You know about the chocolate cravings and the morning sickness — here are the pregnancy surprises you may not have heard of, but someone needs to tell you. For first-time mums, pregnancy is a confusing time — a time where you have the questions, and you're looking for answers. But this is what no one tells you about being pregnant . . .
Eating Like a Bodybuilder
Yeah, yeah, you've heard the phrase "eating for two", but when you're six weeks' pregnant, your bub is the size of a grain of rice, and yet, you're starving. You're suddenly-ferocious appetite has very little to do with your baby being hungry (and by "little", we mean "absolutely nothing at all") and everything to do with the amount of overtime your body is putting into actually growing another human being. Consider this: The average woman will increase the volume of blood in her body by 30–50 per cent during pregnancy. The work required to keep all the blood pumping and moving, is hungry work — literally.
Even if you've never been one of those people who can recall their dreams by the time your alarm goes off in the morning, when you're pregnant, chances are you'll find yourself in the fantastical throes of some pretty X-rated dreams. For real. Experts say it's down to the intoxicating mix of hormones galore, plus a pretty restless sleep that has the mind racing. You may well find yourself blushing while brushing your teeth in the morning.
You're probably expecting swollen feet and ankles. That bit's no surprise. What can be a little shocking for some women is that their feet can remain a whole shoe size larger — even after bub is born. While most women's feet will return to their original size within a few weeks, some of us will be packing away our beloved favourites for our daughters. It's thanks to the spread of bones in the feet, which flatten out to better absorb the extra weight of pregnancy — and then don't quite manage to go back into place. Consider it a free pass to go out and buy a whole lotta new shoes.
You may notice a little blood on your toothbrush one morning, or it may be more like a full-blown murder scene when you bite into an apple. No one knows why pregnancy has the tendency to cause temporary gingivitis or sensitive gums, and so it's generally put down to being "just one of those things".
Restless Legs Are a Thing
You've been dreaming about your bed all day. You've showered, you've rubbed oil into your bump, and now . . . your legs won't go the heck to sleep. Restless legs tend to kick in around midway through a pregnancy, and are best described as the inability to relax your legs. Restless legs can be tingly, itchy or jumpy, and the bad news is that the condition tends to hang around until the end of pregnancy. Ask your doctor about magnesium tablets to dull the intensity of the symptoms.
You'll Feel Your Baby Kick . . . After It's Born
Try not to freak out over this one. Baby kicks tend to be the start of the bonding between mum and her bub. But when that baby has been born, it's not unusual for a woman to continue to feel those little kicks and shoves — and it's all down to muscle memory. It tends to last a few weeks and if you can get past the weirdness of that, you can get past anything.