We hear a lot about the icky side effects of pregnancy. Only pregnancy brings on things like heartburn, morning sickness, swollen ankles, constipation, bleeding gums, frequent urination, gas, itchiness…the list is long! That said, it can be kind of fun, as well as cathartic, to complain to sympathetic ears. You feel like part of an elite club.
But there is also a great side to pregnancy that we don’t hear a lot about. There are some truly wonderful side effects that come along with being pregnant. They are so great, in fact, that we never want them to go away. You might experience a lot of the bad ones but hopefully, you also have a chance to experience at least a few of these truly fabulous ones. Here we celebrate the wonderfully positive things that pregnancy can do to a woman’s body and mind--the things you'll love.
Unfortunately this “side effect” doesn’t happen to everyone but in some women, leg hair stops growing during pregnancy. It’s not a well-understood symptom but likely has much to do with excess hormones, like many other items on this list.
The way your excess hormones interact with your system and the effects they have on you will be very specific to you. Some old wives’ tales suggest that a symptom like this means it’s one gender or the other but there isn’t any truth to that. So if your leg hair stops growing, enjoy! It will resume again almost as soon as you give birth, but at least you don’t have to battle with your belly to shave your ankles for several months.
Your hair will be thicker, shinier, and more lustrous when you are pregnant. You can thank pregnancy hormones for this. High levels of estrogen mean you are actually shedding less hair making your hair feel thicker and more full. You aren’t, in fact, growing more hair; you are just losing less. Texture changes are possible, too.
This is a change most pregnant women love: glowing, flowing locks. Your shower drain appreciates the change, too.
The extra hormones present during pregnancy can make your nails grow faster and stronger as well. Some women report that their nails have never been as nice as they are during pregnancy. This is another great perk of pregnancy.
Just make sure you protect your nails during dishwashing, cleaning or any activity that might be hard on your hands. The faster growth can sometimes make nails brittle, but if you care for them and get all the nutrients you need during pregnancy, this will increase the chance that they will be long and strong.
Everyone’s heard of the so-called pregnancy “glow”. Well, believe it or not, there is science behind it! Your body produces more blood when you are pregnant which, in turn, increases your circulation. One outcome: it can cause your face to be brighter.
Further, the excess hormones you produce boost your oil glands into turbo mode which can leave your face shiny. The combination of brighter and shinier skin makes you appear to have a healthy, pink glow about you.
Seeing pregnant women generally makes people happy. Hopefully, nobody will feel your bump without permission but they will give it fond looks. People love babies and it’s not hard to imagine a baby when you see a pregnant woman!
Babies make people happy and they’ll have a hard time keeping that feeling contained around a pregnant woman. Bask in the positive energy surrounding you, and know that you are responsible for momentarily snapping people out of their stressful, crabby days.
Again, it’s that excess estrogen circulating through your body that can make your sense of smell more pronounced during pregnancy. For some women, it’s too much but some women love their heightened sniffer during those nine months.
One pregnant woman described taking a walk in early spring during her first trimester and how she couldn’t get enough of the aroma of all of the spring blooms. Everything smelled amazing. She was much more in tune with the scents than ever before.
Sometimes, a heightened sense of smell during pregnancy can make you sensitive to certain scents, so it may have to be just the right odor or combination of odors to make it enjoyable. Stay away from any scents you don’t like to begin with but you could try sampling aromas you already enjoy to see if they get a pleasant boost.
You might almost take this for granted but it’s pretty awesome being period-free for nine months. This will extend even longer if you are breastfeeding. Some women don’t resume menstruating until they have completely finished breastfeeding.
Your period marks the uterus shedding its lining when there is no fertilized egg. Obviously, once you get pregnant, this ceases to happen. Enjoy! You will bleed heavy for a period of time after your baby arrives.
Your breasts may go up a cup size or two during pregnancy. Whether you plan to breastfeed or not, your body is getting ready to feed your bundle of joy. Those sneaky pregnancy hormones are to blame. Estrogen and progesterone are hard at work, packing on excess fat and increasing blood flow to prime you for breastfeeding.
Many women enjoy this change to their shape. We assure you, your partner will, too. Investing in good maternity undergarments can really help this transition be more comfortable for you.
We aren’t suggesting you eat everything in sight during pregnancy--not at all. But you certainly should feel very entitled to eat healthy well-balanced meals while indulging your cravings without feeling an ounce of guilt.
Cravings are often a message sent by your body to your brain to tell you what your body is missing. It’s important, of course, to understand cravings and what they mean, but it’s also important to feed them.
You are growing an entire human being, so fuel yourself and fuel your baby. All those nutrients are making you both strong. Eat, eat, eat but do it in a smart way. If you do that, the odd salty or sweet treat will do no harm.
Many couples shy away from sex during pregnancy. Unless your doc advises against it, there really isn’t any reason to avoid it. There is NO possible way your unborn baby is going to get poked, prodded or harmed during the act--no matter how well endowed Dad thinks he is. The baby is safely tucked deep in your uterus with the mucous plug doing its fabulous job.
In fact, thanks to the extra blood you produce during pregnancy, your vulva becomes extra engorged and even more sensitive than usual. This means your sex drive might be through the roof. You may even find you are ultra-orgasmic during pregnancy thanks to the increased flow of blood and fluids in your nether regions.
Your hubby is going to find your new curves extra sexy, too. Embrace it. Your sex life may take a hit for a while after the baby arrives.
In part thanks to your bigger boobs and increased sex drive, your partner will be super happy during your pregnancy. But just like you are excited about the baby, so too is he!
Make sure you make him feel as included as possible in the pregnancy. Encourage him to feel your bump and interact with the baby. Also read your weekly baby development updates together so he knows what’s going on, and encourage him to come to appointments.
Pregnancy is such a special time for a couple. Your lives will change forever when your baby arrives which will be challenging but magical. But this time is particularly magical, so make sure you really enjoy your time together before the big day and encourage one another’s positivity.
People will give up their seat for you! If you’re on a train, a bus, the subway, in a waiting room or at an event and people notice your burgeoning bump, they’ll make sure you have a spot. This is a nice side effect of pregnancy. Seeing people still care enough to make sure other people are comfortable warms the heart.
And if they don’t, give them a dirty look (and then write a blog about it.) Or maybe, you don’t look as pregnant as you feel.
Many women drink socially and frequently. Some are smokers. Others indulge in recreational drugs. Pregnancy is the time to give up all of these things. Women must be healthy vessels for their babies. For many people, giving these things up is a no-brainer. Others struggle and if this is you, please speak to your health care provider.
Whether you are a heavy or light user of alcohol, tobacco or other things that are no-nos during pregnancy, giving them up is essential once you become pregnant (and preferably before). As a great side effect, you are also giving your body a chance to detox and recalibrate. You might discover that you are a “new you” following the birth of your baby.
Eventually, your baby will get big and active enough for you to feel him or her move. There is nothing quite as amazing as the feeling of those first flutters! For some women, this is when it really hits home that there is a person in there.
Eventually, you’ll also be able to see your baby move. You might even see the distinct lump of a heel or hand protruding from your own bump.
Once your baby is big enough, you can even interact with him or her. Gently push or rub on the body part you feel and watch your baby respond. He/she will likely draw back before settling into a similar position again. Your turn! Your baby will enjoy the back and forth interaction.
Assuming your pregnancy is a wanted one, the elation you’ll feel at the sight of that positive pregnancy test is one that is tough to describe. While your pregnancy will have its ups and downs, your happiness and excitement at being pregnant and anticipating the arrival of your baby are unparalleled.
We also know that your fetus feels your mood. Just like a baby can feel stress hormones, so too can they feel happy hormones. When people are in a happy state of mind, they release “happiness” hormones including endorphins, dopamine, and serotonin. As a result, your baby will feel the effects of the hormones and feel happy, too.
Enjoy that feeling of elation and excitement! You’re going to be a mom and there is nothing more amazing than that.