We asked the members of the BuzzFeed Community what they wish they knew about pregnancy before getting pregnant. Here are some of their eye-opening responses.
Note: Some submissions came from this Reddit thread.
Note: Pregnancy is different for everyone, and these people are speaking from their own specific experience.
1. "After a C-section is complete, they administer Pitocin to start contractions. Your body still has to go through contractions to bring down the size of your uterus!"
"Contractions when you’ve just had major surgery on THOSE muscles is incredibly painful. No one, not even my OB-GYN who did the cesarean, told me ahead of time!"
2. "I wish I knew that hyperemesis gravidarum is a thing and that it can kill you. Hyperemesis gravidarum is severe morning sickness and vomiting that can lead to dehydration and weight loss."
"I wish I knew that people wouldn't take it seriously until I was literally bleeding out from organ failure. Doctors and society seriously treat pregnant women so badly."
3. "Around month seven, I developed 'pregnancy-induced asthma,' which is a thing, and I was told it would disappear immediately after birth, but it stuck around for almost 10 years."
4. "My second pregnancy messed with my vision. It caused such dry eyes that things were blurry. I went to the eye doctor and was told it's an uncommon pregnancy issue and would clear up eventually."
"It started to clear up when I started nursing less. It started about halfway through the pregnancy but didn’t fully clear up until after my baby’s first birthday."
5. "Epidurals don't always work as intended. My skin was numb, but I felt absolutely everything else."
6. "I wish I knew about postpartum hair loss. I had my first baby three months ago, and the hair loss is horrible! That and I have horrible allergies now."
7. "Water breaking being the first sign of labor (like in EVERY movie) only happens, like, sometimes. My water didn't break until I was about 15 hours into my labor with my first child. Then, with my second, it only broke when I was ready to push."
8. "When you go in for an emergency C-section, they are going to tie your hands and feet to the operating table with no explanation to you as to what is happening."
9. "Back labor (severe back pain while giving birth) was much more painful than giving birth."
10. "Pregnancy brain is REAL. It's not a joke. It's not exaggerated."
"When you start forgetting, misplacing, and outright losing things, you can start feeling as if you're also losing your mind."
11. "I legit Exorcist-style vomited a few times during labor when I was 9 centimeters dilated. I wish someone had warned me the epidural could make you do that."
12. "I didn’t know what a mucus plug was till the end of my first pregnancy. It's a collection of mucus that forms in the cervical canal during pregnancy and comes out when the cervix gets ready for labor. It’s gross."
13. "I wish I had known that babies go for long periods of time without moving while in the womb."
"When a pregnant mother stops feeling the movement for several hours at a time, she becomes scared that the baby is no longer alive. I have made so many trips to the emergency room, just to find out that my little darling had been sleeping for 12 hours."
14. "Good aversions play a way bigger part than cravings, and they change over the course of the pregnancy."
15. "No one ever tells you about not being able to properly wipe your butt during the third trimester, and also the HEARTBURN!!!"
16. "I wish someone had warned me that I wouldn't be able to control my bladder after birth!!!"
"I knew sneezing and laughing could be an issue, but for about four days after labor, I'd wake up in the morning and think, I have to pee! and I'd be walking to the bathroom and it would just run out. I initially didn't even realize it was pee."
17. "I wish someone told me it was possible my milk wouldn't come in. I was fully prepared to breastfeed and pump. I had some leakage, thought I was good to go, but then I'd pump and get half an ounce....all day."
"I tried everything. The most I would get from my daily pumping combined was at most half an ounce. Thankfully, the lactation consultant set me up with formula 'until my milk came in,' so my baby was fully fed, but it just never happened. I never went through any of the pre- or post-breastfeeding symptoms. At the time, I was grateful and I still am, but I also feel weirdly as if I missed out on a motherhood experience."
18. "There are post-birth blood clots that feel as if you are delivering more babies. They literally PLOP out. They are so big."
19. "Acid reflux does not always go away after giving birth. My daughter is a year and a half old, and I still have to have a few antacid pills before bed. Before I was pregnant, I never had reflux even once in my life."
20. "No matter how much you planned and wanted your baby, postpartum depression can happen to you, and it is very, very real."
"It is not something you can control. Hormones are liars. Partners of new moms, please pay close attention. Get help. Do not try to tough it out."
21. "I wish someone had warned me about muscle cramps."
"I had to learn a new way to pop my ankles because every night, I would pop them and get massive charley horses in my legs that my fiancé had to massage out."
22. "Stuff stays with your body afterward. I developed allergies after I had my second child, and my feet definitely got bigger. Hormones are no joke."
23. "No one ever told me about the 'third delivery,' aka your first poop."
"The first delivery is the baby, the second is the placenta, and the third is the poop. I was struggling for so long to poop."
24. "I wish I knew about the swelling in your legs after you give birth. Your legs get soooo big that you can barely move them at first, even after the epidural is out of your system."
25. "Baby kicks don’t feel like butterflies. They feel like something crawled across your skin quickly, but from the inside."
26. "I had a C-section, and the gas pain was no joke. Had to sleep on an incline for days."
27. "I had heard about sciatica pain but was 100% unprepared for how bad it could be."
28. "During labor, the 'water breaking' is not one rush of liquid. It’s continuous and can occur for several hours."
"It’s horrendous and messy. It feels like peeing, but you have zero control over anything, and if you tense up, then everything is much more painful and weird feeling."
29. "Your hormones are wild, literally making anything and everything that happens to your body a pregnancy symptom. Bloody nose? Pregnancy. Hands dry? Pregnancy. Itchy skin? Pregnancy."
30. "Your body produces a hormone called relaxin that helps loosen your pelvis in preparation for birth."
"Some women get waayyy too much too soon, and it loosens everything to the point where you lose mobility, and every day, all day, is painful."
31. "Each pregnancy is different, even for the same person."
"I have three kids. The first pregnancy was very typical and followed the normal timeline. The second pregnancy was awful. I was miserable and sick the entire time. The third pregnancy was easy peasy, and I finally understood why some women liked being pregnant."
32. "You stop being able to sleep way before the baby gets here."
"Everyone loves to tell me to 'sleep now while [I] can,' but pregnancy leads to unexplained insomnia, and I’m a total wreck already."
33. "Your body does not magically go back to normal once the baby is out. You have weeks of healing."
"You either had your vagina ripped or your stomach cut open, your boobs are still on baby mode, and you have a whole new set of problems now. Pooping will be terrifying, and depression risks are higher."
34. "How hard it can be to get and stay pregnant. Everyone imagines it will happen easily and quickly, and unfortunately, it's not the case for so many women."
"And for women who've dealt with infertility or loss, how much anxiety you'll have throughout the pregnancy."
35. "For some people, labor doesn't start with water breaking, and 30 minutes later there's a baby. My water broke, and 29 hours later, the baby decided to show up."
36. "My fucking boobs hurt so bad. I hit one in my sleep and woke up in excruciating pain. I knew they would get bigger, but the pain was a surprise."
37. "That morning sickness isn't in the morning and I would be puking the whole time, not just in the beginning."
38. And this: "Getting an epidural can (NOT ALWAYS) lead to a lot of back pain down the road."
"I unfortunately have existing major back pain issues, and I already know I will not be able to risk getting an epidural."