Pregnancy: Expectations vs. Realities

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Updated on Apr 11, 2013

In the movies, a woman becomes pregnant and adorably rounds out as she sends her hubby out for ice cream at 4 a.m. She gets to relax with her feet up as her adoring friends who naturally throw her a beautiful baby shower and giggle over the first kick she feels.

 In real life, your pregnancy might be slightly less picturesque as you navigate the nine months of havoc wreaked on your bod. Don't be surprised when issues that are somewhat less desirable overshadow the picture-perfect pregnancy myth.

Expectation: "Oh honey, you're glowing!" Reality: "Um, should I pick you up some cleanser?" Much is made of that pregnancy glow that women are supposed to exude the moment they're with child. Of course, what looks like a glowing skin might be pure sweat—pregnancy spikes your core temperature so you feel hot all the time. And your supposedly gorgeous skin? It can be affected by hormonal acne and melasma—a hyperpigmentation that affects the upper lip and forehead.

Expectation: "I'm craving pickles and ice cream!" Reality: "Suddenly that rock looks delicious."  Ah, pickles and ice cream—the old Hollywood standby to represent pregnancy cravings. And while pregnancy cravings are totally normal, some are a little outside the realm of a regular grocery store. A 1998 study published in the Journal of the American Dietetic Association found that a majority of pregnant women surveyed suffered from a condition called pica, which is craving substances that are non-nutritive. Sure, a pickle craving is cute—but what if you crave pavement, corn starch or baking soda, like 8.2 percent of pregnant women? Not so cute, is it?

Expectation: "Once the morning sickness is over, I can start my day." Reality: "I feel sick morning, noon and night." The person who created the label "morning sickness" must have been a man, because pregnant women know that pregnancy illness doesn't own a watch. That nauseous feeling can creep up any time during the day leaving you feeling both green and hungry at every mealtime.

Expectation: "My kicking baby is adorable." Reality: "Can I have my body back now?" That first kick—it's indescribable as far as pregnancy moments are concerned. But what started out as your own tiny miracle can become a huge nuisance as your pregnancy wears on. Suddenly, that foot under your ribs or in your bladder isn't as cute as it once was and you're wishing for your pregnancy to be over so you can get some personal space.

Expectation: "I'll definitely keep exercising so I lose weight quickly after the birth." Reality: "I'm tired. I can exercise after I give birth, right?" While a goal to continue low impact exercise throughout your pregnancy is definitely admirable, you might want to aim low. Staying fit and active can be seriously tough during the first trimester—when you're sick the entire time—and during the third trimester—when you feel like a house. Don't beat yourself up too much about skipping a few exercise days, since it's completely normal to need some rest.

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