The Six (unofficial) Stages of Pregnancy

By: Katie-Anne Gustafsson

If you are already pregnant, I am sure you know exactly what week you are in, and perhaps even what day.  But do you know what “stage” you are in?  Take a look at the six unofficial stages listed below and see if any of them seem familiar.

First Stage of Pregnancy – Disbelief/Euphoria

Yes, a double-edged coin.  You have a positive test, but is it real?  You glow, radiant with success.  You ARE pregnant.  But can the test be trusted?  Maybe it’s faulty.  Perhaps you’d better take another.  This is also positive.  Again you wear that smug smile of contentment - thinking that tomorrow morning you might just take another test, just to be sure.

Second Stage of Pregnancy – Reality Sets In

Oh yes, you’re pregnant.  You don’t need any test to tell you now, even if you could muster enough energy together to go back to the store and purchase another kit!  You feel as if you could sleep for a year, your body feels like it has lead weights attached to it, and you are spending most of your time in the bathroom willing yourself not to be sick – when you are not trying to force feed yourself that is.  Heartburn becomes your greatest foe, and antacid you dearest buddy.  Friends tell you that, unless you are very unlucky, this will pass around week 13 and so you hang on by your flaked fingernails until that golden date, praying that you are not one of the unfortunate ones.

Third Stage of Pregnancy – You don’t need to look in the mirror!

For some bulges come early, perhaps as soon as week 4 or 5, but others sail through into the second trimester, blithely thinking it isn’t going to happen to them.  They are going to be one of the lucky ones who will wear their favourite old skintight jeans to the maternity ward and everyone will just stare with envy.  Unfortunately, this miracle happens to so few that it isn’t worth counting them.  Although you think you are going to escape maternity tops and pants with pregnancy panels, you are going to wake up one morning and nothing – NOTHING – is going to fit.  The ones who start early are lucky in comparison because it comes on gently, bit by bit and they can organise themselves and their attire.  Those of you who are in denial that it will to happen to you, however, can get a shock as more or less overnight you can blow up so much that even your underwear no longer fits without digging into you.  You are so uncomfortable that you will nearly beg for an outsize t-shirt and a pair of support stockings. 

Fourth Stage of Pregnancy – Don’t look down

You don’t need too.  You know by just standing up that a metamorphous has taken place and there are flippers where your feet used to be.  By now you are telling yourself that there are only a few more weeks to go and you can handle this, but this is usually whilst you are sitting down with your feet either elevated, or in an unbecoming dish of cool water!  About this time, you are also getting very friendly with soft cushions and pillows.  If you are around week 32, and your husband still has his own pillow, he should think himself a very lucky man.

Fifth Stage of Pregnancy – GET IT OUT!

So how long is pregnancy anyway?  Your body can’t take anymore.  It’s as if you have been taken over by some alien force and you are too weak to survive.  If it ever left, now is the time that fatigue returns with a vengeance. Your skin which the books say should be glowing is either greasy enough to cook with, or dry and shredding like dandruff.  You are no longer able to walk around with the feminine sexy stride that you took so long to perfect; instead you waddle like a drunken duck.  In other words, you’re a mess, and the only thing that keeps you going is that inside you, kicking like some future football star, is your precious baby that you now long to hold so much that you can taste it.

Sixth Stage of Pregnancy– Is This It?

You have contractions - you think!  Maybe!  You phone the hospital.  Are you sure they are contractions you will be asked.  Have you lost your plug yet?  Have your waters broken - although you will know when this happens because it will probably occur when you least expect it, and in the place you would least likely wish it to happen.  The best thing about the waters breaking is that you are almost finished the pregnancy marathon.  There’s no going back, labor is starting and you are on your way - to the hospital!

Congratulations.  You have survived the pregnancy, and are hereby promoted to the next level in the procedure – labor and delivery - and you know that this is going to be a breeze because you have a detailed birth plan, a sensitive, informed and caring birth partner, and of course, generations of women before you who have gone through exactly the same process.  No problem!

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