Experts & Friends

5 Things I Wish I Knew About Being Pregnant Before Becoming Pregnant

By on February 10, 2014

5 things pregnantIf you’re thinking of becoming pregnant, or ever been pregnant, here are some things you may know, want to know, or wish we never told you about the process.

Earlier in January, at the age of 39, I gave birth to a baby girl. While I had always wanted to be a mother, once I was actually pregnant, the thought of being someone else’s mother, someone that wasn’t a ball of fur with a tail, scared the Virgin Mary out of me. Not only did I fear the responsibility that I had no idea I’d feel once she was born, but I was scared of how the baby would grow in me, and more disconcerting, how I would get it out of me (a post for another time).

There were so many things that were not as I expected they’d be when I was pregnant. And there was a lot I didn’t know about being pregnant before I was pregnant. In fact, there are lots of things I wish someone had told me about being pregnant before I got there, so that I could be a little more well prepared when it came to expecting the unexpected. With that in mind, and with the knowledge that I am not a medical doctor, just a sex educator who happens to enjoy learning about her body, I pass some of what I learned on to you.

1. Regular activity will cease to feel like regular activity. This can happen even before you know you are pregnant. For instance, although I was an avid indoor gym rock climber, spinner and work out queen, once I became pregnant I couldn’t walk up a flight of stairs without getting winded. In fact, that was the first clue that something was growing inside of my body. I literally would be out of breath by the time I made it up 12 steps, and it sucked (the wind out of me the whole nine months).

Another regular activity that began to feel totally irregular was when brushing my teeth became a big gag fest. I could not place the toothbrush on my tongue without wanting to throw up a little in my mouth. I’m happy to report that a month after delivery, I can finally brush without the fear of throwing up.

2. You will pee a little, and it will not just happen when you’re on the toilet.  As someone who prides herself on doing her kegels to have better orgasms, I was a bit embarrassed (and a little alarmed) the first time I sneezed and then made water. However, since it wasn’t the only time it ever happened, I have learned to embrace the occasional involuntary wetness. In fact, the first time the pee dripped down my leg, I was at the supermarket, heading towards checkout. After the achoo, I noticed I was standing over a small puddle of clear liquid in front of the cereal aisle (Another tip: Don’t wear dresses when pregnant and walking around). When I told my doctor about peeing in the Cereal aisle, she said that her father (also a doctor) had advised pregnant women to carry a jar of pickles with them while they shopped at the supermarket. This way, if the sneeze-n-pee happened, she could drop the pickle jar on top of her bodily fluids and no one would be the wiser (although they would sure think that you were one clumsy pregnant lady). Instead of making a bigger mess, I embraced my little mess. And after swearing I wouldn’t tell anyone I peed in the aisle of a Safeway, I tell everyone!

3.  You won’t smell like you. It’s true, the scent of my woman(hood) changed with my pregnancy. And this made sex, at least for me and my partner, a bit more challenging both because it wasn’t my best scent ever, and because it didn’t smell like me. The nose is the most powerful, involuntary sex organ (behind the brain)  and not smelling like me became a detraction from fucking. Especially in the last month, when my belly was bigger than anything else on my body. And yeah, I know, some women embrace sex during pregnancy, and yeah, I thought I’d be one of them, but that just didn’t happen.

4. Acid Reflux is a burning bit of hell. I thought I had acid reflux before I became pregnant, but now I’m happy to report I don’t think I have acid reflux anymore. The first time I felt the burn in rising up from my insides and taking over my throat, during pregnancy, I thought that my body was on fire from the inside out. I started  to avoid anything red to make sure I could sleep at night. Since giving birth, the burn has gone and I can now see red (in a good way) again.

5. You don’t own your body. My daughter sat so low in my body that I thought she might fall out of my vagina at any minute. Other people tell me their babies sat so high that they could hardly breathe. Regardless of your low hanger or high flyer, the truth is that your body is not your body any longer. Actually, it was never your body to own, it is just a rental after all, but once there’s a big baby inside your belly, you will know that you are just a hotel for another human being. And while this is totally amazing and mind-blowing, it’s also at times more than a little uncomfortable. Still, it serves as a great reminder about the meaning of life.

What do you wish you had known about being pregnant before you were pregnant?