To say that pregnancy is an amazing experience is an understatement. The changes a woman experiences during pregnancy impact every aspect of existence. Her body, mind, and heart are all completely hijacked by the miracle of life. Sometimes these changes come as a bit of a shock for expectant moms, so we've gathered the most bizarre facts about pregnancy to both enlighten and prepare you for the wild ten-month ride that is pregnancy. That's right, I said ten months...
1) While everyone and their mom thinks that pregnancy is 9 months long, it's really 10.
If you’re a first-time mom, you have every reason to believe that your pregnancy will last nine months, give or take a week or two, considering this “fact” seems to be taken as common knowledge.
However, your doctor will determine your ideal due date to be forty weeks from the first day of your last menstrual cycle. This means that the first two weeks of your pregnancy you’ve yet to conceive. So that accounts for two weeks of pregnancy that are often unaccounted for. What about the other two weeks?
In 2013, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists and the Society for Maternal-Fetal Medicine, officially changed what’s considered to be a full-term pregnancy. The Today Show explains, “While 37 weeks has been considered full-term up until now, 39 to 40 weeks is the new definition (37 to 38 weeks will now be considered early term). Late term is now 41 to 42 weeks, and the poor unfortunate souls still pregnant past 42 weeks will be classified as postterm.”
When you add it all up you’ve got a total of forty weeks of pregnancy. While the first two weeks of pregnancy may seem gratuitous, let me tell you, the last two weeks of a full term pregnancy are no joke and each gloriously uncomfortable moment counts.
40 weeks, people. Do the math.
2) "Mom brain" is a real thing.
According to Facts of Life, “A woman’s brain shrinks during the third trimester of pregnancy and takes up to 6 months after giving birth to regain its full size.” So when you find yourself furiously searching for a diaper for fifteen minutes while you’ve already got one in your hand, or driving away with the diaper bag on top of the car, know that it’s just your “mom brain” messing with you.
Not only are you sleep deprived, you’re brain is actually missing a few much-needed brain cells. Don’t worry, they’ll be back. For 6 months, you officially have a legitimate excuse for any airhead moments or lapses in memory. Don’t hesitate to pull the “mom brain” card as needed.
3) Your heart grows, and not just in a cheesy metaphorical way.
During pregnancy, a woman’s heart increases in size so that it can pump the extra 40-50% of blood she has running through her veins. And it doesn’t just grow bigger; it beats faster, too. The walls of the ventricles thicken in order to pump all that extra blood. Extra blood and relaxed arteries allow the heart to beat more often without overexerting itself.
4) Your baby can taste the food you eat during pregnancy.
According to News Scientist, babies in the womb cannot only taste the food their mothers consume during pregnancy, but they actually prefer for those foods for the first few days after birth. So maybe go easy on the hot sauce, yeah?
5) You might have X-rated dreams.
Due to sudden fluctuations in hormone levels, many women report having dreams of an erotic nature during pregnancy, and even experience orgasms while asleep. According to Parent24.com, “Heightened libido is normal during pregnancy because your entire pelvic region is engorged with blood, making you far more sensitive.”
While I’ve heard my share of pregnancy sex dreams, I’ve yet to hear anyone complaining.