8 Pregnancy Facts Every Woman Should Know

Eight somewhat surprising facts about pregnancy and delivery that most women don’t seem to know.

These are 8 pregnancy facts that most women don't know before getting pregnant. They can be somewhat surprising, so they're important to know beforehand.Pregnancy and labor and delivery are two subjects that have been written and written about time and again. There is so much information out there (especially now with the internet)- which can be a great blessing, but it can also be very overwhelming.   So, in light of the fact that I’m almost 40 weeks  pregnant and therefore pregnancy, labor and delivery are at the fore-front of my mind right now, here are 6 pregnancy facts I wish I would have known before I went through this the first time.

1. Pregnancy is beautiful and awful at the same time.

Pregnancy is one of the most amazing experiences in the world. And especially when you’ve dealt with infertility, being able to experience pregnancy feels like even more of a miracle. But I have to be honest– it isn’t all roses, and there will be days when you will just be done with being pregnant (unless you are one of those amazingly blessed women who experience almost no pregnancy side affects).

With my first baby, I had anemia & gestational diabetes. With this pregnancy (#3), heartburn, insomnia and restless leg syndrome have plagued me. None of these is part of what I was expecting in pregnancy. They aren’t much fun to deal with.

Hormones may overtake you. That’s something I wasn’t really expecting. I found that I had to really try hard not to say mean things during pregnancy. I don’t usually even think as mean of things as I do when pregnant– let alone have the urge to say them.

I remember when my best friend got pregnant, and she was telling me how she kept saying such mean things to her husband, and she didn’t mean to say them, and she didn’t really even believe those things, they just kept slipping out of her mouth.  At that time, I was aghast that she couldn’t filter her mouth better.  After 3 pregnancies, I can attest to what she said.

The hormone issues don’t go away immediately after having your baby, either. It will take weeks to get back to feeling “normal” and even longer if you are breastfeeding. So remember to give yourself some grace after your baby is born, because you may go from laughing to bawling within seconds, for absolutely no reason at all.

2.  Baby Kicking May Not Be What You Expect

When you first feel your baby kick, it’s an incredible, amazing feeling. It may take a couple of times for you to be sure that’s what you’re feeling, but when you do, you will be stirred by the feeling coupled with your pregnancy hormones, and you may cry at the wonder of it.

By the end of pregnancy, when your baby is kicking hard and all. night. long you will probably be crying for her to just stop! It’s a great reassurance that baby is alive and well, but it may no longer feel magical. In fact, there may be occasions where your baby kicks you so hard in the ribs or cervix that it nearly doubles you over in pain. Or if he kicks you in the bladder, you may wet your pants.

For some reason, no one ever told me this.

In fact, Lucy’s doctor told her that sometimes babies kick so hard they can break your ribs. So if you feel bad rib pain, you should let your provider know. 

After feeling such amazingly painful kicks, you will be amazed at how tiny your baby’s foot is when he’s born!

These are 8 pregnancy facts that most women don't know before getting pregnant. They can be somewhat surprising, so they're important to know beforehand.

3. Buy Pads

This is another one that I really wish I had been forewarned of, so I try to let other expectant moms know.  It’s gross to have to talk about, but it’s just the way it is.  After having your baby, you will be leaking lochia (a combination of blood, mucus and tissue) for a while. It’s basically like having your period, but much stronger.

Apparently, using tampons can introduce bacteria to the open wound where the placenta was attached to the uterine wall. This is the same reason you will be cautioned to not have sex until after your 6 week appointment (you may want to give your man a heads up on this so he isn’t grumpy). Because of the risk of introducing infection, you have to use pads. Even if you’ve never used pads before.

So I would recommend having pads at your home, since sending your husband to the store to buy pads will likely result in disaster. There are so many options available: scented, unscented, maxi, mini, long, thin, overnight, with or without wings…. you get the point. It’s hard enough for me to figure out what I’m buying.

Sending my husband might be embarrassing for him, and he would probably just buy the first package that said pads and bring it home. So then I’d be frustrated he didn’t get what I needed.

And trust me, you won’t be feeling up to heading to the grocery store for pads on the day you leave the hospital. So stock up beforehand.

8 Pregnancy Facts Women Should Know

4. Don’t Buy Shoes

During pregnancy, the increase in hormones causes your ligaments to stretch. This can cause widening of the hips that won’t reverse after delivery (I got back to my pre-pregnancy weight pretty fast after each kid, but I could never fit back into my old pants size). It can also cause the arches in your feet to flatten out, making your feet wider.

I was super bummed that a cute pair of hiking shoes I had splurged on just before getting pregnant were so tight and uncomfortable after having Miss Magoo. They never did fit, and I ended up having to sell them.  This doesn’t affect everyone so badly, but on the off-chance it affects you like it did me, you may want to hold off on buying the spendy shoes.

5. You Get Bigger… Everywhere

If you’re the squeamish type, or if you don’t want to talk about privates, you should probably not read this. I was just grateful someone was frank enough to tell me about this, or I would have been a little freaked out. Your lady parts are going to get bigger. Yes, your boobs will get bigger- yay! But your other lady parts will too. So that’s pretty weird. And you definitely want to know that ahead of time, so you know that there’s nothing abnormal about it. It’s just something no one talks about, because it’s weird and freaky.  

6. Measuring Dilation

I really thought that there was going to be some scientific way that dilation was measured. Like the use of calipers or something. So when I found out that the nurses/ doctors/ OBs/ midwives just check and measure with their fingers, I was a bit shocked.  So just a little heads up… nothing scientific about it.

*Update*
In light of the fact that my baby was just born, I was reminded of 2 more bonus facts for you all.  

7.  After delivery, you will still look pregnant

That’s pretty much a huge bummer. You won’t look 9 months pregnant– more like a flabby 5 months pregnant.  Just remind yourself that no one will be looking at you anyway, since your baby is now the star of the show!

8.  After delivery, you will still have contractions. 

They won’t hurt as bad as the previous contractions, and they mean that your uterus is going back to its normal shape, but they can still be painful.  Especially when the nurses come in and massage your uterus.  You may feel like punching them, but they’re trying to help you heal, and make sure you don’t hemorrhage. 

Speaking of contractions, after pushing out your baby, you will still have to push again to expel the placenta (although obviously the placenta isn’t as hard to push out as a baby). This was very surprising to me (and my husband) the first time around.

So, these are the top things about pregnancy that were surprising to me. I hope that they help you to know that what you’re going through is normal, and to hopefully be prepared. 

If you’ve gone through pregnancy before, what stood out to you as a very surprising pregnancy fact that no one warned you about?

If you’re a new mom or a soon-to-be mom, you might find these posts helpful as well!

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These are 8 pregnancy facts that most women don't know before getting pregnant. They can be somewhat surprising, so they're important to know beforehand.

 

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  • This is great!

  • love this list – so true!
    I’m sending this to my daughter, who’s expecting her first. Thank you!

  • LB

    Why would your husband be embarrassed to buy you maxi pads? On the few occasions my husband has picked them up for me, I’ve written down exactly what the right kind is (and shown him the package), and he has gotten it right every time.I’m sure it isn’t his favorite thing to do lol but the few times I’ve been in a pinch, he has done just fine.

    (BTW some hospitals give you disposable undies with the pads right in.Mine only gave the big huge ones, with enough to last me at home for awhile!)

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  • Veronica Pototska

    pregnancy is another life, everything changes

  • Rose Sahetapy

    Very educational tips! I think it’s beneficial post for every expecting moms. Thank for sharing it.

    • I know I wish I had known these things before experiencing them! lol

  • What a great list! I wish I has this list 27 years ago. As far as your feet and shoes – after my first two pregnancies, my feet returned to pre-pregnancy size. But after the third – I had to buy all new shoes. That seems like fun, but that means I had to finally let go of some of my favorite shoes that I just could no longer squeeze my feet into.

    • Isn’t it weird how each pregnancy can be so different, too? After having 3 kids as well, I can say that my pregnancies were all very different!

  • Molly O’Connor

    This list both terrifies and excites me. Pregnancy is such a beautiful phenomena! This list is very educational-I had no idea about the majority of these things

    • I don’t think most people do! That’s why I wanted to share them. I prefer to know what’s going to happen ahead of time rather than be surprised.

  • I agree although it may be a wonderful time it is also painful and can leave the new mother in a lot of discomfort. Glad you are forewarning new mothers.

    • Definitely true! I was fortunate to have only minor issues with my pregnancies, but I know some women who are on bed rest for a lot of their pregnancy, or just sick for months– that can be pretty tough!

  • HomeJobsbyMOM

    I loved being pregnant. It has it’s good and bad times but it’s all worth it in the end.

    • Definitely true! I wouldn’t give up my 3 sweet kids for anything, but I would have loved to be forewarned of these things!

  • I wish I had read this before having my little ones! I was lucky with my first pregnancy, and loved the whole ‘being pregnant’ thing – with my second, I hated it after the first few months (veins, everywhere), and was so ready to not be pregnant!

    • I felt the same. I loved my first pregnancy (minus gestational diabetes). My second wasn’t bad, but my 3rd pregnancy was miserable. But I’d do it all again for the wild and adorable daughter I got from it!

  • Laura Londergan

    what surprised me the most when I was pregnant was how good I felt. I know I am probably in the minority with that but I felt so good.

    • I’ve heard from some people that they never feel better than when they are pregnant. In fact, I have a friend with MS whose symptoms go away while she’s pregnant. It’s amazing how differently pregnancy can affect us all.

  • Michelle Boulé

    Good to know for the future. We are only just starting to talk about kids, but it’s going to happen sooner than later!

    • Good luck! Having kids is seriously the most awesome thing! Totally worth any and all pregnancy discomforts!

  • MyTeenGuide

    This is great information. These are all so true.

  • All these 8 facts are true! This is my 5th pregnancy and I think I already learned so many facts about being pregnant 🙂

    • And the most amazing part is that I bet every one of those 5 pregnancies had many differences, right?

      • mostly! But this ones the hardest! I feel so old with this one.

        • I’m sorry! I hope that it goes well and you are able to get some good rest before baby comes!

  • Thanks for your observations on pregnancy! I do agree with them! I remember too that instead of buying maternity pants I just borrowed my Dad’s pants. And I wore a lot of skirts that were elastic! LOL! I definitely felt a lot of changes in my body even after pregnancy, but at the very least I commend myself for being resilient at the experience. It’s not easy for sure!

    • I wore a ton of skirts as well. They also helped with the fact that I was super hot all the time!

  • Kim Byars Croisant

    Well, I suppose I did know all those – I was pregnant a long time ago and I do remember very vividly growing in ALL places. My poor little B cups got as big as a D cup and I had to even wear an extension – WOW – now that I’m in menopause my big boobs are back…but not quite as big…so there ya go. Menopause can be like being pregnant..well just a little bit.

    • Well, that’s actually a small exciting part to look forward to in menopause, right? 🙂 I was excited about the big boobs until my belly overshadowed them! haha.

  • I didn’t mind the kicking so much as the hiccups! My first two never had hiccups, but my third had them all the time. While it was cute and funny at first, after the first hour or so it was a little uncomfortable. And the shoes…I had so many cute shoes…this summer I have to get new ones. I guess that is a bonus though, shoe shopping 🙂

    • Oh yes! I had forgotten how tiring the hiccups could be! And they tend to come during the night a lot!
      Yes, new shoes are definitely a bonus!

  • Danielle DeVane Wells

    I loved this post! i’m currently 6 months pregnant with my 2nd child and I’m so ready to be done! I’d actually forgotten some of those things you mentioned! How does happen?!? 🙂

    • I swear that we were created to forget the bad parts of pregnancy and delivery to make us want to go through it again! lol. Congrats on your upcoming baby!

  • Chris

    These are totally true! I know that feeling of baby kicking, yes you will not expect it until you surprise. Being a pregnant is not easy but you’re blesses.

    • It’s definitely a blessing. After trying for many years and even doing fertility drugs, I definitely didn’t overlook the blessing 🙂 I just wanted to help other women be more empowered in their pregnancies by having a better idea of what would happen.

  • Wow this is the most truthful pregnancy post I ever read in my life! Seriously I didnt know about the bleeding like that after birth…oh my! Your lady part get bigger too…nope nobody told me about that either. And oh my lord the baby can kick you so hard they break a rib…Im freaking out. My mom told me I was sitting on her nerve so bad at 5 months she wanted a C-section right there…wow the magic of pregnancy one day I will find out for myself…

    • I hope it’s helpful for you! It may sound intimidating or scary, but it really is a magical experience as well! And so, so worth it!

  • SpaceshipsLaserBeams

    This is a great post – there are SO MANY things that I feel like women don’t talk about much regarding pregnancy and birth. There are lots of magical parts to being pregnant, but there is also some not fun stuff to deal with. I’m glad to see someone tackle it!

    • Yes! I would love for more women to talk about this, so that pregnancy isn’t so mysterious! For some reason, there seems to be this attitude that if you complain about your pregnancy, that somehow means you don’t see that your child is a blessing, but that’s just not true! We can be honest about pregnancy, and talk about the positive and negative aspects without it being a reflection on the child.

  • A great list. I was lucky enough to have my mum prepare me and warn me about all the things I needed but I know not everyone has this. I have to say though I never had this problem with my feet or the contractions after baby was born.

    • You were definitely blessed indeed to have such a fabulous mom! My own mom had an emergency c-section with my sister, so her doctor required a c-section with me, so her first experience with labor and delivery was when she attended mine!

  • CourtneyLynne Storms

    Great list!!!! I was one of the weed ones… After my c-section and hospital stay… I literally lost all but 3lbs when I walked out the door! Waiting for my skin to go back to normal from being stretched …. Now that was the sucky part for me!

    • I was back to pre-pregnancy weight quickly as well, which was nice, but that flabby skin was sure a surprise! And my hips have never gone back to their old size (I guess I’m just more curvy, so maybe that’s not terrible!).

  • Rochkirstin Santos

    OMG it’s really hard to be pregnant but delivering a baby out into the world must be a great experience as well. I’m actually worried about the pain. What do you think is the best method and what should the mother-to-be do to make it less traumatic?

    • I think that learning breathing and having good support are vital. Whether that’s your spouse, mom, a friend, or a doula, you need someone who will look out for your best interests in a time when you won’t be able to.
      And I think the best way is whatever works for you. I wanted all natural with my first but ended up having to have an epidural many hours in. My second was completely natural (and nearly at home), but my third I chose an epidural. I don’t think any way was right or wrong, and I ended up with babies regardless 🙂

  • I learned a lot from this post. For starters, I have never heard of lochia…I mean no one who I’ve read a post from has talked about this. And, I had no clue that contractions continue after the birth…that’s not nice.

    • It’s not nice! lol. But it’s not too bad. They’re pretty mild contractions and more surprising than painful. I’m glad to pass along some information just so other women can be empowered by knowing what to expect. And of course, it’s different for everyone.

  • Ana

    I have no clue why no one speaks about this! We have access to tons of information about everything, but not about important details and tips like these ones! Thanks for the great list!

    • So true! In an information age, it’s amazing how many women don’t know anything about these things until they experience them!

  • Great list for sure. These are things I had no clue about during my first pregnancy and most of them took me by total surprise…LOL

    • It’s definitely surprising! That’s why I wrote this– to hopefully allow women to come into pregnancy with more knowledge, so they’re better prepared than I was!

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