We all know about stretch marks and morning sickness. Believe me, you couldn’t count how many times you’ve seen a film or TV show where a woman has made a mad dash for the bathroom (or a trash bin) as her first sign of pregnancy. Did you know not everyone gets morning sickness? Beyond that, there are so many possible pregnancy symptoms that WebMD is probably going to start sending out free home pregnancy tests with every symptom search.
… at first.
Some women, depending on their body size and shape when they become pregnant, will actually lose weight before gaining it. In addition, if a woman is particularly active, she may never see a sharp increase in her weight at all. Both genetics and lifestyle play a part in the weight loss/gain game; check back through your maternal line for an indication on how you might carry your weight.
Of course, if you’re like me, that might all go to the wind. My grandmother only gained five pounds throughout one of her pregnancies, as she lost a lot of her own weight through exercise and managed eating (probably not the same way we’d suggest these days, though…). I thought I was following right along. I gained five pounds straight away and didn’t pack on another until 20 weeks along. The day I entered hospital, I had managed to accumulate 47 pounds while going down a jeans size. Sometimes, big babies throw you off your game!
Hair all over
A lot of women report gaining hair in all the wrong places when pregnant, especially — but not exclusively — when carrying boys. While we do naturally have testosterone in our bodies, the added hormone levels from a male baby can cause some unpleasant side effects. You can grow hair on your belly, on your face, on your arms, on your toes…
No, it’s certainly not the end of the world, but, when you can’t REACH your toes to take care of it, you can get a little self-conscious about the whole thing.
No one really cares about your hairy toes. They’re too busy inappropriately touching your bump without permission.
Hair loss, too
Most things on this list are related to hormones, and this one is no different. While a lot of women find themselves with a thick, fast-growing mane of hair, some women find their hair starts to fall out. In clumps. Without warning. The good news is that the vast majority of women find their hair regrows just like it was after they give birth.
Until then, I hear hats are in this year.
Some women who had asthma in childhood, even if it’s long ago settled down, will find that they have a bit of extra huffing and puffing when they’re pregnant. As things inevitably start to shift within your body, many women will find that their ribs ache as they expand to make room. Your lungs, however, get the short straw in all of this mess, and you won’t have as much lung capacity as the days go on.
It’s not like you’ll need all that lung capacity for breathing and screaming when the pushing comes, right?
Remember when you were a hormonal teenager and had that lovely pizza face you sported in the yearbook pictures? Well, it might not be behind you. Crazy hormones can pock your face like a pimply teenager. If you’re unlucky enough to have this issue, it’ll likely continue until after you give birth.
You’ve always wanted someone to mistake you for younger, right?
Most pregnancy rashes are nothing to be concerned about, but it’s the limits on what kind of treatments you can use that mean you might be scratching for a few days. Since your immune system is changing to accept that little bundle in your belly, sometimes coming in contact with something you’ve been around all your life can make you overproduce histamines — meaning your rash might be accompanied by sniffles and sneezes.
That’s not a pregnancy glow you’ve got there; that’s a shiny tissue nose.
It doesn’t matter if you intend to breastfeed or not. You still might have leaky breasts in the third trimester. Your body doesn’t know whether or not you want to have a baby stuck to your boobs, so it is going to prepare anyway. Get yourself some comfortable breast pads and tuck those babies in.
I’ve saved the best for last, haven’t I? Since a baby has to make space — and not everything sticks out into that super cute bump you’re sporting — your internal bits shift around. Sometimes, they go places that you’d rather not…
Prolapse can happen when you have weak pelvic floor muscles, a large baby, a long birth process, or any combination of those things. With all the pressure centered downward, some things — namely your uterus, rectum, or urethra — push their way into the vagina.
I’ll let you take that in. And do a few Kegels while you wait.
Yes, since everything in that general region is held together by series of muscles and tendons, low muscle strength or strained muscles in combination with the hormone Relaxin (It does what it says on the tin.) can make your body all loosey-goosey.
While some rare cases do require surgical intervention, most cases of prolapse can be fixed with some hours put into a good Pilates class.