The Five Scariest Facts About Pregnancy
As if 16 & Pregnant and my 7th grade health class didn’t give me enough reasons to never produce offspring, turns out there’s a bunch of other aspects of pregnancy that scare the hell out of me. Maybe I’m biased since I’ve never had much of an interest in having kids, but just consider this a fair warning from one female to another: if you don’t want to deal with the following, not to mention the actual raising of a human child, USE PROTECTION. Moving on.
1) Morning Sickness
One of the first things many think of when they hear the word “pregnancy” is morning sickness. “Oh, that’s nothing,” you may say. “I spent a whole night vomiting after Bobby’s house party, I can deal with a morning or two.” Oh, really? Morning sickness, which occurs in over half of all pregnant women and is often due to increased estrogen levels, doesn’t always stick to the morning. In fact, the nausea may last throughout the day and, in severe cases, excessive vomiting can lead to dehydration, weight loss, heartburn, flatulence and a host of other lovely side effects. This “extreme” morning sickness is called hyperemesis gravidarum and can land one in the hospital. Not so easy to deal with anymore, huh?
2) Diastasis recti
Diastasis recti is a separation between the left and right sides of the abdominal muscle during pregnancy. After you push that little rascal out, however, the walls stay separated, and what looks like a ridge runs down the middle of your belly (for the love of all that is holy, do not Google this image). In severe cases, if a woman becomes pregnant again, the outline of the uterus or fetus may appear to stick out of the stomach. I imagine it’s quite similar to that scene in Alien, but having no experience, I can’t be sure.
Incontinence (otherwise known as involuntarily peeing yourself) and pregnancy go hand-in-hand. The adorable bun growing in your oven unfortunately applies increasing pressure to your bladder. One inopportune sneeze and someone’s gonna have some cleaning up to do. However, hope is not lost! Turns out Kegel exercises (basically crunches for your lady bits) can help control leakage. So should you ever have trouble with the plumbing down there, there is a solution. Just sayin’.
I’m not talking about that “pregnancy glow” in which pregnant women apparently take on characteristics of a Twilight vampire. The skin changes I’m referring to aren’t so attractive (not that glowing is necessarily attractive, but I digress). One common condition is chloasma. This occurs in 50-75% of pregnant women and is caused by increased melanin in the skin, which basically means you develop brown and/or yellowy patches, usually on your face. There is also an increased likelihood of spider veins and skin tags, as well as the development of acne because of the extra hormones now coursing through your body. As if this wasn’t enough to make you appear like you roam the bowels of an opera house (Phantom of the Opera anyone?), around one percent of pregnant women also develop PUPPS: that is, pruritic urticarial papules and plaques of pregnancy. Basically, these are itchy, red patches on the thighs, butt, abdomen and other extremities. Again, the faint of heart should not Google this.
Oh yeah. I went there. While I’m not sure if this is the correct medical terminology, “cheeseburger crotch” refers to a swelling of the vulva, which makes it appear as if you have stuffed a Big Mac into your panties. Cheeseburger crotch also comes with other wonderful side effects, such as itching, discharge and odor. Fabulous. Oddly enough, this term is safe to Google, but don’t say I didn’t warn you if you decide to explore.
In conclusion, ladies, pregnancy isn’t what they make it out to be in the movies. A bit of vomiting, some crying, maybe a little weight gain and then you get an adorable baby in the end. You can’t fool me, Hollywood! And now you readers won’t be fooled either. Be careful what you wish for.
Isabel is a sophomore at the University of Delaware. When not out unintentionally offending people, she enjoys the use of bad puns and a nice solo cup of whatever’s cheapest. Follow her inane tweets @IzzyAndTheJets.