From bump to baby: What pregnancy really feels like

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There are so many changes that happen to a woman during – and after – pregnancy. Some good, some surprising and, as two of our bh mummies-to-be have encountered, some not so crash-hot at all.

RELATED: 6 things they didn’t tell you about your first trimester

RELATED: Sealed section: What no one tells you about giving birth

To find out more about what women go through during this time, we asked our resident mums-to-be to share their journeys. For the sake of their privacy, let’s call them ‘Mummy A’ and ‘Mummy B’.

If you’ve experienced the miracle of childbirth, we’re sure you’ll relate to some of the below. And for all those ‘to-bes’ out there, you’ll discover there’s so much more to learn.

(1 – 12 WEEKS)

Q: What were the initial changes you saw to your body?

MUMMY A: “I started to put on weight around my backside and my tummy which I expected, but I also noticed I had more pimples than usual, too.”

MUMMY B: “What I saw and what I felt were two completely different things. You feel things before you see anything, and for me they were sore boobs and cramps. But the first thing I saw change was my nipples. They became darker in colour and my boobs grew quite quickly.”

Q: How long did it take until you started to see a bump?

MUMMY A: “I started to see one around the 13-week mark, but it was more like a pot belly than anything else. It wasn’t until later that my stomach started to get harder and look more like an actual baby belly.”

MUMMY B: “I felt like I looked bloated in the first trimester. When I got up each morning, instead of having a ‘flat’ stomach I’d notice a little pouch. This was around the 12-week mark.”

Q: How did you find it at work?

MUMMY A: “It was really hard to hide that I was pregnant after about the 10-week mark. I felt like I was starting to feel comfortable with the fact that I was actually pregnant, but I still couldn’t say anything officially. Work was also really busy and I found it hard at times to keep up with the meetings, etc. because I was really tired. I’d crash as soon as I got home!”

MUMMY B: “Feeling tired was the worst, and I felt this more so in these first weeks than any other trimester. At about 3pm each day I was yawning and struggling to keep awake. I found that eating well, good amounts of sleep and exercise is the only way to cope with this constant tiredness.”

Q: Did you notice anything particularly unusual (e.g. cravings, pains, etc)?

MUMMY A: “I was just tired. I would literally get home and fall asleep on the couch.”

MUMMY B: “Food cravings! Tomatoes, tomato sauce and vegemite got me through!”

Q: How has your beauty routine changed?

MUMMY A: “I actually started using completely natural products. I never thought I’d be so conscious of my choices, but I really paid a lot of attention when choosing what to use, particularly with skin care.”

MUMMY B: “I always moisturise, since I’m naturally quite dry, but since I found out I was pregnant I would lather oil and creams all over my body – especially on my hips and stomach – night and day! I started taking multivitamins, and showered at least twice a day, as I started to sweat more than usual.”

Q: Which products did you start using?

MUMMY A: “Simplicité Plant Gel Cleanser – Combination/Oily, facial oil and also their day and night-time moisturiser. My makeup products however, remained the same as before.”

MUMMY B: “I started using Weleda Evening Primrose Age Revitalising Body Oil and Weleda Stretch Mark Massage Oil all the time, as well as QV Bath Oil which helped me relax at the end of the day. Mama Mio The Tummy Rub Oil and Josie Maran 100% Pure Argan Oil were lifesavers, too. Clearly I have a type!”

(13 – 27 WEEKS)

Q: What changes did you see and feel in your body in the second trimester?

MUMMY A: “My baby bump started to pop at around 17 weeks and was much more noticeable. In the earlier weeks of the second trimester, I experienced short, stabbing pains on the left-hand side of my body – but that was just growing and stretching pains, completely normal. I also had more discharge which again, is totally normal, but still freaked me out and my boobs got a little bigger, too. One thing that people don’t talk about is the fact that later in your second trimester, a slight, clear liquid can come out of your nipples. Don’t worry – this is just the start of the colostrum, which is a good sign!”

MUMMY B: “I suddenly stopped looking bloated and had more of a baby belly. I also started getting white facial hair, like a beard but white. It’s more than just a little peach fuzz! Only my stepson has noticed it. I’ve been reading a lot of forums about it and it seems to be a common side effect of pregnancy. I’m hoping it goes away after the pregnancy!”

Q: How has pregnancy changed your lifestyle?

MUMMY A: “I was always very social, and being pregnant changed how much time I spent out. I found that I’d get to about 9.30pm and I’d suddenly become so tired that I’d need to go home right away, or I’d fall asleep in public.”

MUMMY B: “I am definitely less mobile, and my fashion choices went out the window, I definitely went for comfort! I noticed how puffed I’d get walking up hills, and I stopped doing vigorous exercise. Obviously I quit alcohol and gave up cheese – this [has] also been particularly painful coming into the festive season. I also stopped eating sashimi and pre-made salads and started eating a lot more bread than I ever used to.”

Q: How was work during this time?

MUMMY A: “I found I had a bit more energy in my second trimester, so even though I might have been a bit slower in getting things done, I was still more productive than I was in the first stages of pregnancy. During the day, I cope pretty well, but by the end of the day I feel like I need to go home, lay down and rest my feet and stretch my stomach out.”

MUMMY B: “In this trimester, my work didn’t really suffer – not like it did in the first! You become a lot less tired. Many people say this is the best trimester, and I’d have to agree.”

Q: Have you had any cravings or felt or noticed anything out of the ordinary?

MUMMY A: “I have definitely developed more of a sweet tooth.”

MUMMY B: “You mean apart from the fact that there’s a tiny human growing inside you?! I just started to feel overwhelmed by that fact. Most women say they start to experience the butterflies or kicks of the baby, which is truly the most unique, exciting and scary feeling. I found the emotional impact was a lot bigger than the physical side effects during this period.”

Q: How has your beauty routine changed?

MUMMY A: “I’m not fussy when it comes to my routine, so this has stayed pretty much the same since the first trimester.”

MUMMY B: “Hotter weather has just upped the number of showers, and I’ve become a moisturising maniac! I’ve continued to use the same oils at the first trimester, and my makeup routine has remained the same too. I’ve really upped the oral hygiene with Colgate Optic White, too.”

(28 – 40 WEEKS)*

Q: What changes have you noticed to your body?

MUMMY B: “I have bigger nipples, swollen ankles (especially in the evening) and my belly button has popped right out. I can’t see my vagina – so god only knows what that looks like! My husband says it looks and feels different. My libido is also at an all-time high – though I don’t particularly feel very sexy, and I’m so much less mobile.”

Q: What issues do you face on a daily basis?

MUMMY B: “Back pain and problems sleeping have been my biggest issues. Because you’re only allowed to sleep on your side during the third trimester, the weight can hurt your hips so I was told to put a pillow between my legs, and that’s helped. A lot. With the back pain, I roll onto my side and use my other hand to lever myself up. The skin on my stomach is also very tender now. Your baby grows so much during this period, and I’ve noticed how sensitive and tender my skin is, particularly in the morning. I’ve found that exfoliating and moisturising have helped alleviate the pain. I’ve also been experiencing heartburn and reflux. Every time I eat fried, fatty foods I feel quite sick, so now I avoid those foods.”

Q: What’s surprised you the most?

MUMMY B: “I can’t believe how big my belly could get! At 25 weeks I thought, ‘This is it, I can’t possibly get any bigger,’ but I did! The best surprise of all though has been that at 34 weeks, I don’t have any stretch marks. I still have four weeks to go, so who knows what could happen in that time!”

Q: How are you coping at work?

MUMMY B: “Work for pregnant women should be between 7am-3pm. Seriously. I’m up really early, around the 5am mark but then I crash and burn around 3pm. I start doing the more remedial tasks in the afternoon because I get so easily distracted and I find I’m not concentrating as well. Also, the heat is a real struggle. I’m not coping too well when the aircon is switched off. I keep turning it back on and down low – the other [not pregnant] girls say they’re freezing!”

Q: Has your beauty routine changed?

MUMMY B: “I’m definitely less bothered these days, so minimal effort goes into putting my face on in the mornings. Hair goes straight up into a bun – it’s easy and it keeps the hair off my neck and face. My showering and oil use is out of control thanks to the amount of sweating I’m doing.”

Q: What products are you using?

MUMMY B: “I wasn’t being dramatic when I said I’m sweating profusely. To combat this, I’m using the Dove Beauty Cream Bar every time I shower, applying Dove Clinical Protection Anti-Perspirant Deodorantand Dove Original Anti-Perspirant Aerosol several times throughout the day. I’ve upped my use of the Trilogy Exfoliating Body Balm too, and I’ve started taking off my makeup with WaterWipes, which I can also start using on the baby to soothe his skin. I’m also excited to use the new Sukin baby range, particularly the Baby Silky Soft Baby Body Lotion. He’ll share my love of moisturising!”

*’Mummy A’ not in her third trimester.

Q: What are you most looking forward to after pregnancy?

MUMMY A: “Sushi and champagne!”

MUMMY B: “Meeting my little human is the most exciting part – I’m so curious to see what he looks like! But also to be able to fit into clothes again, and enjoying soft cheeses, sushi and Champagne!”

Did you experience anything similar throughout your pregnancy?

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