I’m currently sat on my sofa, trying to get comfortable after waddling around nearby fields on a dog walk. I’m eight months pregnant. 35 weeks. So yeah, I’m getting pretty large. There’s a fair amount of weight to carry around and it got me wondering, wouldn’t it be useful to describe exactly what being preggers feels like? For others, but also for myself to look back on. So here goes.
How does it feel to be pregnant for the first time?
As a female, you spend a fair amount of your adolescent and early adult life wondering what it will be like to carry a child in your belly. A concept that’s quite difficult to get your head around. Having an actual human wriggling around amongst your insides. It’s bloody mental.
I think women go on about pregnancy being this incredible journey, and of course, it is. But not a lot of explanations will cover the realistic side of things. Being pregnant is truly amazing – but it’s also very, very strange! At every stage of the pregnancy, I’ve been like wow, what my body is doing is insane. It’s so impressive that you struggle to understand just how your body is able to create and grow life. And yes, when you see a kick and your stomach move, it does kind of feel like there’s an alien thing setting up camp inside your body. Greetings little ET.
How does it feel in early pregnancy?
In the beginning, you obviously don’t feel a huge difference (aside from nausea, a heightened sense of smell and food aversions) as the baby is so teeny tiny.
It’s hard at the start to see your baby on the scan, and actually comprehend that what you see on the screen, is growing inside your tummy. Even when you start to feel the baby’s movements, it’s still difficult to get your head around what’s going on.
At the start, I kind of just felt different – but without being able to put my finger on it. Something just changes inside of you now that you know you’re basically growing life. No biggie. Your mindset changes more than anything physical to start with.
I was really lucky that I didn’t really suffer from bad vomiting or sickness. In the first trimester, I just felt constantly hungry, but whenever I ate it never seemed to do anything – I still felt empty. And even though normally I love food, I just didn’t really enjoy eating. It felt like more of a chore, mainly due to the nausea.
I only threw up twice. Once on an early morning dog walk by the side of the road, probably because I hadn’t eaten anything yet. At the start, I’d recommend always having little snacks on you and eating something as soon as you wake up (not medical advice, just what helped me).
The rate in which the baby grows is astonishing, and it’s crazy how you go from an iddy biddy bump to all of a sudden feeling like you’ve got a basketball stuffed inside your top. After the first trimester passed, the nausea started to go and I felt much better – and even started to enjoy eating again.
What does being pregnant really feel like?
OK, obviously I can’t speak for everyone, I’m just going on my experience here. But generally, I’d say being pregnant feels just like being really, really, ridiculously bloated. I’ve struggled with IBS throughout my life, so I’m used to my tummy ballooning and that pressure you feel when the bloat strikes.
As you get further along in your pregnancy your stomach stretches more, the baby gets bigger and it just feels like you’ve got an enormous, swollen tummy. Saying that, it’s not like you are aware of it all the time. Oddly, there are times when I feel completely normal and then get a shock when I move and my tummy is sticking out in front of me! Hello baby bump.
By the third trimester, moving around generally takes a lot more effort. Getting out of bed, off the sofa, in and out of the car and up and down the stairs gets tougher. You have to move more carefully and take your time switching positions. Being quite an active and sporty person all my life, I found this stage hard to comprehend. Because in my head I’m still an athletic person but in reality, I can’t move very fast and can’t really do a very wide range of movements.
Having said all this, I reckon I’ll miss the feeling of being pregnant. I’ll miss the bump and waddling around. I’ll miss those movements inside my tummy. I’m right at the end of my pregnancy and I can’t imagine not being pregnant now – it will be weird to have a baby outside of me in my arms rather than feeding off me inside my stomach.
I knew being pregnant would be uncomfortable – and honestly, it’s really not that bad. You get used to it and you’re more than happy to manage the aches and pains to have an adorable little baby in return. It is an incredible feeling especially when the baby kicks you and moves around, and you start to bond with it by talking to it and stroking your tum.
What do the baby’s kicks feel like?
Bubbles. The baby’s kicks feel like bubbles in your tummy. At first, I just thought it was indigestion. Kind of like when you try and hold gas in and it bubbles around in your stomach. At least at the beginning anyway. Then as the movements become more defined they start to feel more like kicks. Like your stomach is hiccuping. You’ll start to see little thumps here and there and it’s incredible. Towards the end, the movements for me have felt more like swirling than hard kicks. You can almost see the baby rolling around inside, and it is as though a wave is rolling around your tummy. I’m not sure if other preggers women feel the same, as everyone is different – but this is how the movements feel for me.
I was fine at the beginning, but towards the end of the second trimester, I started to not be able to sleep. As the bump starts getting bigger it seems like you just can’t get comfortable.
There have been many nights where I’ve just been wide awake all night. And everyone’s all like, oh yeah it’s your body preparing you for the baby when you’ll have no sleep anyway. And I’m over here like sure OK but I do need to get at least one hour of sleep in three days.
You can’t lay on your back after a certain point as it’s not good for you or the baby, and usually, that’s my chosen sleeping position. This is probably why I’ve struggled to drift off, constantly flipping from my left to right side in an attempt to get vaguely comfortable. If you don’t normally sleep on your back, you just might find it easier to get a good night’s sleep.
Fitting through gaps
LOL. This one makes me chuckle. Suddenly as your bump sticks out more, you realise that you can’t fit through gaps that you used to get through. Like getting out of a car and squeezing out between your car and the car beside you. Or walking in between tables at a restaurant. I was in a cafe once and got stuck between tables and had to backtrack and go the other way around which the other customers found fairly amusing. It’s so odd suddenly being massive, and adapting as your body changes.
What does it feel like to be 9 months pregnant?
Well, you can’t really do a huge amount. For me, walking any distances has become harder. It varies depending on where the baby is in my stomach as some days I’m fine and others I can’t walk longer than ten minutes.
If the baby is lower down it feels like they’re pressing on you as you walk which gets a tad uncomfortable, and makes you need a wee every five minutes.
Also, getting up and sitting down becomes more of a challenge. You can’t move quickly or make sudden movements or it causes discomfort and ruins your stomach muscles. I have to use my arms and legs more to get up and down rather than my core.
You just feel really heavy and the weight of the bump is far more noticeable. I’ve worked out most of the way through my pregnancy, training crossing around two to three times a week. But now, there’s only a small selection of movements I can do which makes training harder and rather mundane.
I’ve got three/four weeks to go now, and I’ve kept fit up until this point. I’d say for me, resting the last few weeks before birth probably isn’t a bad thing. In terms of appetite, I’m eating all sorts. And not really knowing what I want to eat. I keep going to the supermarket and instead of buying one meal, I’ll get lots of different snacks and nibble on them all throughout the day.
The nausea has come back a little bit towards the end, but it’s nowhere near like it was at the beginning. And at nine month’s pregnant, I feel pretty knackered. I’m having to take breaks and lay down more in the day just to recoup my energy, and I’m suddenly craving more sweet foods.
But overall despite the above issues, I’m feeling pretty good. I reckon I’ve had a fairly easy pregnancy and I’ve got no real complaints. After struggling to get pregnant in the first place I guess I just want to cherish every minute and appreciate what I’ve got. But the above detail is less me complaining, and more me just trying to convey what being pregnant feels like at various stages. Overall, despite the mild discomfort here and there, I’m a happy bunny and I’ve loved growing a human in my belly. I’m thanking my lucky stars it was possible in the end, and I’ll be forever appreciative of the gift we’ve been given.