Sure, you’ve read all the books and you’re ready for all those fantastic changes that signal you’re impending bundle of joy. You know exactly what to expect.
You might be surprised. Sandwiched between the ever-expanding tummy and the constant need to pee there are a variety of ways that your body will let you know that there is new life inside of you. Some might seem scary, but they are all perfectly normal occurrences. Talk to your doctor if you notice that you might be dealing with some of these Wild and wacky pregnancy symptoms.
You might not think about your mouth as a pregnancy indicator, but it is. Your entire mouth is a mucus membrane that reacts to the hormones flooding your body. And those reactions can take several different forms.
You may find yourself drooling, even when there isn’t chocolate anywhere in the vicinity. Pregnant women can produce up to an extra gallon of saliva a day. It may be to keep your mucus membrane in your mouth moist and flexible.
Some women find that they have a metallic taste in their mouth. This may very well be due to a condition called pregnancy gingivitis. It can lead to swelling and bleeding of your gums.
Finally, you might find a small growth between your teeth or on your gums. They look like tiny raspberries and will bleed easily when you brush or floss. They are called pregnancy tumors, but they aren’t cancer nor are they dangerous, just uncomfortable. They should disappear after you give birth. If you find that your toothbrush is a little red, be sure to visit your dentist and tell her you’re pregnant.
If you suddenly find yourself totally grossed out by your office mate’s aromatherapy, blame the baby. The hormonal changes that are part of pregnancy give many women a heightened sense of smell. Not all of it is welcome. Many women find that certain scents can trigger nausea. However, the opposite can also be true. Some women find that particular scents can help reduce nausea and help restore a clear head.
This aspect of pregnancy might have a survival benefit. In ancient times, a keen sense of smell might have alerted pregnant women to spoiled or otherwise infested food that might have threatened the health of the growing baby.
You might think that with a baby inside, that part of your anatomy should be fairly quiet until delivery. You couldn’t be more wrong. Many women have vaginal discharge that varies from this and watery to thick and sticky. It’s usually clear to white and can be copious enough to warrant using a panty liner to protect your clothing.
This is all because your body is protecting your baby and getting ready to give birth. There is a greater supply of blood to the cervix to keep it clean and healthy. Hormones also bathe the area. This stimulates mucus production to keep vaginal walls flexible and soft, ready to stretch wide enough to accommodate the birth of your baby.
But be sure to contact your doctor if the discharge changes color to yellow or green, has an undesirable odor or you start to feel burning or itching. These symptoms may indicate a different problem.
While some women may have a super sniffer, others may find that they can’t smell anything at all due to a chronically stuffy nose. Blame the hormones. They are designed to keep the mucus lining of the vagina lubricated, but they aren’t that great at telling one mucus lining from another. So, some women find that their nose is leaking too.
But a runny nose may not be the worst of it. The increased blood flow can cause swelling in the sinuses, throat and soft palate. That means your partner may tell you that you’re snoring, maybe for the first time ever. You may even discover that your voice is lower than it used to be. These symptoms will resolve with the pregnancy, so treat yourself with kindness. Try using a humidifier at night to reduce swelling and snoring. Use a saline spray to keep the mucus thin and prevent infection.
However, be sure to contact your doctor if you see a change in color of your nasal discharge or is you suddenly develop a fever.
Sure, everyone may tell you to your face that you’re glowing, but you look in the mirror and see something else. One day, your skin is clear, the next day you start seeing zits, dark patches and strange little tags growing all over your body.
Take heart, they are all just parts of those wacky hormones that are flooding your body.
Increases in estrogen will cause some women to revisit their teenage acne days. To deal with the outbreak, be sure to keep your skin clean and dry. Before you use any acne treatment, talk to your OB/GYN. There are a wide range of acne treatments that might be harmful to your growing baby.
Melasma is the official term for all those dark patches that can show up during pregnancy. Blame the increase in hormones for the extra melanin your body produces. You can minimize the patches by staying out of the sun as much as possible and protecting your skin from UV rays. Many women will see the dark patches disappear or lessen after giving birth.
Another fun thing that those extra hormones create are skin tags. These are tiny, flesh-colored nodules that tend to congregate around the neck and under the arms. They can literally show up over night and may grow to become fairly large. A quick trip to the dermatologist can rid you of those tags.
You might be expecting morning sickness, but you may not expect a full-service digestive carnival. The changes in your hormones will cause changes in your intestines. They tend to become a little more sluggish, leading to constipation. In some cases, it can also lead to extra gas and bloating. One of the best ways to deal with this fun aspect of pregnancy is to watch your diet. Be sure to eat a wide range of healthy fruits and vegetables to keep your gut in check. In addition, drink plenty of water every day to keep things moving.