1. Your hair gets really thick during pregnancy…
2. …and then falls out in clumps three to six months postpartum.
So whip your hair back and forth while you still got it.
3. Morning sickness can last the entire pregnancy.
Morning sickness traditionally subsides after the first trimester, but some women are nauseated throughout their entire pregnancy.
4. You cry a lot.
Your hormones are RAGING, causing all of your emotions to be intensified. Thankfully, a few weeks after the baby is born your estrogen and progesterone levels will go back to normal, and you won’t walk around like Carrie Mathison.
5. You’ll feel stabbing pains in your abdomen.
As the ligaments around your uterus stretch and strengthen to support your growing uterus, you might feel brief, stabbing pains around your bikini line. It’s totally normal! But, if these stabbing pains come with bleeding or any other discharge, call your practitioner immediately.
6. Pregnancy cravings actually serve a purpose.
Some practitioners believe what a woman craves is related to something her body or baby needs. Cravings for red meat (you need iron) and ice cream (an indicator of a drop in blood sugar) are normal, but call your doctor immediately if you have the urge to eat non-food items like laundry starch, soil, and paint chips (you might have pica).
7. Your feet get bigger.
During pregnancy ligaments throughout your body loosen, causing your feet to spread. For some women, their feet gradually shrink. The rest get to go shoe shopping!
8. Feeling the baby move is amazingly awesome…and also can hurt.
There’s not a lot of real estate in there, so your internal organs are going to be tenderized by tiny baby fists and feet.
9. Everyone will have an opinion about how you raise your baby…
Name the baby this! Feed the baby that! Have you reserved a spot at a top preschool yet?
10. …and none of their opinions matter (except your co-parent’s).
All other opinions will be taken under consideration, and subsequently ignored.
11. You might poop on the table during child birth…
This is a common fear among first-time moms.
12. …but you won’t care.
By the time you’re in labor you just want the baby OUT and you won’t care if some poop comes with it. Your practitioners won’t care, either.
13. Postpartum bleeding can last four to six weeks after delivery.
And you’ll bleed even if you had a C-section.
14. Post-cesarean section gas pains can be as painful as labor.
Your bowels are sluggish after surgery, and as they wake up the gas pain can be so intense you feel like you’re dying. The gas build-up sometimes pushes on your diaphragm, causing referred pain in your shoulders. It’s super fun all around.
15. You won’t care who sees you naked.
By the time you’ve had your baby you’ve dropped trou for so many different tests that getting naked is old hat.
16. You might not get that that “burst of love” the moment you meet your baby.
You’re not a monster if you don’t experience that Hollywood-style wave of emotion when you meet your baby for the first time. You just birthed a human and your hormones are totally out of whack. While this can be caused by postpartum depression, be kind to yourself and know that everyone feels emotions differently.
17. Breastfeeding can be really hard.
Some moms and babies master it right away, while others need months to get the routine down. Going in with realistic expectations (it will hurt at first) and having a good support system (lactation consultants, new mom groups) will make a world of difference. And, you can always switch to formula if that’s what’s best for you and your baby.
18. The breast vs. bottle debate brings out the worst in people.
Can’t we all just agree that it’s great babies are being fed by loving caregivers?
19. You’ll have contractions when you breastfeed…
Breastfeeding triggers the release of the hormone oxytocin, which in turn causes the contractions that help your uterus shrink back to its pre-pregnancy size. These contractions are good — they are making your belly smaller!
20. …and they get stronger with each pregnancy.
First-time moms have stronger uterine muscles, allowing the uterus to contract and stay contracted, rather than relaxing and contracting over and over.
21. Nobody knows what they’re doing.
Really. We’re all just doing our best, so don’t stress.
Thumbnail photo by Creative Portraits.