Very few things in life hold such a profound significance and bring on such big changes as going through pregnancy. It not only affects the woman and her partner, but all the people in their lives. It’s true that the an expecting mother has a certain glow about her, but the miracle of life comes with a long list of side-effects that you have to have to keep in mind if a loved one is pregnant. It can be someone challenging at times to stay on a pregnant woman’s good side, so it is important to remember a few things about women who are carrying a child.
1. They can develop a powerful nesting instinct
Some women can develop a strong urge to clean up and decorate their home for the newborn, particularly during the first trimester. It’s only logical that some changes have to be made to accommodate another member of the family, but don’t be surprised if most of a pregnant woman’s day consists of looking for baby stuff, talking about baby stuff, rearranging furniture, shopping for furniture and paint and so on. It’s best to just play along and offer a helping hand, but stay out of her way when it comes to big interior decoration decisions.
2. They can also become incredibly lazy and expect plenty of help
While there might be a strong nesting instinct in one group of pregnant women, others will start to get increasingly lazier. You will be expected, if not outright asked, to help out with the chores, which usually means doing the lion’s share of the work. With some luck you’ll probably be able to avoid big problems around the house, e.g. parts of it rotting away, and a few DIY home maintenance tips can help you keep things relatively tidy – don’t expect to be able to keep the home spotless, and don’t moan about her not helping.
3. They will get annoyed if you get overprotective
Here’s the kicker, pregnant women are quite the paradox, and depending on the woman things can go a few different ways. Some may expect help and not really be up to any type of physical work, while some will want to do some chores and stay active, but in most cases they won’t appreciate you treating them like a small child. If you become overprotective and just want them to sit around all day, lest they strain themselves from pouring a glass of water, you will get the full brunt of their pregnant rage (a phenomenon that has its own separate entry on this list). Lend a helping hand when needed, but don’t be overprotective.
4. They get incredibly absent-minded
To picture how foggy a pregnant mind can get at times, imagine going to school or work after only 4-5 hours of sleep at night for a couple of consecutive days. If you have been there, you know how sluggish your brain can get, and how going from room to room is a sure way to forget what you needed or misplace something that you were carrying. A pregnant woman can get fairly absent-minded, so don’t expect her to tell you where she left the keys, and be sure to check if the oven is off if she was cooking in the kitchen.
5. They go from happy to boiling with rage to sad within minutes
Mood swings during pregnancy are a real thing, and a big, tearful, messy heap of a real thing at that. She will be just sitting there, watching her favorite show one minute, then before you know it she is crying – it might be a particularly emotional scene her hormones reacting to, or she may have seen a sad puppy in a commercial. Brace yourself, keep calm and weather the storm.
6. They will often stop mid-sentence and run off to the bathroom
You may not even get to hear her sad puppy story, because, statistically speaking, she needs to pee right now. No seriously, hold that thought, she’s already out the door and running down the hall. As the pregnancy progresses and the baby gets larger, it starts to press on her bladder and she will be cutting you off mid-sentence to go to the bathroom – every hour on the hour, like clockwork.
7. They can transfer their weird eating habits onto you
Everyone knows that pregnant women can get some very weird cravings and that they need to eat for two. It’s only natural, as the mommy and baby need a wide range of nutrients and plenty of calories. You know who doesn’t need all those extra calories? You. In a lot of cases a pregnant woman’s appetite can become contagious, affecting all those who spend a lot of time with her. It’s easy to start munching on some of the snacks that are always lying around, so be careful if you don’t want to put on a few extra pounds yourself.
8. They don’t appreciate you being Captain Obvious and mentioning their size
I don’t know what it is with people, but someone always has to point out weight and size changes to a loved one who is pregnant. While a life partner commenting on the impressive size of her breasts is usually well-received, flat out saying something like: “Wow, look at how big you’ve got” or “Who says white girls don’t have booty, look at that thing” is frowned upon by the childbearing community – and by frowned upon I mean “you will get hurt if you don’t move out of the way of incoming projectiles fast enough”.
9. They instantly win any argument and that’s OK
Too tired from work to go get a tub of ice cream, Pringles and a burrito? She’s carrying your child, you insensitive bastard! Can’t help your pregnant sister by massaging her feet? Wow, I guess she can just spend the rest of the day in pain because her little sister is too busy texting – wait till the rest of the family hear about this. Why would you say that Twilight sucks? You know you shouldn’t upset a pregnant woman, what with her hormones raging and all. What’s wrong with you? You see, at some point every pregnant woman is going to abuse her total immunity to losing arguments, but it’s just something that you’ll have to get used to.
10. They won’t be able to fit into their shoes so expect to give foot massages
The foot massage comment in the last paragraph wasn’t just random – during pregnancy, a woman will gain some fat, but she will also hold a whole lot of water weight, and her blood can have trouble getting back to the heart effectively because the uterus is pressing on certain veins. This means that her ankles and feet will swell up, and some of the things she can do to combat the swelling is to stay of her feet, elevate them above heart level and massage them. So, get ready for some serious massaging.
11. They will lash out at you for the tiniest of things
We’ve already gone through the mood swings in a previous paragraph, but it is important to stress just how irritable and aggressive pregnant women can get. Oh, the hate, the unbridled anger that a sock left on the floor can cause. Have you mispronounced a word, or maybe you were talking too loudly or mumbling unintelligibly, or, heaven forbid, left a bottle of soda open? Well, be prepared for a long lecture or some screaming, because here comes the rage. It’s best to stay calm and relaxed, politely tell her that she is getting incredibly worked up over nothing and proceed to evacuate the area – say you’re going for ice cream and take your time.
12. They become bored sitting around the house and need company
While the best way to avoid trouble is simply not being there, you can’t use that tactic all the time. You’ll need to help her out around the house, but more importantly, she will need someone to talk to and someone that she can have fun with. There’s not a lot of fun and exciting activities a woman can do in the later stages of pregnancy – she can’t exactly go running, have a few drinks with friends or dance the night away – so it’s up to the people who love her and care about her to provide some fun for her. If she wants to talk about babies for an hour, then so be it. Speaking of which.
13. They will do tons of research and keep talking about baby stuff
New mothers want to know all they can about pregnancy, childbirth, childcare and all sorts of baby-related stuff, and the internet allows them to do tons and tons of research on the subject. As with anyone who starts delving deeper into a subject and spending a few hours a day learning about it in detail, pregnant women will talk endlessly about baby stuff. They will manage to turn any conversation into a baby conversation within a few sentences. Go ahead, try talking to them about anything that comes to mind and time how much it takes for them to start the baby talk. Get in a few sentences on the topic you enjoy while you can, and then strap on because you’re in for a long ride.
14. They don’t like hearing pregnancy and parenting horror stories
Pregnant women are not the only ones who like to talk about children. Couples with kids love giving out advice to new parents, which can be quite helpful and is usually appreciated, but more often than not the conversation goes south and they end up talking about things like not getting any sleep, difficulties during labor and all kinds of negative things. Sure, they’re just venting a bit of frustration or trying to prepare the new mother, but she doesn’t want to hear about that kind of stuff. People with horror stories about doctors messing up or similar things they’ve read online should just keep their mouths shut.
15. They are extremely self-conscious and need some reassurance
Not being a jerk and making sure not to point a finger and call a pregnant woman fat is just common sense, but it’s not enough. You have to make an effort to make them feel comfortable, appreciated and beautiful, as they will become self-conscious and all those hormones won’t really help them deal with the physical changes quite so calmly. Once again, there is no need to be overprotective – just keep it straightforward and give them some reassurance.
It may seem like a loved one who is pregnant is a minefield that should be carefully navigated, but there’s a reason for all this. With all the changes happening so quickly and hormones raging, she will need some help, patience and understanding from her family, but there will be some great moments, and seeing her with that motherly glow can be enough of a reward in itself.