Being pregnant is a life-changing experience for many women — but it’s one that’s hard to comprehend if you have never been pregnant before. The idea of growing another human inside of you for nine months is a feeling only certain women can experience and, as much as they try, it’s hard to explain in words exactly what pregnancy is like.
Still, people often ask: What does it feel like to be pregnant? How does it feel to be pregnant, and what can you expect from a pregnancy experience?
These questions tend to come from women who are interested in becoming pregnant or are thinking they might be pregnant, but they can also come from men who are curious about what their wives, spouses, friends and other loved ones go through during this process. While every pregnancy is different, we’ve tried to describe in general terms what it is like to be pregnant below — to help all those who are curious understand this beautiful process in more detail.
Remember, it’s always best to speak with your doctor if you are curious about pregnancy or think you might be pregnant. They can offer the best medical advice for your situation.
What Does It Feel Like to Be Pregnant?
While some of the questions about what pregnancy feels like come from curious outsiders, others ask “What does being pregnant feel like?” for a more serious reason — they think they might be pregnant.
The first symptoms of pregnancy are different for everyone, and so is what being pregnant feels like for each individual. Perhaps you feel nauseous, tired and cranky, or maybe you think your breasts are tenderer than they usually are. Maybe you’ve missed your period this month.
Panic alarms may be going off inside your head, prompting you to ask, “What does it feel like when you get pregnant?”
It’s common to hope you can determine whether you are pregnant simply from side effects, but the most effective way to find out you are pregnant will always be through a pregnancy test. You can pick one up from your local drugstore or go to your doctor to receive a professional blood or urine test.
In the meantime, you may want to identify some of these side effects — how you will feel when you are pregnant. Here are a few early pregnancy symptoms that you may want to look out for during this time:
- Morning sickness, or nausea at any time of the day
- Cramps or headache
- Slight bleeding
- Food aversions or cravings
- Breast tenderness
- Mood swings
- Faintness or dizziness
- Missed period
Sometimes, women wonder what being pregnant feels like because they simply “feel different” and have a hunch they are pregnant. The abovementioned side effects can be due to many things other than pregnancy but, if you are not feeling like yourself or feel like something is “off,” you may be finding out for yourself what pregnancy “feels” like.
If you are experiencing any of these signs and wondering “How do you feel when you’re pregnant?” remember that a pregnancy test is the best way to confirm any possible pregnancy.
What Being Pregnant Feels Like as Your Baby Grows
Once you have your answer to the question, “How do you feel in early pregnancy?” you are probably just as curious to know the answer to this question: “What does it feel like being pregnant as your baby continues to grow?” After all, this is the one of the biggest questions from people curious about the pregnancy process; carrying a living human being inside of you is such a foreign idea to those who haven’t experienced it themselves.
Again, every woman’s pregnancy is unique, and only you will be able to know what it is like to be pregnant in your later trimesters. For many women, the earlier side effects of pregnancy lessen as they enter their second and third trimesters, but that’s not the case for everyone. Sometimes, the side effects of early pregnancy are replaced with more constant side effects that a woman can’t alleviate until her baby is born.
When you carry a child inside of you, your body reacts in certain ways. A lot of your energy is going toward creating this child, and you can’t expect your body to feel the same as it did when you were not pregnant. In addition to the symptoms listed above, you may also feel:
- The constant urge to urinate, a lot
- Fatigue and muscle soreness from carrying an ever-growing child inside of you
- Irritability due to difficulty sleeping and getting comfortable with an expanding stomach
- Mood swings due to changing hormones
- Constipation and other upset stomach
- Heartburn and backache
- And more
Don’t forget: All of what you feel during your pregnancy will likely seem trivial compared to the experience of labor and delivery.
Of course, what pregnancy feels like for some women will be easier than for others — but it’s important to be aware of these potential side effects if you are considering becoming pregnant in the near future. Having all the information before you get started will help you have the appropriate expectations for your pregnancy journey and understand that everything you are feeling during this time is normal.
What is it Like to Be Pregnant?
Typically, when you ask women, “What does being pregnant feel like?” they’ll say it is the most beautiful thing they have ever experienced. It’s a powerful feeling, to grow a child from nothing to a tiny human, and many are so happy with the end result that they may gloss over some of the harder parts of pregnancy.
But, before you become pregnant yourself, you need to understand: While many say it’s worth it in the end, pregnancy is very hard, comes with certain risks and possible complications, and should not be seen as anything less than a great commitment of your mind and body.
In addition to the physical challenges of pregnancy, there are a few mental and emotional challenges that many women have to cope with. The hormones of pregnancy can cause extreme mood swings that are often not helped by the stress of pregnancy and preparing to bring a little one into your family. While these mood swings are normal, they can be overwhelming for someone who doesn’t know how it feels to be pregnant.
If you are pregnant, you may feel:
- Stressed at the all the preparations needed for a baby
- Tired from the physical challenges of pregnancy
- Worried about your baby’s future, especially if you did not plan to become pregnant at this time in your life
- Misunderstood by unsupportive partners
- Panicked about how your life is going to change
- Depressed about your situation, whether due to personal circumstances or antenatal depression
While every woman’s experience is different, and it’s difficult to predict exactly what it will be, knowing the answer to the question “How do you feel when you are pregnant?” beforehand can help you better prepare yourself for the challenges and experience awaiting you. Remember, if you find yourself overwhelmed during your pregnancy or worried that you’re not feeling the way you “should,” this is completely normal — and you do have options.
If being pregnant feels like an unexpected, unwanted but unavoidable thing in your life, you always have unplanned pregnancy options such as abortion and adoption. Don’t ever let anyone tell you what you should feel during pregnancy; focus on yourself and your emotions, and don’t be afraid to reach out for support from loved ones and counselors, should you need it.