The Indignities of Pregnancy | Modern Mummy

Thursday, 16 August 2012

The Indignities of Pregnancy

Whilst gossiping with some mummy friends recently, we got onto the subject of The Indignities of Pregnancy.

Oh yes. That's right. The INDIGNITIES.

The midwife that delivered Daisy told me 'you leave your dignity at the door the moment you walk into the labour ward.' My friends and I are all in agreement that it happens much sooner than that. 'You leave your dignity at the door the moment you leave the bathroom with a positive pregnancy test' is a bit more like it.

Pregnancy is truly a wonderful thing - your body is GROWING A BABY! How amazing is that?!? But its not all about glossy hair and pre-natal yoga. There are some things that the text books don't tell you. 

It's ok though, I'm going to. (And for the record, not ALL of these have happened to me. Some have. But not all.)

First up there's the morning sickness. Of course the pregnancy books and website tell you about that - it's caused by pregnancy hormones surging through your body and disrupting everything. But I've yet to come across one that recommends keeping an empty McDonalds cup in your car 'in case of emergencies' as one of my friends did. You can be caught TOTALLY UNAWARE.  I literally spent the first 16 weeks of this pregnancy with my head down the toilet. I couldn't leave the house. I was in the bathroom wretching so regularly that my two year old daughter started copying me and imitating my vomming noises from outside. Not good.

Then of course there is coming to terms with your completely uncontrollable bladder. This starts very early on. Constant trips to the loo are required, including numerous night time visits, which later on in pregnancy can get very tiresome indeed and require some very undignified rolling-out-of-bed-onto-all-fours manoeuvres. You might even need a bit of a push from your other half. Sometimes your body only gives you a three second warning before you HAVE TO BE ON THE TOILET OR ELSE. It really is delightful.  Make sure you do your pelvic floors....... if you don't then brace yourself for sneezing to become extra fun. Its like Russian Roulette..... will you or won't you wet yourself. Eeeeeeeekk.

Needing to wee ALL THE TIME does help with the next one. The fact you have to master the art of weeing in teeny tiny pots every few weeks. Yep. You have to give a urine sample at every single midwife/GP appointment. No one I spoke to has ever had to 'muster one up' though which is good. I can pretty much wee on demand. I'm not sure whether or not I should be proud of that.

Baby brain. One friend was trying things on in a shop fitting room and wandered out to pay for something without having put her trousers back on.  Knickers and arse cheeks on display for all and sundry to see. This is a great example of baby brain where, quite simply, you forget stuff. Other examples include putting dinner in the oven without turning it on, forgetting where you parked the car and the general inability to think of words you want to use in conversation..... you get where I'm going here.

Insomnia has affected everyone I've spoken to at some point in their pregnancies. Its bloody awful. Especially as you can't pump yourself up on caffeine to get you through the following day. Unfortunately it's one of those things. I am actually writing this at 4.45am, having been awake since 1.45 and up since 4.15. This is not a joke!! You've got stuff to think about..... you've got restless legs..... you're fat and you just can't get comfortable..... you're getting beaten up from the inside by your unborn child. My advice is to invest in crappy cable TV so that there is always some rubbish to watch, even in the middle of the night. Or start a blog.

Pregnancy is just one GREAT BIG emotional rollercoaster. When not pregnant I like to think of myself as a fairly normal and sensible woman. I don't moan or nag. I let Himself do what he wants (i.e. go to the pub) pretty much whenever he likes (I enjoy the peace & quiet if I'm honest, although don't tell him that). I don't cry at soppy films. Much. But those pesky hormones cause chaos with your emotions. Honestly, they have a lot to answer for. Plus tiredness plays a big part too. Brace yourself; soon you will be bawling over Eastenders and Super Tiny Animals and shouting at your partner for attempting to do help you by doing the washing up BUT DOING IT WRONG.

What about leaky - and HUGE - nipples. Has anyone ever mentioned those to you? Yep they swell up and are constantly *ahem* pert.... and you look as if you are smuggling walnuts, not just peanuts. Giant mama booblies + erect nipples = a distinct lack of eye contact when conversing with 'some people'. You will get used to it. Then of course there is the leaking issue. Which is nice. This has never actually happened to me but friends have commented on the embarrassment of looking down to see two great wet rings on their tops. That means it's breast pad o'clock. But the embarrassment doesn't end there. For God's sake make sure they are tucked securely into your bra....... one friend told me about how one escaped whilst she was shopping and was picked up and handed back to her by a thoughtful (male) passer by. "Excuse me, I think you just dropped".

Growing extra hair. This really happens. There is an old wives tale that says growing extra hair is a sign of a boy and slower hair growth means you're having a girl. From big girlie chats we have established that this is a load of bollocks. But monster hair growth is a very definite possibility. Great when it comes to the hair on your head, but not so great when we're talking about bellies, big toes or even legs and bikini lines once you get to the third trimester and are too big to reach and shave them. (More on that later).

There is also the whole belly button popping out thing. Which I am currently struggling to come to terms with. It didn't happen with Daisy. In actual fact I just lost my belly button altogether - it went completely flat, which was equally gross. This time round the little bugger has popped out. Its pretty revolting. And when you wear tight tops it pokes out. Hmmmmm.

Wind. From both ends. Oh. My. God. There's no avoiding this. You will trump like an old man that's just eaten 20lbs of cabbage for dinner at some point during your pregnancy. And you might not be able to control it either. If you do manage to, and you hold it in, brace yourself for the most AGONISING PAIN that comes with trapped wind. It is actually on a par with labour itself and it can be quite scary when you don't know what it is. Indigestion and burping is also a given when you're preggers. Rennies and Gaviscon will become your best friends. Be kind to your partners because sometimes a good back rub is also required in order to expel some trapped gas. INDIGNITIES! See, I told you.

Varicose veins. As if getting them in your legs wasn't horrible enough, you can also get them in your bum and/or your lady parts. Ouch, ouch, ouch. I'll say no more on the subject....

Some poor buggers (myself included) develop a condition called SPD - which is basically excessive movement of the symphysis pubis (in your pelvis) and which causes a lot of pain. Having to crawl up the stairs and roll out of bed becomes part of every day life. As does your other half having to hoist you up out of the bath and help you put your knickers and socks on. You also have to bend your knees like a comedy policeman when picking things up. Which is nice.

I talked about extra hair growth already. Obviously the inability to see below your bump affects us all at some stage. Which means you are unable to cut or paint your toe nails, shave your calves or even maintain your lady garden. Oh yes. I whole heartedly recommend finding a good waxer and/or pedicurist. (Twickermums - go to Blush Beauty by Richmond Bridge.... Adele is amazing! Tell her I sent you.) Other friends have persuaded their other halves to do the honours for them but there is no way on God's great earth I would EVER let Himself loose on my lady bits with a bottle of veet/razor blade/wax strips. NO WAY.

Lastly, the indignity that was talked about the most. Pooing in labour. Shit happens. Literally. And to most of us if you want the cold, hard, truth. When you get to the pushing stage your midwife will tell you to 'push into your bottom.... like you're doing a poo'. If there is anything in your colon IT WILL COME OUT. It happens to the best of us and the midwives will have seen it all before. So try not to fret about it. (Easier said than done when you're off your face on gas and air). But it really, really, truly is nothing to worry about.

So there you have it. A few of the indignities of pregnancy that rarely get mentioned in the pregnancy books. None of which are particularly pleasant but totally and utterly worth it when your gorgeous newborn baby is placed on your chest for the very first time.

Sometimes it helps to moan about the things we are going through that cause us stress or discomfort, and its always nice to know that you're not alone. This post is for The Sistership! Comments welcome xoxox



  1. in the pushing stages my midwife said "come on lauren you have so much room around the babies head push!" My husband turned away to cough which apparently was him stifling a laugh. When the baby was born she then went "oh my gosh what a big head" The hubby couldnt contain his laughter anymore and I STILL hear about it every day

  2. Great post and so true. I'll add another to the mix... leg cramps. I had that every night and the pain was hideous. One night I had to crawl to my bathroom to put my leg on the cold bath to stop the pain. Oh the joys of pregnancy x

  3. Give thanks for every feeling you get good or bad, some get this feeling for only a short period of time before its taken away

  4. Yes leg cramps, they were horrible. Not to mention weird cravings that you have to have there and then

  5. This takes me back...and made me chuckle. Good summary of the challenges a pregnant woman faces. You are missing a few of the more "gorey" women-only indignities but Im sure this is for good reason. And anyone having had a baby will read this comment and nod with a knowing smile (or grimmace) kept to "those in the know" I suggest!

    Laura Shears (published as anon as I couldnt get my URL to register!)

  6. Dont forget constipation !!


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