Newsflash: Despite what the airbrushed magazine covers would lead you to believe, pregnancy is not always cute. In fact, it can be pretty gross. Remember when you were a preteen and you were 99% sure that the changes happening to your body were abnormal and you were the only girl having these problems? Well, pregnancy is a lot like going through a second puberty. Don’t worry! The weird stuff going on with your body is probably not that weird at all. I just wish someone had warned me about the unpretty side of pregnancy! So now I’m warning you.
10. Hair (not the musical)
This is the dawning of the age of… awkward hair growth. While prenatal vitamins make the hairs on your head super lush, your hormones think it’s really funny to make hair sprout up in non-hair areas. I’m having a boy, so some people have attributed the hair growth to the testosterone thing, but I have no idea how scientifically sound that is. But I did have a white girl panic moment at the OBGYN one day, and she assured me (while holding back an eyeroll, I’m sure) that getting hair on your tummy, face, and beyond is all perfectly normal and will go away post-pregnancy. I am holding her to that or suing for enough money to cover my Nair budget.
9. Can’t Blame the Dog
At times I swore I could single-handedly end our war with the Middle East with the insane amount of gas my body could produce. I’m clearly not the most bashful person in the world, but even I was embarrassed by my grumbly tummy. During one particularly uncomfortable visit, I snarted in my obgyn’s face. In case you didn’t know, snarting is when you sneeze and fart at the same time. Yup. Again, it’s all totally normal according to the doctors, but that doesn’t really make it any less awkward. Thankfully Beano and Tums can make things a little more tolerable. You also may want to avoid broccoli, chili, and eggs in the meantime. Just saying. I also apologize for having the sense of humor of an eight year old boy. (Farts are kind of funny, admit it.)
8. Pizza Face
Like I said before, pregnancy can really feel like you’re going through puberty a second time. There I was, like a fool, waiting for that famed “pregnancy glow” to come. What I got instead was acne that made me super self-conscious. If my gas couldn’t solve the crisis in the Middle East, the oil spill that was my face certainly could. Switching from heavy foundation to a tinted SPF helped, though. Try staying away from harsh scrubs and switching to a gentle toner safe for everyday use, too. If all else fails, just keep telling yourself that this is temporary and you’re going to get a cool, little human out of the deal. So putting up with teen-style acne seems like a pretty fair trade off if you ask me.
7. Got a Logjam in the River
No one warned me about the nightmare that is constipation. The only way I can think to describe how awful it is, is for you to imagine trying to push a sideways pine cone through the eye of a needle. Not. Gonna. Happen. My OBGYN jokingly said it was a preview for giving birth, but needless to say I did not find that very funny. Prune juice and fibrous foods are going to be your new bffs. Don’t overdo it, though! Let’s just say one day I was desperate, and one Dulcolax and three glasses of prune juice later, I had to frantically (but politely) scooch past eight people and run out of a movie theater. Do you know how hard it is to clench and crabwalk past a row of strangers in the movies not once but twice? Answer: pretty hard.
6. Water, Water Everywhere
In addition to buying new bras and pants, you may want to invest in some pillowcase covers. Why? Because you’ll be drooling more than Homer Simpson around a dozen fresh Krispy Kreme donuts. This may not happen to everyone, but it definitely did (and does) happen to me. The first time I woke up, shocked by the yucky puddle of embarrassment on my pillow, I was unnerved to say the least. Apparently your pregnancy hormones are less like some sweet, fairy godmothers turning your body into a magically, fertile goddess and are more like the cast of “Jackass” trying to find new and horrifying ways to embarrass you. Just be thankful the extra drool only comes during sleep and not randomly during the day.
5. SO MANY EMOTIONS!!!
I was never a particularly girly-girl. I didn’t cry when I watched romantic comedies. In fact, I rarely watched rom-coms at all. But when I became pregnant, all of a sudden those Sarah McLachlan hurt puppy commercials seemed really, really sad. This isn’t really a gross side-effect of pregnancy, but it was definitely a strange one for me since I rarely ever cried pre-pregnancy. Just be prepared to be filled with strange, new emotions or more intense versions of the emotions with which you are already familiar. Do yourself a favor, though. Don’t Google videos of dogs that are happy their owners are soldiers returning from war. That’s just asking for it.
4. Bleeding Bloody Blood
While you’ve already gotten somewhat accustomed to stuff coming out of your various body holes, you may not have expected nosebleeds and bloody gums. Naturally, after watching a marathon of “Untold Stories of the ER,” I assumed that my new Carrie-like problem was a definite sign of some type of hemorrhage. Either that or my brain exploding. Both seemed plausible at two in the morning. Anyways, it turns out those pesky hormones are responsible for increased blood flow, more sensitive tissue, and inflamed blood vessels. Combine all those factors and there you have a perfectly normal reason for your benign yet inconvenient nosebleeds and bloody gums. If it gets really bad, though, do consult a physician… and don’t watch medical shows at two in the morning.
3. Hair (again)
Though you won’t have this issue until further along into your pregnancy, your protruding tummy will eventually make shaving difficult if not impossible. Unless you are a tenth level Yogi (that’s a thing, right?), then you may be out of luck in the flexibility department. I’ve already had to relinquish being able to wear some of my cute clothes and my hormones had me feeling like Jabba the Hut. So I was not about to add Sasquatch to the list. While it’s still totally possible to be able to shave and maintain your grooming routine, you may want to cough up the dough and treat yourself to a professional waxing service. I prefer to save myself the embarrassment of losing my balance in the shower trying to shave my legs.
2. Water (again)
You probably already knew that pregnant women have a reputation for needing to go to the bathroom every 2.7 seconds. And although it is true that your bladder has been squished to the size of a thimble, it’s not just the frequency of urination that is the problem. Bladder control becomes a very real, very gross reality in pregnancy. Because you have a freakin’ human taking up room inside of you, it is totally understandable that things are going to change. Pressure on your uterus, spasms due to stretched muscles, and stress put on your pelvic floor all contribute to the normal occurrence of incontinence during pregnancy. Incontinence is a nice, doctor-y way of saying sometimes when you’re laughing you whiz, AKA lizzing.
1. Birth Cannon Blaster
I’m no good with euphemisms and I find the clinical terms for lady parts to be off-putting. So we’re just gonna stick with what we’ve got. Basically, at some point in your pregnancy, you’re going to feel your little miracle kick! This can be totally awesome and a really beautiful moment to share with your partner. But then comes the “downstairs” kicking. It is such an unusually sharp and crazy pain, that you may even jump a little when you initially feel it. I totally thought that I was going into labor the first time I felt the “fireworks.” Not that you can ever really prepare for an internal crotch kick, but if I had at least known this was a possibility, I might have been able to maintain a better demeanor whilst sitting in an Applebee’s with friends. I yelped and jumped for no reason, but thankfully I have understanding girlfriends who weren’t put off by my hoo-ha issues. Turns out this, too, is normal and nothing to be worried about. Sure is an adventure, though!
And there you have it. The ten weird, gross, and awkward things that happened to me and my body that I wished someone had told me about. Fortunately most of the crazy things that occur during your pregnancy are totally normal, but as always, listen to your body. If something seems off, don’t hesitate to contact a medical professional. Otherwise, try to keep a good sense of humor about the unusual changes happening to your body. And if you laugh about it, just try not to pee yourself 😉