Pregnancy. One of the many wonders of the human body. It's truly amazing how a woman's body can work miracles. When you really sit back and think about it, our bodies work hard every single day to make sure that precious life growing inside of us is given all of the opponents needed in order to grow into a beautiful baby. Starting out microscopic during the first few weeks, the female body is able to provide blood flow and oxygen to the baby, along with food and all the nutrients the baby needs to grow.
However, not all pregnancies are the same and they are very different from woman to woman. Some woman shine that that "pregnancy glow" while others are so exhausted they never seem to shine with the beauty of creating life. Some women are the most wonderful people to be around during their pregnancies, while others you will try to avoid at all costs. Despite how pregnancy makes a woman feel, we should all take a moment to appreciate the female anatomy and what a woman goes through during her 9 months of pregnancy.
With pregnancy comes a slew of symptoms. A lot of these symptoms are completely normal, like being tired all the time, having mood swings, or being capable of eating anything and everything in sight and still being hungry. However, there are a ton of pregnancy symptoms that are just kind of, well, strange. Not all women will experience weird pregnancy symptoms, but for a lot of women, pregnancy can be the greatest yet strangest time of her life.
We dream every single night, even though there are times that we can not recall what our dreams are about. During pregnancy, a woman is more able to remember her dreams, since they become more vivid. There are a number of different types of dreams that a pregnant woman can experience. These include nightmares, lucid dreaming and anxiety based dreams. Dreams can also become more intense for a pregnant woman.
One cause for vivid dreaming is due to the increase in hormone levels that happens during pregnancy. Hormones during pregnancy affect each and every woman differently, which can have a major impact on your emotions and your anxiety. Hormones also play a key role to how a pregnant woman's brain works, processing all information and emotions differently.
Another cause to vivid dreaming is the fact that pregnancy disrupts a woman's sleep cycle. We dream during REM sleep, and when this cycle is disrupted or inconsistent, it can have a major impact on how a pregnant woman recalls her dreams. Since pregnancy can be a stressful time in a woman's life, the unconscious mind could be trying to process information and problem solving, which in turn can lead to more realistic dreams and even nightmares.
14 Smell Sensitivity
During pregnancy, a woman's sense of smell becomes intensely heightened, almost as if we can sniff anything out from a mile away. Things that you normally might find pleasant to smell, may now be absolutely repulsive during pregnancy. Can you smell the food stuck in your garbage disposal? What about that old piece of fruit you threw in the trash a few hours later? Being able to smell things you normally wouldn't take notice to is a normal part of pregnancy, even though it stinks (pun intended).
We can thank our hormones again for this symptom, that being an increase in estrogen levels. Interestingly enough, the increase of smell during pregnancy can also lead to having more of an effect on morning sickness. This makes sense since if a certain scent is unpleasing, it can make you become nauseous or lead to vomiting. If you find that morning sickness is largely due to the scents around you, try to fill your home or other space with things that you find pleasant, like lavender or mint, to help ease that morning sickness and keep it at bay.
13 Yellow Teeth
In some women, it is normal that pregnancy can lead to dental issues. Some of these issues can include gum disease, increase tooth decay, increase of plaque and if you haven't gotten your wisdom teeth in yet, then they very well may begin to break through the gums thanks you hormones.
Research has shown that there is a link between gum disease in pregnant women and premature birth with low birth weight. Up to 18 out of 100 premature births may very well be caused from periodontal disease, or a chronic infection of the gums. If you have morning sickness that includes vomiting, this can also have a major impact on oral health, since vomiting brings stomach acid up into the mouth which eats away at the teeth and enamel.
Make sure to brush regularly during pregnancy and still keep up with the dentist when you can to avoid damage to your teeth. Some dental work can not be performed during pregnancy, so it is very important to take good care of your teeth and gums.
Throughout the duration of pregnancy the skin on the belly will stretch so long as the baby in the uterus is growing. Dry skin can lead to itchiness, especially on the belly since it will continually stretch. Another strange thing that some women do is pick at their belly buttons (sometimes until it becomes raw), again, due to how itchy the belly can become. One way to avoid an itchy belly is to stay away from how baths and showers. After bathing, pat your belly dry and apply moisturizer to the itchy skin before the skin dries completely. This will help to ensure that the moisturizer soaks into the skin better. Another great method is to keep the moisturizer in a refrigerator to keep it cool, which may further reduce itching.
Also keep in mind what kind of skin care and hygiene products are being used on the skin. Certain types of soaps, skin products that contain alcohol and chlorinated water can contribute to dry skin. Dry climates can also pay a role in dry skin, so using a humidifier in the home can be useful.
A common pregnancy symptom in the first trimester, called dysgeusia, is the medical term used to describe the change in the sense of taste. This is either a sour or metallic taste in your mouth that doesn't only happen when you are eating, but also persists when you are not. Some women have compared it to the taste of a coin (not that I tend to stick my spare change in my mouth) or drinking something out of a metal cup. Dysguesia is another symptom caused by hormones (thank you again, estrogen!)
This symptom just means that pregnancy is in full force now, but this symptom should calm down, or dissipate altogether, as a woman enters into the second and third trimesters. Certain prenatal vitamins can also cause a woman to have a metallic taste in their mouths, so switching vitamins can be a good idea. Also, certain sour flavors such as lemons and other citrus juices can have the power to break through that distinctive metal taste.
10 Rectal Pain
During the later stages of pregnancy, it is common to feel pressure and pain on the anus. Hemorrhoids are one of the biggest contributors for anal pain, since the hemorrhoidal veins become inflamed. When these veins become inflamed, it can become very uncomfortable, irritated, and itchy. They can also cause bleeding if a pregnant woman uses too much force while pushing due to constipation.
Other causes of pain in the anus can include pressure from the fetus pushing down on the area and an increase in blood flow in the pelvic region. This is another common but painful symptom that most pregnant women experience, so a diet rich in fiber is highly suggested. Warm baths can also help to soothe the pain and help to decrease inflamed hemorrhoids. Also, make sure to stock up on petroleum jelly because it might just become your best friend.
Gagging is a very common symptom during the first trimester of pregnancy. I can't tell you how many times I gagged while trying to eat, take vitamins, and even while brushing my teeth and my tongue. Just because you may gag doesn't necessarily mean you will throw up, but vomiting can sometimes follow. If you find that whatever you are doing is making you gag, stop immediately and take a few deep breathes to calm yourself down.
There are tons of forums online with suggestions from either mothers or women who are pregnant on how they were able to help with their gag reflexes during the first trimester. If vomiting makes you feel better, then go for it. Do whatever is best for your body during pregnancy, although I think that any woman would agree that gagging is one symptom they could live without.
8 Discharge Or Mucus
One of the first signs of pregnancy is an increase in discharge or vaginal mucus. Most women will secrete sticky, pale yellow or white mucus early on in the pregnancy, and it may even continue throughout the entire pregnancy. Increased hormones and increased vaginal blood flow causes discharge. Our vaginas are self cleaning, so during pregnancy it is very common for discharge to increase throughout the entire pregnancy to prevent infections. However, these increased changes won't be all that noticeable until about 8 weeks into pregnancy.
Our mucus does play a very important role during pregnancy, other than helping with the prevention of infections. The mucus inside the cervix increases and builds up in order to create the mucus plug, which will eventually block the entrance of the cervix. This is to prevent any infections that may harm the developing baby in the uterus. Towards the end of pregnancy, the mucus plug falls out. In some cases the baby follows quickly after losing the mucus plug, while in other cases it may still be a few weeks before your little one makes their grand appearance.
Feeling faint or dizzy is another common symptom that usually happens during the first trimester. When hormone levels increase, the blood vessels in the body begin to relax and widen. This happens in order to increase blood flow to the baby, but it also slows the return of blood flow in the veins back to your own body. Due to this, blood pressure is usually lower than normal, reducing blood flow to the brain, and in return causing the room to spin for mommy to be.
The body also needs to adapt to changes in metabolism, which can cause low blood sugar levels. Low blood sugars can also lead to feeling dizzy. To reduce the feeling of being dizzy, make sure to take it easy. Don't stand for long periods of time. Also, make sure to stand up slowly if you have been sitting down for a while, and avoid lying on your back during the second trimester, since the growing baby put pressure on the blood vessels in the body.
6 Pregnancy Rhinitis
Have you ever woken up during pregnancy with your nose completely congested? This could be a sign of rhinitis, which is similar to having a stuffy nose when you have a cold. The difference is that this condition is largely due to the increase in hormone levels during pregnancy. Higher levels of estrogen can cause the nasal passage lining to swell, which in turn produces more mucus. Up to 30 percent of pregnant women can get rhinitis, which is noticeable during the second month and can become increasingly worse the farther along the pregnancy goes.
Sinus infections are also more common during pregnancy, so make sure to keep an eye on your symptoms. If you have more than just a stuffy or runny nose, including sneezing, itchy eyes, nose, and throat, and a fever, be sure to call your doctor immediately.
To ease rhinitis symptoms, make sure to keep hydrated by drinking plenty of water, keep your head elevated with extra pillows when you go to bed and use saline nasal spray to open your sinuses. Also, taking a warm shower can help open your nasal passageways.
This is an all too common pregnancy symptom that most women will experience. Due to an increase in progesterone levels, which relaxes the muscles throughout the body, can slow down the digestive system allowing for more time for gas to build up. When the muscles are so relaxed, it can become harder to control the release of has from the body. No matter what you do during pregnancy, passing gas will inevitable happen, and sometimes without you even knowing! Don't let this embarrass you. It is completely normal and a natural process for the body during pregnancy.
Certain foods can also contribute to how much gas gets built up inside the intestines. Try to avoid gas inducing foods such as whole grains and beans. Try to avoid carbonated drinks like soda, and avoid fatty and fried foods. Later on in the pregnancy the pressure of the baby can also lead to unexpected release of gas, so if you own a dog, make sure to blame it on him!
Pregnancy can make the blood vessels in your nose expand. Add on the increased blood supply and pressure on your blood vessels, and you'll have ruptured vessels which cause nosebleeds. This is another common symptom during pregnancy, with an estimated 20 percent of all pregnant women enduring nosebleeds. Generally the occasional nosebleed is nothing to worry about since it's only minor blood loss. A woman who has high blood pressure or a blood clotting disorder is more prone to nosebleeds than others.
Nosebleeds will usually stop after about 15 minutes. Always keep your head up and above your heart, breathe through your mouth while pinching your nostrils closed to stop the bleed. A nosebleed should be of concern if it does not stop after apply pressure for at least 30 minutes, you have trouble breathing or the blood flow is extremely heavy. If these symptoms occur you should seek medical attention immediately, but these aren't very common cases.
3 Nipple Changes
We all know that when a woman becomes pregnant, her breasts will grow a few cup sizes larger. Even though the breasts get bigger, so do the nipples and aureola, which can grow in shape and size, and also become extremely sensitive to the touch. Nipples will not only get progressively larger, but also darker in color, all while forming little bumps on them called Montgomery tubercles (which develop to provide an antibacterial lubricant that aid in breastfeeding). This all happens due to hormonal changes, an increase in breast tissue production and fat storage. As the breasts play a huge role in feeding the baby, it is thought that the nipples darken and become enlarged so the baby is able to locate the nipple to feed off of.
Over the counter medication creams can help soothe and alleviate pain and discomfort from tenderness, as well as applying a cool compress.
We've all heard stories about weird cravings that pregnant women have. Whether it be pickles with ice cream (um, yum?), or spaghetti with marshmallows, every woman will have one kind of craving or another. This isn't limited to only food cravings, but craving for certain smells as well. During my pregnancy, in the dead of winter (the average temperature in Upstate New York in February of 2015 was -20 degrees), I would drive with my air conditioning on full blast because I craved the smell of Freon. Super weird, I know, but a craving is a craving that must be satisfied when you are pregnant.
Many cravings are hormone based, which is why it will be different from woman to woman. Food aversions are also common during pregnancy. For some, the smell of meat can make you instantly sick, but before the pregnancy meat was a daily item on the menu. Or it could be the complete opposite. Some women who are vegetarians or vegans crave meat during their pregnancy. It's up to mom to decide what impulses she will act on or not.
1 Hair Growth
The hormones that are produced during pregnancy can cause your hair to grow faster and not fall our as often. Your hair may become softer than before, or more oily than you've ever seen it. Some of this sounds all great and dandy during pregnancy, but after the baby is born, your hair will usually begin to fall out in clumps like you've never seen before.
Another part of hair growth isn't just on your head, but also on parts of your body that you may otherwise have never grown hair there before. Some places a pregnant mother might find hair is on her belly, her face and around her nipples. Razors are still your friend during pregnancy, until that baby bump gets in the way and you can no longer see your nether region.
Sources: Americanpregnancy.org, Whattoexpect.com, Betterhealth.vic.gov.au, Webmd.com, Whattoexpect.com, Simple-remedies.com, Healthline.com, Verywell.com, Onemedical.comAmericanpregnancy.org, Babycenter.com, Americanpregnancy.org, Babycenter.com,