If you know anything about pregnancy, then you’ve probably heard of many symptoms a pregnant person can experience. Some of the more common symptoms are a missed period, morning sickness, fatigue, swollen feet and ankles, frequent urination, sore breast/chest and odd food cravings. If you were to talk to someone who has been or is currently expecting a little one they will tell you that the list of symptoms almost feels infinite. You may not even become aware of many symptoms until you begin to experience them. This can cause added stress and anxiety or even just confused which is why I created a list of 15 less talked about pregnancy symptoms.
- EXCESS HAIR GROWTH– It is common to see an increase in hair growth on your back, belly, chin, face, butt, lower back, chest and just about anywhere else. This change in hair growth can be attributed to a rise in androgen hormones, which increase as your pregnancy progresses.
- NUMB/TINGLING LIMBS– As your uterus and baby become heavier, this added weight can put pressure on your nerves causing numbness and or tingling in your arms or legs.
- INSOMNIA– During early pregnancy naps may be your best friend. As your pregnancy progresses however, sleep may become fleeting. Some causes of insomnia in later pregnancy include back pain, discomfort due to heartburn, frequent urination, anxiety, vivid dreams, or hormonal changes. Using extra pillows, sleeping in an elevated position, limiting fluids closer to bedtime, and meditating are some things that can help with a more peaceful night’s sleep.
- CARPAL TUNNEL– Increased blood volume and swelling wrists puts pressure on the nerves in your wrists from both the inside and outside. This can cause carpal tunnel, but usually goes away once baby arrives. Remember R.I.C.E. (Rest. Ice. Compression. Elevate.) to help alleviate discomfort.
- NOSE BLEEDS– Similar to the cause of carpal tunnel, increased blood volume can cause the tiny vessels in your nose to burst leading to nosebleeds.
- CHARLIE HORSE/LEG CRAMPS– The cause of these annoying and uncomfortable cramps is not certain. Some theories include extra weight on nerves, dehydration, vitamin deficiency, or lack of movement. Staying active and hydrated may help ward off these cramps. You can also talk to your healthcare provider about adding a magnesium supplement which may be helpful as well.
- SNORING– Hormones again! Mucous membranes can swell causing congestion and snoring. Try adding a few pillows under your head and neck or being really nice to your partner when your awake, because there is not much you can do about these new nighttime noises.
- FEET AND HANDS GROWING– The hormone Relaxin which works to prepare your body for labor causes the joints in your hands and feet to loosen. This could be a permanent change. At least you have a good excuse to go shoe shopping.
- INCREASED VAGINAL DISCHARGE– Increased estrogen and blood flow to the vagina lead to an increase in discharge. Although there is nothing that can be done to reduce the amount of discharge wearing panty liners may help. Some folks also like to carry personal wipes to keep themselves feeling fresh.
- FOOD AVERSIONS– Most of us are familiar with pregnancy cravings, but some folks also experience food aversions. This can be linked to that newfound keen sense of smell, nausea, or metallic taste in the mouth during pregnancy. Try to keep a variety of healthy meal options available in case you can no longer tolerate your favorite foods.
- FORGETFULNESS– Forgetfulness or pregnancy brain usually causes a fog or memory lapses. This is thought to be caused by lack of sleep and energy. You’ll feel more like yourself again after baby arrives. In the meantime, try using your phone to take important notes, set reminders and utilize the calendar for appointment reminders.
- CHANGE IN SEX DRIVE– Libido may increase, decrease, or stay the same at various points in pregnancy. This is due to changes in hormones, lack of sleep, increased blood flow to the vagina, growing body, changes in body image, nausea, and anxiety. Talk to your partner about how you are feeling and experiment with new ways to bond if you are not feeling up to sex.
- LIGHTENING CROTCH– This is a sharp or stabbing feeling in the vagina, rectum, or pelvis. Lightening crotch usually comes on quickly and can be uncomfortable or even painful. The cause is not certain, but some things that may help are changing positions or taking a warm bath or shower.
- EYESIGHT CHANGES– Blurry vision, light sensitivity or migraines, and even partial blindness are one of the more surprising changes that may occur during pregnancy. Water retention is the primary cause of all of these changes and will typically return to normal shortly after delivery.
- SKIN CHANGES– Whether it is dryness, itching, hyperpigmentation, acne, or stretch marks your skin goes through a lot during pregnancy. Staying hydrated, moisturized, using spf, and ALWAYS taking your prenatal vitamin may help with some of these changes and most will fade after your little one arrives.
Although many of these symptoms are more annoying than harmful it is always best to talk to your midwife or obstetrician about any new changes you are experiencing. They will be able to give you the best advice on how to cope. If things become challenging remember your amazing body is hard at work growing a baby and this phase will not last forever. You’ve got this!