much every cream on the block, but nothing seems to have helped. I’ve now come to accept that my stomach now resembles a tiger’s coat. (Minus the fur… Thankfully.)
During pregnancy there are a lot of different factors that affect your sleep. You’ll be woken up, or stirring in your sleep a heck of a lot more. You’ll need the loo. You’ll be uncomfortable. This will affect your sleep cycles, and you’ll start to find you’ll be remembering more of your dreams, much more vividly.
My dreams consisted of absolutely all sorts, with around 3 or 4 in just one night. It can be exhausting! I remember one of my dreams was about my husband cheating on me and I awoke crying and actually spent the first few hours of the next day in a foul mood with him. He should have apologised! Right?!
Forget about sleeping on your stomach.
I don’t know about you, but I have always been a stomach sleeper. Once I fell pregnant I was so worried that sleeping on my front would hurt the baby, I had to train myself not to. I have since looked this up, and apparently, during the early stages of pregnancy it’s absolutely safe to sleep on your stomach, but as you grow, you’ll find it’s very comfortable, so you’ll have to switch positions anyway. For me, after 28 years of sleeping that way it was very hard.
Braxton Hicks contractions are a bit like a dress rehearsal. Your uterine muscles are flexing in preparation for the big job coming up.
In my second pregnancy, I was past my due date by four days and following a sweep, just hours later I started tightening. I don’t know about any other mums out there but conveniently, I had totally forgotten what my first labour was like and I instantly assumed this was the real thing (or at least, I hoped it was). This feeling went on for about three whole days on and off, one night we stayed up until 2am just timing the tightening. I even called the birthing centre to let them know I was in labour! Eventually, the feeling stopped and I went to bed. Two days later the real thing started and felt nothing like the Braxton Hicks and I knew straight away it was time! I guess my advice is that you can never be too careful, so always contact your birthing centre if you’re in any doubt.
During pregnancy virtually every part of your body is making changes and this can make you very tired. I remember having a meeting with the health advisor at work when I first found out I was expecting and she said to me that according to the law if I needed to, I could have a 30 minute kip at my desk! The mental picture of me slumped at my desk snoring away with forty odd other members of staff trying to work around me was pretty amusing. It never happened, thankfully, but I managed to master the art of stifling many a yawn.
Happy one minute and crying the next, or the flood of rage that makes you think you might punch someone. Hello hormones. Again! Hormones seemed to completely take over during my pregnancy and I have to say I do feel for my husband. They say it’s completely normal, but nevertheless, brutal. I found taking it easy was the best way to reduce the stress and the need to shout and scream! During pregnancy you have to learn to slow down.
During pregnancy a woman’s core body increases temperature by roughly 0.8°C as the extra blood flow boosts your body metabolism by about 20%. My non-pregnant self was always the first one to turn off the air con in the office as I used to really feel the cold, spending most of the winter with my coat on at my desk. How the tables turn during pregnancy! When I because pregnant I was the one turning the thermostat down and fanning myself at my desk with books, papers, files – anything I could get my hands on. And that was throughout the winter! I’m thankful both my children were born in spring, so I’ve avoided being heavily pregnant during summer. I can’t imagine what hell that would be.
Don’t forget… If you’re worried, or experiencing anything out of the ordinary, please consult your doctor!