We learn a lot from the media. Some of that is a true reflection of reality, and a lot of it isn’t. Before several close friends got pregnant in the last couple of years, I (sadly) got the majority of my information about pregnancy from watching TV and movies. Here are the top 5 things I honestly thought were true about pregnancy at some point due to the media’s influence!
- You’re bumpin’ for 9 months (related: the only part of your body that will grow larger in 9 months is your belly. HAH!). For some reason women are already showing when they announce their pregnancies on TV and then have a massive bump within a couple episodes. I didn’t really start showing til nearly 20 weeks and even now at 26 weeks I can kind of hide the bump using strategic clothing choices. You actually spend a very small portion of your pregnancy looking the way that pregnant women look on TV and in advertisements (and it’s not even often you actually look like these thin women with their fake bumps!).
- Morning sickness is inevitable and all about barfing in the morning. I had morning sickness for 8 weeks or my pregnancy and I only threw up once. However, I felt like I had the hangover from hell for 8 weeks straight. I even woke up in the middle of the night nauseous. So no, it’s not just about barfing and it’s not just in the morning! Along with that, several women I know didn’t experience any morning sickness or if they did, it was minimal, yet every single pregnant woman on TV is hanging over the toilet at 7 a.m.
- Pregnant women have crazy cravings that send father’s to the store at 2 a.m. While I’m sure some women DO in fact crave fried pickles on top of ice cream with Tabasco sauce and chocolate chips, the majority of women I know who have been pregnant, including myself, don’t really have strong cravings for any foods and if they do crave something, it’s pretty normal. While we may certainly prefer/enjoy cold juicy fruit or ice cream more than we did before pregnancy, I have yet to have a craving so intense that I had to send Mike out at all, let alone in the middle of the night, to get it for me. Not to mention, I’m perfectly capable of driving myself to the store to get the food.
- Your water will probably break in public and make a massive splash. Too many times this has been the case. It is very rare for a woman’s water to break without warning (typically, contractions have already begun before the water breaks) and often the water comes out slowly rather than in a rush. While it definitely is possible for you to be in Target when a gush of water floods the aisle, it’s pretty uncommon (a BabyCenter poll estimates about 14% of women have experienced a pre-labor gush of water).
- Once you begin labor, you better get to the hospital IMMEDIATELY because that baby is coming now (related: you have a high chance of giving birth in an elevator or the side of the freeway)! Labor takes a long time and the pushing phase doesn’t even start until you’re 10 cm dilated, which can take hours and hours from the first contraction (or epic water breaking incident). Hospitals don’t really want you sitting around forever as you become dilated and therefore your doctor will give you a recommendation for when it’s a good time to start heading to the hospital. Most women spend several hours laboring at home before there is any need for a hospital gown (also related: I have a friend who gave birth on her living room floor because her contractions accelerated a bit faster than anticipated so it actually CAN happen).
On the list of fun real things about pregnancy that I learned on my own: you may leave your keys in your front door overnight and spend 15 minutes before work nearly in tears frantically looking for them, you may try to wash your face with toothpaste, and you may cry in the car driving home from work when a sappy country song comes on the radio. Enjoy!
What misconceptions about pregnancy and labor did you have prior to becoming pregnant yourself? If you’ve never been pregnant, what do you think is the scariest thing you’ve learned about pregnancy from the media?