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What Being Pregnant Really Feels Like

Katlyn Joy |10, June 2013


First time mothers all wonder the same thing: what will pregnancy feel like? While every pregnancy and each woman is different there are some universal or nearly so experiences of expecting a baby.

Like your period is about to start any second.
In early pregnancy, you may doubt you are even pregnant because the symptoms are strikingly similar to the ones you get each month. But typically within days those symptoms will go up a notch or morph into some new ones. You may feel bloated, gassy, crampy, plain old blah or have headaches like you get with PMS.

Hormones will mess with many of your normal bodily functions including the b.m. one. This will also definitely add to the bloated, crampy and gassy sensations so combat it with plenty of water and fiber. Your doctor may give you a stool softener to make things easier but do not take a laxative on your own.

Zapped of all energy.
For many women this is the main early symptom of having a baby. The fatigue may come and go during the day, or if you are like some unlikely ladies, you will feel deplete of any energy whatsoever day and night for several weeks. To deal, make sure you get actual sleep and eat healthy as much as humanly possible. Don't forget that prenatal vitamin as that may help some. However, just adjust your schedule and demands as much as you can and know that you will get over this annoying symptom as you ease into the second trimester.

Breasts a popping.
Your breasts will start growing almost as soon as you pee on the stick and for some women this is more than just a tenderness. You may feel aching, throbbing and possibly even some shooting pains at first. Your breasts have a big transformation to make so expect them to be noticeably busy most of your pregnancy. However, the extreme soreness will subside after you get further into the pregnancy. Until the milk comes in after birth, that is.

Heartburn, indigestion and gas.
You may feel like a belch factory, or worse. You will come to have limited space for digestion and your hormones will slow down digestion in general so expect some problems. To help, eat smaller more frequent meals and if it keeps you up at night, ask your doc what you can take to relieve it safely.

As you grow into your pregnant silhouette, your center of gravity appears to shift or disappear. You will trip and stumble much more easily so avoid slippery shoes or heels.

Foggy brain.
If your IQ seems to drop a few points don't despair. It happens to most women for at least some of the gestational period but don't worry you'll recover. Although sleep deprivation can cause the same problem until you and the newborn adjust to your new sleep schedule.

Itchy belly.
Many women find in the later months their stretching skin and hormones will give them fits. Trying cocoa or shea butter or some stretch mark prevention lotion may help, but know that stretch marks aren't necessarily tied to this itchiness. And genetics are the strongest predictor of if you'll get these marks.

A good feeling boost.
For some women, pregnancy especially in the middle trimester, is a wonderful time. They feel happy, content and balanced. This seems especially true for women who may have terrible PMS usually. The break from all that is a welcome boon.

Later in pregnancy you may feel as if you have sprung some leaks. Your breasts may start leaking, your discharge from your vagina may get heavier and whenever you laugh, cough or sneeze you may leak urine. Don't worry, all these leaks will get repaired post-baby, especially with breastfeeding established and Kegel exercises performed.

Morning sickness is not necessarily just like having bad virus. For some, the nausea may make you turn up your nose at formerly favorite foods but you may never vomit. Some eat normally but vomit faithfully then feel just fine the rest of the day. Most women won't experience any of this longer than 10 to 12 weeks in.

You may have twinges of pain due to your joints loosening from the hormones, or feel stabs of pain from round ligament pain near your uterus. Your back is likely to get sore from the heavy front load.

Not everyone does, but some pregnant women will have swollen feet or hands at times during pregnancy due to retaining water. If you rapidly swell or your face is swollen, call your doctor however.

Katlyn Joy is a mother to 7 children, and a freelance writer. She earned her Master of Arts in Creative Writing and Poetry, and a Bachelor of Arts in English and was previously an adviser to new mothers on breastfeeding through a maternity home program. She currently resides in Colorado with her family.

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Showing 1 - 6 out of 6 Comments
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M Aug 17, 2017 10:42:40 AM ET

My partner and I have been ttc the past 5 months and nothing. But he is convinced I'm pregnant. Now I am bloated, few pains, and so tired. Not sick or anything, and feel that balloon feeling in my stomach. But I'm not due with my monthly untill the 26th Aug. My last period was the 21st of July.

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Daniela Feb 25, 2015 05:12:34 PM ET

I been trying to get pregnant with my boyfriend this month, and I'm suppose to get my period on the 4th or 5th of March. My sister told me to take prenatal vitamins, and that that can help me get pregnant, and start preparing. I'm wondering, will that really help me get pregnant, and how long will it take? I've been having sex every day almost with my boyfriend. I already have a 2 year old, and I feel ready for my second baby. Please, someone help!!!

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Guest Feb 19, 2014 04:43:20 PM ET

I am now 5 days late. My period has always been abnormal. However, for about 5 months, they have been spot on. I have been emotional, crampy, moody, gassy, my hand are tingling and I feel like I have a cold. Could I really be pregnant?

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Karen Jul 5, 2013 05:02:20 PM ET

I am going to be a first time mom soon I am towards the end of my third trimester and I am having really bad indegestion and lower back pain. Is this normal? It has lasted since yesterday.

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kayla Jun 14, 2013 02:48:27 AM ET

It's my first time being pregnant and I am having stabbing paying in my lower stomach

Lyna Jun 25, 2013 04:06:18 PM ET

It's called round ligament pain, it's just your body stretching. it will come and go throughout your pregnancy.

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