I wish I’d come across a post like this nine months ago whilst sitting on the toilet waiting for that little white stick to give me a verdict. Personally, I feel that even if you planned to get pregnant, are undergoing IVF or are one of the lucky ones who fall pregnant the first time, you will still have a moment of OH SH*T when it finally happens. Perhaps I was super naive or it’s because there have never been any little ones in my family but my expectations of pregnancy were very different to what actually happened and so I thought I’d share with you ten things I wish I’d known about pregnancy.

One: The first twelve weeks before your first scan can leave you feeling hormonal, anxious and alone. Finding out you’re pregnant will be a mixture of emotions, so prepare to feel like you’re on a super period. Whilst I was incredibly excited to be pregnant I suddenly had a huge wave of anxiousness and panic that anything I did could damage the baby. I worried every time I went to the toilet in case there was blood in my pants and was convinced everyone around me knew I was pregnant. I felt overly protective and a little lost in myself. Just remember you are not alone, speak to your partner, closest friends or midwife and you’ll soon feel better.

Two: Everyone will have an opinion and they’ll happily share it with you. Opinions start flying at you from every direction once the news is out, what you should / shouldn’t do, eat, how to sleep, what to buy, what not to buy, how you should be feeling, the list goes on. My top tip is to smile and nod, listen to those who you’ve always listened to and shut your ears around the rest. After all, mum knows best and that’s now you!

Three: Your body will change but not how you expect it to. I fully expected to simply start piling on the pounds as soon as I peed on that stick but everyone is different. We all hold weight in different areas and the change happens over time, not overnight, so try not to listen to a negative mindset. In all honesty, I put on my most weight during the last trimester but it still wasn’t as much as I thought it would be and remember water, blood, boobs and more, it all contributes, it’s not fat, you’re growing a human.

Four: Choices. Something I never realised was how many choices you are able to have during labour. I was always under the impression that you simply surrendered to the men or women in white coats but as any Antenatal or Hypnobirthing class will teach you, it’s your pregnancy and your labour. Read up, ask questions and create a birth plan that you and your partner are comfortable with, obviously if it all goes tits up then you’ll go with the best option for you and your baby but while you are a low risk it’s great to know all the ins and outs.

Five: Discharge. You suddenly turn into a leaky tap, I’m talking wet pants and a milky white or sometimes yellow discharge at any time of day. I wasn’t prepared for this and kept trying to wear my favourite underwear until I realised that I was fighting a losing battle. It’s better to have some pads or bigger pants with you from Trimester two onwards just in case.

Six: The ‘waddle’. My husband says I would walk like an Oompa Loompa post 6pm and he’s right. The increase of the hormone Relaxin and added pressure from the day on your pelvis can cause you to waddle a little like a ticking clock. Mine kicked in at 37 weeks but if you find yours is happening much earlier I suggest adding a Pregnancy Yoga or swim into your week to strengthen and ease the pressure on your pelvis.

Seven:  Kicks. People told me they would feel like little butterfly flutters but personally, I thought it felt like I was farting internally. Feeling your bump kick is such a crazy amazing feeling but it can also be a worry one. As soon as I felt the kicks I panicked if they stopped. It was also a slight issue for everyone around me, as they were all so eager to feel it too but most times they were either too faint or the minute someone else touched me, bump would stop moving. Prepare those around you for the fact that babies don’t kick to demand and actually you just might find it’s easier to get everyone feeling your bump when it has hiccups!

Eight:  Impatient. You start living your life in weeks and the penultimate countdown to 40, otherwise known as your due date. You also learn that only 5% of babies are born on this date and that it’s more of a birth month with babies being able to be born between 37 to 42 weeks. The crazy part is you’ll find some people try to compete with you to have their baby first, like it’s a race and suddenly you’re eating gallons of pineapple, bouncing on a ball and demanding your partner has sex with you to make the baby arrive quicker! Remember babies come when they’re ready and although you might feel uncomfortable or simply wish the pregnancy was over, you’ll most likely wish you had those free days back once bump arrives.

Nine:  Puffiness. Now I was told my ankles, hands and legs would probably swell up due to water retention but that didn’t happen to me, instead, I found myself dealing with a puffy vagina. Extra blood flow and pressure turned my small, neat vagina into something much puffier and larger. I’ve been told it will go back to normal once bump is here so I’ll keep you all posted.

Ten:  Sweat. Something I am so used to and actually love when working out but I don’t love it so much when it’s in the middle of the night and I wake up in a pool of sweat or when I sit in a chair, stand up and realise I’ve left a wet vagina line on the seat. From trimester two I found that I was boiling from my belly button to the top of my thighs, the whole undercarriage was like a furnace and it sweated like one too. Again bigger pants, pads or just simply darker clothing if you’re worried about sweat patches. I loved writing this post and sharing with you so please do the same by letting me know the things you wish you knew about pregnancy in the comments below!