The internet is full of lists. Approximately 82% of these lists are things that pregnant women didn't know before they became pregnant. Approximately 82% of those lists include what I consider "list bulkers" with at least one item that I'm fairly certain the list writer knew (really, you didn't know you couldn't wear your "pre-pregnancy" jeans all 9 months, really?). Since I am approximately 82% through pregnancy this week (yay! week 33!) I thought I'd share the things I actually didn't know. No bulkers. Pinky swear.
1. Pregnancy on the internet has it's own language. The use of jargon is so prevalent on pregnancy message boards that the first few weeks I felt like the uncool kid in high school that doesn't know what "fetch" means. I was constantly Googling phrases like "what does FTM stand for?" "what is DH?" "pregnant, what is AF and BFP?" For others not in the know, the answers are First Time Mom, Darling Husband, Aunt Flow and Big Fat Positive (as in pregnancy test). DS and DD are Darling Son and Darling Daughter usually in reference to kids you already have, and LO means Little One in reference to the bun in the oven. Team Green means you aren't finding out the sex of the baby until delivery day. Users themselves have abbreviations with OP being Original Poster and PP being Previous Poster. It goes on and on...
2. Your blood volume increases by 40%. This was just a cool scientific fact we learned at our first nurses appointment. I only have a basic understanding of biology, and even though I knew your blood gets cycled through the placenta which is an ENTIRELY NEW ORGAN, it never occurred to me that you actually make more blood. I thought whatever you have was enough to cover whatever baby/placenta uses. Despite it making your heart work harder which can lead to fainting spells and a high heart rate, I still think it's kind of cool to be so bloody. Makes me wonder why vampires go after those precious virgins instead of us not-so-virginal pregnant ladies!
3. Rib pain. This may be one that other ladies are privy to, but I had no idea how much my ribs would hurt in the second trimester! I was confused at first because baby was too little to be kicking way up there, but why else would my ribs feel sore? After a little research I learned that all of my internal organs were being pushed upwards to make room for my ever growing uterus, and apparently they couldn't all squish up there without my ribs expanding and making "extra" room. Hence the discomfort. Luckily, the pain only lasted a week or so, but I think ultimately my organs will be happy to get their rightful space back!
Related: This new configuration also stops your lungs from fully expanding causing shortness of breath and smashes your stomach allowing it to hold less food; so even if you are super hungry you have to eat small meals unless you are prepared for the treasure that is heartburn (or be like me and eat a 10 person meal followed by a generous helping of Tums).
4. Your left side is magical. Specifically laying/sleeping on your left side. Having always been a right-side enthusiast (my left side is the lazy underdog of sides), I was surprised to learn that my port side was suddenly deemed important. If you're having bad Braxton Hicks contractions (uncomfortable but not painful "practice" contractions that can start in the second or third trimester), haven't felt the baby move in a while, or just need rest your swollen elephant feet you will probably get advice to rest on your Left Side. You will also be told that this is the ideal sleeping position (not that you have many to choose from since tummy and back sleeping are both out). The reason? It allows maximum blood flow to your uterus which is good for your circulation and allows the maximum amount of nutrients to reach that darling life sucking beast we call baby.
5. Speaking of beasts, baby movement can be really creepy. From the very beginning I eagerly awaited the week I would finally feel the baby moving. I wrote about how sweet it was in my second trimester post . Everyone knows that babies kick in the womb, and I figured I would have months of adorable little jabbing in my stomach that I could show to loved ones and we would all coo over the preciousness of it all. Notice I said jabbing- quick, kind of jerky movements. That's what I was prepared for. What I did not anticipate is that babies also roll, stretch, hiccup, and hunt the waters of your uterus like a great white shark. I can feel it all, inside and out. I've had many shocking "WHAT THE FU--oh yeah I'm pregnant" moments as I've felt baby shifting around my organs and stretching out my skin.
And remember when I talked about the communal cooing? Not so much. At least not with my kid! Whether he has been barrel rolling for 10 seconds or 10 minutes the moment I grab a third party for oooh-ing and aaaah-ing he stops. Sometimes his dad gets lucky, but mostly his special tricks are between the two of us.
6. Your ligaments are on vacation. Common sense assured me that my pelvic region ligaments must stretch or something to help make way for baby, but I did not know how this specifically happens. Turns out they are relaxin'. No joke (ok, I tried to make a joke out of it), there is a hormone actually called Relaxin that softens your ligaments to make them more flexible. The trouble is, and this I definitely did NOT know, it isn't targeted to just body parts relevant in birth. ALL of your ligaments are invited to the Bob Marley concert. Why is that important? Without firm ligaments your feet and nose can get bigger - sometimes permanently! It also makes it harder for your back to stay strong enough to support your abdomen, and lemme tell you your belly can use all the help she can get. So far I feel that I've escaped Donald Duck Face status, but I am actively deluding myself the fact that my feet have grown (They have. NOT, NO! THEY ARE EXACTLY THE RIGHT SIZE AND FIT INTO MY SHOES PERFECTLY).
That wraps up the major "news flashes" of pregnancy thus far. Hopefully there won't be any major surprises except for what his birthday will be!
Hey Perfect Stranger, what is a cool fact you know? Doesn't have to be pregnancy related!