Congratulations on your pregnancy! Being pregnant is wonderful. But being pregnant is also full of surprises. So what should you expect when you’re expecting?
Besides the obvious things your doctor and current moms have told you—like don’t really eat for two and get ready for constant fatigue and peeing—here are 7 things expectant mothers don’t always consider when expecting.
A growing belly and swollen ankles—these are expected pregnancy symptoms. But a stuffy nose during pregnancy, too? Yes, many expectant mothers also experience swelling in their nose, which causes congestion and a runny nose. Thank the high levels of estrogen and progesterone, which cause increased blood flow to your mucous membranes. Along with irritating stuffiness, you may also experience nosebleeds. So keep tissues handy and use a warm-mist humidifier at night to help.
There are different types of birth: natural, vaginal, cesarean, induction, and more. While you may be planning on having a vaginal birth, a number of reasons could force that to change. The more you know about the other ways to deliver a baby, the less scared you’ll be and more empowered you’ll feel giving birth. Also, read up on postpartum healing for the different birth scenarios and don’t turn down a tour of your hospital’s NICU if it’s offered.
After having a baby, your stomach will be smaller, heartburn should go away, and you’ll lose several pounds right away. But your “down there” area has been through a lot and will need more time to heal.
Your hospital should send you home with some postpartum recovery items, but you’ll want more than what they offer. You’ll want to keep a small basket of every essential item, from pads to Witch Hazel to a peri bottle, in each bathroom, so you don’t have to remember to take it with you from bathroom to bathroom or yell at someone to bring it to you each time you go. If you know anyone else who’s pregnant, postpartum care kits make great gifts for expecting moms.
Another postpartum care item to think about now is finding a group of moms for encouragement, advice, and support. You can join an online forum or a local in-person one. You can find one now or shortly after your baby’s born. It’s never too soon to find a group of women with babies who you can get together with. Your support group could also be your mom, sisters, grandmas, best friends, and women neighbors who have been in your now stretched-out shoes.
Labor and delivery nurses are saints. They assist you during labor and delivery, and then care for you and your baby after delivery, helping with things like breastfeeding and answering any and all baby questions. Saying “thank you” is appreciated and all they’ll tell you they need. But wouldn’t it be nice to do a little something extra for them? Writing a note or sending a box of cookies is a simple way to give an extra special thank you to the nurses who did so much for you and your baby.
While expecting a baby, you tend to focus on the happy times you’ll have: endless baby snuggles, dressing baby in her first outfit, taking his monthly photoshoots, etc. But one thing you may not have wondered yet is how do you go grocery shopping with an infant? Well, first-time grocery shopping with a newborn won’t be easy. You may be a little scared thinking about it now, but with a planned approach and diaper bag packed with the essentials, like a baby cart hammock to hold your baby in rather than a carrier, you can confidently shop with a newborn.
Postpartum hair loss is real—and messy and gross and not fair. Prenatal vitamins and pregnancy hormones gave you beautiful hair, but after giving birth, you’ll start shedding those luscious locks. And while it’s not that bad for some women, it’s better if you’re prepared before the baby comes to prevent a hair-clogged shower with Drano or a good shower drain cover.
No matter what happens during and after your pregnancy, it’s always worth it in the end. But hopefully now being a little more prepared for the good, the bad, and the bizarre can help put your pregnant brain at ease.