Pregnancy Expectations vs. Pregnancy Realities | NBC New York

Your Skin: The Glow vs. Pimples

You might be expecting clear skin and a natural glimmer. “People should be complimenting my ‘glow’, right? Then why do I look so tired? What’s this pimple doing here?”

Keep in mind that you might experience acne during the first and second trimester due to an increase in hormones like progesterone, which ups the amount of oil your glands secrete. Your body will also be retaining more toxin-rich fluids, which cause acne flare-ups. To combat the bad skin, make sure to wash (but not scrub vigorously) your face twice a day with soap-free cleansers, moisturize, regularly change your pillow cases and towels, and avoid sugar and fried food.

Kicking: Baby Moves vs. Bladder Pressure

Feeling your baby kick for the first time is one of those transcendent, life-changing moments no mother will ever forget. Suddenly everyone in the family wants to place their hand on your belly and feel the baby move. While this remains one of the best experiences during pregnancy, it can also lead to one of the most uncomfortable: hurting your back or causing pressure on your bladder. Bathroom break please!

Your Appetite: Hunger vs. Cravings

You might think that being pregnant will just increase your appetite. Think again. From drinking honey mustard straight out of the bottle to cheese-wrapped pickles to pizza topped with cake icing, expecting mothers are often blindsided by the strangest culinary cravings this side of a Guy Fieri menu.

But here’s the thing: despite what they say, you really aren’t eating for two, and while the occasional indulgence is ok, you shouldn’t make it a habit. That’s because a woman’s body becomes an efficient, nutrient-absorbing machine during pregnancy, meaning doubling down on calories will just lead to excessive weight gain. Instead, focus on healthy options to satiate your cravings, and eat frequent, little meals throughout the day to avoid binging.

Social Schedule: Attention vs. Alone Time

No girl garners more attention than a pregnant one. Family and friends will call you to check in, coworkers will ask how you’re doing, even complete strangers will stop you on the street to ask you when you’re expecting or to give you an unexpected tummy tap — no thank you!

Yes, your baby bump might have a magnetic quality to it, but that doesn’t mean you need to constantly field personal questions and listen to unsolicited advice. Make sure to take time for yourself, from curling up with a good book to binging on all those TV shows you won’t have time for once baby arrives.

Fashion: Cute Maternity Clothes vs. Nothing Fits

Ah maternity magazines, with their stylized spreads of carefree looking moms showing off their baby bumps in cute sundresses. It all looks great, but the reality can be far less fashion forward. Be prepared to go up a size or two (even shoe sizes!), and by your third trimester to be in a PJs-all-day mood.

Baby Home Design: I Got This vs. HELP!

Who doesn’t enjoy indulging their home design fantasies by envisioning the new baby room? From cute wallpaper to stuffed animals, the details of baby decor can be fun.

Actually getting the baby’s room ready, however, can be less enjoyable -- as in more of an exercise in futility than labor of love. Get ready to paint walls, fiddle with hard-to-assemble Scandinavian cribs, and scour the web trying to find that perfect toy. But it'll all worth it when you tuck your new bundle of joy in every night.

Exercise: Staying Fit vs. Moderation

Moms should want to maintain their fitness while pregnant. Keeping active is good for your developing baby and for you, allowing you to maintain proper posture, alleviate fatigue, and develop the stamina needed for labor.

But don’t expect to be as energetic or active as you were pre pregnancy. As any first trimester mom-to-be will tell you, the fatigue is real, meaning you should opt for regular but moderate exercise. Let low impact cardio like swimming, yoga, indoor cycling, and brisk walking be your friend, while also doing core exercises and a stretch routine.

Sleep: Well Rested vs. Constant Fatigue

A lot of women expect to be tired during pregnancy, which means you’ll be sleeping more, right? Not exactly. While you will feel increased fatigue thanks to metabolic and hormonal changes, you won’t necessarily be sleeping more, or better. Everything from frequent bathroom visits and nausea to heartburn and leg cramps can interrupt your sleep. Adjust to these new challenges by changing your sleep position and by scheduling naps into your day.