The sight of a pregnant women raises sighs and smiles in most as they cherish the thought of the baby within. For some women, those smiles turn to chuckles as they have to laugh at some of the more absurd elements of carrying and delivering another human being.
The physical after-effects of pregnancy can be humorous to some but debilitating to others. Body image can be smashed with lurid stretch marks, hair and teeth can fall out. The hormonal changes that go on during pregnancy affect the body in some adverse ways. If a woman is lucky enough to bloom for nine months, she is one of the lucky ones.
10. Massive stomach
There are certain factors that can influence the size of your pregnancy bump. One obvious reason is the size of the baby. If you have a large baby your stomach will stretch to accommodate it, and you may carry a larger placenta and more water. Excess water can also be a cause for a huge stomach.
If you had poor abdominal muscles in the first place, there is no resistance for the growing stomach to meet, so you will look bigger than if you had a band of muscles to hold the stomach in place.
Some women find that they gain huge amounts of baby weight, either due to enormous appetite or craving a high-calorie food. Whatever the causes, a huge stomach is cumbersome and uncomfortable. The added indignity of a stretch bandage to hold it in place just add insult to injury. Bending becomes impossible, tying shoes is a distant memory and balance is wobbly. For those last few weeks, it can be an obstacle course just to get from the house to the car, if you can get into the car!
At least there is an end in sight, the stomach will eventually reduce, just the small matter of the birth to get through first.
9. Huge babies 13lb 7oz
One new mother in Spain was reeling at the fact that she had given birth to a 13lb 7oz baby. What is more shocking is that it was a natural delivery, and makes baby Maria the biggest baby ever to be delivered naturally in Spain. Her mother had a five-hour labor and didn’t even take any pain relief for the delivery.
Most of us balk at the thought of pushing a baby out full stop. A seven or eight-pound baby is manageable for most women, but start going into the realms of nine or ten-pound bruisers, and expectant mothers start to wince.
In England, only 0.2% of babies are born over 11lbs, and the average weight is 7lb 8oz. However, there are the odd exceptions. Baby baby George King who weighed 15lbs 7oz when he was born in the UK. He was so big that his shoulders got stuck during the delivery. One mother in Russia gave birth to a 17lb 1oz baby in 2017. The mother may have thought nothing of it however, she already had eleven children! The heaviest surviving baby was born in the 1950s in Italy and weighed over twenty-two pounds.
8. Five-day labor
Many mothers love to tell their gruesome birth stories, almost as a badge of honor. However, one mother suffered in agony with her birth for five days. She ended up having an emergency cesarean after all that. Her second birth was three days long, but she did end up having a natural delivery.
The longest labor recorded took eleven days, sixteen hours and four minutes! Although these are extreme cases, there is evidence that labors for today’s mums are taking around two and a half hours longer than they did fifty years ago, according to the Daily Mail.
Stories abound across the internet of mothers who have horrendous experiences with birth. They labor and labor and wonder when it will ever end. Some are completely traumatized by the experience, all of them are dead tired.
As long as the end result is a happy mother and baby, most women are not put off having more children. However, for some, the trauma of an extended labor can lead to psychological issues or a planned cesarean section for future deliveries.
There are just as many stories about super quick labors. Mums recall how they gave birth in lifts, in cars and even on the loo. Babies come when they are ready, quick or slow.
7. Gave birth in a car
Melissa Ayling from Western Australia did not quite get the calm water birth at home that she had planned. She had booked the birthing pool, she had planned the soothing music and she was ready for a calm and nurturing experience. However, Melissa went into labor at 39 weeks but remained calm through the day as she contracted at home. By 4 pm she decided she really needed to go to the hospital. Husband, Sam got in the car to drive her to the local hospital and as she got into the car and Sam started driving, Melissa felt the urge to push.
Her husband pulled over as Melissa’s waters broke and she felt the baby’s head emerge. With help from a passerby and an invaluable catch from Sam, Melissa gave birth to baby Lockie by the side of the road. Fortunately, Melissa is a hypnobirthing teacher and was able to keep herself calm as she went through the unusual birth.
A local youngster called an ambulance and paramedics came to attend to the mother and baby, who were given a clean bill of health and went home the next day. Sam made sure he got the car thoroughly cleaned!
6. Having three babies all in tornadoes
A mother in Kentucky has got to be one of the unluckiest women in the world. All three of her babies have been born in tornadoes. She made the local news where she described the amazing phenomenon that has occurred during all three of her labors.
There are other horror stories of babies being born during American tornadoes, some to mothers whose homes have just been destroyed. They remember hospital windows smashing and objects crashing to the floor as the medical staff focused on safely delivering their babies.
There are other stories of babies being born from natural disasters like typhoons, floods. One lady in Mozambique gave birth in a tree. The woman, Sofia Pedro climbed the tree to escape swirling waters. She was stuck there for three days and went into labor, gave birth on her own and clung to her newborn baby until help arrived. Luckily both mother and baby were absolutely fine. Sofia had no remorse about the circumstances of her baby’s arrival into the world, just expressing her happiness that both of them were still alive.
A British mother delivered her baby a month early in 2015. She also gave birth under a tree, however, this one was in her own home, it was a Christmas tree!
5. Permanent wind all through pregnancy
Many women suffer from embarrassing wind and bloating during pregnancy especially during the early months. This is due to the hormone, progesterone, which is released into the bloodstream along with relaxin which relaxes muscles all over the body, including in your digestive system. Hence the flatulence and bloating. Sometimes it is uncontrollable and causes awkwardness and hopefully humor for the suffering mothers.
Then as we near the end of pregnancy, burping comes along, just when we thought we had got over the embarrassment of the first few months. The stomach is squashed by the growing baby and the rib cage lifts to accommodate the extra weight. This puts pressure on the stomach and with the added hormones in the body, this can cause painful heartburn and permanent wind. Some women suffer from flatulence all through their nine months. It can cause extreme pain, and mothers have been known to think they are in labor when it was a case of trapped wind. Of course, real labor will have a few more signs than trapped wind and will be a muscular pain rather than a wind pain, but if you are a first-time mum the difference is not always easy to work out.
4. Home birth
The idea of a home birth is one that many women cherish. The thought of being in our home and having the comforts around us is very appealing. If a mother is healthy and there are no complications in pregnancy, midwives may agree that a home birth is the best option. It harks back to the days when all babies were born at home, and although survival rates were not as good as they are now, it took years before women became comfortable with the idea of a hospital delivery.
One family made their home birth a true family affair and got the younger children fully involved in their younger sibling’s birth. The younger child seems to have been at the catching end of the birth if the blood on his hands is anything to go by. It is a lovely idea to get the children involved in a younger sibling’s birth, but possibly this is going a little far!
Home births have become much more popular in recent years. Women often feel more relaxed at home and relish the opportunity of a midwife-led delivery with minimal intervention. Independent midwives and doulas are available to attend these births either with or without a hospital counterpart.
3. Loss of memory
We know that baby brain can make us forgetful. Even though it isn’t recognized scientifically, doctors and midwives will chuckle at our stories of madness and sigh ‘ah baby brain!’. Stories range from forgetting how to add up, forgetting children, conversations, keys and turning up for appointments at the wrong time
There is evidence that hormonal changes can affect our brains, and further research is being done to see if it could be related to iron deficiency, according to the Baby Corner. Researchers likened the function of a pregnancy brain to that of a 60-year-old. Luckily, we are told that any short-term memory loss will rectify itself after the baby is born. There is some evidence from MRI scans that women actually lose brain tissue during pregnancy and that this lasts for a further two years after delivery.
Between fifty and eighty percent of expectant mothers experience some sort of memory loss during pregnancy. Research is trying to pin down exactly what causes these lapses of concentration and focus. In the meantime, it is just a fact of life for most pregnant women, who have a host of hilarious stories to tell of mislaid items and appointments.
2. Transparent tummy and fear of birth
We all know that there’s a baby in our tummies, but this picture is a little too close to home. Mums and dads love to take odd pictures of the pregnancy bump, and the pictures get wilder and wackier it seems. It might seem like a fun idea to have a window on what our baby is up to but for now, we will have to rely on ultrasound scans.
Whilst pictures like this bring home the reality of pregnancy, for some women, it is a real fear. A condition called tokophobia is an actual fear of giving birth and can be debilitating. It can be so overwhelming to some women that they opt for a termination or a cesarean section according to The NCT. Sometimes it is related to a bad birth experience previously, or an experience related to a friend or relative.
Some women find the experience of being pregnant and knowing that they have to give birth so terrifying, that they abort their babies. This is a very extreme scenario and psychological support should be offered before a mother gets to this stage.
1. Inflated stomach
Oh dear. We all know that pregnancy can make us a little scatty. ‘Baby brain’ is an issue that women suffer from all the time. This couple seems to have suffered from a double dose. This hilarious picture is from Team Jimmy Joe, which provides a series of pictures titled Pregnancy Photos that might make you go sterile! Indeed it may feel as if someone has attached a mechanical pump to our stomachs, particularly in the final days of pregnancy when it feels as if the skin around the stomach can stretch no more.
Baby brain is not a scientifically proven condition but there are links to forgetfulness from lack of sleep, tiredness and hormonal changes. Some call this condition ‘momnesia’ and could be a result of increased levels of progesterone and estrogen in the body which affects the mother’s brain. It seems that mothers who are expecting girls are more forgetful than those carrying boys! Again this may relate to hormonal levels, but when the keys have disappeared again and a friend is calling to ask where you were for this morning’s coffee, it is embarrassing and frustrating whatever the gender of the unborn child.