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What NOT to expect when you’re expecting

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#1 Kylie Orr

Posted 19 March 2015 - 10:15 AM

The abundance of literature available on pregnancy expectations weighs down shelves in bookshops. If there were online shelves, they’d be bowing under the strain too. Before falling pregnant, most of us expect to be tired, have strange cravings of squash and orange juice smoothies, be emotional, and would not find it surprising to demand our partners drive to 7-Eleven at midnight to get us a salted caramel Magnum. It’s all to be expected when you’re expecting.

Without frightening anyone who is yet to navigate the pregnancy path, here are some things I didn’t expect when I fell pregnant.

Swollen Vulva

Try repeating that five times. Got your attention, didn’t I?

I am speaking on behalf of a friend of course, who’s identity and therefore her lopsided vulva shall remain anonymous. She confided that at the end of her pregnancy the baby’s head seemed to be wedged on a nerve which was increasing blood volume to one side of her labia. She naturally had a complete freak-out that her body, and her lady garden, would never ever be the same. She was correct but not because of the swollen bit. That calmed down once the baby was no longer resting its heavy head on a nerve pillow.

Just a head’s up (or down), there is a related condition called vulvar varicose veins. Don’t google it because you cannot wash your eyes of those images.

Hormonal Breakouts

All those damn books tell us that our skin will be glowing when we are up the duff. The only glowing I had was from excess oil thanks to hormonal breakouts. Pimples or acne are very common in pregnancy. Hormone surges, namely progesterone, around the six week mark can cause overproduction of oil provoking a flare up. Some women unfortunately have an entire nine months (and more) of hormonal acne, that can extend from chin and neck to chest and back. There are limited treatments available which are pregnancy-safe. Speak to your doctor about the options if the breakouts are making you want to break out.

Maybe don’t whisper to your baby bump “I’ve got hormonal acne because of you. You’d better be worth it.”

Everything smells

I have a sizeable nose so it could just be me, but I found my sense of smell during pregnancy was superhuman. I could have worked for the CFA detecting smoke smells from 100km away. It also worked against me given anything that had a slightly off scent, sent me off to the toilet bowl to vomit.

On a tangent, your nose can “spread” thanks to elevated oestrogen levels that soften the cartilage, along with excess fluid and blood flow. Don’t stress, it’s not permanent. Just another joyful side effect of growing a whole person.

You realise you’re a messy eater

Blame pregnancy clumsiness, a case of the “dropsies” or the realisation I am an incredibly messy eater, but my baby bump was fantastic at catching all the drips and spills from my food. I attended many an occasion donning a lovely maternity outfit showcasing a Pro Hart painting of bolognaise sauce. It was great practise for when the baby was out and I exchanged sauce for baby spew.

The positive of this was my bump came with a cleavage which stopped some of the crumbs that would have fallen to the floor pre-pregnancy.

Heightened attention to names

Your pregnancy brain may fail you when it comes to remembering your own name, where you live or the answer to a simple trivial pursuit question, but it will be as sharp as a surgeon’s scalpel when it comes to searching out a baby name.

I’d fall asleep during movies but wake up at the final credits, watching names roll down the screen, mentally noting any potential candidates. I’ve never been so interested in who (or what) the gaffer was in a film.

Crazy Dreams

We all think we have crazy dreams. How often have you started a sentence with “I had this really weird dream last night…”?

When you’re pregnant, your dreams will make you wonder if you are seriously unhinged. There’s plenty of science to back up why the dreams are nutball; you can blame all those raging hormones again, or the desperate fatigue therefore sleeping more and dreaming more, and the stress and apprehension around the life changes a new baby will bring.

Dreaming about your baby’s gender is common, but usually that dream will involve your baby coming out with a penis and devil’s horns. Don’t read anything into it. A nightmare about labour, when Bradley Cooper is your obstetrician and you’re worried you haven’t groomed well enough to be showing your bits, is also common. That’s what I’ve told myself anyway.

What did you NOT expect when you were expecting?


#2 Hands Up

Posted 19 March 2015 - 10:17 AM

Yep, I remember the attention to names. Now I'm pregnant again I always look through final credits to see if there are any names I like!!!!

I was actually amazed by how interested people were. Especially at work. I never, ever brought it up as I wanted to be taken seriously, not constantly talking about babies but EVERYONE always asked me about the baby! It was really nice actually.

#3 FeralProudSwahili

Posted 19 March 2015 - 10:20 AM

Can't say I experienced any of the things you listed.

#4 Lunafreya

Posted 19 March 2015 - 10:21 AM

huge loud farts that didn't smell.

#5 lazycritter

Posted 19 March 2015 - 10:26 AM

I experienced some of thise.  Vulval varicosity being one of them. It was quite painful.
The dreams were particularly freaky

#6 lynneyours

Posted 19 March 2015 - 11:27 AM

Yes to the sense of smell becoming super sensitive.  It hasn't gone away and my youngest child has just turned 5.  I would be on a par with a sniffer dog now!  I can smell cigarette smoke at 400m+ with no wind and up to 1km with wind.  I kid you not.

My teeth will never recover from the damage that the constant all day and night vomiting for months on end did.

My SPD has never fully gone away either.

#7 Princess Holly

Posted 19 March 2015 - 11:38 AM

The constipation that made me look 8 months when I was only 8 weeks.

The 'morning sickness' that lasts all day and doesn't just magically go away at 12wks.

#8 Starrydawn

Posted 19 March 2015 - 11:47 AM

The Hyperemesis taking away my will to do anything.

By the time I even cared about baby names I then started dreaming of them it was all night going over a name repeatedly. It drove me nuts.

I also in the third trimester got big red itchy face so had like psoriasis on my cheek and forehead. It disappeared after birth.

#9 Oriental lily

Posted 19 March 2015 - 12:01 PM

The heightened smell came with my first pregnancy and never really went away .

I can tell if Dh had an alcohol Beveridge hours after he finished it........ from the other side of the room!

Something I have got this pregnancy that I haven't experienced before .

Restless legs sydrome .

Feels, Ike I have excess energy in my legs . Makes me want to stand up and jog on the spot to get rid of this built up tension and crawling feeling in my legs. At its worst just before falling asleep at night .

Horrible .

#10 Lou-bags

Posted 19 March 2015 - 12:15 PM


Which has still not completely resolved, 18 months later.

I was the fittest and healthiest I had ever been when I fell pregnant. I did not expect to be near immobile by 32-33 weeks and to be unable to do so many things more than a year later.

Edited to add:

And, less annoying and now completely gone, chloasma. I had the rosy cheeks to a degree, but the worst was a darkened patch on my forehead that appeared very early in pregnancy and took a few months to fade after.

I got SO sick of answering the question "How'd you get that bruise?"

Edited by Lou-bags, 19 March 2015 - 06:03 PM.

#11 seayork2002

Posted 14 August 2015 - 03:02 PM

I expected morning sickness, swollen ankles, to have an increased tummy size (one time I should have not listen to my mum who made me go out and buy maternity clothes), basically signs I was pregnant - yes my period stopped and I felt my son move but that was it - I also expected a loss of energy at the end of the pregnancy and the need to be bed ridden for a few days afterwards of to even feel different

nothing! (except the loss of period and movement of baby)

Edited by seayork2002, 14 August 2015 - 03:04 PM.

#12 Lucrezia Bauble

Posted 14 August 2015 - 03:38 PM

I knew about morning sickness obviously - and I did get it with both pregnancies but, lucky for me, it did cease at around the 13, 14 week mark. But I totally went off tea! the taste of it instantly made me want to vomit. One of the things I remember enjoying in hospital post birth was a nice cup of tea!

#13 PrincessPeach

Posted 14 August 2015 - 03:52 PM

That the reflux can take months to disappear.

and that the no no foods you were craving whilst pregnant suddenly become unappealing post-birth. My beautiful DH made sure there was a wheel of Camembert, crackers and a block of Cadbury dairy milk waiting in the fridge for me the day we came home from hospital - he ended up eating them as I couldn't face them.

#14 ~LemonMyrtle~

Posted 14 August 2015 - 04:17 PM

Diarrhoea! Well, almost, let's call it 'frequent bowel movements' Everyone says 'ooh you will be so constipated when pregnant' well, not me.  

For some women pregnancy has the opposite effect. In the words of my obs 'yes that can happen sometimes'

#15 purpleblaze

Posted 14 August 2015 - 04:19 PM

SPD and restless leg syndrome. The latter particularly annoying.

#16 Princess VFR

Posted 14 August 2015 - 04:34 PM

I struggle to stay awake for final credits while not pregnant. When pregnant I'd barely make it half way through the movie let alone the end!
Heartburn yes.
Swollen veins in my lady garden...yes
Chloasma...still there and DD is now 14months.
Superhuman sense of smell....still there...esp when DD has gastro...urghh.

#17 librarygirl

Posted 14 August 2015 - 04:44 PM

Exhaustion in first trimester. Oh my god, it was like I was hit by a train. I was fortunate enough not to cop much morning sickness, but I could barely move for fatigue.

Nose bleeds. I had a cold or two while pregnant and in my first pregnancy, whenever blowing my nose, I'd get a nose bleed. Freaked me out at first, but the OB said it was all normal, just the excess blood kicking around the system and the thinner, drier lining of the nose. Didn't have them at all during second pregnancy, though.

Not being able to walk by the end of my second pregnancy took me a bit by surprise. Hello pelvic girdle pain, I never expected you'd cripple me with quite so much agony.

On the up side, I didn't expect my hair to grow so thick and luxurious either. Pity I lost it all again after the birth.

#18 Sheep

Posted 14 August 2015 - 05:07 PM

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