Pregnancy and motherhood do not come cheap. What's supposed to be one of the most divine experiences of a woman’s life actually comes with a high price to pay. Tiredness is not the only negative aspect of pregnancy. When everyone is talking about the pregnancy glow, the adorable bump and how lucky the mother-to-be is, it's very hard for her to comprehend why she doesn't feel as good as they say she should. It's less talked about, possibly out of social courtesy, but pregnancy does have a very disgusting side.
Hormonal changes cause physical attributes that are, to say the least, undesirable. From excessive sweating to increased production of gas, being pregnant seems to turn a woman into a stink bomb. It's a whole other hassle, other than pregnancy itself, to deal with hiding the disgusting aspects of this stage. Nevertheless, some things cannot be hidden and often slip up.
For these reasons, pregnant women usually spend a lot of time in private, more often in the bathroom, to treat the symptoms so they can be ready to see people again with confidence. These are the dirty little secrets that no one talks about, and come unexpectedly to women who become pregnant for the first time. Even later, during second or third pregnancies, the symptoms can repeat themselves and there is often little a mother-to-be can do.
Increased sweating during pregnancy is an annoying symptom especially during hot summer months. It makes women need more frequent showers at a time when they can already barely move. Some women choose to stay safe and decrease deodorant use especially if the deodorant has ingredients that could be harmful to the baby. The result is that mothers-to-be always have to be on a smell patrol of their own body odor.
Even more stressful is the heightened sense of smell that pregnancy brings. Women are forced to check themselves at a time when they can barely handle smelling anything at all. They could be getting nauseous from their perfumes and deodorants, among other smells, so they skip them altogether and go for light shower gels with no added perfumes, worsening the situation. It's definitely a difficult circular situation, but many women end up checking in with their BO to avoid embarrassing public situations.
An excess production of saliva occurs frequently in women who are suffering from nausea or morning sickness, particularly during the first trimester. It's scientifically known as ptyalism. This condition is actually a defense mechanism where the acid sensors in the esophagus trigger the salivary glands to produce saliva. This kind of saliva has an increased concentration of bicarbonate, which is alkaline, and counteracts the heartburn that occurs in pregnancy.
While not very obvious, drooling can be manifested in two sleep-related situations. First, pregnant women may find drool on their pillows is the morning. Second, they may start snoring, even if they didn't before. It's variable among women and can appear in one situation or both, or not at all. The good news is that it has no adverse effect on the mother and baby, and may decrease by following correct guidelines of food and drink that prevent heartburn in the first place.
Nausea and vomiting are the two companions that stick with a pregnant woman from the start. They start early enough to the point that some women discover their pregnancies this way. Vomiting is something that most pregnant women go through almost every morning. This issue is especially annoying if that feeling hits the woman at work or while in at a public place where bathrooms are not private enough.
It's especially hard on a woman to start her day with such gut wrenching act that's totally out of her control. It becomes even more annoying if it's repeated when triggers, such as heavy foods and certain smells, are encountered throughout the day. It makes the woman seem like she's in a constant state of vomiting. It's inconvenient, exhausting and could pose risk to the mother and baby if it persists.
It's medically proven that gas production increases during pregnancy, which results in more farting. It's hard to hide, but some women manage to get away with it. It makes women uncomfortable in social situations, and public speaking becomes their new arch enemy. Stomach troubles are already there, so increased gas is not only annoying, but sometimes painful. In women who already have gastrointestinal problems, medications may be needed during pregnancy.
Inconvenient as it is, a woman has to find a casual way out of social situations to hope to avoid even worse embarrassing situations. In real life, people are rarely forgiving enough to consider that pregnancy is hard enough and to let slip ups go without judgment. This places enormous pressure on the woman to contain herself to remain socially accepted and find a way not to be in pain.
Acne is a pregnant woman’s worst enemy. The zits are not just gigantic and embarrassing, but they're also painful and recurrent. Heavy medications that alleviate the condition completely are usually harmful during pregnancy, so the problem persists. It heavily affects self-esteem, which can be hard to deal with at a confusing time in a woman’s life.
Hormones are no doubt the cause of acne in such a case, which is why it's not related to a certain trimester. It can appear anytime and remain till the end of pregnancy in susceptible women. Women who already suffered acne as teenagers are the most likely group to reencounter the issue in pregnancy. The same can be said for women with oily skin. Using strong scrubs to get rid of clogged pores may help decrease the zits, but is not a guarantee to eliminate the problem. It can be very tempting to pop the zits and get rid of the contained fluid, but unfortunately, this can lead to scarring.
Between pregnancy cravings and emotional eating, many pregnant women gorge themselves with unhealthy food combinations. Some have no problem eating an ice cream in public, but many will wait until they get home to mix it up with French fries or pickles - as this is the common, stereotypical craving. Some women are already self-conscious about their bodies. So, they will skip eating any fattening foods in public, and when alone, will eat all kinds of crazy things to satisfy their appetites.
Some foods are also bad for the mother-to-be, like foods high in salt which can elevate blood pressure, which makes mothers ashamed of eating them in front of anyone in fear of being judged. Unsolicited advice regarding food choices happens to pregnant women all the time. Some people can go as far as giving nasty comments on their weight gain. This makes women embarrassed to eat out but they still do whatever they like in private.
Pregnancy calls for a tremendous amount of laziness. With hormones taking its toll on normal bodily functions and a baby sucking all the nutrients and energy from the mother, she tends to be more inactive than usual. Once a pregnant woman gets home from work or finishes running errands, she can’t wait to settle on the couch for the rest of the day. Not uncommonly, some pregnant women spend their days on the couch watching TV even on weekends.
Going to parties or social gatherings becomes a chore. Getting dressed up and driving is a great effort, so a woman might choose to skip seeing her friends just because she is too lazy to get off her seat. She may even stop doing housework so routinely, so the dishes start piling up as does the laundry. An unexpected visitor is equated to a home invader at this point, because women just cannot bear to clean up and don’t want to be seen living like a slob.
Itchy skin is another unwanted symptom of pregnancy. It's aggravated in summer when some women already experience more heat than usual. Heat rash can make itching worse, so cotton clothing is advisable. Mild soaps are also recommended and may help decrease the problem. Imagine seeing a woman scratching every reachable part of her body in the line for the grocery store! Not a pretty sight. This is why women keep to themselves and resist the urge to itch in public no matter how uncomfortable they get.
Some women scratch to the point of bleeding. It's usually mild bleeding, but disturbing and painful. Worse though, the feeling doesn't go away because it's hormone-related, like acne, so the urge to scratch can happen anytime and under any circumstances, making life extra hard for women outside their homes.
Constipation in pregnancy can begin as early as 9 weeks and could continue until delivery. When more water is taken from the digestive tract and used for the different functions for the mother and the baby, less water is left in the colon, causing the stools to get drier and constipation occurs. To add to the discomfort, the baby's weight gradually adds pressure to the rectal area making excretion extremely difficult and uncomfortable. This makes pooping a nightmare of its own.
For a woman who takes a lot of time and energy just to go to the washroom, a visit to the bathroom seems troublesome. She may be embarrassed of why she is hogging the bathroom all day or why she is not responding to her other kids - if she has any - or her spouse. This is why constipation can't be kept a secret from the people a woman lives with; it's out of her control, even a good diet with lots of fiber may not be enough to tackle the problem. It's an advanced level of embarrassment when it happens at work.
Leaking urine? Yikes! As pregnancy progresses, the bladder is squeezed and decreases in size, resulting in a frequent need to empty it. Frequency is not the only problem here because, sometimes with increased pressure, urine actually leaks out of the bladder against the woman’s control. This is particularly observed when jogging, sneezing, coughing or laughing. This interrupts a woman’s normal life and makes her insecure and stressed. Yet, women can't limit their water intake hoping to solve the problem, because sufficient water is essential for the health of the mother and the baby.
Caffeine is also a factor in this unwanted problem. In women who can't completely forgo caffeine, the situation gets worse. Since caffeine is a known diuretic, which means that it encourages elimination of water from the body, the bladder is filled faster and becomes more prone to leakage. Some women wear pads or pantyliners, especially outside the house, to contain the problem. Others just change their underwear several times a day.
Again, women are faced with yet another disturbing issue - vaginal discharges. The hormones released during pregnancy increase vaginal discharge considerably, especially starting the second trimester. It gives women a feeling that they constantly need to wipe or even shower to feel clean again. Some women wear pads or pantyliners just to feel more comfortable. Usually, this increase does not harm the baby or the mother and is just an annoying byproduct of the process.
If there are any changes in the color or odor of a woman's vaginal discharge, a pregnant woman may be unable to distinguish between what's normal and what signifies a problem, such as yeast infections. This is why if a woman notices any change, she should consult her doctor. Spotting, which is drops of blood leaking during the first trimester, may be a sign of unstable pregnancy and needs to be checked immediately.
With pregnancy hormones comes the growth of excessive hair in unwanted and unusual areas. This growth forces women to do more shaving to get rid of unwanted hair, no matter how tiring it might be, during and towards the end of the pregnancy. Also, hair growth does not regress until the end of pregnancy when hormones get back to normal. Hair growth is normal and harmless, and fortunately, weird hair growth eventually dissipates on its own about six months after the baby is born.
As a result of this change, women spend a great deal of time in the bathroom shaving and cleaning up after themselves, a procedure that is both tiring and bothersome. Also, some women worry about what's in their shaving cream and start using natural alternatives. Others switch to waxing which is even more painful. Whatever the method, shaving or waxing usually has to be done more often.
Compression stockings are medical stockings that are worn to compress legs, feet, ankles or arms in case of retained fluid medically known as edema. Edema happens all over the body during pregnancy. The increased blood volume is one of the contributing factors to this because the fluids retained remain under the skin and cause swelling in different parts of the body. Swelling is primarily noticed in the ankles and feet, due to the effect of gravity. Weakened circulation is also a factor that makes fluid retention worse in those areas.
Varicose veins are protruded veins in the legs that look unattractive and can be quite painful. Compression stockings may also help in this case and are usually worn under clothing in public. They may not alleviate pain completely, but they help with pain and decrease the swelling. They're not on top of the list in terms of fashion, but they're often a necessity.
With continuous constipating over weeks and months, hemorrhoids, which are cracking blood vessels in the rectal area due to strain during bowel movements, become a common ailment for pregnant ladies. Although they are treatable, they are very difficult during pregnancy. The rectal area is barely reachable by the end of pregnancy, so applying local treatments to this area is also very inconvenient and uncomfortable.
Bleeding from hemorrhoids often happens in serious cases of sustained and painful hemorrhoids. They're rarely visible in underpants, but can be a cause for concern and immediate medical attention. Some women need to use pads to prevent bleeding from staining their clothes and, accordingly, have to keep checking how they're doing. Usually, this kind of hemorrhoid is too painful so women with this case almost never leave the house and are forced to take days off from work.
Lower back pain happens to many pregnant women towards the third trimester. A woman’s center of gravity shifts with the growing abdomen, causing pain in the lower back region. With the position of the baby being focused inside the abdomen, back pain is a common ailment. As the baby grows, it places more pressure on the back, making sleeping and walking a lot more painful. A heat pack applied to the lower back can be of help regarding pain, since it helps stimulate circulation and generate heat.
Conversely, applying cold through ice packs can be needed in other cases. Increased blood volume can cause swelling in legs and feet and often in rectal and vaginal areas. Applying ice packs reduces swelling by shrinking the blood vessels, so this is something that many women do throughout pregnancy. Varicose veins also call for ice packs, but they are a more prominent condition in which ice packs are only temporary solutions and rarely lighten the condition.