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Jude's avatar

What does it feel like to be pregnant?

Asked by Jude (32201points) January 16th, 2010

Mamas, what do you go through (emotionally, mentally and physically)?

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28 Answers

filmfann's avatar

My wife became so grumpy and harsh when she was pregnant the first two times, that I knew the third time.
I asked her if she was pregnant, and she was amazed I could tell, but I swear she was spitting fire, and she is normally pretty sweet, so it was an easy to spot tell.

Seek's avatar

It’s different for everybody. I apparently take pregnancy pretty hard.

Physically – I threw up for the first and last trimester. For a long time, I sustained myself on about a spoonful of peanut butter every two days. That was all I could keep in my stomach. My baby was big, so I was very uncomfortable. My stomach got so big I couldn’t reach the handles on the kitchen sink anymore. My belly hung out of maternity size “Extra large” shirts, and I only weighed 140 lbs by the time I had him. Three days after my son was born, I weighed 18 lbs less than I did before I fell pregnant. I won’t get into the details of labor and delivery – 37 hours of labor, shoulder dystocia, two failed epidurals and myriad complications postpartum.

Emotionally – I was a train wreck. I remember one day where my hubby and I were snuggled up, wasting away a Saturday afternoon eating junk food and watching 80’s hair band music videos on VH1. We laughed our butts off at some Guns N Roses video… and I just started crying. I had no idea why I was crying, but I couldn’t stop, and that just made me mad, so I cried more! Yay, hormones!

Mentally – the baby steals your brain. You don’t remember which way is “up” and you forget what you’re saying halfway through a sentence. We call it “preggo-brain”.

casheroo's avatar

I think this is an extremely hard question to answer.

Every pregnancy is different…there are definitely similarities between the two that I have been carrying to term, but my experience, my pain threshold, is different than any other person.

I’d say physically: At first, you just feel…off. I have no other way of explaining it. Sometimes your breast are sore, sort of like growing pains. You get cramps, like you’re about to get your period..when it’s really your uterus expanding. You then start to have this extreme sense of smell. Mine is super hero strength when pregnant (which isn’t always a good thing). You then can become forgetful, you’re tired or exhausted, your lower back just hurts even when you aren’t huge yet.
I never threw up from being pregnant, but smells can definitely make me start dry heaving. It’s difficult to change the trash, because the smell of it just makes me want to throw up.
You get cravings. Food becomes a fixation almost. Things taste amazing. I have a huge sweet tooth to begin with, and it gets even worse when pregnant. No wonder my teeth are rotting (and I brush multiple times a day, floss, and rinse…but my teeth get all the nutrients sucked from them)

Emotionally…for me, I get angry. Sort of how @filmfann described..my husband can always tell if I’m pregnant (which can be confused with pms, but it last much much longer.) I notice all my frustration is directed towards my husband. But, you are extremely sensitive. Things that you normally brushed off could make you cry. You are physically drained so it drains on you emotionally.
I was so mean to my husband the first pregnancy (with Cash). I even left him and moved into my parents, because everything he did was like chalk on a chalkboard lol. But, I knew I still loved him..I just didn’t want to be around him. This pregnancy I’ve been much more clingy, and emotional..which is quite foreign to him. I haven’t been lashing out at him though, but I did a lot in the first trimester..when the adjustment period happens.

I’m at the point where I’ve gained almost 50lbs and still have 5 damn weeks until I’m “due”. (due dates are pointless, it just gives the doctors a time frame of when the baby can come..give or take two weeks, usually) My shoulder hurts all.the.time I don’t know what it is, but it’s like my shoulder blade is constantly being ripped from my body. Standing for extended periods hurts, it feels like the baby can fall out of you (I actually haven’t gotten to that point yet, yay!) your pelvis feels like it’s splitting. Walking for extended periods is extremely tiring, even just going up the stairs…all the extra weight and how it’s centered in the front makes your balance shot. I’m constantly walking into things because it’s as if my equilibrium is off (or whatever it is…my center of gravity).
And then you have this giant belly in front of you, doing simple tasks such as putting on shoes or doing the dishes becomes difficult. You can’t bend properly, and doing so can be painful or just exhausting.

Mentally..it’s hard. Everything you do has an effect on another person. You have to worry about what you eat, what medications you can take…which is basically just Tylenol which sucks. You become attached to this little being you’ve never met (and this may be different for everyone) You want to protect them and it’s your job to protect them from day 1. It’s very…difficult. You go from being a selfish being to completely selfless.

I think I covered a lot of it.
Oh, and the anxiety of giving birth…that part sucks. I’m not looking forward to giving birth again. The pain is pretty bad, it seems like never ending. But, seriously…once the baby is out..it’s the biggest relief you will ever feel. It’s just like going number two, but better. (That’s all I can compare the pushing and relief to lol)

nebule's avatar

I do not have fond memories of being pregnant, but it was unexpected and I went through a lot of emotional turmoil as well as the physical.

I would strongly advise anyone wanting to get pregnant, not to be overweight when you start trying…I was nearly 3 stone overweight when I got pregnant and by full term I was in agony, in many ways. The birth was hell for me too, I was 2 weeks overdue and had to be induced and the staff were incompetent and made me start pushing too early… it was hideous anyway…

There are many unpleasant parts of pregnancy in my opinion but the idea that there is a life growing inside of you is a beautiful one, hearing it’s heart beat is amazing and the fact that it all accumulates into this truly breathtaking creature.

I think that pregnancy though is supposed to prepare you for what you’re about to go through once this little baby is born… it’s relentless, hard work, it calls into question everything you ever believed and you do have to give over your life to someone else. Your world shifts.

Pregnancy can be an amazing time, though it wasn’t for me. However, I do have an amazing adorable 3 year old son who I couldn’t live without and was worth every minute of pain and emotional turmoil.

Judi's avatar

I haven’t read all the posts, but I have to tell you, the older I get, the more GAS feels like a baby rolling around in there! You can actually feel some of those bubbles move around your tummy.
Otherwise, I had a general yucky feeling most of my pregnancies. I love being a mom, but I was ready for all three of those “blessed days,” to come!
Edit:
@Seek_Kolinahr ; my prego brain never went away and my baby is 25.
@casheroo; I forgot about the shoulder pain thing. I guess it’s because your body is shooting a lot of hormones through your body preparing for your muscles to relax. It is loosening more muscles than you want it to. OUCH!

Jude's avatar

GA @everyone. Thanks so much for sharing.

MagsRags's avatar

It realy is very different for everyone as @Seek_Kolinahr and @casheroo said, and can be different from one pregnancy to the next for the same woman.

The emotional part can vary in intensity, but to me, the easiest way to explain it is that all of the emotions are much closer to the surface, so they spill out much more quickly and frequently. It comes up with expectant fathers pretty frequently during prenatal visits – I try to let them know that they shouldn’t take it personally, but not to make the mistake of being condescending about it it’s just your hormones, honey guaranteed to encur wrath.

MissAusten's avatar

Keep in mind when reading this that I didn’t enjoy being pregnant. :) Love the babies, hate the pregnancy part!

The nausea felt, to me, like being seasick. It’s a different kind of feeling from viral nausea. I had it worst the first time, but usually if I gave in and just puked I’d feel better. With my second and third pregnancy, I felt sick most of the time but very rarely puked. I was also exhausted. The sleepiness was so extreme, I felt drugged, and nothing helped at all. All the pregnancy books talked about this second trimester “burst of energy” but that part passed me by!

Then, there were the smells. Not smells from me, but smells that affected me. When I was pregnant with my second baby, I couldn’t stand the smell of coffee. Any kind of strong smell made me feel very sick, but coffee was the worst. Very strange, because I love coffee. I was so worried that I’d continue to hate coffee, but after that baby popped out I could once again enjoy my favorite drink!

Not everyone has these things, but during one pregnancy my ankles and feet would swell up. They looked like elephant feet, and I’d stare at them with a mixture of fascination and revulsion. I once had a rash on the underside of my big belly that nearly drove me crazy with itching. I used to also get these pains in my ribs. I felt like I needed to stretch constantly, but no amount of stretching would help. I’d sit with my arms up over my head to try to relieve that pain. I hated trying to roll out of bed, I hated maternity clothes that never seemed designed with tall women in mind. Otherwise, I was very lucky not to have complications. I have no reason to dislike being pregnant so much!

One good thing about the huge belly is that it made a nice little shelf for my cup of decaf tea.

Emotionally I was OK. Maybe a little quicker to cry, but nothing dramatic. Each time I looked forward to finally getting to hold the baby, and I loved getting baby stuff ready. All those tiny clothes, cute toys, and soft blankies. My husband is a decorative painter, and we had so much fun planning the babies’ rooms. He painted adorable murals for them.

The only thing I really enjoyed about pregnancy was feeling the baby move around, especially toward the end of the pregnancy. It’s the most bizarre thing in the world, to actually see your belly move and change shape as the baby moves. Oh, and I always enjoyed the ultrasound. The rest of it I could easily do without.

casheroo's avatar

@MissAusten I’m watching my belly dance right now! Definitely a huge perk!

laureth's avatar

These comments scare the living heck out of me, and make me want to never, ever procreate.

augustlan's avatar

I apologize in advance for the length… I have lots of ‘splainin to do.

The good: All 3 of my kids were planned for, after a long wait to start having them, so I was incredibly happy to be pregnant. I didn’t have the great emotional upheavals that many get… maybe a tad easier to cry, but no bitchiness. I had minor morning sickness with each, but it was gone by the second trimester. Feeling, and later seeing, the baby move is a wondrous experience. Sort of like a friendly little alien has taken up residence in your belly. My labors were incredibly easy… from start to finish, in order, they were 7 hours, 5 hours, and 12 hours long. No epidurals. 3 pushes each & out they’d pop. All of them are healthy, strong, and wonderful girls.

The bad: I too suffered from pregnancy brain which continues to this day. Physically, pregnancy sucked for me. It was exhausting and I never felt well. In my first pregnancy, my thyroid hormones went berserk, and it took almost the whole pregnancy to get them under control. I also got huge. I could barely breathe, and felt like my pelvic bones were breaking. When I started showing protein in my urine and swelling up like a blowfish, I was assumed to have pre-eclampsia. I had to take early maternity leave. Bed ridden, in a world of hurt. Daily ob visits. When my blood pressure began to creep up, I had an early induced labor. With every centimeter the baby moved down the birth canal, I had a related uptick in my health status. By the time she was born, I felt great!

In my second pregnancy (which started when my first was just 6 months old – on purpose!), I had all
the signs of pre-eclampsia on my first doctors visit. But that doesn’t actually happen until the third trimester. That’s when I found out I had kidney disease. Welcome to the world of high-risk pregnancy. Weekly ob visits, monthly nephrologist visits, multiple sonograms, timing the birth so that we could optimize the health of the baby and me… basically a race against time. Very stressful. Again, early induced labor. Interestingly, no one ever told me I could die, until…

…I got pregnant with my third. No fun whatsoever. In addition to thyroid disease and kidney disease, I also developed gestational diabetes. Whoo! A triple threat! I had to prick my fingers all damn day, and pee in a cup every morning. What fun! ~ The diet I had to follow was so restrictive that I actually lost weight during my pregnancy. Emergency birth plans. Stress tests. Weekly ob and nephrologist visits and sonograms. Amniocentesis… yeah for great big needles in the tummy! The earliest induced labor yet. My first two weighed 7lbs 12oz and 7lbs 8oz, the third weighed in at just 5lbs 14oz and was born with a blue tinge. She needed oxygen and a warming bed, and I didn’t get to see her again for hours and hours. Very scary time.

The ugly: With my medical issues, pregnancy is literally like a disease. Just… incompatible with my health and maybe even my life. I was advised to never have another child. I followed that advise, though I’d wanted a large family.

MagsRags's avatar

@laureth I had a hard time getting pregnant and had two miscarriages before I got pregnant with my daughter, but I had a smooth pregnancy with her. I worked fulltime as a midwife, including taking call for sometimes several days at a time up until the last month of pregnancy. Mild nausea first trimester, some difficulty gaining weight at first, the heightened emotions that I mentioned above. Because I was 39yo and because of my field of work, we call it the “nurse curse” I fully expected to have some sort of serious complication, or a terrible and prolonged labor at the very least.

She was breech and I had to have her turned a few weeks before my due date – that hurt. And I went a week and a half overdue before taking castor oil to get labor started. But labor went well, and I delivered my daughter at home as planned after about 7 hours of active labor. Notice I don’t say labor was easy. It’s never easy. But given what I was prepared for as an “elderly primip” it couldn’t have gone better.

Women have been getting pregnant and giving birth for thousands of years, and your body knows more about what to do than you might think. Don’t let other women’s stories get you scared.

MissAusten's avatar

@MagsRags has a good point about not letting other pregnancy stories scare you. When I was pregnant with my first, it seemed like every woman I talked to had some awful story about being in labor for days, horrible pain, needing lots of stitches, blah blah blah. I was fully prepared to be in labor for many, many hours. I expected to have stitches and a raging case of hemorrhoids. I desperately wanted an epidural because I figured it was the only way I’d be able to stand the entire ordeal.

Well, I went to the hospital after having contractions at home for three hours. Less than two hours after I got to the hospital, my daughter was born. Labor progressed so quickly that I never got my epidural or any other kind of pain medication. No stitches. No hemorrhoids. Ten minutes after I started pushing, our daughter was born. I can’t say it wasn’t painful, but it wasn’t as bad as I’d built it up to be in my mind.

The second time, described in my post above, clearly wasn’t as great, but once labor really got started it was quick. Two hours after I really started to feel the contractions, our son was born. Again, I only had to push for about 10 minutes. The third was awesome. I was induced, but thanks to the epidural I was happy and comfortable the entire time. When it came time to push, everything was over quickly.

I really shouldn’t complain about my experience with my second pregnancy. As bad as it was at the time, it was at least over quickly and we had a large healthy and beautiful baby.

Dr_Lawrence's avatar

Of course, I was never pregnant but as a father of three, I was actively involved in four pregnancies. I have great respect for mothers who endure the varied discomforts and indignities of pregnancies and who go on to love and nurture their children, making their well-being one of their highest priorities. My children had the benefit of the former but not the latter. Beyond breast feeding, she showed little interest in the harder of the two, nurturing and loving the children unconditionally. I tried really hard but I can’t claim to have done anywhere as well as I wanted to do. My children needed a real mother and I needed the help and perspective she could have offered me.

SamIAm's avatar

it feels like there’s a baby inside of you!! :)

casheroo's avatar

@jmah Why were you curious?? Thinking about it for you or your partner one day??

Jude's avatar

@casheroo If we do decide to have kids, I probably won’t be giving birth/nor will she. We’ve talked about adoption, though.

I guess it’s because I’m getting older now (and soon my eggs will shrivel up to the size of raisins/biological clock is ticking ;-)) and, it got me thinking, what will be missing out on (if I don’t decide to get pregnant). I don’t know…

filmfann's avatar

It must be awsome to feel another living thing inside you.
Well, anyway, that’s what Richard Gere says.

Irishmar's avatar

Some good days, and at the end, some uncomforable days. It’s really quite awsome. I got huge, I had a 9¾ lb baby girl and I only weighed 115 and 5’2 to start with. Now she’s 5’2 and my old weight..lol I loved being preg.

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

I weighed less the first time around so the pregnancy, I feel, was easier to manage – because I did Bikram Yoga the entire pregnancy, I felt ready for labor and my labor was long and unpredictable but I am glad that I stuck to all my instincts. I was an obsessive first time pregnant person – I had a baby diary, a nutrition diary, the works…the second time around, I didn’t know I was pregnant…I knew when I miscarried…after much pain and bleeding, I saved one of the clumps that came out of me, put it into a lens container and saved it for months…I call that baby by the name Amp…the third time I got pregnant I didn’t know either..I never get really nauseous or anything…I don’t get mood swings either…it’s the pospartum period that can kill me but I am more knowledgeable about it now…one of the feelings I love is the kicking…at first the kicks are slight in your uterus but you can’t mistake ‘em once you know what they are…eventually as the baby grows, the kicks are harder to handle…my poor ribs…towards the end of each pregnancy, I got terrible groin pain…and terrible heartburn…I consumed a gallon of milk per day…my husband remembers a lot more than I do…our bodies are meant to forget so that we have more babies, :)...one thing though, I loved having sex through all of my pregnancies without a condom, woot! and I continued to have a very active sex life, especially my last pregnancy…I remember having sex the night I went into labor…

MissAusten's avatar

@Simone_De_Beauvoir My doctor told me many times toward the end of each of my pregnancies that having sex was a great way to help labor get started. :)

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

@MissAusten yeah I don’t think it helped to get it started, lol. it wouldn’t be a shock for my body.

MissAusten's avatar

@Simone_De_Beauvoir Not a shock, that’s great! Actually, there are hormones in semen that can help to trigger uterine contractions, especially in conjunction with the hormones a woman’s body produces during orgasm. This article mentions it. I would imagine that you’d have to be ripe for labor anyway, and even then the amounts of hormones might not make that much of a difference. I’m not entirely convinced it isn’t coincidence. I just think it’s a fun piece of “advice” to give, as if people need reasons to have sex.

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

@MissAusten oh yes i know all about that..ahem..hence my 2 week long consumption of semen and raspberry juice during the end of my first pregnancy.

MagsRags's avatar

@MissAusten is right – semen has small amounts of prostaglandin, which is a hormone that helps soften the cervix before labor so it responds to contractions by thinning and dilating. When we induce labor for medical reasons, if the woman’s cervix is not “ripe”, we use prostaglandin at prescription strength in the upper vagina before starting the induction.

Intercourse also tends to involve nipple stimulation and orgasm, and those cause contractions, so also a nudge in the right direction. ;-)

MagsRags's avatar

semen and raspberry juice? Orally? This is new for me, please tell more

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

@MagsRags I only added the juice because I am not a huge of gulping half a cup of semen…I read a study someplace that spoke of ingesting semen orally in order to start labor…

casheroo's avatar

@Simone_De_Beauvoir I’ve heard of that…and will never be desperate enough to ingest it in that manner lol. I had sex with my husband and had my son within days…I wish I could have enjoyed my first pregnancy better. I had suffered multiple losses so I was completely paranoid to have sex :( I am much more comfortable this pregnancy and taking advantage of the hormones turning me into a teenager again lol

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