Pregnancy is a simultaneously amazing and ridiculous experience. On one hand, it’s a miraculous gift that gives women the ability to grow actual humans inside their body. On the other hand, a lot of weird shit goes down when you’re trying to create a life. Having a baby is more than just dealing with morning sickness and stretch marks. There are also skin problems, crazy swings in your hormone levels, mood changes and, on top of all that, you’re trying to figure out how to exist inside a body that’s rapidly changing. You might be ready to pick out the world’s cutest baby name, build a gorgeous nursery, and pose for whimsical Instagram snaps with your hand cradling your bump, but there are some weirder, grosser parts of pregnancy that you’ll want to be prepared for too. Here is the strangest, realest shit that’s going to go down:
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1. Skin tags.
One minute, your skin is smooth like honey and glowing like a Kardashian. The next, you’re sprouting weird little bumps on your neck, armpits, under your boobs, and even around your lady bits. Skin tags kind of look like tiny warts, and they pop up in random places thanks to all those extra pregnancy hormones. Luckily, not everyone is #blessed with this grossness, and it’s usually no biggie for a dermatologist to remove them. Still, no one will blame you if you squeal in horror the first time you see one on your bod.
2. Random body hair.
You thought tweezing your brows was annoying? Well, then you’re going to adore your new mustache and extra bushy armpit hair! Once you get pregnant, waging war on stubborn little bastard chin hairs is practically a side gig. And don’t even get me started on how hard it is to shave your legs when you can’t even see past your belly. Unfortunately, the transformation into a hairy she-beast is permanent. Yes, that’s right, I said permanent. I had my last kid two years ago, and I’ve still got a random white hair that grows right in the middle of my forehead. I call it my post-baby unicorn horn.
3. Nonexistent bladder control.
Pregnancy doesn’t just make you need to pee more often; it actually sort of makes you pee your pants. The extra pressure on your bladder from your expanding uterus can make it harder to hold it in when you’ve gotta go. No, it doesn’t mean you should check the diaper aisle to see if any come in your size. But don’t be surprised if coughing or ALOL-ing causes you to accidentally wet yourself.
You might be peeing yourself every time you watch Broad City, but that doesn’t mean everything is flowing so freely. Not only do you have a growing fetus impeding digestion, but you’re also taking monster-sized prenatal vitamins that have the opposite effect of a laxative. It’s not the sexiest subject to talk about, but pregnancy constipation is totally normal, and your OB knows what’s up, so don’t be afraid to see what they advise you do to get things moving again.
5. A comical amount of sweat.
You’ve heard of pregnancy glow, right? Well, I hate to be the one who tells you this, but that glow is basically just the effects of being an overheated, sweaty mess, like, all the time. What To Expect When You’re Expecting says the excess sweat is from pregnancy hormones confusing the part of the brain that regulates body temperature. All you need to know is to wear light clothing because that bun in the oven is turning you into one of your menopausal aunts mid-hot flash.
6. Lopsided boobies.
When you’re knocked up, your boobs are gonna be achy and swollen, and you might even end up like me: with a right breast that is noticeably larger than the one on the left. You’ll spend hours in the mirror just gazing it, willing it to stop showing off and go back to matching its twin. It might never do that. But breastfeeding (if you choose to do it) usually deflates your boobs anyway, so enjoy those uneven lady lumps while you still can.
I hope you don’t like your wedding ring too much, because about halfway through your pregnancy, you won’t be able to wear it anymore. According to the American Pregnancy Association, the body produces approximately 50% more blood and body fluids during pregnancy to meet the needs of your growing kid. All that extra fluid means you might feel like a Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade balloon.
My swelling was so bad, I actually went up an entire shoe size, and I was already rocking a size 10 pre-baby. No more cute, strappy sandals for me. Luckily, the bloated face and cankles don’t last forever. Once your bump deflates, the rest of you should (slowly) follow suit.
8. Bleeding gums.
When you’re pregnant, brushing and flossing might make your bathroom sink look like a crime scene. Don’t freak out. As the experts at Baby Center explain, pregnancy hormones make your gums more sensitive. But, whether it makes you feel like a complete masochist or not, keeping your chompers clean will help.
9. Heartburn like a motherfucker.
You may have heard an old wives’ tale that heartburn is actually a sign that your baby will have tons of hair. If that’s true, my babies would both look like Chewbacca. In reality, heartburn indicates that your uterus is being a huge diva and squishing all your other organs into an impossibly tiny space. You can try Tums, or even an antacid from the doctor, but no matter what you do, it’s probably going to feel like you swallowed a flaming sword for approximately 40 weeks.
Hell yeah, it’s just like junior high all over again! Except this time, instead of passing a note about your crush to your BFF in biology class, you’re paying a goddamn bill (#grownupproblems) and daydreaming about your next nap. Those baby-making hormones make all sorts of horror possible, and this includes mega zits all over your back, face, and chest, to compliment that sweet, freshly grown facial hair. Pregnancy certainly won’t be the hottest phase of your life. But look, that’s why the tech gods invented Instagram filters.