From the oversharing of strangers to the permanent need to empty your bladder, Emma Bartley reveals the most irksome things she had to put up with when pregnant

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1. Being told scary birth stories by complete strangers

“So after 72 hours of excruciating pain, they finally got it out by cutting me open and using forceps – do you have a reward card?”

2. The awkwardness of putting on socks

Or painting your toenails. Or shaving your legs.

3. Eggcup bladder

Which is, I’m pretty sure, the official title of the medical condition that means you can barely get anything done because you have to constantly go to the – excuse me.

4. Not being offered seats

Can’t these bastards see I’m clearly 13 weeks pregnant and about to faint?

5. Being offered seats all the time

I’m not an invalid! I can stand for two stops!

6. Mood swings

See 4 and 5. It all feels terribly justified at the time…

7. Thrush

I mean, if we’re being literal about it then a three-month recurring yeast infection is pretty damn irritating. See also: indigestion, heartburn.

8. Not being able to buy any over-the-counter-medicine because “you need to consult your doctor”.

*Downs probiotic yoghurt drink*

9. Not being allowed to drink

And not being allowed to be irritated when everyone else gets off their tits at Christmas / New Year / lunchtime on holiday, just because they feel like it.

10. The platitudes

“This is the easy bit!” Oh do f*** off.

11. The knowledge that, actually, this is the easy bit


12. Underwear

To allow your old stuff to cut into you day and night, or to embrace the world of non-wired bras and extra-large pants that you’ll never wear again, primarily because they give you the figure of a 1980s darts player? That is the question.

13. Outerwear


14. Fuss-making

Want to cause a riot in a public place? Try lifting a suitcase while visibly pregnant.

15. The constant risk of tears

Do You Want to Build a Snowman? once sent me into a fit of uncontrolled weeping that meant my then Frozen-obsessed toddler referred to it only as “the sad song”.

16. The certainty that your dream job will come up just as you begin to show

Such that there’s no point even applying, because the interview will just be embarrassing for everyone.

17. Being called “Mummy” by strangers

I think you may have me confused with someone else, 46-year-old West Indian community midwife.

18. Being told you look “blooming” in months eight and nine

My husband, who runs marathons, reckons the crowd support you in inverse proportion to how well you look (“GO DUDE WITH THE GREEN FACE! YOU’RE ALMOST THERE!”) It is my belief that people do the same with pregnancy. When people start approaching you in the street to tell you that you look beautiful, that’s how you know your face is all puffy and your walk has become a waddle.

19. Waking up in the night

Because there’s a foot in your ribs. Or on your bladder (see 3).

20. Never being sure if you’ll be too wide to get out of the car

Or into the loo. Or past someone in a narrow hallway.

21. The entirely unexplained, and often conflicting, advice

Eat nuts or your baby will get a nut allergy! Don’t eat nuts or your baby will get a nut allergy! Try to relax! Spas are dangerous! Make sure you get enough protein! Stay away from sushi! Etc, etc, etc.

22. The total loss of privacy

From continually having to wee into pots at the hospital to everyone who sets eyes on you wanting to know “when are you due?”

23. The tiredness

At a time when you know that instead of collapsing on to the sofa at 6.30pm you actually need to be wallpapering the baby’s bedroom, organising your finance, finishing off some massive work project and/or seeing all your friends before you come housebound.

24. The lack of breaks

Surely anything this restricting should come with some kind of statutory holiday period? Nights off to go out, or to sleep?

25. Brain fade

I know there are thousands more of these, but… I can’t think of what they are right now.

Have some to add? Let us know and tweet us @ GetTheGloss  and @ Barters