Before you fall pregnant there are certain things you expect are going to happen to your body; things like your bump, morning sickness, your boobs getting big and craving certain foods. You see mums on Instagram making it look so glamorous and easy, but then when you actually fall pregnant, you realise there are SO many other things that happen/can happen to your body that you had no idea about.
The body really is an incredible thing, but unfortunately, some of the changes aren’t so wonderful. There is so much going on in your body in order to grow your baby, prepare you for the birth and to look after your baby, so to help prepare you for some of them (you might experience all, some or none) here’s a list of 25 unexpected (but totally normal) symptoms of pregnancy.
1. Losing weight
Wait, what? Some poor mamas are so sick in the first trimester with morning sickness that they actually lose weight in the first trimester.
2. Peeing your pants
Yep and we’re not talking about your waters breaking. You’ll likely leak when you cough, laugh, sneeze, move, basically do anything. Your bladder and pelvic floor are under increasing pressure throughout your pregnancy so if you feel a sneeze coming on batten down the hatches and prepare – or you may need to wear a panty liner or pad to avoid any accidents. It should resume regular programming post-baby but make sure you’re doing your kegels to help keep it strong in the meantime.
3. Not loving being pregnant
We see so many images of glamorous pregnant mums in Hollywood and on social media that it can be quite the shock when we fall pregnant and feel anything but fab. Some women love pregnancy and just seem to breeze through it with a glow, but there’s no denying pregnancy is hard, and it takes a toll on your body and your mind and for some of us our looks and confidence too, so it’s ok to admit you’re struggling with it and don’t love it – it doesn’t mean you love your baby any less.
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4. Rollercoaster of emotions
Your moods can easily flip from being elated and positive one minute to crying hysterically and upset the next.
5. Prenatal depression
We hear a lot about postnatal depression but it’s also very common for women to experience depression during their pregnancy, especially thanks to all those hormones surging through the body. Ups and downs in your mood are completely normal, but if the roller coaster seems to be stuck on down for too long, speak with a loved one or your doctor.
6. Your sense of smell
Prepare to smell ALL the smells now that you’re pregnant. Smells you may have missed before will now feel like a slap in the face – if you see a garbage truck coming waddle in the opposite direction!
7. Pregnancy nose
Speaking of noses, there are actually quite a few changes your nose can go through during pregnancy. Your nose can sometimes widen and grow (most likely due to general pregnancy swelling) but it should return to normal after you give birth. As well as this you may experience a stuffy nose (especially during the night), you might start snoring or experience nose bleeds. Who would have thought your nose would undergo so many changes!
8. Collecting crumbs on your belly
You’ll feel like a grub looking down after a meal and notice you’ve got enough for a second meal captured on your bump. You’re probably not any messier than you were pre-pregnancy but it just fell discreetly on your lap before.
9. Sex and orgasms
Yep, this is likely to change for the better or worse depending on the individual. Some women find sex during pregnancy increases satisfaction, while others say it switches it off completely. Others also say their sex drive surges while for some it plummets. Luck of the draw on this one, unfortunately…
10. Shoe size increases
Suddenly not fitting into your favourite shoes? Don’t stress, this is another common side-effect of pregnancy due to swelling and fluid retention, but don’t go getting rid of your beloved shoes just yet, for most women they should return to their regular size after giving birth. And if they don’t – well that’s the perfect excuse to go shopping and treat yourself!
11. Linea Nigra
That weird dark line that runs down your bump is totally normal – it will vary in darkness for everyone, and some women won’t get one at all. But it is just hyperpigmentation brought on by those pesky hormones.
Speaking of pigmentation and pesky hormones, they can cause changes to the skin on your face too, with grey-brown patches sometimes forming on the face, commonly known as the ‘mask of pregnancy’.
13. Pregnancy acne
Your face isn’t out of the woods yet, you may even experience breakouts as you did back in your teens (or even if you’ve never experienced them before). Yep, you guessed it – due to the hormones.
14. Food aversions
While we all know about pregnancy cravings, what you might not realise is that you might also experience the opposite. Certain foods may suddenly make you want to vomit, either the taste or smell of them, the look of them or even just the thought!
15. Terrible sleep
You might have had fantasies about pregnancy being all about getting lots of Zzz’s before baby arrives – but the sad truth of it is, you’ll probably never sleep worse than when you’re pregnant. Sorry to be the bearer of bad news.
16. Leaking breasts
Before you’ve even had the baby and before your actual milk comes in your breasts are already preparing and getting ready to feed your baby once it arrives. Your breasts can sometimes start to leak colostrum, which is the substance that will feed your baby while you’re waiting for your milk to come in. So you might find yourself having to bust out those nipple pads you packed in your hospital bag before you’ve even gone to hospital.
17. Dark nipples
Speaking of boobs, while you probably know (or have already experienced) that they get bigger (and now you know they also might leak) but your breasts will also probably change in colour too. While some women stay the same, many women notice their nipples and areola darken in colour, often in early pregnancy and remain, or it can also happen later as the pregnancy progresses. You can also find lumps and bumps appear on the surface of your nipples (always be sure to check your breasts for any changes beneath the surface including lumps and if you notice anything speak with your doctor immediately).
18. Dark vulva or labia
It’s not just your boobs that might get darker, you may also notice (or your partner or beautician) that your vulva or labia goes a darker, purple-red shade when you’re pregnant.
19. Lightning crotch
Yep this is exactly what it sounds like. Sharp, shooting pains in the vagina (or also can be in the rectum or pelvis) and usually occur towards the end of pregnancy.
20. Metallic taste in the mouth
Suddenly feel like you’ve been sucking on some spare change? Well, don’t worry many women experience a metallic taste in their mouth during pregnancy ranging from mild to extreme in some cases. It often occurs during the early stages of pregnancy but for some women, they experience it throughout.
21. Gas and bloating
Chances are you’re going to be gassier and sometimes might even find it takes you by surprise and you let rip unexpectedly. One of the many reasons it’s good to find a sense of humour in pregnancy and learn to just laugh it off.
22. Vivid dreams and nightmares
Because your sleep is not as deep as usual, and you’re waking up during the night you’re likely to remember your dreams much more vividly than you usually would (so it seems like you are dreaming more, it’s actually just that you’re remembering them when usually you would sleep through them). Often anxieties, worries – and excitement – about your baby can play on your mind and come out in your dreams for better or worse – don’t spend too much time over-analysing or worrying about them.
23. Dizziness/feeling light headed
Throughout your pregnancy, you may experience bouts of dizziness or feeling light headed, and often for different reasons. In the beginning, it’s usually due to the hormone progesterone lowering your blood pressure. Then as your pregnancy progresses your growing baby can place pressure on blood vessels causing you to feel light-headed. Other causes may be standing too quickly, going too long between meals or low irons levels or anaemia.
However, if the dizziness is severe, or combined with any other symptoms such as vision loss, headaches, severe cramping or bleeding you should call your doctor immediately.
If you find yourself tripping over your own feet, dropping things or walking into walls you’re not alone. Your centre of gravity changes during pregnancy and can throw you slightly off-kilter – so just be sure to take extra care as not to fall or injure your bump (although don’t worry baby is pretty well protected in there) but maybe ditch the high heels and opt for sturdy shoes just to be safe.
25. Body temp
You might not realise it but when you become pregnant you also enter into your own personal summer (sounds exotic, but sadly it’s not much fun and there are no beaches or cocktails in sight). Due to those hormones and your body working overtime to grow and nurture your baby, your body temperature increases making you feel hot, clammy and sweaty no matter what the temperature is outside – and especially at night.