I think anyone that has been pregnant would agree that pregnancy is weiiiiiird. Like, weird things happen to your body and many of them I had not heard of before experiencing them myself. I wonder if women just forget about them or brush them off as “hey, that’s pregnancy for ya!” However, I always think it’s humbling to share honest experiences in this space and decided I would open up about some of the weirdness I have personally endured throughout this pregnancy.
1.) By far the weirdest thing that has happened to me so far is my pregnancy carpal tunnel/tendenitis/overall numbness in my hands and specifically my fingers. I remember waking up one morning and both of my arms and hands were completely numb as if they had fallen asleep during the night. I honestly thought I was having a stroke or something horrible was happening to me. I immediately googled “numb hands + pregnancy” and thankfully read that this is a VERY normal pregnancy symptom. WHO THE HELL KNEW THAT?! I had no idea! From that first day I noticed it, I really started to tune into it and realized that my right hand (my more dominant hand) was way more susceptible than my left. I think I noticed this right before I went into my third trimester and it really hasn’t gotten any better. From what I read, this happens to many women when the baby is pressing on a nerve/cutting off your own blood supply, which prevents even blood flow to your hands. At a certain point, I couldn’t handle the numbness during the night because it can sometimes feel achy. I ended up purchasing two night time braces to wear at night and they have helped. My hands still fall asleep but I find it much less uncomfortable when I wear the braces at night. I also got two day time braces that are much less restricting so I can help my blood flow during the day and still type/function. The most annoying thing about this lovely pregnancy symptom is that holding my phone for long periods of time makes me hands fall asleep, with or without the braces. I guess it’s good for me to not be on my phone as much but still annoying.
2.) One thing that my friend, Sarah (@sassyredlipstick) hilariously told me about when I went to visit her in AZ was a lovely pregnancy symptom that she nicknamed “The Creams.” What she was referring to was the change in vaginal discharge that you experience during pregnancy. I didn’t notice this until end of second trimester and boy has it really ramped up during third trimester but without getting too graphic, your underwear literally always feels damp/wet from the discharge. Plus, it’s thicker, which probably adds to the damp feeling. You guys, if I wear leggings, sometimes the discharge is so free flowing that I will noticed a little dampness that I’ve left behind on plastic chairs. HOW GROSS (not to mention embarrassing!) IS THAT?! I mean, it is what it is and people have said you can wear panty liners to help but really, who has time for that. Another fun bathroom related thing I’ve experienced is how hard it can be to wipe yourself when going to the bathroom. I know that sounds so weird but when you have a basketball sized bump in front of you, it can make it difficult to position yourself correctly. This was literally something I never thought I would experience in my life but here I am sharing it publicly!
3.) I have been pretty lucky with swelling but I also knew that this is one of the most common pregnancy symptoms that 99.9% of pregnant women experience so I was a bit more prepared for it. Because of my pregnancy hand numbness issues, the joints on my fingers have swelled a touch and my fingers feel achy when they aren’t getting much movement (almost feels like what I would imagine arthritis to feel like). Because of the joint swelling, I had to stop wearing my wedding rings (*sobs uncontrollably*) and switch my diamond right that I typically wear on my right hand to my left wedding ring finger (it’s a size bigger than my wedding rings so it fit well if not a touch big). However, even that ring is starting to feel a little tight so I’m thinking that my I will be seeing out the end of this pregnancy ringless. Not the biggest deal but still feels strange. Also, I’ve been pretty lucky with not having swollen feet/ankles all the time but it does happen every once and awhile. There was one day in particular that it was awful on both feet but that hasn’t happened again since. One weird thing that has happened throughout pregnancy is swelling only on my right side foot and ankle AND also the numbness in my right hand. I talked to my doctor about this and she said that I only need to be concerned about the one sided swelling if the swelling did not go down or if I felt any pain in my right calf because these could be signs of a blood clot.
4.) I had heard that women get pretty uncomfortable with sleeping later on in their pregnancies but I kind of experienced this very early on because I was worried about sleep positions. When you reach your second trimester, many people will tell you that you can no longer sleep flat on your back because it cuts off blood flow to the baby. However, I have always been a side sleeper so I didn’t think I would need to worry BUT for some reason, being pregnant made me always want to sleep on my back. It was the weirdest thing because I literally never slept on my back comfortably. I remember waking up in the middle of the night and frantically thinking “omg!!!! I was on my back! Is he okay?!” This fear would keep me from resting peacefully so my doctor recommended that I get a wedge pillow so that I could rest easy knowing I wasn’t flat on my back if I rolled over during the night. This worked wonders for me and did help me sleep better with my pregnancy pillow. However, now that I am four weeks away from my due date and am having horrible sciatic pain (more on this below), there is no such thing as a comfy sleep position.
5.) I’m the kind of person that doesn’t ever expect anyone to ever do anything for me. It’s hard for me to ask for help because I would rather not burden anyone and just do whatever I need to do by myself. One thing that really took me by surprise was how nice everyone is when you are pregnant. I’m talking strangers, family, kids, everyone. It’s like people know that you’re going through a time where you need help and positivity and they are so willing to give it to you. It’s honestly so sweet and has been much appreciated even from a help-aversion person like myself. I will say that pregnancy has helped me learn how to ask for help from others because when you are growing a human (especially as you get bigger) you are limited, both physically and mentally, with how much you can take on. I’m one of those people that always goes a mile a minute so the forced slow down has been nice and I’ll always appreciate someone holding a door open for me or even offering to go grocery shopping for me (thanks mom!).
6.) Okay, one thing that I had NEVER heard about from other moms was “kick counts.” Even in the pregnancy books that I had read during my first trimester didn’t mention them so I was surprised AND anxious when my OBGYN handed me a kick counter card around the 28 week mark. If you don’t know, your doctor will want you to start tracking your baby’s kicks in your second trimester. By then, you have probably alreaydy felt the baby move and kick but to ensure the safety of the baby, they want you to start tracking movements to make sure everything is okay. Basically, your doctor will want you to pick one consistent starting time each day (they recommend doing this around 7:30 pm) and then track how long it takes the baby to reach 10 kicks/movements within a 2 hour window. If your baby does not reach 10 kicks/movements within that 2 hour window, they want you to call in and most likely come in to check on the baby. CAN YOU SAY STRESSFUL? I remember looking down at the card when I got home from that appointment and feeling pretty anxious about it. So many thoughts ran through my head at once. “What if the baby was moving and kicking so much right before my time window and then stopped when my kick count time period started?!” “Does it matter if I feel the baby moving so much all day long and then all of a sudden I don’t feel them moving for an hour?!” After talking with a few of my newer mom friends, they assured me that if you are feeling the baby moving consistently throughout the day, you and the baby are just fine! This gave me so much relief and I started to not stress about it. I found myself tuning in a bit more to movements throughout the day just to give myself peace of mind.
8.) Okay, this may feel a bit TMI to some but early on in my pregnancy, I started to smell like a teenager that hasn’t discovered deodorant. I don’t know if it was just hormonal or what but wow, I definitely smelled like BO, especially after I worked out. It was honestly super embarrassing because I had never really experienced that before. Also, I decided to switch to natural deodorant in the first trimester so maybe that played a part in this but even STILL, I find myself obsessively sniffing myself to make sure I don’t smell like BO. Sometimes, I do smell it, which sucks, but most of the time I’m fine. Still such a weird thing to experience all of a sudden. Thanks, pregnancy.
9.) This one is somewhat related to the BO but before getting pregnant, I was ALWAYS the person who is freezing cold. Like, I would wear my coats and jackets inside all day because I was always cold. However, during second and third trimesters, the hot flashes hit. I would honestly been fine one second and then all of a sudden I would be breaking out in a sweat and couldn’t cool down. People told me that this is a pretty normal pregnancy symptom but it still took me off guard and was also something I hadn’t really heard about from others.
10.) Baby Brain is REAL. That is all I’m going to say about that.