The human body is full of mysteries and wonders. A pregnant body is also something that undergoes so many strange, somewhat disgusting changes but is actually there to keep the mothers healthy. Also, there are things we do and food we eat to keep us even healthier; like, some of us in this life have blended raw eggs into our protein smoothies for a morning pick-me-up, or not wash our hair every day (which sounds totally icky, to be honest) but is actually good for keeping our hair moisturized. Ever heard of fish oil? Sounds so gross! How about the word Kegels- does it remind you of something that is slightly dirty and a little bit scandalous? Because it does to me! Let us just say that out there in the real world, there are a variety of things that sound or look totally ridiculous, icky, and downright revolting, but are actually good and healthy for mommy (and baby)!
Now we are not only talking about a variety of foods, of course, but also the changes pregnant women’s bodies undergo just so they’ll stay up to par in caring for the unborn baby. And though they may seem totally repulsive, they really are just what they are. But remember, always be wise and consult the doctor and dietician for being healthy all throughout the wonderful journey of being a mom!
15 Fish Oil Capsules
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Okay, what? Fish oil capsules? For some women, the…fishy smell of fish- which is a mixture of something slick and slimy and salty to the nose- is something they can’t stand. What more something like fish oil, which makes us go “what???” because we don’t even know if the capsules are made from fish turned into oil or if the fish ooze out some kind of oil?
But, studies show that fish oil can boost brain power. The capsules are high in Omega 3 fatty acids which are known to help with depression and bipolar disorder and helps prevent heart risks as well. And actually, fish oil is derived from the “tissues of oily fish”. Meanwhile, cod liver oil comes from-you guessed it- the liver of codfish. If you can get past the smell and fishy taste, that’s great! Luckily, the ones put in capsules don’t taste like anything much.
14 Pet Hairs
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Before you shut off your computer screen, hold up, because this is pretty interesting! And don’t worry: we’re not going to talk about eating your dog or cat’s fur to keep healthy during a pregnancy. What we are going to tell you, however, is that “man’s best friend” really is a good saying about dogs in the house.
According to Microbiome journal, moms with pets like dogs and cats (all that fur and hair!) had a healthier gut bacteria composition than those who don’t. So what’s the science behind this? In their abstract, they detail how the exposure to such pets “has the capacity to reduce the risk for overweight and allergic disease”. Sherry Ross, M.D. says that being exposed to the hairs help prevent allergies and makes for healthy gut bacteria for the baby, which happens when the mothers “transfer strong immunities to the baby.”
13 Kegels Exercises
Kegels exercises sound really weird and also really scandalous. But really, they are just pelvic exercise. Besides the questionable name and the numerous images and videos one might chance upon when Googling “Kegels exercises”, it’s actually not that bad getting into them. And yes, they look and sound just a little bit funny.
It’s also a little bit icky to think about because it involves not only doing contract and relaxes using the muscles that compose the pelvic floor, but also holding something that looks like ball bearings or eggs inside one’s vagina (whaaaat) and attaching a string to it, attaching some other thing to the end like a bag of pebbles, and lifting the damn things. I mean, that’s pretty freaking awesome but also a bit cringe-y. And hey, Kegels helps with urinary incontinence and may just improve one’s sex life *wink*.
12 Heightened Sense Of Smell
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Okay, it’s not like women can control the sense of smell they have, pregnant or otherwise. However, it is pretty gross just thinking about smelling absolutely everything even if it is at a farther range than the nose can reach as usual. Unwittingly sniffing a co-worker’s silent farts that he tried so hard to pass quietly or that chili bowl you used to love? Smells absolutely repulsive now.
The different theories as to how this happens include the idea that during pregnancy, blood flow increases up to 50%, and the olfactory senses may be increased by the blood flow. And some people believe as well that the heightened sense of smell help women keeps away from ingesting or inhaling things that may actually be harmful to them. So just be patient with small inconveniences like smelling your office mate's farts if it means that the nose and brain are actually keeping the baby from being affected by anything harmful!
11 Labour Poops
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Um, does it sound gross? Yes. Am I serious? Yes, that’s right, labor poops. As in, pooping during a pregnant woman’s labor. It’s a living nightmare for most pregnant (and wanting to be pregnant) ladies, making up a part of what they fear about pregnancy. But while it is pretty disgusting, a tad embarrassing, and highly inconvenient, it actually may have benefits- even to the baby.
Besides the relief that a woman may feel after pooping, which is great because a lot of women experience constipation while pregnant, the poop may help colonize the baby’s digestive track and so the good probiotics can move there from the mom. Deena H. Blumenfeld, Lamaze Certified Childbirth Educator, gives this advice. In the end, we have a happy baby tummy; hence, a happy baby and a happier mommy. But don’t feed poop to your babies, ladies. There’s yogurt for that job.
10 Mucus Plugs
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What in the name of all things sane is a mucus plug, you ask? Well, it is exactly what it sounds like- a plug made out of mucus. And yes, it is totally gross just thinking about it. It is even grosser seeing it once it comes out of a pregnant woman’s cervix. But what is it exactly, where is it located, and what does it do?
Well, a mucus plug made out of gelatinous mucus that lodges in the opening of the cervix while a woman is pregnant. This makes sure that no bacteria can enter and infect the uterus (ew) and consequently infect the baby from the harms of the outside world. When the woman is nearing labor the mucus plug pops out all of its own accord, either in one big flourish or in disintegrated parts. Either way, it looks really gross, but it keeps the body healthy and the baby safe too.
9 Cottage Cheese
The lumpy, soft, white, and slightly watery texture. The slight, kind of sweet flavour (what flavor though???), and the sickly (reminds you of vomit, anyone?) looking lump it creates when spread on bread or put on salads or dipped in by fruit. Cottage cheese to some is great, but also equally an abomination to many. “It looks like some white diarrhea and tastes like absolutely nothing,” says one BuzzFeed writer. Not many will agree with the greatness of cottage cheese, but we can definitely say that it is of great health benefits!
It is loaded with protein, calcium, vitamin B-12, and phosphorous, all of which are nutrients needed by pregnant ladies. And although the intake recommendations are dependent on many factors such as caloric needs, doctors generally recommend 3 cups per day. So cheese lovers, indulge in your cottage cheeses!
8 Uterus The Size Of A Watermelon
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Did you know, mommies, that the uterus is really just peach sized (or orange sized) in its normal, undisturbed form? That’s pretty freaking small. Why is this fact important? Because did you also know that it can expand into the size of a watermelon? I mean it’s pretty obvious that it will when a baby grows in there but just imagine that part of the body actually stretching itself into mind-blowing proportions. Pretty gross, to be honest.
Now that you understand the gravity of a small organ inside your body- near your other organs like the kidneys, intestines, and stomach- growing 500 times its original size, you have to also understand that it does what it does to make sure it houses the baby and make sure it develops. I’m sure we’ll understand, despite the inherent horror of it all.
Imagine having a face, hands, legs, ankles, and feet so much thicker and bulgier than they were months ago. Eugh! Just thinking about it reminds me of the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man from Ghostbusters. If you get a case of the swell, who you gonna call?
But hey, these symptoms are definitely, totally normal for a preggo lady to experience; and yes, while it is totally gross it’s actually quite important in keeping the pregnant body healthy. The reason for the swelling, also called edema, is because during the pregnancy, the body produces about 50% more fluids and blood. You might ask, what’s all that extra fluid for? Well, it is there to keep the body soft so that when the baby develops, the body can expand along with it. See? More fluid equals a healthy body that can keep up with the growing demands of the developing baby. If we didn’t have all this fluid it will be super difficult to have a healthy body to house that child.
6 Spider Veins/ Bleeding Gums
You just got pregnant and there are branches of blue or red veins everywhere! On the belly, on the legs, and who knows where else? Although looking decidedly icky and even sinister, these are just normal effects of more blood volume in the body. Even occasional nose bleeding and gum bleeding can result.
So why is this healthy? Well, when the baby is growing in the belly, and it will grow a lot for 9 months, it needs to be nourished. The blood that is being pumped throughout the entire body increases by around 40%, just to keep up with the demands of two bodies (in one). So moms, don’t forget to take in vitamin C and exercise a little to reduce the appearance of spider veins; but don’t hate them, they’re only there because they signal that the blood flow is keeping mommy healthy.
5 Oily Skin
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That pregnancy glow everyone gushes about? That’s actually a real, physiological phenomenon and not just some emotional I’m-so-happy-to-be-a-mom sentiment the media cooked up. It also means there are going to be sheens of excess sweat and oil on your face and neck, which is already disgusting and annoying by itself, but it also causes acne breakouts once in a while. Ew!
But why is this actually something that’s good for pregnant ladies? Well, we go back to the idea of blood circulation, which is pretty good for a pregnant lady (and her baby). The added circulation results in a woman’s face looking to be more “flushed” and “dewy” which means there’s also a chance of excess oil there. But hey, if it signals that my body is keeping me healthy during a pregnancy, I’m totally fine with it! But it is advisable to wash the face once in a while, okay?
4 Mushy Peas
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Remember that time in childhood when the mere thought of putting anything green or mushy (and God help you if it was both at the same time) in your mouth was just so damn sickening? Well, childhood is over, ladies, because that’s exactly the kind of thing pregnant women are gushing over during a certain craving. Mushy peas is the way to go, even if it is pretty gross looking at a sad, green lump of mushy green peas. It probably smells a little weird too. But hey, if it reaps a lot of benefits, it will be good to try it.
Mushy peas, which are basically “dried, rehydrated and mashed marrowfat peas, “common in UK chip shops are actually full of benefits. Green peas are known to be abundant in vitamin K, fiber, vitamin B1, protein, and potassium, to name a few. These are all quite the needed nutrients a pregnant woman needs. Doesn’t that sound healthy? It does all right, even if the thought of peas being all mushed up does sound unappealing.
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Salty, a little bit stinky. Looks hella weird. It also tastes really strong, and it’s that flavor of pizza (anchovies and garlic, mixed together!) that most people seem to ignore. Anchovies are not everyone’s type of food; it’s more like an acquired taste- something older people, but not kids, would probably eat. But guess what? Besides being more or less gross, they are also an occasional craving for some pregnant women! And for good reason too.
Anchovies are packed with iron, calcium, and a certain type of Omega 3 fatty acid- which are all that a pregnant woman needs. Moreover, they are low in mercury, which is a neurotoxin pregnant woman should hastily avoid. So I guess they are a delicious but also really salty- and this, women have to watch out for too. Easy on the salt intake, ladies, and moderate the ingestion of anchovies; but they are definitely your friend!
2 Pickles/ Pickle Juice
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Who the hell even actually eats pickles right out of the jar, or drink the green, stale-looking pickle juice it floats around in? Some people even dip the damn things in peanut butter. What is that even? Is this some propaganda the media cooked up to make us believe in the pickle? Well, in all its wrinkly, green glory, pickles are actually quite beneficial for the expecting mother.
Pickle juice actually helps in keeping a mother’s electrolyte balance, well, balanced. Potassium and sodium are two of the body’s main electrolytes, according to Live Strong; and pickle juice helps maintain the electrolyte requirements. Electrolytes are the minerals the body needs because they help “conduct electrical transmissions” throughout the body. Just be careful on the pickle juice intake, though, because they tend to be high in sodium content. Moderation is still very important.
1 Dried Fruit
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Have you ever tried prune? Or raisins- maybe ate them in a salad or some bread pudding? If we look at the beady, wrinkly little things we do not usually go “oh that’s wonderful!” we go “ugh, what is this?” and proceed to fling it as far away as possible. Admit it, the watery, slightly grainy texture and sweet-sour taste of a raisin are off-putting and just kind of gross; it’s probably the only thing you leave on a plate after polishing off a cinnamon roll.
But guess what? Dried fruit- yes, such as raisins- is actually good for a pregnant woman! They are full of calories, fiber, and vitamins which are everything a pregnant woman needs. Even just one serving can deliver the necessary potassium, vitamin K, and the like. So feast on a questionably delectable (because once the cravings kick in you might just start reaching for a dried fruit bowl every time) variety of prunes, dates, and raisins.