10 Things Nobody Tells You About Pregnancy

Pregnancy for Dummies is back with its latest edition. Packed with useful information and hilarious advice, the book is better than ever. We’ve excerpted one of our favorite chapters for you below. Enjoy!

Pregnancy for Dummies (Wiley Publishing).
Buy it here.

Ch. 19
“Ten Things Nobody Tells You”

Don’t worry. We know of no conspiracy keeping you from knowing all there is to know about pregnancy. But your friends, sisters, cousins - whoever tells you what to expect with your pregnancy - often forget the little details, especially the more unpleasant ones. Furthermore, other books often gloss over this stuff, perhaps in the interest of decorum. Well, at the risk of being indecorous, we’re going to give it to you straight in this chapter.

1. Pregnancy Lasts Longer than Nine Months

Patients always ask, “How many months along am I?” and we have trouble giving them a precise answer. Pregnancy is said to last nine months, but that number isn’t exactly accurate. The average pregnancy lasts 280 days, or 40 weeks, starting from the date of the mother’s last menstrual period. (You think 40 weeks is a long time? Just be glad you’re not an elephant, which has a gestation period of 22 months!) If a month is four weeks, that calculation comes out to ten months. On the calendar, however, most months contain four weeks plus two or three days, so nine calendar months often do contain close to 40 weeks. Practitioners speak in terms of weeks when measuring gestational age because it’s more accurate and less confusing.

2. Other People Can Drive You Crazy

Friends, relatives, acquaintances, strangers, and even your partner give you unsolicited opinions and advice and want to share with you every pregnancy horror story they’ve ever heard. They may tell you your rear looks big, you’re too fat (or too thin), or you shouldn’t be eating whatever you’re putting in your mouth.

We realize these people usually have only good intentions when they tell you how their sister’s pregnancy ended badly, or about the trouble a friend of a friend had. They don’t realize that they’re increasing your anxiety. Don’t pay attention. Try to politely smile and ignore them. Tell them you really don’t want to hear this story right now. If you have any real problems or concerns, talk them over with your practitioner.