When you’re expecting, most of the attention revolves around the baby. Will it be a boy or a girl? Do you have a name picked out? Where will the baby sleep, and will you breastfeed? Most expectant moms get an initial, “How are you feeling?” which can sometimes feel more like a pathway to ask about a baby (who even you, after all, haven’t met yet!) than a genuine question. So this time, it’s all about you, and the ups and downs of this unforgettable experience in your life.
Best Parts of Pregnancy
Pregnancy isn’t always easy, but the high points are something special, too.
- Feeling the baby move: “Quickening” used to be how women first knew for sure that they were pregnant, and that first movement is no less awe-inspiring now. You can start bonding before you even see your baby as you learn to distinguish rolls, kicks, flutters, and other movements.
- Great hair: Hormones that help baby grow often lead to thicker, shinier, “I woke up like this” hair.
- The “glow”: If you’re lucky enough to get this perk, the pregnancy “glow” is one of the best ways to feel like a combination supermodel-fertility goddess. Clear, radiant skin, thanks to a favorable hormone balance and lots of extra blood volume delivering oxygen and nutrients throughout your body, is something to enjoy.
- Bigger breasts: Depending on how they feel, your partner may enjoy these more than you, but some pregnant women feel especially sexy or feminine with an extra cup size. Your breasts may also be more sensitive in a good way, so take advantage!
- The bump: There’s a sweet spot in pregnancy, when you’re definitely showing but not so big that you’re uncomfortable. It’s often in the second trimester. Breasts and belly are firm and round, creating a silhouette that can feel luscious and curvy. Some couples find themselves even more interested in intimacy during this time where fertility is on full display.
- Pampering: The upside of weird cravings is having a partner who will leap off the couch to satisfy it for you. Whether you’ve got a family willing to spend a little time waiting on you hand and foot, or your budget lets you treat yourself to a prenatal massage, enjoying some pampering goes a long way to make you feel special.
Worst Parts of Pregnancy
Sometimes, you’re much more in the mood to commiserate about the parts of pregnancy that suck than try to keep a glass-half-full attitude. Let’s acknowledge the times when pregnancy is the pits:
- Nausea: “Morning” sickness, they said. “It’ll be over once you hit 13 weeks,” they said. Liars. Nausea and vomiting can happen any time, day or night, and strike at any point in pregnancy.
- Restricted diet: Sure, you’re “eating for two,” except that only really means a measly extra 300 calories per day, basically one decent-sized cookie. Not to mention no alcohol, deli meat, or unpasteurized dairy, and stricter recommendations on caffeine, red meat, sushi, and seafood. And that’s for a healthy pregnancy! Pregnant mothers working to manage blood pressure or blood sugar issues may face even more stringent diet requirements.
- Fatigue: Remember when your alarm rang and you didn’t hate the entire world? Or what it feels like to be energetic and productive between 3-5 pm? Turns out, building a human being from scratch takes a lot of energy.
- Braxton-Hicks contractions: Because labor isn’t enough — first, your body needs to “practice” frequently with tight, uncomfortable belly squeezes.
- Mood swings: Hands up if you’ve cried over a cereal commercial, a broken coffee mug, or how complicated it is to order a breast pump through insurance.
- Stretch marks: As if gaining 25-35 pounds (or more) wasn’t enough, sure, let’s develop red and purple stripes on your skin. The worst part? While all those lotions, creams, and butters can help with dry and itchy skin, your DNA has already decided whether you’re getting stretch marks or not.
Whether you love or hate every second of pregnancy, this is ultimately a very short period in your life. Soon, you start the more important, and much longer, time of being a parent to your new little one.