The Truth About Pregnancy: The Symptoms No One Tells You About {Part 1}

 

Before I fell pregnant, I used to day dream about what my pregnancy would be like. I’d picture myself with a cute, perfectly rounded bump, radiant glowing skin, the weeks flying by and me wishing it would slow down. The only symptom I wasn’t looking forward to was morning sickness, as it was the only “bad” one I had heard of. People don’t seem to talk about the harder symptoms that come with being pregnant. Maybe it’s because some women seem to “forget” the rough moments during their pregnancy once they’re holding their little bundle of joy? Or maybe it’s because women don’t want to be judged for not loving every single part of their pregnancy? Well, if you know me, then you know I am definitely not one to sugar coat things! I am a brutally honest woman who isn’t afraid to tell it like it is and the phrase “TMI” (Too Much Information) is a pretty good way to describe the conversations I have about pregnancy, trying to conceive and just life in general. You could definitely call me an “over-sharer” or as my brother always tells me, “here is the line, here is you” with hand gestures usually stating that I am a good meter over the line of what is socially acceptable to share. None-the-less I am still the same Kimberly and always will be. So I figured I would put my over sharing to good use and inform those that are unaware that pregnancy isn’t always rainbows and butterflies for everyone. Granted some women (lucky b*tches) breeze through their pregnancies loving every single minute of it. It’s safe to say I am definitely not one of those women. Now you will notice that the title includes “Part 1”, this is because I am currently only 26 weeks (and one day, but who’s counting?) pregnant so am yet to experience the third trimester symptoms or labour and delivery itself, so rest assured I will provide you with Part 2 once bub comes.

I’ll start off with the most common symptoms that everyone seems to already know about and then work my way into the lesser known or mentioned symptoms towards the end. (P.s if you haven’t already caught on in the first paragraph, this blog will be brutally honest and way TMI, it will include every little detail of my pregnancy symptoms right down to bowel movements, so if that all sounds a bit much for you, don’t continue reading).

Morning sickness: This is often the first symptom that comes to mind when thinking of the first trimester. Don’t let the name fool you, this sickness can last ALL day, and for me it did. Apparently the reason why it is named morning sickness is because that is when most women feel the most nauseous due to going a long period without food (when you’re asleep). The way it effects you can be different in everyone and even in each pregnancy. You may not get any sickness at all with your first baby, then not be able to get off the bathroom floor with your second. My experience was nothing like I could have ever predicted (like much of my pregnancy). I always thought that Morning sickness meant, you would wake up, maybe have a few cuddles with the toilet bowel and then feel great for the rest of the day. Boy was I wrong! I started experiencing all day nausea from about 6 weeks pregnant, which doesn’t sound too terrible, however it is not like any other nausea I have ever felt. It is the type of sickness that debilitates you. I spent literally from week 6 to week 11 either in bed or on the couch with a bucket beside me. I could barely move, think or speak let alone eat. My poor husband made many phone calls to my Mum trying to get her to convince me to go to hospital. My Mum reassured him that this is part of pregnancy and that she was the same when pregnant with my brother and myself. The only thing that really helped me was Sea sickness bands (you can buy them from chemists/drugstores). They were a life saver and I believe they were the reason why I never threw up either.

Food aversions: You know how you see in some movies a pregnant woman yelling at their husband for bringing a certain food home because the smell made her sick? I was that pregnant woman. When you’re pregnant there are foods you will love and foods that will absolutely repulse you to the point of gagging. I’m not 100% what causes it, I imagine it has something to do with the heightened sense of smell you obtain during pregnancy, mixed in with the “Morning sickness” but wow it is so much worse than I ever expected. There were a number of things that would trigger me to turn into something that I imagine resembled The Hulk whilst pregnant (picture a very angry, yelling, green pregnant lady). The main ones were celery, Indian food (or anything with spices), meat cooking and olive oil heating up in a fry pan. Now I never really liked celery so no surprise there and Indian food has never been my favourite, but the olive oil was definitely a different one. It was so bad that if I saw someone cooking with it on TV I would have to change the channel because I could literally smell it cooking. I still can’t stand the smell and even went out and bought a Scanpan so that we don’t have to use oil to cook. For any husbands/spouses/partners out there, this is a real symptom and definitely not something you can control. So if you’re wife/partner tells you not to bring home KFC because the smell makes her sick, please, for your own safety, don’t bring it home and to be extra cautious, don’t even sneak through the drive-thru and scoff it before you go home. Chances are she will smell it on you and even that is enough for the Pregnant Hulk to rear its ugly (and very nauseated) head.

Cravings: While you may have foods you are disgusted by, you will also have foods you absolutely love and HAVE to have right that second. You always hear about strange combinations pregnant women often crave (pickles and ice cream anyone?) but I didn’t have anything like that. My cravings came in phases. The first craving I had was for Watermelon, I just had to have it. However, this craving was short-lived and just a week later I was absolutely repulsed by the stuff. Unfortunately, hubby hadn’t yet caught on that the watermelon phase was well and truly over and (being the very thoughtful and caring person he is) brought a big chunk of it home for me (cue Pregnant hulk). The rest of my cravings generally didn’t end in repulsion, they simply ended. I went from watermelon to Sustagen, then to fresh fruit salad, followed by hot milos (in Summer mind you), then onto oranges, Caramel milk and finally Kraft cheese sticks. Luckily, my intense cravings ended at about 17 weeks. I still get cravings every now and again but definitely nothing like what I had before. You will probably be shocked by how your cravings make you feel, or should I say how you feel when your cravings aren’t fulfilled. I had many times where I would cry (see “Mood swings” at the end of the blog for my reaction to some spoiled lemon tarts) because I couldn’t get my hands on a particular craving I had. You will probably be told that it’s not a big deal and like my husband (he can be a silly, silly man sometimes) said “you don’t need it” but you really do! The satisfaction you feel when you finally get your hands on something you have been craving for a long time is like no other. Then once that craving is over, you’ll wonder what all the fuss was about. My advice is, if you are single, make sure you stock the house with anything you think of with intense desire, just in case. My advice for partner is, if your pregnant partner says she wants something, get it for her. It’s the least you can do seeing as she is growing your little mini me inside of her and it will be a lot less effort for you to go out and get that particular food/drink at midnight than it will be to spend the night trying to comfort a distraught pregnant woman who just wants a Caramel McFrappe from Macca’s (McDonalds).

Body Clock (Fatigue): It is amazing how tiring growing a little person can be! At just 4 weeks pregnant I was already taking lunch time naps, which was extremely unusual as, if you know me, you will know it’s not possible for me to sleep during the day no matter how tired I am. Fatigue during pregnancy is something you simply can’t (and shouldn’t) fight. It is nothing like pulling an all-nighter, it feels more like you haven’t slept at all in a week. Unfortunately for me though, if I gave in and had a nap during the day, I would often find myself awake at all hours of the night. However, this could also be due to a change in my “body clock”. Since discovering I have a little human growing inside of me, my routine has completely changed. I am unable to fall asleep before midnight and it is a real struggle to wake before 9am (other than for the multiple bathroom trips of course! But you’ll read about that in the next paragraph) and it has only gotten worse as the weeks have progressed. At 26 weeks I am now usually awake until about 2am and sleep until around 10am. Unfortunately, I have only had maybe 2 full nights of sleep since being pregnant, the longest stretch of sleep I usually get is about 2-3 hours. All I can say is, lucky I work from home! Some say the reason why you’re body clock changes is because it syncs with your precious little one so that when they come along, it won’t be so hard to get into a routine with their sleeping patterns. I really hope this is true, although I’m not so convinced as I have been awoken many times at 5am by my little munchkin training to be a ninja! Make sure you are kind to yourself and if you are able to take naps then definitely do so! Like everyone keeps telling me “you won’t be able to do that for much longer, once bub arrives sleep will be a thing of the past.”

Frequent Urination: This is a symptom I thought you didn’t get until towards the third trimester, however, for me it was one of the very first signs of pregnancy. At just 11 days past ovulation (3 days before my period was due) I spent the night waking every 2 hours busting to pee. I had this symptom until my 9th week of pregnancy and then it magically disappeared. Unfortunately it returned at about 20weeks but in a new and more irritating way. Normally you get a fair bit of warning that you need to wee before it gets to the point where you are absolutely busting, however once bub is big enough to squish your bladder you barely get any warning at all! There have been many times where I have been sitting on the couch chatting away to my husband and I have to stop mid-conversation because all of a sudden I am BUSTING to pee. When I say busting I mean the type where you aren’t sure you’ll even make the distance to the toilet in time without wetting your pants (which has very nearly happened a number of times). All it takes is for bub to move position and decide to use my bladder as a cushion and I’m dashing off to the toilet, sometimes holding my crotch in the hopes this will help to avoid weeing myself, which brings very peculiar looks from said husband. The other brilliant part of the sudden urge to wee is that you can just sneeze and almost (or sometimes maybe a teeny bit) wet yourself, which is of course the best way to make a pregnant woman who already feels like a beached whale feel attractive. My tip is to always wear a panty liner and if you can, even if it is a bit of a hassle, make sure you go to the loo every hour (if you aren’t already, lucky duck!) to try and avoid the sudden crotch-holding dash to the toilet.

 

Acid Reflux: This is a symptom I actually had before falling pregnant. Unfortunately for me it runs in my family (thanks Dad) and causes quite a bit of grief, so I have been on Zantac (ranitidine, an ant-acid) since about October 2013. However, it has gotten far worse during pregnancy. Usually you hear women complaining about having heartburn in the third trimester. Mine has been on and off since about 9 weeks. I had my first terrible bout of it only a few days ago, it literally felt like my throat was a volcano and hot lava was ready to erupt at any second. It was so bad that I ended up breaking out in sweats and praying (to the heartburn gods? Or just anyone that would listen) every 5 minutes that I would have some relief soon. My Zantac doesn’t seem to be working as well as it used to and I am having to take it sometimes up to 3 hours earlier than usual. Unfortunately, I am one of those strange people who are weird about texture, so Mylanta and Tums are out of the question for me, the chalky texture makes me gag and no way in hell am I even going to bother trying the drinks. But for those of you who aren’t strange like myself, I’ve heard these can be a life saver! I have also heard that fruit tingles work brilliantly as well so if you are suffering, maybe give those a go (as long as your sugar isn’t restricted of course). I should mention that I have checked with my doctor and Zantac is safe to use whilst pregnant, however if you haven’t used it before I suggest you check with your doctor or midwife before using it for the first time.

Gas: If you haven’t realised by now, pregnancy really isn’t pretty, well not for me anyway. Since about 18 weeks I have had unbelievable amounts of gas and it only gets worse as the weeks go on. Of course I am talking about farts (or fluffs if you want to try and make it sound cute). Now I bet you’re thinking “it can’t be that bad”, think again. Since being pregnant I have let some rip that have had the couch rumbling. I have even had a few that have literally frightened the cats to the point where they are glaring at me as they quickly dash to the other room with the look of “how the hell did that come out of you”, I call it pay back for all the silent but deadly ones they have released over the years. You may currently be feeling sorry for my husband (as well as disgusted) however, I also believe it is pay back for all of the loud, smelly farts of his I have had to deal with over the past (almost) 4 years. Not only is it the sound they make but they smell like something has crawled up there and died too (charming isn’t it?). If there are any husbands/partners reading this feeling terrified/horrified and thinking “my wife/partner wouldn’t fart in front of me” or “she wouldn’t do that, she never farts” think again. It is another uncontrollable pregnancy symptom that cannot be helped and you really can’t be expected to hold them in and all too often you won’t have a choice. I am part of a birth club on babycenter.com.au and just the other day a woman posted saying she was mortified because she had accidentally let one rip in the middle of a shopping centre and asked if anyone else had this happen, the post had multiple comments saying that they have done the same on many occasions and that it is uncontrollable, meaning sometimes it just slips out without even the perpetrator knowing it was coming. My advice, none as there is nothing that can be done, but maybe invest in a nose plug for your significant other.

Constipation: This is probably one of the absolute worst pregnancy symptoms, especially in the first trimester. Not only are you dealing with intense nausea, you’re also backed up to kingdom come. My constipation was so intense that I was actually in tears at one point after 8 days of not being able to go to the toilet, no matter how hard I tried. My family used to joke and tease me that there was finally proof that I am indeed full of sh*t, literally. It is an extremely uncomfortable feeling and often contributes to the nausea as you are so bloated and uncomfortable. What causes it you ask? Hormones, just like most other pregnancy symptoms. There is a hormone released that is commonly called “Relaxin” which basically causes your muscles to do just that, relax. It also causes your bowel to relax as well, in other words it gets lazy and takes a week off without notice. So, what can you do about it? Well there are a number of “natural remedies” that you can try such as eating more fruits and vegetables (good luck with that if you have morning sickness!), adding more roughage to your diet such as grains etc and of course drinking plenty of water as dehydration can wreak havoc on your bowel. But the one thing that worked for me was Sultana Bran, which is basically pure fibre. If you want to save eating bran for your elder years, you can try a fibre enriched drink from the chemist such as Metamucil. If all else fails, see your doctor who can prescribe you a laxative that is safe for pregnancy. Oh and just an extra tip, make sure you get on top of it straight away, the longer you leave it, the more that builds up. Trust me, if you leave it long enough you will suffer intense consequences (think trying to move a large bit of drift wood out of the end of a dried up creek without breaking the banks), the last thing you want to do is tear your rear end (yep that happened, and it really stings!).

Mood swings: Last but definitely not least is mood swings. This is probably one of the hardest pregnancy symptoms your partner will have to deal with. I say this because generally you won’t know you’re being “moody” at the time and you will most likely overreact at almost everything and your poor partner will never say the right thing. One minute you will be the happiest woman alive and the next you want to strangle anyone in sight or even better, be crying uncontrollably for no reason at all (or a very silly reason). I remember early on in my pregnancy, when I was experiencing serious sickness and cravings, my Mum had made me some Lemon condensed milk tarts (which is ALL I wanted to eat at the time, hello craving!) and my husband accidentally left them out on the bench overnight so they were inedible. I chucked a tantrum that I imagine looked similar to a 2 year old having their lollipop taken away from them. I threw the container of tarts on the floor, yelled at my husband and burst into tears. Luckily my husband is a very tolerant and patient person and just apologised and avoided me for a good hour afterwards. Another occasion where I acted completely irrational and overreacted immensely occurred when I was about 9 or 10 weeks pregnant. My husband told me he was going skiing with his mates for the second day in a row and when I questioned him as to why it was so important, he told me it was because it was the end of the season and soon it would be way too cold to go (which was 100% correct). Now he invited me to come and watch and I found this to be the most absurd thing I had ever heard as I was still suffering morning sickness. When I insisted he should stay home and spend time with me (as I had been spending A LOT of time on my own, due to the nausea I rarely left the house), he asked what I wanted to do and when I couldn’t give him any ideas he said he was better off going skiing. Well I absolutely “lost my sh*t” (a phrase I use quite often that generally means I either was laughing hysterically, or throwing a tantrum of some sort, I’ll let you decide which I am referring to this time around). I started packing my bags, told hubby I wanted a divorce because I couldn’t be with someone who didn’t want to spend time with me, all in between bouts of blubbering like a maniac. I’d say it definitely wasn’t one of my most attractive moments, tears and snot running down my face yelling at my husband saying he was useless and yet he still calmly told me he loved me and left to go skiing. Luckily for the pair of us I had gotten so ridiculous with my packing that the suitcases were far too heavy to lift, so I couldn’t leave until he came home and by that time I had almost completely calmed down. All I can say is, there is nothing you can do about the mood swings and they will pass, eventually. The only advice I can give is for your significant other, when your pregnant partner is dealing with irrational mood swings, the best thing to do is tell them you love them and walk away until she calms down. There is no point in arguing with a lunatic. Oh and just another little tip, DON’T suggest makeup sex, unless you want another full blown argument.

So, that is it for now! Hopefully you can relate to some of these symptoms and can put a few of my tips to good use! Of course there are many more symptoms I could list, but these are the most prominent and common ones in my pregnancy and the women I have spoken too. If you’d like to share your worst pregnancy symptom, I’d love to read about it! Leave a comment below or head over to my Facebook page (link is in the side bar) and post it on there!

Thanks for reading!

Lots of love,

Kimberly xo

 

 

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