You get pregnant and suddenly you enter a whole new world of weird symptoms that no one warned you about before. Maybe it's simply that women are so pleased to finally give birth that they forget the pregnancy months and don't pass on vital information. Maybe it's a mass conspiracy of silence between doctors, midwives and new mothers.
Whatever the answer, we're here to tell you the truth about weird things to expect when you're pregnant...
In the early days your whole body can feel like it's being overwhelmed by Mr Tickle. Why does no one think to mention that you'll be spending most evenings fidgeting and fantasising about baths in calamine lotion? Synthetic fabrics are your enemy. From now on, it's cotton, bamboo and lambs' wool all the way.
Err, thanks, Mother Nature. Instead of opting for the whole 'miracle of creation' vibe, you start dishing out the itchiness. And as if all-over body itching isn't enough, you chuck in a bit of discomfort in the private lady area. It's hard to feel like nature's vessel when you're trying to cope with the naughty bird word down below.
3. Round Ligament pain
Oh the agony! Why does no one warn you? Once you hit the second trimester, expect to feel serious pain down under while the ligaments in your groin and pelvis start getting ready to bring forth a baby. Some people find they can't walk for days at a time. It feels like you've been in a saddle for days and someone kicked you in the privates as soon as you dismounted.
Previous to the lower ligament pain, you may also have experienced the special joy of stomach ligament and muscle pain as your uterus starts making itself at home in places previously occupied by other important organs and muscles. This baby has no respect for your personal space.
The pain is like ovulation pain and will give you plenty of cause for concern as you fret your way through the first trimester. Try not to worry, it's just your body turning against you and in most cases there's nothing more sinister than that going on.
4. Weird skin
One week you'll be spotty as a teen, the week after your skin will be glowing with the glorious beauty of motherhood. At least that's what they all promise. Look out for the strange patches of dry skin that appear randomly, without apparent motive or explanation. Then there's the brown spots (chloasma), the extra hair, the attractive stomach seam and the sudden appearance of veins all over the place. It's a beautiful thing.
You'd expect that you might get a little puffed out by the time you're packing a few extra pounds thanks to the creature that's taken up residence in your southern hemisphere. What you don't expect is to still be fitting into your own clothes when you start wheezing your way up streets that previously presented no challenge.
It's the extra blood, and the faster heart rate, apparently. It gets worse later, as your bump starts squashing your lungs. No matter, it'll clear just in time for you to have enough puff for labour.
6. Weird dreams
I didn't realise it was possible for one human to have so many zombie dreams, but that's the joy of pregnancy for you right there. Other strange nocturnal goings-on include Pinning Washing Up Sponges into Michelle Obama's Hair Because Barack Couldn't Manage, and Finding Myself in a Previously-Unseen Twilight Movie as the Vamp-Loving Teen, But Being More Interested in Wiping the Dirty Skirting Boards than Snogging Robert Pattinson.
Thankfully, they've all been dreams not nightmares, so night-time has been more like a trip to the weirdest cinema on earth than a constant vision of hell.
7. Early morning insomnia
If you previously had problems waking up in the morning, you may now get to experience the special joy that comes with waking up at 4am, starving hungry, and ready for the day. Once you've given in to the alien squiggling around in your stomach and fed yourself a bowl of cereal, you may just make it through till tea time, when you'll be ready for bed. It's like you've turned into a five-year-old.
As if you weren't feeling attractive enough - what with the weird skin, the thrush and the puffed-out Pat Butcher vibe - you may also find yourself waking up in a pool of your own dribble. A side effect of all those hormones is excess saliva production, so get used to trying to sleep with your own personal water feature trickling from your mouth.
Initially, I was quite resentful of patronising advice that pregnant women shouldn't cycle or do sports that could lead to tumbles. Now I realise that the advice is there for the safety of others as much as for me. It's not just that I could fall off a bike, it's that I could miss a turning, swerve into a pedestrian, knock my saddlebag into the road, send my bell flying into the face of a small child, mis-step on my peddle, fly over the handlebars and drop entire contents of my handbag onto the street as I'm getting up.
Hand-eye co-ordination has fled, grace has departed, leaving only a third rate comedy caper character who can trip over her own feet and chase fruitlessly after a dropped coin.
10. I've forgotten
I would have put in 10, but I appear to have forgotten the last one. Maybe it's because I'm currently living my life through a haze of happy drugs and hormone changes. Maybe everyone did warn me about these symptoms, but I just forgot them all. Who knows any more? I'm having trouble remembering.
Did I mention that I forgot what the last one was?
Any that I've missed? Do let me know if there are other joyous symptoms of pregnancy I can look forward to, won't you.
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