4 Pregnancy Tidbits That Nobody Warned You About
I had a What to Expect When Expecting book given to me by my OB-GYN as part of the clinic’s pregnancy swag bag (yes, they had a swag bag!). I read that book front to back, yet it never prepared me for some of the things I experienced while pregnant. Other Moms I know had their own issues while pregnant or soon after giving birth about which they weren’t warned. Here are some of them. Hope this helps the pregnant moms out there feel not so alone.
- (PUPPP) or Pruritic urticarial papules and plaques of pregnancy. The biggest annoyance of my pregnancy was this rash on my stomach around the belly button. It spread slowly to my waist and then to my upper thighs. Some articles I read after the mysterious and itchy (and I mean ITCHY) rash appeared described it as mildly annoying. This wasn’t a mild annoying rash towards the end. I was covered in welts from the waist all the way down to my feet by the time my daughter arrived in the world. Nobody knows what causes it, it’s harmless to Mom and baby, it resolves pretty much on its own, but it ain’t pretty. The one thing I’ve been told by my medical provider that eases me a little is that PUPPP is more common with first pregnancies. Subsequent pregnancies usually do not suffer from it. Cross-fingers!
- Genital Discomfort During Post-Natal Intercourse. After delivery most women are told to resume sexual activities after six weeks. Some women have partners who are sensitive enough to understand that six weeks is a guideline, not a contract. I didn’t see it discussed in my books nor was I told by my OB-GYN that after six weeks, not everything may be back to normal. Nobody warns moms that “normal” may take months. For some women, it’s not until they’re concerned enough to make an appointment with their doctor and ask about the pain (and yes, sometimes it’s outright pain, not just discomfort) that they find out they’re not alone in this. They find out they are normal after all.
- Expressing milk past breastfeeding. Moms, sometimes, even after months and years after you’ve stopped breastfeeding, you may still express breast milk. It has something to do with the overproduction of certain hormones. What to about it? Embrace it and wait it out. It either goes away eventually or not. I know a mom who after two years can still express milk if she chooses to.
- Losing the weight doesn’t mean you can wear pre-pregnancy clothes. Things shift. I’m sure you already know that. But the reality really hits you after you’ve put in the hard work of eating well or working out to shed those pounds, only to find that your favorite pair of jeans still don’t fit after you weigh even less than before you were pregnant. Just remember that your body has been bent out of whack by pregnancy for months, so it will take time for it to go back to the way it was. Not everyone is Heidi Klum.
- Your hips take time to settle back into their old position.
- Your belly takes time to shrink.
- If you’ve had a C-section the repair of that incision, including the underlying layers, takes almost two years physiologically speaking.
- You may have lost muscle during your pregnancy as well, which weighs more than fat.
In short, the scale can be deceiving but don’t let it defeat you. Personally speaking, it took me about two years to really feel like my old self again. And FYI, most doctors agree that two years is the perfect time a mom should wait between pregnancies.
Pregnancy and birth is a highly personal, highly individualized experience. Things may go exactly as described in texts, but most likely you’ll experience something at one point that will make you say huh?! If you can’t find the huh?!-inducing moment in your text, chances are your doctor will be able to ease your mind. Other Moms are also good at sharing experiences you can learn from. Moral of the story is, things can get weird during pregnancy. Don’t panic. Chances are, it’s a normal pregnancy occurrence that everybody just failed to warn you about.