In my last blog, we giggled through the disconcerting reality of the weird, bizarre, absurd, disgusting or hilarious things that happen while you’re pregnant — while the whole time Health Professionals and GalPals calmly reassure you it’s all perfectly normal! But have I missed anything? Hellz yeah!…
Like what the heck has happened to your flushed skin girlfriend? There are the stretch marks of red lines under your belly and blue tracks over your thighs and hips; facial pigment changes, darkening freckles and moles, and little red naevi spider-veins appearing on your cheeks; darkened body and facial hair; red clammy hands and chafing thighs; and legs (and/or vulva eek) varicose veins from the uterus pressing on blood vessels and impairing blood flow. There’s the half a metre of extra-itchy, drive-you-nuts stretching abdomen skin, with its popped-turkey-timer stick-out belly-button, and hair in places you didn’t know it would now permanently grow!
Then your abdomen develops a bizarre vertical line (maybe even hairy) that resembles a road from your pubes to your belly-button. This is called the linea nigra which marks the natural separation of your recti-abdominal muscles. And did you know your nipples are even starting to grow Bifidus lactobacilli (friendly bacteria to later colonise inside your baby’s intestines) . . . these are just some of the ravishing things that are likely happening to you.
However we can’t forget the interesting internal plumbing issues too, like the squashed-flat bladder with its resulting increased urgent, frequent peeing; the shortness of breath and dyspnoea (laboured difficult breathing); and the wicked indigestion heartburn acid-reflux from the crowded stomach, displaced oesophagus and relaxed sphincter muscle. The high levels of oestrogen are putting more pressure on your gall bladder, but the extra progesterone (responsible for preventing premature labour during pregnancy) slows down all smooth-muscle movement, leaving residual cholesterol crystals, which are the foundations of gallstones (oh goody).
But probably no one warned you in advance about the sore, aching, stretched ribcage from your abdominal organs pressing against your diaphragm, causing your thorax to widen as your ribs flare (or even the occasional fractured rib from a little kicking foot); the aching armpits or shoulders; carpal tunnel syndrome (tingling pins and needles in your hot hands); the dizzy vertigo; the increased burping and farting; the stronger vaginal ‘odour’, and increased thrush (because of your now sweet glucose-rich vagina). There are the unrecognisable poos (or worse, constipation resulting from the declining peristalsis of the digestive tract) and, horror upon horror . . . haemorrhoids. I am SO sorry for you if you have endured those indignant anal protrusions, delicately called hanging vines. Equally horrifying, if you earn your piles (or even vulval-vaginal varicose veins) as a memento of delivery — it’s OK to scream.
And if you’re like most of us, during the last months of your pregnancy you probably make sympathy-seeking comments like:
‘I can’t breathe, my lungs can’t expand.’
‘I can’t eat any more, I swear my stomach has been pushed up my throat.’
‘You have to paint my toenails for me, I can’t see them.’
‘You need to tie my boot laces, I can’t reach them.’
‘I need antacid intravenously so I can get to sleep.’
‘I need a urine catheter so I can sleep for more than 45 minutes at a time.’
‘Five pillows are not comfortable enough anymore — I need your pillow as well.’
“How are you feeling in your pregnancy, dear?”
“Oh, all perfectly normal, thanks”