35 Pregnant Women Whose Day Is Going Worse Than Yours Is (New Pics)
Childbirth is one of the most natural occurrences on Earth. Every single one of us has been a part of it, at least from one perspective. Yet pregnancy can still be an incredibly perplexing time. Aside from the obvious symptom of having a child growing inside of them, and the physical growth associated with that, pregnant women experience an onslaught of mental and emotional effects as well. Their hormones are rapidly changing, which can cause the trademark symptoms of food cravings, mood swings and morning sickness, along with many more. Pregnant women are extremely tough.
Many of them also have a great sense of humor about the absurdity of pregnancy. Below is a list we've compiled at Bored Panda of odd experiences pregnant women and their partners have shared online to bond with others also preparing for the miracle of life. You will also find an exclusive interview with Shanna Micko and Laura Birek, co-hosts of the podcast "Big Fat Positive", which began with the two best friends finding out they were pregnant at the same time. In their podcast, Shanna and Laura recount the often hilarious and always honest highs and lows of being a pregnant woman and new mom.
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It's no secret that the physical symptoms during a pregnancy can range from morning sickness to acne to anything in between. So we asked Shanna and Laura of "Big Fat Positive" what their strangest physical symptoms were, and their answers did not disappoint. "My nipples felt like they were on fire!" responded Shanna. "It was actually the very first symptom of both my pregnancies and lasted the entire time... I found out it was a condition called Raynaud’s phenomenon, which causes blood vessels to constrict and cause pain." Thankfully she said that it did go away after giving birth, "Thank goodness, because I was terrified I would have to breastfeed with fire nipples!" On the other hand, Laura's strangest physical symptom sounds more like a superpower she developed. "When I was pregnant with my first child I almost instantly developed a heightened sense of smell, and it's never gone away! I can even smell weird things, like if people are hungry or the weather is changing."
Pregnancy can also lead new mothers to become more open minded to trying new things. You never know what might miraculously help the baby! Laura told us that she tried "all kinds of unusual things" to try to get her first baby to turn, including incense-powered acupressure. "You light cigar-shaped bundles of mugwort leaves on fire and hold them close to certain pressure points," she explained. "But the smoke was too pungent for me. So I found myself sitting outside in December, barefoot, 9-months pregnant, in a bathrobe and shower cap, holding burning embers to my pinkie toes. (Spoiler alert: it didn't work.)" In Shanna's case, she shared that her pregnancy brain caused "failure to accept the limitations of [her] changing body". "At about six months pregnant I thought I could ride a bike to my office with my big belly, while holding my backpack, lunch and a full cup of iced tea. It wasn’t my bike, so the seat was way too high, my toes barely reached the pedals, the seat was digging into my crotch, and I could barely control the handlebars."
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Because if that’s how I’m feeling, then there is at least one person out there feeling the same and I want them to know they’re not alone.
When asked what they would like to tell anyone who has never had a child to help them be more sympathetic towards mothers, both Laura and Shanna want to remind others how exhausting pregnancy is. "The first trimester is unbelievably fatiguing, which can be surprising since you don’t have a big baby in you yet," shared Shanna. "The energy it takes to create an entirely new organ (placenta) and a new life is monumental. Be easy on pregnant women and let them rest, rest, rest!" Laura gave similar advice. "Pregnancy is a gauntlet," she said. "But even more than the physical demands, society puts unrealistic expectations onto pregnant people. We're supposed to be enjoying every moment while also monitoring everything we eat and drink and limiting activities in case they're risky for the baby. It's emotionally exhausting and anxiety inducing."
To hear more about Laura and Shanna's experiences navigating pregnancy and motherhood, be sure to check out "Big Fat Positive".
Many women share their hilarious food combinations online, after experiencing inexplicable cravings. There is not one single answer as to why women experience these cravings, however. Explanations include changes in hormones, sensory sensitivity, shifting nutritional needs, cultural expectations and simply a desire for comfort. One study from The State University of New York Albany, found that some of the most common pregnancy cravings for women in the US include sweets, pizza, chips, fruit and animal proteins. Some of the more cliché examples, such as ice cream, pickles and fast food, are common as well.
Creative food combinations, another rite of passage during pregnancy, might be spurred by changes in smell and taste buds, writes Wendy Wisner for Verywell Family. Whatever the reason for these cravings may be, if jalapeños on fruity cereal provides comfort for an exhausted pregnant woman, who am I to stop her from enjoying that?
Another phenomenon many women experience during pregnancy is "pregnancy brain" or "baby brain". This refers to the increased forgetfulness, lack of concentration, disorientation, absentmindedness and clumsiness that pregnant women often report feeling. Baby brain can encompass anything from leaving your cell phone in the freezer by accident to obliterating your dinner after forgetting you put it in the oven. While there is not one concrete explanation for pregnancy brain, up to 81% of pregnant women do cite experiencing it to some degree, wrote Colleen de Bellefonds for BabyCenter. Similar to affected eating habits during pregnancy, hormones, stress and anxiety can all play a role in this brain fog. Trouble sleeping may be a significant factor as well. "More than half of women report insomnia and other sleep problems during pregnancy," wrote Bellefonds. "A consistent lack of sleep has been shown to impact cognitive functions and memory," she also shared. It's fun to giggle at all of the silly behaviors caused by baby brain, but remember, these mothers are trying their best!
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Pregnant women have to deal with constant discomfort from their bodies growing and changing to accomodate their little buns in the oven, so many rely on the emotional support of their partners and loved ones to provide a bit of relief when possible. It can be crucial for women to feel secure and understood while pregnant. A study published in The Journal of Maternal-Fetal & Neonatal Medicine found that the partner's role in pregnancy directly affects the woman's stress levels. A more active, loving, communicative and financially stable partner can lead to a much more positive pregnancy experience. Even if you are not physically carrying the baby, you can certainly help alleviate stress for the mother (and in turn the baby).
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While pregnant women may often feel bloated and exhausted, friends and family members tend to think they look as beautiful as ever. "You're glowing," is uttered so often towards pregnant women, that "pregnancy glow" has long been included in the list of interesting pregnancy symptoms. Caused by a mixture of hormonal changes and increased blood flow affecting the oil levels and the brightness of women's complexions, many pregnant women are blessed with dewy, rosy cheeks and a naturally slightly flushed look. Dr. Anna Targonskaya, an OB-GYN and medical advisor, wrote a piece on pregnancy glow for Flo Health explaining that it can even extend beyond facial features. She mentioned that "longer, shinier hair and stronger, faster-growing nails are [side effects] of pregnancy that many women enjoy" as well. There are no set rules on when or for how long the coveted "glow" will last, but Targonskaya wrote that "most women tend to be extra radiant during the second trimester as the changes in their body become more intense".
My Feet Now (Top) vs. My Feet When I Was 8+ Months Pregnant With The Twins (Bottom)
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One important aspect parents-to-be must consider before expanding their families is what their country provides in terms of maternity and paternity leave. New parents should be able to enjoy time bonding with their little ones without worrying about risking their jobs or how they will make ends meet. In terms of number of weeks provided for paid maternity leave, World Population Review reports that Bulgaria is certainly in the lead with 58.6 weeks off given to new mothers. Runner-ups include Greece with 43 weeks, the UK with 39 weeks, and Croatia and Chile with 30 weeks each. When it comes to percentage of income provided during maternity leave, a slew of countries actually provide 100% of payment. These countries include Chile, Poland, Lithuania, the Netherlands, Spain, Germany, Mexico, Israel, and more. Many countries provide a combination of a high percentage of pay along with many weeks of leave, but the United States is certainly a country to take note of. Surprisingly, the US still does not mandate that companies provide even one week of paid maternity leave, which gives starting a family the potential to be a huge financial burden.
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Pregnancy can be different for every woman, but it can also be a quite different experience for each child a mother has. Physically, the changes may become noticeable earlier on in the pregnancy, explains Dr. Robin Elise Weiss, professor, author, and certified doula. "This is because the uterus and supporting ligaments have stretched before, but also because you are more aware of what you are feeling." Dr. Weiss also writes that emotionally, parents may feel less present in subsequent pregnancies, but that is nothing to worry about. Already having children who require attention does not mean that the new baby is loved or cared for any less. Parents just have a lot to balance!
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The actual birth can vary per child as well. Often parents feel pressure to prevent any issues that came up at the last birth or to ensure the next birth goes as smoothly as the previous one. It is natural to have these concerns, writes Dr. Weiss, but taking an additional series of childbirth classes can help alleviate anxiety, no matter how many children you already have.
Spaghetti And Meatball Grilled Cheese With Spicy Ranch. Pregnancy Craving Satisfied
Your Jeans Don’t Fit, No Problem. Use A Rubber Band/ Scrunchies/Hair Tie As An Extensor
I'd Been Told My Pregnant Wife Would Have Some Major Cankles During The Final Stretch But Wow! Foot On The Left Is Mine (Non-Bio Mom), Right - Bio Mom's Foot
I also weigh a lot more than bio mom so, uh, extra wow! Did anyone else experience swelling so strongly during their pregnancy?
While having a baby is clearly an amazing feat, sometimes pregnant women need to be reminded of how incredible and strong their bodies are. In her article "11 Things You Can Do to Better Empower Yourself in Pregnancy, Birth, and the Postpartum Period", Terri Huggins Hart wrote about some of the actions and mindsets that helped her feel confident and strong when becoming a mother. One tip she shared is to "focus on what your body can still do". After frustration built around "consistently being told 'no'—from what I could eat, how I could travel, and how I could exercise", she sought to find a way to promote her body autonomy.
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In Hart's case, reclaiming her body when pregnant included participating in Zumba classes, practicing yoga, going on walks and acknowledging all that her body is capable of. Most women aren't going to run a marathon while pregnant, but their bodies deserve grace and acceptance. Mothers should feel confident that they are doing something miraculous and that they are incredibly strong.
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Another recommendation Hart has for expecting mothers is to read positive birth stories. It can be easy to get caught up in the "what ifs" and entertain fears, but there are countless examples of smooth and easy births out there. Seek positivity to remember that you can do this.
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With all the chaos that comes along with pregnancy, not to mention the preparation involved in bringing a little person into the world, women should be supported and cared for as much as possible during that time. If you know someone having a baby soon, show them kindness and patience. They are likely juggling a thousand thoughts at once while experiencing mild to extreme physical discomfort and simultaneously housing a tiny person.
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