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17 Truths About Your First Trimester That All Pregnant Women Should Prepare For

Naps, Seamless and secret Facebook groups FTW.

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Note: This is an account of my own personal experience and not a medical evaluation. Pregnancy can cause a variety of symptoms that vary from person to person. As always, check with your doctor if you have any concerns regarding your pregnancy.

1. The exhaustion is unbearable, and keeping your eyes open requires superhuman effort.

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The first symptom I experienced after realizing I was pregnant was absolute exhaustion. It didn't matter how many hours I slept at night. I still had trouble keeping my eyes open during the day, and naps became my best friends. It got to the point where one day, I accidentally fell asleep on a public bench for two hours.

2. Which means you'll spend entire weeks as a near-literal couch potato.

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There were weekends when my husband was out of town and I would spend the entire day moving between the bed and the sofa. Food delivery services became my best friends, and I would often order out for all three meals, because I couldn't even make pasta for myself.

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3. You'll also become super antisocial.

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Since I couldn't tell anyone about my pregnancy yet, I didn't feel like coming up with excuses about why I was feeling so tired or why I wasn't drinking alcohol. I felt like I was lying the entire time, so I preferred staying home and watching TV. But since I'm actually a super social person, this "new me" felt so unnatural.

4. But you'll find online communities that save your sanity.

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I found Reddit subgroups and secret Facebook groups of pregnant women who were going through the exact same things and, even though they were perfect strangers, we became so close. I tapped into these networks to ask any and every question that crossed my mind, and we supported each other.

5. Medical advice can totally differ depending on what part of the world you're in.

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When I was finally able to tell a few friends about my pregnancy, I started complaining about all the things I couldn't eat and some of them laughed in my face. It turns out that there are some things — like not drinking alcohol and not smoking — that are recommended worldwide but others are less universal. For example, in the United States, you're advised not to eat ham or sushi. But that's not the case for women in Japan.

6. At first, it can be hard to actually enjoy being pregnant.

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Being pregnant was great news, but I quickly became obsessed over everything that could go wrong in the first few months, and the panic didn't let me fully enjoy myself.

Once I was able to see the tiny baby at my first ultrasound, I was able to relax more and to start thinking about a future with this new family member.

7. Your relationship with your mother will change.

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I hate to admit it, but my mother always would tell me, "When you're a mother, you're going to understand so many more things." Well, she was right. That made our relationship change, and we became a little closer. She's still my mother, so of course, I'm going to keep rolling my eyes whenever she tells me something I don't like, but now I appreciate everything she did to get me where I am so much more.

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8. Hunger and nausea go hand in hand.

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I'm one of the lucky ones who has never thrown up during my pregnancy (*knocks on wood*), but that doesn't mean I didn't have some terrible nausea. What I've come to realize is that you can have the biggest urge to vomit in the world, and it might actually just be a sign that you're hungry.

That's right; whenever I'd go three hours without eating, my stomach would have a tantrum, and I'd feel terrible until I ate.

9. Speaking of which, prenatal vitamins can also mess with your stomach.

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I learned this the hard way by taking my vitamins on an empty stomach. I felt like throwing up and had a stomach ache almost immediately. Now, I always make sure I've had a good meal before taking them.

It's also worth noting that these vitamins make your pee turn neon yellow, which is a weird and necessary evil, I guess.

10. Your bladder will become your own worst enemy.

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As soon as I found out that I was pregnant, I would start waking up in the middle of the night to go to the bathroom. At first I thought it was just the stress that was waking me up, but I quickly learned that wasn't the case — apparently, going to the bathroom in the middle of the night is common both in the first and third trimesters of your pregnancy. For someone who used to NEVER wake up in the wee hours of the morning, this new symptom wasn't well received.

11. There are no dumb questions.

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It felt like I always had a billion questions: How far along was I? What could I eat? When should I have each of these doctor's appointments? Was I allowed to sunbathe?

I turned to Google for many of these answers, and it was a relief to see that I wasn't the first one to wonder about these questions by far. It goes without saying that Google isn't scientific at all and that, if you really do have a serious question, you should ask a doctor. Luckily, my midwives always replied to everything through e-mail, and they probably still laugh every time they get a new message from me.

12. Once you start shopping for "pregnancy" things, the reality really sinks in.

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One of my favorite purchase was this cuddly, full body pillow that allowed me to actually sleep again My husband and I even named it Bill, and it's already a part of the family.

It might sound dumb, but little purchases like this one helped me realize that not only was I just not having my period, but also I had a little human growing inside my belly.

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13. Just thinking about exercise will tire you out.

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I knew I couldn't spend entire days laying on the sofa and had to do ~something~. So I bought a Fitbit to track my steps each day and to push me to walk more.

At first, my goal was to hit 8,000 steps, which would be a few miles walking. Little by little, I started adding more by taking the dogs out for a longer walk, or walking instead of taking the subway. The Fitbit also helped me track how long and how deeply I sleep, which helps me figure out whether I had a rough night beyond just taking stock of how I felt when I woke up.

14. Hiding a growing belly can be pretty stressful!

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One day, when I woke up, my husband said to me, "Whoa, you're pregnant." Apparently my tummy had finally decided to pop out and say hi! So my first thought was "How am I going to hide this now?" because I wasn't yet ready to announce the pregnancy at my workplace. For a while there, getting dressed in the morning was the hardest task of the day.

But once we told all of our friends and coworkers, getting dressed went back to being fun and non-stressful.

15. You'll have the urge to read every maternity book you can get your hands on.

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Reading a bunch of books was useful to prepare for the coming months and to get a wide range of recommendations for all kinds of people.

For example, I read Mamá Natural (Natural Mom), which is super hippie and advises pregnant women not to spend too much time near cellphones or Wi-Fi. To me, that sounded impossible to me, and I didn't find much info to back it up. On the other hand, I read Expecting Better, where they demystify things like whether coffee drinking is okay with scientific studies.

16. You'll regularly switch between laughing and crying in mere nanoseconds.

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If there was one thing I wasn't ready for, it was the mood swings. It felt like constantly being on a roller coaster where I literally didn't know how I was going to react to anything. I'd find myself crying in the subway for no reason, or going from laughing with my husband to crying inconsolably and not being able to explain why. I even yelled at my parents for the high crime of asking me about baby names.

17. BUT, finally seeing that lil alien inside of you will help make sense of all the madness and anxiety.

Conz Preti / Via BuzzFeed

I'm not the kind of person who gets emotional when they see other people's babies and want to hold them. Not at all. To be honest, I'm not big on kids in general. But seeing my son kicking inside my belly after just 11 weeks of pregnancy softened me a little, and it made everything I've lived through so far completely worth it.

This post was translated from Spanish.

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