Pregnancy is a beautiful thing. Or maybe it’s just the baby you get afterwards that’s a beautiful thing. Or maybe it’s both! I actually can’t complain too much because my pregnancy had been quite easy, especially compared to some mama’s I know who really struggled with morning sickness, extreme pain, and fatigue.
That being said, towards the end is really when it became…pretty unbearable. I really couldn’t wait for my due date to be here, and even found myself hoping he would come early (and he did!).
Here’s a list I came up with of the most annoying things that plagued me and how I (mostly) dealt with them. Please keep in mind, every woman and pregnancy is different so you may never experience these things – or you may deal with other things.
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1. Sleeping became horribly unpleasant
This was the hardest thing for me to handle. I love sleep. I’ve always been someone who sleeps in till 11 or later, takes naps throughout the day, and generally can just pass out when I’m super tired and stay asleep. Enter third trimester uncomfortableness! In the beginning of my pregnancy, I didn’t struggle with sleeping and wondered when this side effect I had heard about would hit me. Well, the answer is around week 33 or so. I could no longer sleep on my back (I’ll get to this in a minute) and sleeping on my side for too long resulted in horrible hip pain.
Sleeping on your back in the second half of pregnancy is not only frowned upon, but it becomes downright impossible towards the end. By this stage in pregnancy, the baby is big enough to compress your inferior vena cava when you lay on your back. This drops your blood pressure and feels terribly uncomfortable. You may feel like vomiting or even passing out if you lay on your back long enough. It’s extremely frustrating for us back-sleepers out there; sometimes it’s the only way I can fall asleep!
So, I was forced to sleep on my sides. However, I would need to switch from side to side so frequently that my sleep was horribly interrupted. My hips would start to feel so bruised, that I’d have to switch to avoid crying out in pain. And when I say frequently…I mean every 5-10 minutes. Nobody can get a good nights sleep when switching from side to side every 10 minutes!
How I handled it:
I started using a body pillow by week 36. It helped but only some. Some nights my hips wouldn’t bother me, and some nights they still would. I’d lie on my back very briefly, and even in those brief moments, I’d have instant relief. I also started stretching before bed and when I woke up. I found some pregnancy friendly hip stretches online and used a yoga ball. I also tried sleeping on the couch now and then, which actually felt pretty comfortable. Other than that – I didn’t find much that helped my hip pain.
2. Moving around is difficult, awkward, and even painful.
Starting in the middle of the second trimester, my belly started to feel so sore. After sitting or lying for a long period, I’d stand up and have to really take my time and hold my belly or it would seriously hurt. Getting up, then walking would be painful and I’d have to move slowly.
Moving from side to side in bed was also very difficult because things in my body were just off. My belly was in my way, my organs were feeling squished, and I was paranoid about hurting the baby so I’d move slowly and awkwardly.
On top of those things, the “pregnancy waddle” is very real. I tried to be mindful of it and not walk that way, but it’s hard! Towards the end (around week 37) I just embraced it and didn’t care anymore. But it’s definitely something you can’t help.
How I handled it:
Honestly, I don’t know if much can help this problem. I had a few people suggest a belly wrap, but I was in week 36 by then and didn’t think it would make sense to spend money on something like that this far in. But next time I will surely get one! Otherwise, I moved slowly when getting up and walking to minimize any pain, and it sounds weird but I sat with my legs wide open. Guys do it, why can’t we?! It was just comfortable, especially when my tummy felt so full and squished.
3. You suddenly can't breathe
This happened to me for 2 reasons:
My lungs were being squished
My nose was all stuffed up
The former only happened after week 35 or so - when baby was bigger. My lungs were being squished by him and walking short distances was difficult. Any sort of activity caused me to need to rest for a bit to catch my breath.
The latter happened probably about halfway through and lasted until the end! My nose was stuffed all the time and I was always sniffling. Talk about annoying! This was something I definitely NEVER knew about about at all.
How I handled it:
I tried to reduce how strenuously I did things, so as to not get out of breath easily. And since I was 35+ weeks along, nobody batted an eye if I sat out of anything that was too activity-heavy. As for the nose sniffling...I just had to grin and bear it. :(
4. Putting on shoes and socks by yourself was almost impossible
This is kind of silly but I still truly didn’t realize how little I could do for myself! By week 30 or so, I couldn’t bend a certain way to get my shoes or socks on – not for fear of hurting baby but because it hurt my lungs and other organs! Everything is pushed up to make room for baby, so not being able to bend or move a certain way is a real thing. I really tried to do most of these little things myself (putting on shoes, socks, picking up something I dropped) for as long as possible, but at some point, I had to accept help from my partner.
How I handled it:
Single moms – I applaud you for many reasons, and this is one of them! I have a wonderful husband who always helped me put my shoes and socks on (if we were both home) and I’m forever grateful. Otherwise, it was a sight to see! So, if you have someone to help you then take advantage of it! I hated asking him for help all the time for things that many able-bodied adults can do, but I had to put my pride aside and just ask.
5. The heartburn problem is SO real
I was told at the beginning of my pregnancy that the heartburn would be so bad. For the first half, I didn’t really experience this! I had some slight heartburn but nothing persistent or constant. But bring on the second half, and the heartburn was almost every day! And this didn’t feel like regular heartburn. For me, it was so painful and I felt that I had to burp all the time, but it wouldn’t come out. Instead, my chest just burned and it felt like a big bubble just sitting there. VERY uncomfortable, believe me. Laying down, of course, didn’t help and I would have to sit up in the middle of the night to try and relieve it.
How I handled it:
Tums!! At the beginning of my pregnancy, Tums didn’t really work for my heartburn so I had to just grin and bear it. Luckily, towards the end, when it was more severe, the Tums totally worked. I will also suggest taking the Tums BEFORE you think you need them. This helped a lot. I’d take them a little before bed, and I wouldn’t have the problem of needing to sit up to relieve the heartburn as often. I also would take them either right before or right after eating and then it wouldn’t be so bad. It was never fully cured, but I started to experience it less often and when it did happen, it wasn’t so severe.
We all hear about the normal things that go along with pregnancy: nausea, vomiting, heartburn, frequent trips to the bathroom, and the waddle. However, I never knew some of these would hit me so hard and would really hinder my every day life! I was truly super ignorant to the whole pregnancy thing and some of these side effects totally surprised me – I was just never told! So I hope that if you’re feeling alone in your ignorance, this will make you feel a little bit better.
What unexpected things did you encounter with your pregnancy? How did you cope?