What does pregnancy really feel like at every stage? Read my honest advice and know what you can expect during every trimester. This is what pregnancy really feels like and what you can expect.
What does being pregnant feel like?
When I first became pregnant, I was married, in love, but also young and unsure. I wondered what I should expect when expecting. What the heck was this pregnancy going to do to my life? How was I going to handle it? Would I get sick? Would I get gestational diabetes? Would I carry to full-term? Would I be super uncomfortable the whole time? How would my body change? Would I get stretch marks and varicose veins? Would I still be able to attend school full-time while pregnant?
Every time I have seen that positive sign on the pregnancy test, there has been fear mixed with joy, especially after I had a miscarriage. Because one of the most terrifying things you can do as a woman is to become pregnant.
Pregnancy is a life, body, mind-altering, nine-month long event that has lifetime ramifications. You sacrifice your body in order to grow another body inside of yours, suffering a slew of new ailments along the way.
It can seem overwhelming to become pregnant, to be pregnant, and then to actually deliver the baby, not to mention actually caring for and raising that child once they’ve arrived outside the womb. Fear is common when dealing with an unknown, even if that unknown will have positive outcomes.
When it comes to pregnancy, many women wonder what it really does feel like to be pregnant, and certainly wonder what to expect during pregnancy, birth, and beyond.
What the First Trimester Feels Like
Pregnancy feels like many things. At first, it doesn’t really feel any different, you just start having some pregnancy symptoms like having to pee all the time, being extra tired, and for some, experiencing morning sickness. You just feel a little off, or sick, in that first trimester.
How the Second Trimester Feels
It isn’t until the second trimester though that you really start to feel pregnant. In the second trimester, you really start growing that baby bump and you start to finally feel those flutters in your tummy of baby’s first kicks. You’ll also start to get attention for your growing girth and enjoy dressing in cute maternity clothes.
What To Expect During the Third Trimester
And in the third trimester is when you really feel pregnant. It’s then that you really feel baby moving.
And feeling a baby move inside of you is kind of like the feeling you get when your stomach rises up as you go over that steep hill. It kind of takes your breath away and slightly hurts (especially when elbows are involved).
Sometimes you’ll feel the baby poking at your cervix (which hurts and is weird) or doing a somersault or stretching out. You’ll find these large hard lumps (baby’s butt or head usually) in the middle of your belly as well as a small lump protruding out of your side.
Sometimes it will feel like you have an alien inside of you that just wants to pop out through your abdominal wall because they are moving around so much! Feeling a baby move in your stomach is one of the most thrilling parts of being pregnant.
In the third trimester you will feel big and warm all the time, but also sometimes kinda forget you are pregnant, as your belly extension somehow doesn’t quite feel like it’s part of your body. You will feel sharp pains sometimes on the side of your lower belly/abdomen (called round ligament pain), or sometimes you’ll have a pinched nerve in your buttocks thanks to baby lying weird somehow inside there (called Sciatica) and it will make it difficult for you to walk and you’ll wonder how to sleep during pregnancy.
You’ll also notice that you are much slower than you used to be and even simple things like climbing the stairs or going to get the mail can make you out of breath.
You will also feel hungry but not hungry. You’ll have a harder time telling if you are full until after you stand up and walk around, and might experience some crazy heartburn and indigestion no matter what you eat. You’ll feel like you need to pee more often. And you’ll likely hate all of your maternity clothes by the end because nothing quite fits and is no longer as cute as it used to be because you are just so huge.
You’ll feel very obviously pregnant and be aware that most of the people you see are checking out your bump and wondering, and asking, about when you are due and if it is a boy or a girl.
Some will be adamant that they can tell it’s a girl, or a boy, because of how you are carrying. Some will start to tell you that you’ve dropped, you’re ready to pop, or that you’re as big as a house.
And girl, you just may be all of those things, or still two months away from your due date.
You’ll feel super excited to meet your child, but also nervous about what they’ll be like, and how little sleep you’ll get, and if they’ll latch like a champ for breastfeeding (if you’re choosing to do that). You’ll be so ready to be done and not be uncomfortable and hot and tired, but also very aware that a baby outside of the womb is harder than one inside it.
And, what should I expect when expecting?
This is the question, isn’t it? It really is hard to answer this question as every single woman will experience their pregnancies completely different from one another, and even different pregnancies for the same woman can vary. But, if you want to know what pregnancy might really be like for you – ask your mom.
Many women will have pregnancies similar to their own mothers, grandmothers (maternal side of course), and sisters. If your mom had large, overdue babies, changes are you might too. If you mom had severe morning sickness, you might too. If she got stretch marks, varicose veins, terrible headaches, or crazy food aversion, you might too. But, that is a might. You could end up completely different.
I, for the most part, have had pregnancies very similar to my own mother, and my sisters did too. I don’t ever throw up or feel very nauseous. I get a big belly all out front, and have large babies who incubate past their due dates. However, some women don’t have pregnancies that similar to their moms.
But, don’t think that your pregnancy will be just like your best friends, or your neighbor’s, or even a cousin’s. Your pregnancy will be your own, and until you experience it for the first time, you won’t fully know what to expect.
And that is why it is so valuable to have the book What to Expect® When You’re Expecting. It is the bible of pregnancy as it has proven its value, timelessness, and longevity for 600+ record-breaking weeks on the New York Times Bestseller list. It is the bestselling pregnancy book, recommended by moms and doctors alike.
What to Expect® When You’re Expecting
This book is set up by months of your pregnancy, giving you a weekly update on how your little bun in the oven is developing. This is my favorite part of the book. Sprinkled throughout these chapters are also tips and advice on pretty much every question you may have about pregnancy and whether something is pretty normal, less common, and if you should talk to your doctor about it.
Really, you should always talk to your doctor if you are concerned about something, but having a reference book at home is awesome, and often much easier than going through several different internet searches trying to find your exact question, let alone its answer.
It was very helpful to me during my first pregnancy, well, at least until I discovered I was having twins! Then some of the advice and expectations were a little different for me (like the weight gain recommendations!) but there is a section of the book devoted to talking a bit about twin and multiple pregnancies too, which I most certainly read.
While this book doesn’t go into all the details about every common or even slightly uncommon ailment of pregnancy that one can experience, it’s a great starting point for all pregnant women.
If you want more information on giving your child the best start by what you eat while pregnant, then you should check out their Eating Well When You’re Expecting book which full of great advice and also lots of great pregnancy-safe recipes.
Knowing what to expect during pregnancy can help calm your fears, educate you about your choices, and help you plan ahead. Knowledge is power, and empowering women during pregnancy is invaluable. The same can be true after your baby is born too. Knowing when your child should hit certain milestones and development helps calm all those new parent nerves, as you can’t help but compare Junior to their neighbor’s kid. So, it’s awesome that there are also the books What To Expect® the First Year and What to Expect® the Second Year.
If you are pregnant or want to be pregnant, I really do recommend checking out What to Expect® When You’re Expecting. Part 1 of the book is all about what to do before you get pregnant, so it’s perfect for those trying to conceive, or who plan on having kids someday. The great thing about going through pregnancy once is that every other pregnancy becomes so less scary, fearful, and daunting because you already know what to expect!
I have had to use this book less and less with my second and third pregnancy because I am in tune with my own body and what is normal, what warning signs are, and what things I should just ask my doctor about. So, really, the best way to know what to expect when you’re expecting is to get pregnant and find out, and then do it again.
What do expect when you’re expecting? And did you get What to Expect® When You’re Expecting when you were pregnant too
I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.