Congratulations! Whether you are expecting a baby or considering becoming pregnant, it is a time to celebrate. With this new experience, many questions may arise. What is it really like? What are some things that happen to a pregnant woman and her body that friends don't share? Boldly and honestly, here are some truths. The side effects of pregnancy - some are common knowledge, some may surprise you.

  • "Morning sickness" is a joke. It should be called, "If-you're-lucky-it'll only-last-all-day-for-12-to-13-weeks" sickness. Welcome to having something that feels worse than the flu for 13-40 weeks.

  • Your husband or partner will be delighted about your larger breasts, until he realizes he can't touch them because they are tender breasts.

  • The little munchkin that is growing, though smaller than your fist, will zap all of your energy and leave you with nothing more than extreme fatigue.

  • Weight gain is expected, but not 50 to 100 pounds that some women gain. If you happen to be one of those gals that hardly gains anything and barely looks pregnant, well, good for you. Feel free to eat a cheeseburger and, while you're at it, treat yourself to a milkshake. Better yet, if you're pregnant (regardless of weight) you deserve a milkshake.

  • Pregnancy leads to a voracious appetite. Eating for two - football teams, that is. Later in pregnancy, you won't be able to eat as much at a time thus you'll be eating more often - just about all the time.

  • You know those yearly appointments for pap smears; the ones where you leave feeling violated? By the end of your pregnancy (and especially after delivery), having someone's hand in your private areas won't seem that bad.

  • Loss of bladder control will have you nervous to sneeze, cough, laugh, run, jump or pretty much anything that may add any amount of pressure on your bladder, and it will be like that even after the baby is born. Become familiar with leg crossing to maintain control and Kegel exercises.

  • Stretch marks may not just occur on your belly, but also thighs, calves, arms and breasts. Hope you like tiger stripes.

  • People, even strangers will touch, pat and talk to pregnant bellies. If a person touches you without permission, touch their belly back. It will help them see how they are invading personal space.

  • Friends, family, acquaintances and strangers will ask you personal questions. At the store, the gym, church or anywhere random people feel the need to ask personal questions about your pregnancy. Due date, name, how far along, sex of the baby and pretty much anything else they want to ask.

  • Well-intentioned family, friends, acquaintances, and strangers will offer advice, whether wanted, or not. Take good ideas, leave the rest. Say, "thank you, I'll consider that" and leave it at that.

  • Babies kick - hard. You'll be wondering if you have a "soccer playing-surfer-ninja-cheerleader" growing inside you. The visual from outside looks like you have an alien about to burst out, like in Spaceballs.

  • Mood swings come in full force due to hormone changes. You're happy. You're sad. You're crying during sappy commercials. Little things or comments will send you into a rage.

  • Crazy dreams often accompany pregnancy. Consider documenting them and write a book about it. It could become the next "teen-middle-aged woman-fictional-fantasy."

  • Sleep deprivation is a little gift your new baby brings to help you remember your teenage or college days of willfully staying up late - on purpose!

  • You may regain your abs of steel, but you will have trouble seeing them under your new layer of sagging stretched out skin.

  • Whether you choose to breastfeed or not, your breasts will produce milk. When this happens, you will become exceptionally large, and in pain. Milk will often leak or spray out unexpectedly - it's as if you're a party favor, but this is no party. It's called engorgement.

  • Does it hurt to stand, sit, walk, etc? This could be a result of sciatica. Pain anywhere from your rear or down your legs.

  • Due to blood vessels swelling you may feel stuffed up all the time and will probably snore like a chainsaw. Get your partner a nice set of ear plugs.

  • Everything having to do with your nether regions will not be normal for quite some time. You just squeezed a watermelon out of a space the size of a lemon, what'd you expect? When you finally can use the bathroom normally, walk without pain and not have to blot yourself dry, celebrate.

Surely, there are many more "side effects" of pregnancy - hair loss or growth, hemorrhoids, cravings, mood swings, among others that you may experience, or other moms could add to this list. If you've already had children, you understand and think much of this is funny because you can relate. If not, don't worry, it'll be funny later when you can hopefully laugh without wetting yourself.

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