But what about all those things that you don't know? In that spirit, I've rounded up my top 75 tips for pregnancy and postpartum!
Top 75 Tips For Pregnancy and Postpartum
// Please note: This is written entirely from my experience with a natural birth and breastfeeding. If you had a different experience, please share your tips in the comments! //
Oh my God, the discharge! It's new and texture-y and there is SO MUCH of it.
Peeing While You Sneeze.
I do not care how many Kegels you do – eventually, you're gonna wet yourself after sneezing (or coughing) unexpectedly.
You're Either Constipated Or Have The Runs.
It's one or the other. Deal.
Oh man, this one was a surprise. The pressure of the baby on my lower body when I drove was incredibly uncomfortable (not to mention the pressure on my bladder).
Also, around the the 25th week, my bump was big enough that it didn't fit underneath the steering wheel anymore and I had to tilt it up and drive like it was some kind of carnival ride.
Then, a some point, I got so big that I had to move the seat back… but my arms couldn't reach the steering wheel!
People Will Feel Free To Say Rude Things To You.
Your Pants Stop Fitting Even Though They DO Fit.
That baby? Makes your uterus hard. A hard uterus = pants not fitting even if you're not showing at all.
Forget shiny and lush – sometimes, your hair is oily and greasy and dandruffy.
People told me that this would kick in around the second trimester and then go away. Um. I basically wanted to nail my husband every second of every day of my pregnancy.
Who cares if I was so exhausted that I also wanted to fall asleep in the middle of it? I WAS HORNY.
You know how a drunk college girl walks in stilettos? The way a newborn calf stumbles around?
Yeeeeah… they're gonna be graceful compared to you (and don't even get me started on stairs…).
Nesting Happens Really Early.
Literally two seconds after seeing that positive test, I was ready to gut our entire house and rebuild it myself from the ground up.
Hair In Odd Places.
That hair growth thing everyone raves about? Yeah. It happens E V E R Y W H E R E.
You're sexy and you know it. Zits aren't just for your face anymore, grown ass woman! Welcome back, teenage years!
Mucus And Snoring.
Even if you've never snored before or had any kind of sinus issue – it will happen. You are gonna be a sex goddess, I tell ya.
You’re Excited – Your Doctor Doesn’t Care.
Generally, you discover that you're pregnant around the 4-6 week mark and you're SO READY to do something!
And yet, your doctor could give a shit.
Unless you have pre-existing medical issues, your doctor doesn't even want to see your face until around the 10 week mark. Boo.
Nipple Freak Out.
The color and length will change and stuff will start leaking out of them. Surprise!
Your Baby Moving Will Feel Like Indigestion.
Everyone talked about how feeling the baby felt like bubbles or waves. Mine just felt like I was hungry (and my best friend described her's as having a stomach ache).
It's a magical time.
You’re Going To Feel Cramping Early.
This one terrified me. I had a facial scheduled for the day after I found out I was pregnant and had cramping the entire time I was there. I totally thought I was having a miscarriage.
Turns out, it's pretty common to feel cramping and as long as it's not accompanied by blood (more than light spotting) – it's fine.
Your Husband/Partner Will See It All.
And I don't just mean in the delivery room. I mean that you'll be getting the full pelvic exam at several appointments (and the first ultrasound is taken using an up-the-vag device).
So, if you (or your husband) would like to keep that bit of mystique going for you then check with your doctor before the appointment begins to find out what's happening.
It Takes Forever to Show.
I didn't start showing until I was 20 weeks along.
Now, granted, I'm hugely fat but it's totally normal for a first time pregnancy to take a while for that bump to Bump.
If You’re Glowing, It’s Probably Because You’re Sick.
That pregnancy glow? Pfffft, my ass. It's just your sweaty face from all the nausea and interal temperature changes.
Doctor Appointments Are Boring.
You Get A Lot Of Blood Taken.
They're like vampires over there (and you might pass out).
Expect Regular Dizzy Spells.
They're unnerving and pretty frequent.
You Have To Pee A Lot But Have Nothing To Show For It.
Everyone knows that pregnant women have to pee all the time. Truth.
But, no matter how badly you feel like you have to go, inevitably – it's like a couple of drops and done.
Everyone Will Try To Give You Their Old Stuff.
Sometimes, this is wonderful (roughly 90% of my daughter's clothes are hand-me-downs) and sometimes, you'll need to come up with tactful ways of saying “I don't want your crap”.
Be prepared (and know a good place to take donations).
Farting… Oh, The Farting.
In books, they refer to it as being a little gassier than normal.
If by “a little gassier than normal” they mean a middle-aged male football team after a huge Mexican food dinner.
Bloating That Makes You Look Pregnant.
This one's special for the first trimester-ish. All that bloating makes you look knocked up before you're officially showing… or worse, people just think you're fat.
Morning Sickness DOES NOT Equal A Healthy Pregnancy/No Morning Sickness DOES NOT Equal An Unhealthy Pregnancy.
OMG with this idiotic old wive's tale. It's not true… moving on.
You Will Get Tired Just Walking Around the Grocery Store.
This one blew my mind. I couldn't believe how tired I got just running normal errands.
Increased Anxiety Disorder.
If you have a pre-existing anxiety disorder (like I do) then be ready for it to magnify. Lots of people just assume that this happens postpartum (and it can) but it can also increase during your pregnancy.
Give your doctor/midwife a heads up about your anxiety and have those around you keep a close watch.
Bathroom Business Becomes… Interesting.
You already know about the whole going-to-the-bathroom-all-the-time thing but what about wiping?
Because it's about to get really creative with that big ass bump in the way.
Skinny Bitches Can DIE.
Look. I know not all skinny women are bitches – but some ARE.
And they are always the ones complaining to your obese ass about how they gained 4 pounds in two months. Fuck you. I gained 4 pounds YESTERDAY.
They can see that you're overweight – why BRAG about how little weight they've gained? You win, lady! YOU WILL ALWAYS WIN.
Pillows Will Become Your New Best Friend/Lovah.
Whether you stick to a regular pillow or go full blown pregnancy-pillow – you will LURVE you some pillows (mostly while you're sleeping).
You’ll Probably Wear Nursing Bras WAY Before The Baby’s Born.
This was another surprise to me. Fellow bloggers recommended that I skip the maternity bra section and go straight to nursing bras during my final trimester.
Crossing Your Legs Is For The Birds.
It's got less to do with your weight (although, for some of us, EVERYTHING has to do with our weight) and more to do with that giant bulge you're packing around.
One day, you'll go to cross you legs like the lady you are and realize that until that baby is born… you'll be sitting like a linebacker.
Too Hot Or Too Cold… ALWAYS.
It's either one or the other – pick one.
People Will Think You’re On Drugs.
It's those damn hormones. They seriously mess with a woman's sanity and ability to control her emotions.
You Might Not Have Cravings.
Some people don't.
ARE THOSE MY TOENAILS?
Since you can't see them for so long, sometimes it's a shock to see how full and long they've grown (like your fingernails but MUCH less pretty).
It’s Okay To Not Want Pictures Of Yourself.
Sure, some ladies feel amazing and glowing and lovely and want a maternity shoot and special Instagram feed.
All the while, you're over here feeling like this.
Guilt About Your Choices.
Everyone has an opinion about your pregnancy and birth. And they will tell you all about how wrong you are without you asking for their opinion.
Seriously, EVERYONE. Ask me about the time a random hairdresser cutting my husband's hair told me not to go to a midwife because “they're witches”.
Immediate Need For Tiny Things.
Remember this episode of “How I Met your Mother” with the little sock? Yeah… that's real.
The second you see that positive pregnancy test you feel an immediate need to buy ALL THE TINY THINGS.
This one surprised even me. Y'all know I'm lazy but during my pregnancy, my laziness was at an all time high that impressed even me.
During every day of my pregnancy, I was worried about miscarrying. Every cramp, every ache, every day – I was convinced I was losing the baby.
I think this is just a common thing to worry about since you have so little control over a lot of miscarriage factors.
Hip Pain… HIP PAIN.
OMG WITH THE HIP PAIN!
The Gender Could Be Wrong… It Happened Once To My Best Friend’s Hairdresser’s Nephew.
If you choose to find out the gender of your baby before it's born (we did) then you're going to inevitably get a whole group of people (generally much older) who try to convince you that all ultrasounds are wrong.
This is based entirely upon the fact that this one time, a billion years ago when ultrasounds were in their infancy, someone that someone knew had a girl when they were told they were having a boy.
Ignore these people. Ultrasound technology has come a long way since then and are very, very accurate now.
Well look at all that new skin just jutting out of your body from nowhere.
OMG, Pregnancy Brain.
It. Is. Real.
Everything Cums Out.
You know how before, when you had sex, all that stuff pretty much just stayed inside you?
Yeah…. now that your cervix is all sealed up it has nowhere to go now. Woo-hoo, immirite?
Sweating Like a Pig.
Remember how you'll either be hot or cold?
Well, when you're hot – you'll sweat like the proverbial whore in church. It's a magical time.
Due to the post-baby hormones, you’re gonna sweat. SO MUCH. I didn’t know about this and totally thought that I had a terrible case of the flu.
I was dripping with sweat and insisted that the nursing staff take my temperature… yeah, I felt like a dumb ass when it turned out to be just hormones.
No One Cares About You.
Seriously, the second that baby comes out of you – no one cares about you.
Sure, I had staff around for the after birth and some sutures but… literally EVERYONE else was all baby, all the time.
Hospitals and doctors LURVE paperwork.
You will be given a chart for everything: the baby’s dirty diapers, feedings, your feelings, etc. and you will be expected to fill that shit in.
This is possibly the coolest thing ever if you plan to breastfeed. Moments after your baby is born, they will be laid on your bare chest and then… start inching up your body and face plant on your nipple.
It is TOO COOL.
Some women have said that this was worse than the actual delivery.
I didn’t feel anything but a huge release and then something wet and slimy between my legs. Either way, be prepared for it.
Again, this is totally a breastfeeding thing, but your nipples? Are about to be S O R E.
And, if your baby’s latch is bad (as mine’s was), you could end up with open, bleeding sores on them. Fun times!
OMG. After pushing a human out via your nether regions, everything lady part adjacent is going to be so, so swollen.
I swear to God, I was lugging around a grapefruit down there.
And don’t even think about sitting in a chair or a stool for like, weeks. OUCH!
You Will Never Sleep Again.
Yes, yes – you all know that new parents are exhausted from lack of sleep but I had always assumed that at the hospital, I’d at least get 3-4 hours of uninterrupted sleep at a time.
Between checking on your baby every 2 hours and then waking you up every 2-3 hours – you. will. never. sleep.
And guess what else? Chances are, those 2 hour increments will not run concurrently. Oh no! You’ll probably be up every hour for either you or the baby’s check-ups.
So, you should know that when you give birth – all modesty goes out the window. Period.
But, AFTER you give birth you will be stuck in this weird situation where loads of people still want to see/touch you in all your “special” places (all medically necessary, of course) but…
God forbid that you leave your room wearing only the hospital-issue gown. OH, MY STARS. Where is your robe?!?!? It’s ridiculous, really.
No Walking For You.
Had an epidural, C-section, or natural birth? NO WALKING FOR YOU.
Each one has its own no walking issue/reason but you can pretty much bet that the earliest you’ll be allowed to walk on your own is 12 hours after giving birth.
Did you know that an epidural, C-section, or even just post-birth hormones can make you throw up? Yep. Enjoy!
Holding Your Baby.
So, most places will not only encourage you hold your baby immediately after birth (using skin-to-skin contact) but they will insist upon it. Awesome.
However, if you try to leave your hospital room holding your baby or co-sleep… OMG. WHAT IS WRONG WITH YOU?!?!
And don’t even THINK about doing anything other than holding your baby in your arms exactly the way they want you to.
Oh, sure. You’ve probably heard about the first big poop (it’s like giving birth all over again – but from a different angle!).
But, has anyone told you about the lazy sphincter (not a medical term)? Well, for a while after you’ve delivered a baby, all your Southern parts will be really tired and sore.
So sometimes, your butthole won’t be able to um, finish. Like, it’ll feel like it’s still open. It’s… special.
Same as above. You know that peeing will probably hurt like a motherfucker for a while. But did you also know that for a few days after you give birth vaginally, it can be hard to control it?
Like, you’ll literally start peeing everywhere without even realizing it or being able to stop. Some hospitals give new moms catheters until they can walk to the bathroom by themselves (I got one).
But be prepared to have to clean up bloody pee trails from your bed to the bathroom for a while.
In addition to the pooping and the peeing, there’s the general after birth grossness. Basically, it’s a lot of blood and goo and ick.
Some women have heavy discharge (a friend referred to it as her CSI crime scene) while others will just have what appears to be a very prolonged period (as I did).
Whatever happens for you – stock up on huge panties and giant maxi pads.
After birth, you’ll be encouraged to put on these huge mesh panties that the hospital provides. From what I gather, thinner women adore these while those of us on the chubbier side haaaaate them.
Either way, you’ll be rocking them for at least 24 hours (which is actually great because then, when it’s all too gross, you can just tear them off Hulk-style and toss them in the trash).
Then you’ll switch to ENORMOUS granny panties (you should have these packed in your hospital bag).
If you’re like me and a diehard thong wearer – this will be, hands down, the worst part of postpartum. I hate Granny panties!!!
But, alas, they are a necessary post-birth accessory for those gigantic pads you’ll be wearing for weeks and weeks (see: The Grossness).
Whether it be the pushing, the drugs, or sheer exhaustion – you will be shaky. It will last for a while so be careful standing up, walking, and (most especially) taking a shower.
You’ll probably also get a “Falling Risk” wristband from the hospital that you’ll wear the whole time you’re there.
Super popular with Pinterest moms and loathed by postpartum nursing staff. The padcicle is essentially a maxi pad soaked in witch hazel or aloe vera and then frozen.
When the swelling gets to be too much, you’re supposed to put one in your giant panties and zen out from the frozen relief.
HOWEVER, according to every single nurse in my postpartum unit – this, while hugely comforting, is actually a bad thing since it interferes with the healing process.
The staff instead wanted me to use their version of the padcicle for the first 18-24 hours post-delivery and then switch to just presoaked witch hazel pads (like the kind people use for hemorrhoids).
Just line 4-5 up in your panties and switch them out every time you go to the bathroom. According to the staff, the frozen pads are too cold and slow down blood flow to the swollen area and the large pads can cause people to leave them on too long.
Whatever you’re thinking though, always see what your nursing staff/doctors want you to do.
The No Shower Zone.
After you have the baby (with all its bleeding and leaking and pooping and peeing…), you are SO going to want to take a shower and be clean. Well, it is not gonna happen for you for all loooong time.
Basically, once the afterbirth is done, the staff will quickly swipe around your birthing parts with some wet wipes and then… you’ll hang out in your still-bloody hospital gown for a long, long time.
Like, until you’re off the catheter, IV, and are cleared to walk. It’s straight up icky.
Up Close and Personal Stuff.
So it’s a given that in addition to the labor and delivery, you’ll have many, many people all up in your business for a while.
It’s all purely medical but can still be, well… odd. Like, several times during your stay they’ll ask you to roll over so they can shove a finger up your butt.
Or, the awesomeness of being told to sit on the toilet with your legs wide so they can squat down and STARE at your lady parts for a long, long time.
Like, long enough you consider asking them if they should have taken you to dinner first.
It’s all just… odd.
Still Looking Pregnant.
I hope you liked how you looked when you were 5 months pregnant ‘cause after that baby is born, you’re going to look exactly like that for a while.
So don’t bother bringing any pre-pregnancy clothes with you to the hospital – all yoga pants, all the time!
After you have the baby, the staff will be really concerned about your uterus returning to its original size.
This is very important to the healing process and involves a lot of cramping – some mild, some painful.
Be aware of it and ready to answer questions about how much and how often.
Not only will all the birthing make you a gasbag but – the staff actually WANTS you to. Apparently, it’s a sign of healthy healing or something?
All I know is, they ask you a lot of questions about if you’re farting, when you’re farting, and how much you’re farting.
It’s like having a conversation with a 12 year-old boy.
Quiz Show Time!
Most staff at the hospital will be lovely and patient and kind to you. Some will not.
Some will insist on trying to make you feel like a huge idiot and a terrible parent by asking you increasingly harder questions about babies and childcare until you get one wrong and then they will smirk at you like you’re a dumbass.
Don’t stress out about these people. They are assholes.
I Have A Baby – Now What?
And the biggest thing no one tells you about postpartum is after you leave the hospital with you new baby… and have no fucking what you’re supposed to do.
You will probably spend a lot of time staring at each other thinking, “what now”?
The answer? Do whatever you need to in order to make it through each day. Just survive, man.