A very pregnant and wise woman said, “You know you’re really pregnant when you have to consider the importance of the dropped object on the floor before opting to pick it up.”
Getting big and lopsided is a given in your pregnancy. But what else can you really expect? Your mother will tell you that heartburn will hit around month six, while your co-worker will warn you against the round ligament pain that will haunt you at month four. Perhaps you’ll be standing in the post office one day, innocently trying to mail a Christmas package to your ailing Great Aunt Enid when the woman behind you on line threatens you with the dreaded spider veins of the third trimester and how they still cover her legs to this day, twenty-something years later. She also doesn’t refrain from asking you in her “inside voice” amidst a line of strangers if you intend on having an episiotomy. (There is no more decorum of privacy when you’re as big as a small woodland cottage).
Will you get heartburn at the same time as your mother? Will Braxton-Hicks contractions bring you to your knees? Not necessarily. Most women enjoy regaling pregnant women with their experience as expectant mothers. It’s not far from the Al Bundy’s of the world who just can’t let go of the play he made in the last big football game in high school. But we like it – for the most part, we enjoyed being pregnant, we’re excited for you, and a part of us wishes we could do it all over again (well, maybe not all of it). The fact is, however, that just because friendly post office lady had spider veins, doesn’t mean you’ll get them. And just because your mother is a blood relative, doesn’t
mean you’ll inherit her heartburn. Pregnancy is the one medical phenomenon where everyone (and their mother) is an expert. Perfect strangers will see you buying smoked salmon and interrupt your shopping to say you can’t eat fish, when the reality is that you can eat it in moderation. Someone at the gym will tell you not to hurt your baby when
they see you working out your leg muscles.
The rule of thumb – don’t believe anything anyone tells you about your pregnancy. It’s your pregnancy. It’s your body. So unless they’re wearing a white lab coat and walk around with people calling them “doctor”, take it all with a grain of salt.
So what should you expect? You should expect the most common and bizarre things to start happening to your body; maybe nausea in the first trimester, maybe some back pain in the third. Your gums may start bleeding profusely when poked too much – enlarging reproductive organs require more blood flow in order to feed the baby, so the amount of blood must also increase (usually between 25 to 40 percent). You may get a yeast infection in the second trimester – increased sugar in the vaginal secretions on which yeast can feed may cause an imbalance, leading to too much fungus. (On that note, there is no such thing as TMI when talking about pregnancy).
If it’s happening when you’re pregnant, it’s probably normal. But if it’s debilitating, bright red, or has a funny odor, call your doctor. And most of all – fear nothing, but expect anything.