6 of the WeirdestThings I Learned About Pregnancy

When I first got pregnant, a new mom told me, “Anytime something weird happens to your body, trust me, it’s from the pregnancy.” Even armed with this advice, I’ve come across a few incredibly random anecdotes during pregnancy that, when shared with my peers, apparently was all new and fascinating information to them as well. If you are a soon-to-be first time mom or parent, this one’s for you. Here are 6 of the randomest and weirdest thing I learned about pregnancy, during pregnancy.

  1. It is possible to find out the sex of your baby…BEFORE it has even grown sex genitals.

This continually blows everybody’s mind when I tell them this, and I’m not sure why it’s not more common knowledge. Movies and TV have always led me to believe that you could only tell the sex of the baby through ultrasounds, and only after you were pretty far in. Turns out all the doctors need is a blood sample from the mother, not even a blood sample from the child! They can parse the child’s blood from the mother’s blood, read the DNA, and tell you if you’re having a boy or girl. Isn’t that absolutely bonkers? So next time anybody tells you it’s too hard to do something (*cough* engineers), you can just say “Seriously? We can find out the sex of a human BEFORE they have even developed sex organs and you’re telling me you can’t move this button 10px? SERIOUSLY?”

2. The moment you get pregnant your body starts creating a hormone called relaxin that loosens all of your joints and ligaments in preparation for childbirth, making it really easy to do things like twist your ankle.

I think this mostly happens so your hips can widen in preparation for the baby to come out, but as a byproduct it’s easy to accidentally injure yourself. Personally I haven’t twisted my ankle for 15+ years, and maybe 20 weeks into pregnancy I stepped off a curb and BAM, wrenched my ankle in the worst way. Unluckily for me this was in Italy, so five really old, really concerned, Italian men rushed over and fussed over me for nearly 20 minutes, going as far as trying to convince me to go to the hospital. Not a one of them spoke English, but finally they settled for me just getting over to the pharmacy and getting an ankle wrap.

3. Your gums could bleed randomly.

Again, because your hormones are all out of wack, you might get something called pregnancy gingivitis and your gums may start spontaneously bleeding while you’re brushing your teeth, even if you’re great with your oral care. Pre-pregnancy I brushed twice a day and flossed once a day, but I still couldn’t avoid this. Now I brush, floss, AND mouthwash twice a day, and I’m only just barey keeping the bleeding at bay.

4. Babies can get hiccups in the womb

Yes, it’s true. And yes, it’s sort of adorable. I have no idea why they get hiccups, but to me it just feels like somebody is rhythmically tapping on my tummy.

5. Gestational Diabetes, WTF.

This is something that some women can develop during pregnancy. It has nothing to do with your family history, so you can be perfectly healthy/skinny/fat/whatever and you still might get this. I was lucky enough to not develop it, but the test alone was a horrific experience. I had to fast overnight, get my blood drawn, then drink a sugary drink with 75 g of sugar in it (SEVENTY-FIVE!! For reference, a normal 12 oz coke only has 39 g of sugar), get my blood drawn again, wait another hour, and then get my blood drawn for the third time. No water was allowed during this time. By the time I was done I felt like a a jittery voodoo doll about to have a sugar crash.

6. Despite what everybody tells you, pregnant women cannot just eat whatever they want, in whatever quantity they want (so stop ignorantly offering them unhealthy foods).

Honestly, this was probably my biggest disappointment. I’ve been on a diet in some form ever since I was 10, so I really thought pregnancy was going to be my moment in the sun. As it turns out not only are you only supposed to gain 25–35 lbs (if you start out at an average weight), but you’re also meant to gain that weight at a specific rate. There is an entire chart that you are supposed to follow where you gain very little at the beginning and then increasingly more towards the end, which I totally fucked up right from the beginning by immediately gaining 15 lbs. Plus you need to eat “twice as healthy” not “twice as much”, so in practice that meant I spent an inordinate, very stressful amount of time trying to get an exact ratio of calcium, protein, veggies, etc. everyday and keeping to a strict calorie count. I am far more neurotic about my food now than I ever was before pregnancy, and it made simple things like eating out and socializing incredibly hard and depressing. There is nothing worse than you being the pregnant one and watching your partner scarf down ice cream and pizza while you have to have a piece of fish and a side of vegetables because YOU’RE responsible for the nutrition for the baby.

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