My husband and I originally planned to wait one year after getting married before trying to start our family. Boy was I in for a surprise with how much I didn’t know about pregnancy until we started preparing for this journey.
- If you are one week pregnant, you haven’t even conceived yet! I had no idea that pregnancy is dated 40 weeks from the first day of your last menstrual period (LMP). I wrongfully assumed it was from your estimated date of conception or ovulation which would be considered about two weeks pregnant for a woman who has a textbook 28-day regular cycle. I learned that the reason why LMP is used is because it can be easier to identify. While some women might not keep up with their periods, she knows that she has had one. A couple can have relations several days before ovulation (when the egg is released) and still conceive since semen can survive for several days. When implantation occurs (when the fertilized egg implants to the wall of the uterus) can vary in different women which would make it difficult to determine a specific date.
- Back pain is not just in the third trimester. Back pain was actually an early sign that I was pregnant before I had a positive pregnancy test. I thought that perhaps my period was about to start since I had already taken a pregnancy test that came back negative. But when I thought about it a little more, I would only get back pain the first and second day of my period, not before. It continued throughout my first and second trimesters which was difficult to get through on some days. It scared me to think that if I can barely get through this pain, how in the world will I get through labor and delivery?
- Some women spot or bleed during pregnancy and the baby is fine. Another early sign of pregnancy is what is known as implantation bleeding, when the fertilized egg implants itself to the wall of the uterus. I personally did not experience this but I have had quite the scares throughout my pregnancy. I started spotting heavily at 6 weeks, 9 weeks, and 14 weeks pregnant. Thankfully, my insurance and doctors have been absolutely amazing with getting me in very quickly to get everything checked out. I have read where some women have to wait several days before being seen. With Kaiser, they got me in the same day, usually as soon as I could get there. I had extensive ultrasounds to see if we could determine the cause of the bleeding but everything looked normal. I thought that bleeding automatically meant that I was having a miscarriage. While this is one of the most obvious signs of a miscarriage, it is not always the case. I highly recommend that you contact your doctor should you experience this during pregnancy. Do not worry about whether you are bothering them, it is their job.
- There are a ton of weird symptoms and one for me was an increase in moles. I had heard about being tired, nausea, and frequent urination, but nobody told me that I would get more moles. They popped up primarily on my face and my neck. When I visited the doctor for a scratched cornea, the doctor asked me if I got them during pregnancy and she said it happened to her too.
- Getting pregnant is not as easy as simply having sex. While my husband and I are part of the 20% of couples who get pregnant after the first month of trying, this is not the case for most couples. I feel as though when first learning about sex, you feel as though you can get pregnant any time that you have sex but there is only a small window (fertile window) in which it can happen. Many couples that are considered healthy can do everything “right” and it can still take a while for them to get pregnant. I went to the doctor a few months before I knew we wanted to start trying to make sure I was healthy. I wanted to see if there was anything that I needed to work on before enduring the pregnancy journey. At that appointment, I had a pap exam and some blood work done and thankfully, everything came back normal. My doctor told me to go ahead and start taking prenatal vitamins and explained to me that since I was under the age of 35, they typically encourage couples to try for one year before starting to look into other treatments. If I were 35 or older, the wait time would be 6 months of trying. I want to also use this opportunity to say go easy on couples that may be trying to conceive. If you are wondering why a couple has not had a baby yet, please respect their privacy until they come to you. They may be trying and it has not happened yet or they have conceived but experienced a loss. It’s also possible that they do not want kids and that is completely fine too.
This journey of pregnancy has shown me just how much I do not know but will continue to learn. The information provided is not to replace the advice of a medical professional. It is simply to express my thoughts and opinions on the subject. Can you relate to any of the five things I listed or do you have things that you didn’t know until you started the pregnancy journey?