10 Things no one told me about being pregnant on the farm

For the past nine months, I’ve been dealing with the struggles of being pregnant on the farm.

Baby Harned at 38 weeks!

Everyone tells you about the morning sickness and the stretch marks but no one ever gives you advice on how being pregnant will affect every aspect of your farm life.

So as we patiently (or in my case, not so patiently) await Baby Harned’s arrival, I decided to do my part to help all the future farm moms out there who are in for nine very long months.

Here’s 10 things I wish someone would have told me about being pregnant on the farm.

1. Your doctor will forbid you from lifting more than 25 lbs.

My doctor informed me of this at my first appointment and I’m pretty sure I laughed at her. She wasn’t kidding.

The entire trip home I contemplated how I would manage to spend the next 32 weeks not lifting anything that weighed more than 25 lbs.  No feed buckets, hay bales, tool boxes, feed sacks, the tack box and as far as I could tell, everything necessary for farm life.

At this point, I was convinced my doctor was crazy. It didn’t take long for me to realize that she wouldn’t be the only one telling me all the things I couldn’t do at the farm.

2. No matter what you want to do, your dad or husband will probably forbid it.

I wish I was exaggerating.

I never thought that my dad would fuss at me for stopping a pig from getting out of her pen. I never thought my husband would ever tell me I wasn’t allowed to climb over a gate.

Every weekend we’d spend at the farm, I’d prepare myself for the long list of reasons why I should just stay at the house: its too cold, too windy, too rainy, too muddy, there aren’t enough seats in the truck, I shouldn’t be around the medications or my personal favorite, “I couldn’t forgive myself if anything hurt the baby.”

There was no use fighting it.

I even tried to convince them that doing farm chores while pregnant would make Baby Harned tougher. They just laughed and left me at the house.

3. Your doctor will not understand any farm related question you ask.

I remember asking if there were any livestock medications I couldn’t be around while pregnant. Both the doctor and nurse looked at me like I was speaking Greek.

In the end, this didn’t matter because my “better safe than sorry” dad and husband never let me be anywhere near any medications.

(If I had needed a real answer to this question I planned to ask our veterinarian because he knows what type of medications we use on the farm is well versed in any risks associated with them).

4. Your husband will compare you to livestock and mean it as a compliment, take it as one.

Only in a farm family can a man refer to his wife’s “calving ease hips” or say she comes from “a good sow line” without getting smacked.

It also makes conversations about what will happen in the delivery room a lot easier to start when you can lead with “You know when a sow is farrowing…”

5. Your friends and family will refer to your pregnancy in livestock terms.

Ever since they found out we were expecting, our friends have referred to the month of March as “calving season” or “farrowing.”

Your friends will say things about your child “hitting the ground,” make jokes about how unpredictable “first calf heifers” are or expect a full moon or snow storm to bring on labor.

If both sides of your family come from a farm, this is nothing to be concerned with. If not, be prepared to explain to your sister-in-law that “hitting the ground” should not be taken literally!

6. You will look at mastitis in a whole new way.

This one is pretty self explanatory and I’m sure it is much worse for those of you on dairy farms!

7. You will understand why sows chose individual gestation stalls over group housing.

When you reach the point of trying to fit you, your husband and your 6 pillows into a queen sized bed, you’ll understand completely why gestating sows want their own space.

When you share this analogy with your husband, he’ll look at you like you’re completely insane. Trust me, he’s secretly wishing he didn’t have to share with you and your pile of pillows too!

8. The day your Carhartt jacket doesn’t zip might bring you to tears.

You will cry over a lot of silly things while pregnant, its inevitable. At some point, one of those things will probably be farm related.

For me, it was the day that none of my work clothes fit anymore, even the Carhartt jacket I’d bought two sizes bigger than my pre-pregnant size.

Obviously, this didn’t really matter because I wasn’t going to be allowed to do any farm work (refer to number 2) but that didn’t stop my crazy hormonal self from spending twenty minutes blubbering about it.

9. Other farm moms will laugh at your misery.

My mother enjoyed my pain a little too much.

I’m sure getting told to stay home while pregnant for all five of us was miserable for her so I expected a little sympathy. Instead, she thoroughly enjoyed rubbing it in my face.

I like to think that some day I’ll be the bigger person and when my sisters face this same dilemma I’ll defend their right to open gates and perform other non-strenuous activities that will help them keep their sanity.

In all actuality, my mom and I will probably team up against them like its part of some secret farm mom code. Sorry girls!

10. The only thing you’ll look forward to more than doing farm chores again is someday teaching your child to do them.

As miserable as the past nine months have been, the only thing that kept me sane was looking forward to passing it all on to our daughter someday.

In just a few months we’ll be taking Baby Harned to her first hog show.

As a toddler she’ll “help” carry feed buckets, hold the hose while filling up the water trough and discover the joys of riding through the pastures in the back of the farm truck.

In just five years, her Uncle Daniel will be showing his own pigs in 4-H and she’ll be begging to borrow one for novice showmanship.

Even though I spent a lot of time complaining about it, I’d say my nine month break from farm work will be more than worth it in the end.

About Celeste

Celeste grew up on a family beef cattle and show pig farm in Western Kentucky. In addition to farming and life as a restaurant wife, Celeste owns Celeste Communications where she works as a photographer, graphic designer, videographer and consultant. This blog is Celeste's personal soapbox. Any ranting or raving is her own and does not reflect the opinions of any of her clients. All photos and posts are copyrighted property of Celeste Communications.


10 Things no one told me about being pregnant on the farm — 27 Comments

  1. LOVE LOVE LOVE this post. As a farmwife and mother of three I totally relate. I did chores and milked on our farm until the very end for all three. While I tried to not lift anything “heavy” it was just a part of the job sometimes. Your body will tell you what you can and cannot do and remember to listen to it. As for doctors not knowing about things around farms: find a female vet in your area. She will know what to stay away from.
    Your husband will make several farm jokes when you go into labor, try to smile and not punch him :)
    Best wishes to you and your baby! I wish we lived closer so we could do lunch!

  2. Ok, I think the “heifer” and “sow” references might push me over the edge. You’re one tough cookie, Celeste! :)

    Best wishes to you as you brave the home stretch!

  3. It’s definitely worth it, Celeste! And while the 9 months seems like FOREVER when you are waiting on your little one to arrive – the rest of your baby’s life will be measured in fleeting moments. (Can’t believe mine are 14 and 8!!!)

  4. I didn’t know whether to laugh or cry reading this blog! Mostly giggle, but only siding with you of course! The industry terms related to pregnancy definitely made me smile. The part that made me tear up was the “teaching our daughter what I wasn’t able to do the past 9 months.” Reminded me of a friend of mine who has her 18th month old girl scratching on a heifer calf with her mini show stick! Best wishes to you during “calving” and much love to you as well! From one country girl to another: that baby will definitely be tough enough to wear pink! :)

  5. Thanks for all the comments everyone, I probably had a little too much fun ranting about it lol
    And Carrie and Emily, you know you’d be the first people I’d “tweet” if I had that issue!

  6. Too cute. You should chat to Misty about the medications deal. Her OBGYN was previously a Vet. Perfect combo :D

  7. Celeste, there were a few times that I wished for being excused from farrmwork AFTER having a baby. One I’ll never forget was the time my parents came out to help us strip tobacco when my third child was about a month old. My mom held the baby and watched the other two while my Dad and I helped my husband strip tobacco. I had to work in Isotoner gloves since I was nursing!

  8. Celeste,

    So true! We have a family dairy farm and am only 20 weeks pregnant. I feel like I might as well go with the “dry cows” to pasture. Thank you for sharing! It added a smile to my day!


  9. Loved reading this! It reminded me of when my sister was pregnant. My dad wouldn’t let her feed or water anything. She was so mad at him at the State Fair when he wouldn’t let her lead the heifers anywhere. I think that’s when she had her “Carhartt blubbering moment”. Lol Hope you kick your feet up and enjoy some relaxation until she gets here!

  10. The article was very informant – however – I really enjoyed the picture since you were so camera shy during these last months….you are looking so good….. Love you….

  11. Great post! I laughed however, this must be your first pregnancy because all my pregnancies AFTER my first, my husband didnt’ care if I was going into labor or not, we had chores to do. =) One time, my doc had wanted to know if I could come back and be induced the next day. “Nope, her and I have to castrate and dehorn calves.” With my last one we were in labor but we had to get chores done first. =) In these comments that say your body knows when you can/can’t handle it, they’re right. Keep up the great writing and sneak out and jump over a gate. It’s good for you! =)

  12. Thank you! I wasn’t quite looking for this in my pregnancy planning (I was looking for any things to avoid on the farm), but it made my evening. I do have a question though. Maternity work pants- do they exist (not that my husband will let me do anything, but I’d like to at least have a pair!) I haven’t found any. Advice?
    Wendy (who raises hogs and sheep and chickens)- and if you’re not too sick of the livestock references… We had a sow named Celeste. :)

  13. Hi Wendy,
    I honestly only had 3 stores in my town that carried maternity clothes at all: JC Penny’s, Kohls and Motherhood. Motherhood was expensive so I never tried their jeans. I hated the jeans I got from Kohls so I used those as work jeans and wore the JC Penny ones the rest of the time. Hope that helps!

  14. Thank you, thank you for this! My mom is freaking out about me lifting (hay bales and 5 gallon buckets of water and the almost-full-milk-can). At first I was blowing her off but lately my stomach has been sore (stomach muscles saying that holding in a baby is hard enough?!).
    I definitely don’t get to take it easy pregnant. My dad worries some, but not my husband who has every faith in a pregnant mammal after growing up on his own family’s farm. There are days I’m on my own and the cows need hay, the pigs need grain, the cows need water, the stalls need scraping, the milking needs to be done (lots of squatting!). So you do it.
    And don’t lift over 25lbs?! Even for a non-farming situation … I have 5 older kids and two of them still ask to be carried and weigh 25+lbs. I’m pregnant, I don’t have a disability.

  15. Great post! Although pregnancy didn’t get me out of chores. But an answer to the question about jeans. When my daughter was pregnant, she didnt like maternity anything. Instead she wore low riding jeans and bought a size bigger as she grew bigger. As long as you aren’t carrying too low, this will work.

  16. my doc told me at 3 months with twins I was not allowed to be on the farm!!! No tractor rides due to vibration. Stay out of the vet room with drugs. No wrestling with baby calves getting them to drink. Give vaccines. I took the 25# thing serious and even asked for help loading my car with groceries! If I fed grain to calves I only filled bucket half way. I did help a first time heifer calve one night at 4 1/2 months – hubby was sick. Enjoy … Then there. Is keeping toddlers away from baby calves to not expose each other to nasty bugs…

  17. I love this! I found it while searching for maternity clothes that would make farm work possible.

    25 pounds my a$$.

  18. I’m 8 wks and my husband has already banned me from going to feed up or anything while he is at his day job. It’s going to be a long 7 months. I am going to go crazy because I am used to filling my days with fencing, feeding, or anything else that needs doing.

  19. My OBGYN when I asked her about lifting 100lbs feed sacks and carrying 5 gallon buckets etc., said her exact words thats old school ob, you can haul all of that until your in labor. When I was pregnant with my first we didn’t have any livestock and was put on a 25lbs weight restriction. I am now 26 weeks with my second and my husbands work hours do not allow for extra hands around here so either I do it or it doesn’t get done. My lower back usually screams and is swollen when all said and done but this is normal according to the doc. Gotta do what ya gotta do lol.I’m 4’11” and only weigh 140lbs so it’s keeping me very fit during this pregnancy.

  20. I abosolutely loved this post. I am a chicken farmer with my husband. I do most of the hands on chicken stuff while my husband does the maintenance side. We just found out I am expecting and my mother has already chimed in on all the things I can’t do. I loved where you said our chores will just make them a little tougher because I had the same thought. I think I will be able to tell when enough is enough though and not push it. I like that you brought up asking the vet about the meds and things I would have not thought about that and may have to seek some advice. Not many people realize the things us farm wives have to go through. Thank you for posting, it has given me a more positive outlook!

  21. Celeste hi there, I’m new here and I’m so glad I stumbled upon this! I think I need some help or knowledge from you and these lovely women in the comments. Now I’m only 22 and I’m not too sure about even having kids yet. But I am 1 of 2 girls and I am going to eventually take over the family chicken and grain farm I do most of the equipment work and general maintenance. I have always worried and wondered about what happens when your hubby dosent work on the farm and it’s just you. How do you put in the crop, how do you do anything that needs to be done and look after the baby. I just dont know how I can do it… maybe for me adopting is my best bet. I truly dont think the farm or the baby would survive 9 months without me working normally.

  22. Not was I was searching for but had to comment… I have 9 almost 10 kids. My husband and I manage 200 head of yaks. Tonight was m breakdown.. went to water and had to chase babies and feed. I hurt so much after I felt like a failure and wondered how other farm moms deal with being pregnant (not that I havent before but just hate feeling whimpy) ! Guess I’m not as alone as I though! Hope u get this .

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