From time to time, I forget I am not pregnant anymore. I feel a flutter in my tummy, and I think it’s the baby kicking. I lie on my back, and think I shouldn’t be doing this because it is bad for the baby. It’s getting less now, but I still find it a strange idea that I am not pregnant anymore.
I also thought I would miss being pregnant, but to be honest I don’t. It is so much nicer to know who I am talking about and caring for Maria together with Ahmed. While I did enjoy being pregnant, I am enjoying motherhood so much more! Plus, there are a bunch of things I will not miss about pregnancy AT ALL! Or, to put it in a different way, there are many things I missed during those 9 months. Let me give you an overview of the 10 things I missed most.
1. Rigorous workouts
People who know me won’t be surprised about this one. I love running, and especially vigorous runs. I avoided raising my heart rate over 160 bpm during my entire pregnancy, though I must admit there was the occasional interval training, tempo run or road race that pushed me a bit beyond this self-imposed limit. Which, of course, left me feel incredibly guilty and selfish and afraid that something was wrong with the baby. However, generally my goals changed throughout this period, but that didn’t make me forget about my pre-pregnancy running goals and dreams, and I cannot wait to go back to training for road and track races! I will definitely share my experience on this blog once I go back to running. (For my postpartum updates so far, see this post and this post.)
2. Being in control of my bladder
Is there anything more embarrassing than doing your weekly groceries and suddenly needing the bathroom, like, right now? Or during a run without any bushes or trees in sight? Or while being in a coffeeshop with a friend who is just sharing her deepest secret with you? Or… You get the idea, and it is not fun. And while I read several times that this is common during the first and third semester, I was among the lucky few who had to deal with this inconvenience their entire pregnancy long. You will understand I am religiously doing my pelvic floor exercises to prevent any future problems.
3. My wardrobe
For some, pregnancy may be a perfect excuse to shop for a new wardrobe, but I stuck to two or three maternity pants and some stretchy stockings and dresses. I was lucky to be not extremely big, so some of my looser regular clothes would still fit. For running, Ahmed’s wardrobe came in very handy during the last two months. That being said, being limited to the same long shirts and stretchy pants did become kinda boring, especially when the weather got cooler and I couldn’t wear summer dresses anymore, cutting my choices by half. I felt it wasn’t worth investing in a large maternity wardrobe, but I am certainly excited about shopping for some fashionable post-pregnancy outfits!
4. Saunas and steam rooms
I am not a regular sauna goer but do appreciate the occasional spa visit a couple of times a year. Not during these past nine months… Saunas, steam rooms, hot tubs and other heat treatments are not recommended during pregnancy, as the excessive temperatures can harm both foetus and mother. I guess I could’ve still gone to a spa and enjoy the swimming pool and other facilities, but I figured it wasn’t worth the price if I could not take any heat treatments. I doubt there will be any chance to visit a sauna or spa any time soon, though, but I am happy I am – at least in theory – able to enjoy them any time I feel like.
5. Breathing easily through my nose
This may make you giggle, but having a stuffy nose is a common pregnancy ache and even has a name: rhinitis of pregnancy. According to the BabyCenter website, higher amounts of oestrogen during pregnancy can cause swelling in the mucous membranes lining the nose, and the increased amount of blood in the body may cause swelling of the blood vessels. Overall, I had a very smooth pregnancy, but this one did hit me, especially during the third trimester and mainly while lying down. Some nights, it kept me awake for hours, and there was not much I could do, as most decongestant sprays are not safe to use during pregnancy.
6. Being able to have more than 1 cup of coffee a day
I’m not a caffeine junkie at all, and the average daily amount of Joes I drank pre-pregnancy was probably one cup, but just knowing that I could have more if I wanted or needed to was reassuring. Or that’s my conclusion, because I savoured my single daily cup like never before when I was pregnant, and if I couldn’t have it… I know I could have had several cups of decaffeinated coffee if I desperately needed more than one daily, and that there is no consensus about the amount of caffeine pregnant women can have. I also know I probably won’t increase my intake any time soon, as I like to keep drinking it in moderation. I guess forbidden fruit always tastes sweeter.
UPDATE: While writing this post, I didn’t realise that as long as I’m breastfeeding, I still cannot (or don’t want to) have more than a cup a day. Oh, well…
7. Soft cheese and soft serve ice cream
Talking about forbidden fruit, there is so much controversy surrounding soft cheeses and soft serve ice cream. I initially thought it was ok to eat soft cheeses like brie, feta, chèvre, or cottage cheese as long as they had been pasteurised. My midwife, however, told me it was safe to consume them only when eaten right after opening. Lest I finished an entire package of brie as soon as I opened it I was not going to be able to eat these things. Luckily, soft serve ice cream was still there for me… Until I read in one of the healthy-eating-during-pregnancy brochures that that was a no-go as well. Turns out that although made from pasteurised milk, if the machine is not properly cleaned listeria bacteria can start growing in the tubes. Bye, bye, Sundae; hello Magnum!
8. Sleeping on my back
I must admit I kinda smuggled a little bit here. I simply could not stop sleeping on my back. The rationale here is that supine sleeping reduces blood flow to the foetus because of the weight of the uterus pressing on a major vein. This means the baby is getting less oxygen and fewer nutrients. (Source.) Though I had always been a side sleeper my entire life, this ironically changed just before I got pregnant, and I couldn’t get myself back to my old preference. I tried as much as possible, but there were nights I focused so much on this that I would wake up numerous times semi-panicking whether I was lying on my back. At last, I figured baby wouldn’t benefit from an exhausted mother either, so I became a bit more lenient with myself. Recently, I heard that this whole “less oxygen and fewer nutrients theory” isn’t set in stone either, so I’m happy I let go a bit.
UPDATE: Six weeks postpartum I am completely back to being a side sleeper again. How did I even enjoy sleeping on my back?!
9. Nonexistence of haemorrhoids
Ok, now this is the one that probably really makes you giggle, but I can only say they are a pain in the arse (pun intended). I thought my healthy diet with plenty of fibres would save me from this pregnancy ache, but I was wrong. Turns out they are rather common during pregnancy and postpartum, and there’s not much you can do other then wait for them to disappear after pregnancy. I don’t think this point needs any more explanation, except perhaps clarify that rather than missing their nonexistence they were the single thing I hated most while being pregnant.
10. Crunches, push-ups, planks, etc.
Slightly similar to number 1 and admittedly contradicting my post on 10 things I love about being pregnant, I often felt frustrated seeing my hard work to be fit and strong going through the drain. I kept doing push ups and planks until well in my third trimester, but there came a time I was too afraid of abdominal separation to continue these. I kept my abs in shape with some yoga poses but nothing too straining. I also stopped doing heavy lunges, squats, and other weight lifting exercises, though that was mainly because of my move to New Zealand, where I had no access to a gym. Despite appreciating a little break from these, I did miss them and am looking forward to working on a strong body again.
UPDATE: I could not avoid some abdominal separation and am now wondering when I can start doing crunches, push ups, etc. again. Any tips on this are welcome!
I’m sure there’s more I missed, but this is what came up first. Now, what did you miss during pregnancy? Or what do you think you would miss?