Whether you’ve been trying for years, or you had a few too many drinks one night and thought “it won’t happen to me” – from the moment you find out you’re pregnant, your body changes. I’ve heard that some people “just know” they are pregnant from the early days, while others claim to have no idea until they are in labour. I guess that means it’s different for everyone, but I swear, the moment I saw two little lines on the test that I took (part from precaution and part from obsessively wanting to know if I was pregnant) – that’s when the symptoms started hitting me.
It was early days with both my son and daughter when I found out. So early they couldn’t find anything on ultrasounds for either of them. But it’s like a switch goes on the moment you look at those two little lines and BOOM – your body starts to act – regardless of if you’re 6 months in, or 5 weeks.
What can you expect when you’re expecting?
You know the old Peter Alsop song “My body’s nobody’s body but mine, you run your own body, let me run mine”… you can forget it. When you’re pregnant, you don’t run your body anymore – that little being that is coming to life inside you – he/ she runs your body now. Get used to it (cause it’s going to be that way for LIFE!).
Here’s a rundown of what happens:
From head to toe
Your head: it goes crazy. See our blog “Things pregnancy does to the mind” … You’ll be freaking out over every ache, pain, tickle, smell, sound … Google will become your best, and worst, friend. Headaches will also become your worst friend – and they’ll be there constantly because you can’t take any pain medication (or if you do, you’ll feel guilty and start freaking about what that Paracetamol tablet is doing to harm your baby – which will make your headache even worse). The positive, if you’ve always had thin hair, you are going to love your luscious new locks! Pregnancy causes your hair to grow thicker and faster than ever!
Your breasts: some women love it, some hate it – no matter what, when you’re pregnant your breasts are going to grow … they will become firm (don’t mistake firm for perky – there’s a big difference!). Towards the end of the pregnancy they will be full – or getting full – of milk; and just when you thought they couldn’t possibly get any bigger … the baby comes and you’re going up another 5 bra sizes!
Your stomach: Your stomach is going to grow. There’s no doubt about it. Whether it’s a small bump, or a big one (no doubt people around you will be the judge of that – “omg you look huge!” or “omg you’re so tiny!” will become common conversation starters) – you’re skin is going to stretch. You might end up with stretch marks, or you might not; you might end up with loose skin at the end of it all, or you might not. Everyone is different. With your stomach, there will also be aches and pains all through the pregnancy. Mine started from the moment of implantation when I was doubled over in pain for about 15 minutes (this happened with both of my pregnancies). The first few weeks you feel niggling pains, small sharp pains – and these are completely normal. It’s your body’s way of getting used to having a baby growing inside you. As the pregnancy progresses these become more frequent and stronger – right up until you go into labour when they are the worst of all! If you’re worried about any pains early in pregnancy (and most of the time you don’t need to worry unless there is also heavy bleeding) it is always best to see your doctor for peace of mind.
Your arms/hands: Your arms should remain relatively unscathed by the pregnancy process, aside from any extra weight you might carry giving you bat-wings at the end of it all. Your hands though, may experience numbness, tingling; and they are going to swell up. Your wedding ring won’t fit you anymore (if ever again); but on the plus side, if you’re lucky your nails will grow like your hair – stronger and better than ever before!
Your back: you’ll feel as though you’ve been lifting heavy machinery, non-stop for days on end. Almost as soon as you find out you’re pregnant, your back is going to start hurting. And it’s only going to get worse the more weight you carry, so just get used to it. Get some pregnancy massages, get some hot water bottles, and most of all – hope you don’t end up with back labour thanks to a posterior baby cause then your back may never recover (both my babies were posterior and I had back labours with them both … 4 years on and I still get back pain every day!).
Your butt: It’s going to grow, no doubt. Not just as a result of the extra cakes you’re allowing yourself to have to help your growing baby; but also because you need to make extra room there for the baby to come out! Your pelvis itself is going to hurt as it stretches (particularly if the baby crowns in the last few weeks), and your tailbone is going to kill. You might even end up with sciatica – which is the worst pain in the butt you’ve ever experienced. I could barely walk for about 3 weeks thanks to this amazing part of pregnancy.
Your legs: are going to feel heavier than ever before, they’re going to get tired really fast, and they are going to feel like they are full of lead. They are carrying a lot of extra – temporary – weight, and they had to get used to it pretty quick. Make sure you rest them as much as possible during pregnancy, because you’ll need them for running around after a crying baby.
Your feet: Remember when you were a little kid and you would throw water balloons at all your friends, throw them up in the air, poke them and squish them in your hand – now you can do that all over again, with your ankles! This happens more often if you’re pregnant in summer, and predominantly in the last three months – your once thin ankles that looked amazing in high heels and fit comfortably in knee-high boots, have now disappeared. You have what’s known as CANKLES now … the only relief you’ll feel is to put your feet in buckets of ice to help calm the swelling; and to have a baby. Feel relieved to know that almost immediately after birth, your ankles will regain their shape and you’ll be able to walk (or run) again in no time.
Whatever happens to your body, remember it’s only for a few months and then you have your baby in your arms – and then you can start worrying about what happens to your body AFTER you have a baby… J