This Runner's Trials

What they didn’t tell me about pregnancy

I have no idea who "they" are. I'm not a fan of "them" at all.

Growing up, my mother always started out sentences this way. "They say that you should drink 8 glasses of water each day." "They say that running too much isn't good for your knees." "They say that kids who don't listen to their mother will lose their hair." Etc.


9 weeks pregnant and feeling terrible.

I'd always ask "who are they?" She could never give me an answer. Most of the time, she heard the tidbit of info from one of her coworkers or the news. Both incredibly reliable sources of information. This is likely why I pursued a career where I have to cite every single detail I write using credible sources.

Still, we've all heard plenty of old wives' tales and other anecdotal information that we think we know what to expect in certain situations. I've already covered my pregnancy symptoms, but as I get further along, I'm experiencing some things that "they" never warned me about.

As always, keep in mind these minor nuisances are a million times better than going through infertility, so I'll gladly take them.


Consider yourself warned.

1. My thighs have gotten huge. I always thought women gained pregnancy weight in the belly, boobs, and butt. Yet, my thighs are expanding seemingly at the same rate as my abdomen.

From a body image perspective, I don't care at all. I love my pregnant body. But from a functionality perspective, enormous thighs are annoying.

  • I've had to change my swimming form so my thighs don't rub together. I'm sure this incorrect technique where I kick my legs to the side is doing wonders for my low back and swimming speed… or not.
  • When I wear skirts and dresses- the only clothes that fit me comfortably- my thighs constantly touch and sweat like nothing else.
  • I would not be able to run or walk my dog without BodyGlide. There would be no way. I chafe after walking for a few minutes because my shorts ride up in my inner thighs. BodyGlide used to be reserved for long runs and races, now it's an everyday necessity.


2. You'll pee yourself. Really. You have to wipe your girly parts very well after going to the bathroom. If you wipe once, you'll drip. I have to wipe 2-3 times.

My doctor says this will only get worse and that I can look forward to leaking while running soon. How exciting.


3. People will think it's OK to comment on how huge you are. I'm not talking about friends or family who say "oh you're getting so big" in a loving, supportive way. I mean strangers will call you out.

One woman asked when my baby is due, and I said December. She responded, "are you sure? You're awfully big." I was out with a group of people who I don't know that well and a few folks kept saying I was way bigger than someone who is 13 weeks ahead of me. Why they assumed that I was too big instead of her being too small, I have no idea.


Not too big.

Being called "huge" doesn't bother me. But I can see how it would bother a lot of pregnant women! Why on earth is it acceptable to comment on a woman's weight when she's pregnant, but definitely not OK at other times?

What does bother me is that they're judging me. When I hear that I'm "awfully big" or I'm getting mocked for being as big as someone else much further along, I take that as I am gaining too much weight and being a bad mom. Of course, I know I'm gaining the perfect amount of weight for a healthy baby boy and he's just measuring ahead. But the fact that people are judging me gets on my nerves. I know this is only the first of many, many times people will passively aggressively judge my parenting skills. I just need to get used to it :)

Comments (52) Trackbacks (1)
  1. Maybe they just mean that you are so petite everywhere else, so your belly looks bigger than the hefer they know who is barely showing because she already looked pregnant? Sorry, was that mean? What I meant to say is that you look great and perfect for how far along you are!

    • Yes, that was mean. For every woman who has heard tactless strangers telling her she looks too big for how far along she was, there is another woman who has heard how she “doesn’t look pregnant” and that can sting just as much. I love that this blog is so body-positive — so let’s not tear down other women to build ourselves up.

    • Was that mean…um more like totally rude and uncalled for. Referring to a larger woman as a heifer is just plain judgmental and ignorant. Are you also a racist too because honestly showing such hatred and name calling to someone who is larger is pretty much the same thing.

  2. Those are all so true. Then delivery and post-pregnancy you’ll find other things, but like you said, they’re all so minimal and totally worth the miracle of a baby!!
    Jenny McCarthy’s Belly Laughs is a pretty funny read, because she addresses a lot of the stuff no one ever tells you. :)

  3. It is actually pretty funny isn’t it? That people can be so critical when someone is small/big- oh what the media has done!
    Oh and the chaffing? Yea… welcome to my world! LOL! I am a former college softball player, so have always, naturally, had big thighs. For some reason I just haven’t sucked it up and bought Body Glide. Think it’s about time I finally give it a shot.
    The pee thing happened to my sister. One time she thought her water had broke because it was so bad! Haha!
    One more warning on ‘things they don’t tell you’- COLOSTRUM. Look it up. Actually you probably know as a medical writer, but it is basically pre-baby breast-leaking that is a neon-yellow. Freaked me out completely!
    Thanks for always sharing your pregnancy updates with us!

  4. My mom used to (and still does) use the “they” to preface many sentences as well! The best part is that she’s a nurse practitioner and shouldn’t use that terminology in my opinion but, she does! Drives me nuts ;)
    You and your mom look so much alike!

  5. Dumb question–where do you buy bodyglide? :)

  6. I don’t think you are gaining more than any other pregnant woman,but all women carry differently.I’ve had 2 different friends be pregnant,both the same shape bodies,but the one carried to the back,and the other very much to the front.The first friend hardly looked pregnant at 38 weeks,whereas my 2nd friend looked ready to pop from about 25 weeks onward.It truly is just dependant on the way your body is designed.All people are unique,and you’ve got a gorgeous baby belly!

  7. Ha! I like Monica’s opinion :) That is one thing you will have to get used to, everyone else will know how you should be looking/raising your child. Just blow them off and know that if there was a problem your docs would have told you!

  8. I get the “big” comment as well and I am 22 weeks. Last week when I was out shopping, an older lady came up to me to say congratulations and asked when I was due. When I said December, her jaw dropped and she said “REALLY, I thought you were going to say in a month!” I replied, “Nope, four more months” and her response was “Wow are you sure you don’t have quadruplets in there? You’re really big.” (I’m about as big as you, btw, which I consider a nice normal healthy size!) I love the happy supportive people who want to touch my belly, but the judging people should just leave us alone!

  9. at least they didn’t give you their seat on the subway because of your pregnancy while you weren’t pregnant…

  10. Welcome to all the ‘fun’ parts ;)

    My thighs have gotten bigger, too (who knew that was possible?!), plus my calves and feet, too. Weird.

    And I had a lady comment a few weeks ago “how are you so huge already??”… and not to be nasty… ok, to be a little nasty… she was a LARGE woman herself, and NOT pregnant.

  11. Body Glide is my best friend.

  12. I love Body Glide! =) I think you look beautiful! XO

  13. Oh dear Lord! I cannot wait to pee on myself. Haha. I like how you’re going through this first, so I know what I have to look forward to. ;) I cannot believe that someone would call you huge. You’re a healthy woman with an extremely healthy baby bump. People can be so unbelievable sometimes!

  14. As a runner/worker outer as well, my biggest surprise was how the weight went EVERYWHERE but the belly at first. I’m 25 weeks along and the chafing issue is huge for me too. Thank goodness for capri running pants. It’s amazing how much more comfortable I feel to “waddle” with my legs apart so that there is no chafing going on when I am wearing skirts/shorts.

    I think you look FANTASTIC! I was shocked to read that someone would call you huge. Do they not know that no one likes being called “huge?”, unless you are a 15 year old boy trying to gain weight?

    Keep up the good work, love reading your blog.

  15. I was one of those “lucky” women who gained weight all over. My thighs have always been large, but they were huge during pregnancy. I bought some men’s boxer briefs (I think I got Calvin Klein brand) and wore them under my skirts during pregnancy. They kept my thighs from rubbing and also dealt with all the extra sweat from being hugely pregnant during two different Virginia summers.

  16. Yep – I’m almost 22 weeks also and in just the past 2 weeks I cannot believe how much bigger my belly has gotten. I now actually look pregnant instead of chubby like I have for the past 20 weeks. Finally!
    And yes, my thighs and rear are quite a bit bigger too.
    Yep, peeing all the time – I don’t sleep much anymore between the peeing and trying to get comfortable. But I guess it’s good practice for when baby comes :)

  17. LOL – Oh, the rubbing thighs! Honestly, I thought that with my Bella Bands I’d be able to wear my pre-preggo jeans A LOT longer than I was able to! In the matter of a week, I could no longer get them up over my ginormous thighs! That was a good 12 weeks ago, but I really thought I wouldn’t need maternity pants THAT soon! (Thankfully, I can still fit it a good amount of my running shorts/capris since they are my work clothes too!) I am getting the “Wow, you’re so small for being due in October!” comment. It also makes me feel like I’m a bad mom and that I’m not gaining enough weight. However, I have gained a healthy 21 pounds at 31 weeks, and I fully expect to gain at least 10 more pounds in the next 9. I am just lucky I guess that I have gained ALL my weight in my belly + boobs! And no, you’re definitely not too big! I am still bigger than you! ;o)

  18. I love, love, love this post! So true in every way. In fact, I just wrote a post recently about potty problems while running pregnant. “They” certainly don’t tell you that leakage will be a problem and to bring some TP along with your Body Glide when heading out for a run!

  19. Oh geeze – if growing thighs is a problem during pregnancy I’m doomed whenever I get pregnant! I’ve always been a big legged girl & even at my very fittest my thighs rubbed. I’ve just become a big fan of running tights/spandex instead of the cute little shorts some women get to wear.

    And I’m with everyone else about the comments about the size of your baby belly – it’s right for YOU, don’t let anyone’s comments get you down. You look absolutely gorgeous Jen!

  20. Another symptom that not many people talk about is nasal congestion/leaky nose. My nose has been stuffed up or leaking since the day I conceived!!! And it’s not going to stop till after I delivery. Oh well, like you said, wouldn’t trade it for the world!

  21. My thighs grew too. I kept hoping my flat ass would get some love, but it didn’t. Alas, also like Marlene above me, I had a fountain nose. I also got varicose veins on those thighs. Yay.

  22. Extra long pantyliners are your friend! Don’t know if this is your issue, too, but…discharge. Ew. It doesn’t seem to be coming from the normal place, either. I found it way up front (??).

    My butt got FLAT when I was preggo! I was like, what happened????? It’s still not great, but at least it’s not pancake flat anymore. WTH. lmao.

  23. yikes! i appreciate your honesty. my mom always tells me that every woman has a different experience with pregnancy so it’s so interesting to me to read all of the things that you weren’t expecting but are dealing with.

  24. People calling me “too big” or “too small” when I was pregnant made me just as irritated! As did random strangers coming up and touching my belly. Eventually I decided that with my next one I will make a shirt to wear out and about that says: Yes I am pregnant. No you may not touch my stomach. I don’t want your opinion on how big/small I am. I’m due XX/XX/XX so don’t ask. It’s a boy/girl.
    It might totally sound mean but towards the end of my first pregnancy I was just so uncomfortable that the last thing I wanted was to have people I don’t know give me unsolicited advice while I was just trying to soothe a craving at the grocery store by getting yet another tub of sherbet.

  25. You are a cute pregnant lady!! Have you tried a poise pad while you’re running? One of my girlfriends that ran while she was pregnant said she swore by it beacuse the later she got in her pregnancy, she started leaking while she was running.

  26. They say that if you don’t listen to your mom your hair will fall out?! Haha! I’ll have to remember that one for when I become a parent.*

  27. Unfortunately as soon as everyone finds out you are pregnant the open judgements and opinions start coming. My daughter will be 2 this weekend and it still continues…people just feel like they have a right to comment on EVERYTHING. Drives me insane. Good luck mama, you look great!

  28. There were just a few “things” that I wish “they” told me about birthing a child…..

  29. If you are too big, then I am a beached whale! I can empathize with you on the huge thighs. I gained weight there and in my butt long before my belly was ever showing. If you find that the body glide stops working after a bit, try deodorant instead. My gym bag stick has become my thigh stick. =( Pregnancy is a trip, a funny one, but one that has a great ending.

  30. You are darling and your bump looks similar to mine. My least favorite thing about being pregnant is the commentary from friends/family/strangers. I was warned that this stuff would happen and I am trying not to let it get to me but it’s hard because I feel volunerable and sensitive. :) My friend (who has zero children, just fyi) told me that women are not supposed to gain more than 20 pounds while pregnant. I laughed because that’s not even close and patted her shoulder saying: ” We’ll just see how that goes for you”. She didn’t say a word. I have a pretty sarcastic sense of humor and it’s coming in really handy these days. I made the mistake of trying on some pre-preg jeans yesterday. The day before I tried on these bright red victoria secret cropped yoga pre pregnant pants. Don’t do that. LOL. Thank you for your inspiring blog. I’m still running and swimming but seriously think I may have strained a belly muscle yesterday swimming. Who does that??

  31. oh man — I feel like there are a lot of things people don’t tell you about pregnancy and child birth that I only figured out in medical school on my ob/gyn rotation!

    I’m going to be screwed if I’m ever pregnant (hoping to be one day!) – I already wear body glide for every run and pee an absurd amount per day. AWESOME.

    In anatomy class, one of our professors said “ladies over here!” Then, she points out the uterus and the bladder and goes “When you all have children, get a little notebook and write down ‘sacrifices I made for my kids’ and this (proximity of uterus to bladder) is the first one!”

  32. i use my body glide when i wear skirts too, ha ha! 25 weeks tomorrow… that thigh thing is so annoying, along with all the dumb comments people feel the need to share with you! :)

  33. You look great and you’re taking great care of yourself…no matter what “they” say. ;-)

    I had some very interesting experiences when I was pregnant as well. The comments people shocked me the first few times, but by the end of my pregnancy I was so used to it, nothing would really phase me.

    Ahhh yes. The leaking. It was more that I had to go REAL bad all of a sudden when I was preggo so I would hit up the restroom a few times during each workout (annoying). At the very end of pregnancy and right after I had my son was when the worst leaking occured. At 2 months out it’s already WAY better…so hopefully it will be a temporary thing for you. :)

  34. OMG I have to get body glide! Never heard of it before, and the chafing when wearing skirts & dresses is terrible!
    All points are very true. Funny thing is I have had different people, in the same day, tell me how huge I am, and how small I am carrying! Why comment at all? Ugh.

  35. I am in love with BodyGlide, always a savior for me during a long run. I’ve switched to capirs because I was chafing too much with skirts and shorts. So annoying that some people are calling you big, your baby is just growing to be strong and healthy. Nothing wrong with that :).

  36. I seriously cannot understand how people can call you big – you look so cute!! Sometimes people (for whatever reason) feel like they are in a place to judge others. I don’t know if they think they’re “helping” you, or it makes them feel superior or what, but it’s so unnecessary. I hope you don’t ever let it get you down!

    And my co-worker who recently gave birth let me in on the whole leaking situation. I guess it made finding clean work clothes everyday a little difficult. Oh boy…all the little joys to look forward to. :)

  37. Thanks for the info! I don’t think I could ever get used to someone calling me “huge.” I might learn to expect it or something, but by the time I’d get used to it, I think my 9 months would be over. Anyway… sorry “they” never told you these things. Stupid They. :)

  38. The comments about being huge are the worst! I finally decided to get so fed up and call people out asking why they felt so offended by my belly but that I absolutely loved it after trying for so long! I felt incredibly beautiful!

  39. I think that people really just have nothing to say so they make comments like that. Most of the time it is not meant to be mean or make you feel bad. I also think that very few people have any perception of how pregnant belly should look. I’ve been pregnant and I still still could never guess how far along someone was by the size of their belly. All women carry so differently. I carried very low. It was odd, but you know what it also meant I never had any heartburn or breathing issues, even at the end.

  40. For starters you look adorable!! This post made me laugh bc I can totally relate!! You are too funny about the thighs rubbing together..hahah mine had little red bumps because it got SO bad..and yes peeing is non stop for sure! But the end result is worth it all…cheesy but true :)

  41. Ok – so…I’ve never been pregnant, but I think you look awesome for being pregnant. Seriously!

    Also, I love the picture of you in the mirror – I can see your pup in the right hand corner :)

  42. You always keep it real and I love you for it. You look super cute : )

  43. Jen, you look awesome! :)

    It is absolutely crazy the comments you will get, isn’t it? On the same day one person would say that they could barely tell I was pregnant (this would NOT have been during the last 1/2 of my pregnancies!!!) and then within an hour I would hear someone’s shock over the fact that I wasn’t due that month. LOL!

    You really do have to let the comments roll right off your back, as they will only get worse. Trust me…. :)

    I love you for putting it out there like that….if someone like you – perfectly healthy you – can be on the receiving end of such ridiculous comments, may others will remember how laughable these comments really are when they start receiving them. I can’t imagine the amount of women out there who may have heard such ridiculous comments during their pregnancies and risked a healthy baby in order to remain thin or look like Victoria Beckham at month 9. :(

  44. so I commented this morning but dont see it? weird! anyway, i was SO glad to be stranded in charlotte, it ended up working out so perfectly, and I got to see you for longer than for just a couple of hours! Also cant wait to see you again i a few wwweeekkssss!

  45. I had better develop tougher skin because I don’t think I would react to being told I’m huge very well. I think you look wonderful Jen!

  46. Ah yes, people lose ALL sense of decorum when it comes to pregnant women/parents. I got it a lot pre-pregnancy (“you run 40 miles a week? Shouldn’t you cut down?”, “Go eat a burger!”), and during pregnancy, I didn’t get as “big” as others apparently wanted me to be. I heard “are you sure? You look smaller than that” a LOT. My response? “Ya know, we actually quit going to the doctor and just started Googling everything, so I’m fairly certain we’re ok”. Shut them up pretty quickly :) I had to tell them I was kidding, because I think one was about to call social services…anyway, people can be jerks. Just know that if you and your healthcare provider are happy, then you’re good to go! And I think you look fantastic!

  47. You look absolutely wonderful! You’re not ahead, and you’re not behind. You’re at your time, and you’re PERFECT. :)

  48. I have been the victim of hurtful comments, every time I see my mom. This is my first pregnancy and she keeps saying how my stomach is too big for my month. Today she asked to see my bump and I figured she was being a happy soon to be grandma. Boy was I wrong. Started telling me ” oh you’re not even 4 months yet!! You look more like six you must have week ab muscles or you’ve just gained far and are trying to say its baby. I kinda lost it on her. Mi told her first of all I’m 5 months pregnant soon, second I haven’t gained more weight than I should have! Thirdly every woman carries differently.

    You’d think she’d have more brains on the topic considering she herself had 6 kids!!! Not just makes me so angry that she’s judging me for things out of my control.

    I’ve always been an avid runner and kick boxing kinda girl, always been fit. Suddenly I’m pregnant and my mom thinks it’s ok to judge me. It’s like people are calling us liars about how far along we are or how the baby is positioned etc.

    Oh and this gem came from my dad today “I hope it’s a boy they can do more than girls”. Wth. I feel lonely, like I gave the worst family on the planet lately.

  49. It was honestly so great to read that I’m not the only one that feels like I’ve gained just as much weight in my thighs and butt as I have my stomach. I’m 38 weeks now and out of curiosity, I tried putting on a pair of pre-pregnancy jeans, that even have stretch in them, and I could hardly get them up. I got stretch marks on my legs before I got them on my stomach and it was not expected at all, especially since my weight gain was normal. Everyone tells me how neat my bump is and how it doesn’t look very big and I’m thinking, ‘yeah, cause my ass is keeping up in comparison’ hahaha. I am not looking forward to losing the weight off my thighs after I have this baby in a couple of weeks, especially since that has always been an area that I have had to work hard to keep in shape.

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