Pregnancy and childbirth is the gift that just keeps on giving, but let us be clear on what some of those “gifts” are.
As mothers and/or women who plan to be mothers, the goal with any pregnancy and childbirth is, of course, to ultimately give birth to a healthy baby. A well baked, 10 fingers and toes, 6 lbs+, baby boy or girl is clearly a blessing all in its own.
But let’s get to the battle of our bodies that brings upon such blessings, shall we? Read: My Prayer for Mothers Who have Said Childbirth is ‘not that painful’: May The Lord Forgive You
“Contrary to what Pinterest preaches, pregnancy and childbirth isn’t all glam, glow, and thicker hair, lol. But so far I’ve had enough grad-level learning, and hilarious TMI struggle to fill a book!”
However, for the rest of us who are hoping to be better prepared (or who are just curious), I created a list of things that they don’t tell you about pregnancy and childbirth. We already know about the tender breasts, weight gain, heartburn, and possible fluid retention that makes us look like a fluffy, pregnant Pokemon. But as far as the rest, you may want to take a look at this.
Here are the 10 Things They Don’t Tell You About Pregnancy and Childbirth:
1. Oh Spit!
Spitting happens while pregnant. For some, a lot. For others, none at all. But it happens and it’s normal.
Although doctors have not found a direct link to the excessive spitting and being pregnant, some suspect that it’s a hormonal thing and/or a result of the constant feeling of nausea (which varies per experience) that of course results in your salivary glands acting up. Be warned though, sometimes barfing does follow.
2. ‘Roid Rage
And we’re not talking steroids! Be clear that up to 50% of women are effected by Hemorrhoids when pregnant. What are thoooooosse you ask?
Well, for most of us, we know what hemorrhoids are (be it by experience or just common knowledge) but in case you don’t:
Hemorrhoids are little veins in and around your rectum that can become swollen due to the strain of your growing uterus and increased blood flow.
Sometimes constipation (another culprit of being pregnant) are the cause of these too. They look like excessive, hanging pieces of swollen skin around your- uh, anus. The effects can either be that they itch or they hurt or both. But the good news? The issue usually goes away after childbirth (ouch though!).
Baby on the bladder! You might have heard of women having to pee a lot during pregnancy but what you may not know is that sometimes you can’t hold it!
Your bladder sits directly under your uterus so as your womb-mate grows, the bladder can’t always handle the pressure. This may result in an ease to pee from such simple activities as: sneezing or coughing, so be careful!
Just remember the cardinal rule: If you sprinkle while you tinkle, be a sweetie and wipe your seat-y (unless that seat is a couch, then you may be out of luck)!
4. Bleeding Gums…
Yep! Your gums may bleed…and just like spit, it’s totally normal (what your baby has to do with your mouth I have no clue, but apparently things get crazy up in there)!
In this case, doctors do know the cause of this though is the female hormone, Progesterone.
5. Baby Got “Black”
This is not a bad side effect at all, but it might be one that most didn’t know! You might notice a bit of change in your color while pregnant. This is because hormones amp up your melanin cells, the result of which you may produce more pigment, which will darken your areolas, freckles (if you have any), and more than likely, it will cause that mysterious line that runs from your belly button to your southern region, known as as the “linea nigra.” You may also get blotchy skin, known medically as “Chloasma.”
Hyperpigmentation tends to be more noticeable in women with darker complexions and typically fades post-birth. But in the meantime, consider it as your little baby picasso using your body as a canvas and coloring you from the inside out (isn’t that a cute way to imagine it?).
And now, for the post-birth!
6. Pregnancy Fog
Pregnancy fog is for real. Some women have it so bad that they they can’t remember basic sentence structure, let alone simple tasks.
In one Internet forum, one woman said that she forgot everything the doctor told her about her pregnancy symptoms, and would Google her ailments instead of calling her doctor. The result? She thought she was legitimately dying.
According to the Bible of pregnancy (What To Expect When Expecting), pregnancy fog is a result of your hormones having some fun with you at your expense. Also, lack of sleep due to the baby kicking your bladder all night, as well as decreased energy, can contribute to pregnancy fog.
7. The Mucus Plug
A mucus plug is literally what it sounds like–a huge thing of mucus that sort of holds together and clogs up your cervix to ensure that the “water” (your placenta) that you’re toting stays together and doesn’t drip until due. Post-birth and post your water breaking, you will also lose your mucus plug, but it may take anywhere from a few hours to a few days. Somewhat grossly enough, this can mean your body discharging wad amounts of mucus for some time to come (cue the adult diapers or the “O.G.” lady pads).
**Note: Diapers for moms after birth are not always necessary and vary from mom to mom and from reason to reason. Some nurses even give women who have severe hemorrhoids a diaper full of ice to help cool down the discomfort of the swelling in/around their anus. Yikes!
8. Bowel Movements…Oh Crap!
So… if you didn’t know, 12-36 hours of pushing a baby might “move” out some other thangs too. Yes, this includes the movement of your bowels and yes, this may happen in a room of people.
Everyone talks about how you’re likely to make number two in front of your doctors, nurses, man, and family and friends (whoever is allowed in the delivery room, luckily only but so many people are, but still, one is one too many when you think of pooping), but take it from moms–you will not care one bit about what comes out of your booty while you’re pushing that baby.
However, some moms have said that having a child, especially for the first time, puts their body in so much shock that they psych themselves out when it comes to having to use the bathroom after–meaning they become constipated because they are so traumatized from all that pushing just moments prior. Plus, with the stitches, some women and are so scared of the pain because everything– and we mean everything– hurts while your body adjusts to birthing a watermelon out of a needle’s hole.
9. Speaking of Stitches
Usually, your doctor will chat with you about an episiotomy, just in case you may need one. An episiotomy is a surgical cut made at the opening of the vagina during childbirth to aid a difficult delivery and prevent rupture of tissues. In other words, it’s when the doctor clips your cha-cha to make room for that watermelon head to come out of your vagina.
Don’t worry, this too shall heal. But in the meantime, this too shall hurt more than a little bit (and you thought the baby being delivered was the end-all, be all. Sorry but, heck naw!).
Whatever you do, please don’t Google an episiotomy. Just ask your doctor about it if they have not talked with you yet, and know that those battle scars will heal just as well!
10. Placenta aka The “Afterbirth”
Oh, you thought it was over.
But wait, there’s more.
All of your placenta has to come out after birth. No seriously, if it stays, it can infect and harm you. It doesn’t sound so bad, but if you are fatigued from delivery and your body can’t push anymore, your practitioner may have to forcibly push down on your abdomen region to evacuate the excess fluid.
The plus side (and strange side), it may cause damage to stay in, but once it’s out, it can be ingested (yes, you can consume your own placenta), and the health benefits are endless.
Seems like a lot but, take it from a more than a few moms:pregnancy and childbirth is all worth it! And many women experience a postnatal-warrior vibe after giving birth, something that only a badass, mommy-gene can provide.
Written by Soraya Joseph. Read more of her articles Here