So today I am officially 17 weeks pregnant.
One more week until I’m halfway done, woo!
In these 17 weeks (though really 11 because I found out when I was 6 weeks) I’ve had a lot of experiences and I’ve been asked a lot of questions. I’ve decided to take a little time to debrief y’all about some common misconceptions about pregnancy.
MYTH: Pregnant women have really fucking weird cravings.
“I hear some pregnant women eat dirt or like other things from nature.”
“Have you craved any weird combinations, like pickles and chocolate or something?”
You know so many people have asked me about pickles, I don’t understand I’ve never heard that before. The guy that asked me if I craved dirt was just a dumbass.
TRUTH: Most pregnant women don’t crave anything particularly strange. In fact, food aversions are probably more common. Sure, sometimes I’m in the mood for some foods, but it’s nothing stranger than what I wanted before I got pregnant. Like I don’t like foods that I didn’t like before. For some reason I want more soda than I did before, but that’s nothing fatal. Yeah I’m sure it probably happens to women out there, but it’s not common. And we most certainly don’t fucking forage for our meals.
My food aversions are mostly towards foods that are greasy or fried. Food aversions typically happen to stop women from eating foods that are bad for the infant, which is good, so they’re very productive. Sometimes it could happen towards foods that are totally harmless, like I couldn’t eat a baked ham the other day, but that’s still fine. They say that cravings happen because it’s what your baby needs, so think that food aversions are what your baby doesn’t need.
And they work strangely. Like literally, all I had to do was look at a greasy philly cheesesteak sub that I used to eat everyday from my university’s cafeteria and I was about to throw up. You don’t have to eat it or smell it or anything, all I had to do was look and it was enough to make me nauseous.
MYTH: Pregnant women can’t drink caffeine or eat sugary foods.
“You shouldn’t be drinking soda!”
“Is that ice cream really a good idea?”
Um, buddy, you need sugar to survive. And as far as caffeine goes, yeah, if you can stay away from it it’s probably for the better, but it’s not on the same level as alcohol.
TRUTH: The recommended allowance of caffeine intake per day for pregnant women 150 mg. If a woman can’t live without a morning coffee, then fine. Is it better if you can go without it? Yes. Will it hurt you or the baby if you have a little every now and then? No.
I read online today that some people think pregnant women can’t eat chocolate? In all the baby books I’ve read and all the doctors I’ve consulted, that has never even once come up. Yes, you should moderate how much chocolate you eat (but that can really be said about everyday life). This is especially for pregnant women because pregnant women are at higher risk for gestational diabetes.
MYTH: Pregnant women shouldn’t move around too much or exert too much effort.
“You should be sitting! Here, take my seat. Don’t push yourself.”
“Why would you go hiking? You should be relaxing in bed!”
TRUTH: Pregnant women MUST exercise and move around as much as they can stand to without getting winded or uncomfortable. Women are only supposed to gain about 20-30 pounds during their pregnancies. Women that are stagnant during pregnancy are more likely to have more difficult deliveries and problems during their pregnancies. 30 minutes of exercise a day is typically recommended, though as the pregnancy progresses the difficulty or the workouts should decrease.
When some of my friends first found out I was pregnant, they stopped asking me to go out with them because they didn’t want me to trouble myself too much. It really did have the opposite effect.
MYTH: Morning sickness happens in the morning.
TRUTH: Morning sickness is horribly misnamed and hits you at every time of the day and it’s horrible and it’s disgusting and it’s uncomfortable. It’s most common in the morning because when you wake up the stomach acids have been sitting there doing nothing except waiting for you to wake up so they can ruin your life, which is why it’s recommended pregnant women eat either a small snack before bed or eat something before getting up in the morning. And by before getting up, I mean literally leave a box of cereal or crackers next to the bed and shove it in before sitting up.
It usually only lasts during the first trimester and potentially comes back less severely in the third, but some women have it throughout. I’m in the middle of my second trimester and I still vomit occasionally.
MYTH: Pregnant women are “eating for 2”.
“It’s okay if you eat more, you’re eating for 2.”
“You’re so lucky you can pretty much eat whatever you want now right?”
TRUTH: Yes, technically, I am “eating for 2”. Some people take this advice too literally, and assume that means I have to literally double my intake. I’m gonna go ahead and tell you that by no means should any pregnant woman be consuming 5,000 calories in a day.
In the first trimester, my baby was roughly the size of a grape and graduated to the size of a kiwi. Does something that small really need a 2,500 calorie diet? NOPE. Now it’s about the size of an avocado. A little bigger, but still, NOPE. A woman’s intake should increase by approximately 100 calories in the first semester, 350 in the second, and 500 in the third. Fetuses really don’t need that much more food tbh. 100 calories is just a cup of yogurt.
~ Moving on ~
Welp, that’s all the myths I can think of at the moment. But I’m happy to share my other experiences and symptoms.
- My boobs are getting a lot bigger, and it’s irritating as hell. The people that tell me I’m “lucky” have been extremely insensitive. My breasts are extremely veiny, my nipples look like they’re about to explode, and I’ve pretty much outgrown all of my bras. My boobs ache all the time and they’re so itchy, and I used to love laying down on my stomach but now it just hurts so bad (besides the fact that there’s a baby pushing into me if I even attempt to lay on my tummy).
- I just plain ache. All over. My back hurts all the time, my neck and shoulders are killing me, and my feet and legs hurt and possibly start to swell if I’ve been on my feet too long. I pretty much sit around in my free time massaging myself because my body feels like it’s breaking down.
- My feet are pretty much always swollen and they hurt a lot. I’ve outgrown a lot of my shoes so wearing anything but flip flops kills my feet in a matter of minutes.
- I’ve outgrown pretty much all of my clothes already. Normally I’m a relatively thin-ish person, and I generally wear form fitting clothing. I’ve already had to dip into maternity clothing and it feels like a dream I swear it’s soft and stretchy and cozy I would wear this stuff even after I deliver.
- I have so many allergies on top of eczema, but I can’t take my normal medicine anymore. If my skin starts to swell because of my eczema, I literally just have to tough it out. If I scratch myself in my sleep until I start bleeding, I have to just let it happen. My medications aren’t safe for the baby because they get absorbed into my blood stream and sent to the baby. I can take a few things like Benadryl or Tylenol, but that’s about it, and it doesn’t particularly help much.
- I have horrible chest pains and trouble breathing, especially when I try to sleep. It’s hard to fall asleep because as I start to drift away, I can feel my heartbeat more clearly, and it’s beating a lot faster than usual because my body is circulating approximately 20% more blood than usual (which is a lot). It feels like my chest is tightening up, then suddenly I’m short of breath and I have to sit up with my back against the wall and take deep breaths until it passes. A lot of times this process makes me nauseous, and I end up having to run to the bathroom to vomit.
- I have no bladder control anymore. If I drink a cup of water, I’ll pee like 3 or 4 times within the next hour.
- Constipation. Like, extreme constipation. Before I talked to a doctor, I seriously went like every other day without doing my business, which is EXTREMELY unhealthy. Plus it would add to the nausea and vomiting, because what goes in must find a way to come out.
- Short term memory loss. Apparently pregnant women are very forgetful, because for some reason during pregnancy the brain cell mass drastically decreases. I read about it but I can’t for the life of me remember why it happens (dammit, memory loss). It seriously takes me 3 times as long to write a blog post because I keep forgetting what I’m trying to say and which direction I’m trying to lead the post in.
- I no longer walk, I waddle. This is apparently because my center of gravity has shifted, and instead of walking to protect myself, the primitive waddle offers more protection for the baby. For some reason.
- HEAT FLASHES. I am so hot all of the time (both temperature hot and attractive hot holla). If it’s 70 degrees outside, it’ll feel like 80 or 90 to me. I have to sleep with 2 fans going full blast in my room or it’ll feel like I’m going to burst into flames. Like today I went to a fair with my friends and it was 80 degrees outside, but it felt like I was walking through the gates of hell.
- Gas… Increased gas… This one is self explanatory, I don’t think much more detail is required.
- My stomach isn’t the only thing that’s getting bigger. It looks like pounds are just being slapped on to different parts of my body. For some reason I can’t even wear the ring I’ve worn everyday for nearly 2 years, it just won’t fit anymore. My ass is huge and I swear my face is getting rounder. Not to mention my legs jiggle way more than they used to; when I walk I can feel them starting a fire down there.
- Extreme fatigue. The fatigue was supposed to wear off after the first trimester, but for some reason I still find myself napping an extra 2-4 hours a day.
Just the other day I felt my baby move for the first time. It was weird as fuck. Like, it felt like something had just turned over and situated itself in my stomach. It was scary and strange, but it was magical and beautiful at the same time, and I can’t wait to feel those first little kicks and punches.
If there are any other questions you have, feel free to ask! If there’s anything in my TRUTH sections that you know to be incorrect, let me know so I can fix it! I am in no way an expert, and I simply wrote this to rebuttal common myths and misconceptions. All the facts I told can easily be found online or in any baby book. Also take note that every pregnancy is different, so what’s normal for one person could be completely different for another!
“They say, when it’s all over, you forget the whole thing. And I for one hope that’s true.” -What To Expect When You’re Expecting