You know a lot of the obvious signs of pregnancy. No period! A growing belly! Morning sickness! But, a lot of crazy things can happen to your body during pregnancy. (Most of the time, you can blame the hormones.) Here are 30 ways your body can change during pregnancy.
30 No Period
This is obviously one of the first signs that you might be pregnant. The nine months with no period is nice, but some women may experience very minimal spotting at some point during their pregnancy. And, enjoy the period-free period now, because after you deliver, you’ll be dealing with lochia, which can continue for four to six weeks postpartum.
29 Discharge May Change
All those crazy pregnancy hormones may trigger an increase in vaginal secretions in some women. See your doctor if you experience a sudden increase in discharge (or any itching, smell, or burning) to rule out any possible infection.
28 Changes in Breast Size
There’s no way to say how your boobs will change and grow throughout pregnancy. Some women go up a cup size or more, while some women don’t change much at all. Breastfeeding can also change the size and shape of your breasts.
27 Sore Boobs
Those hormones are at it again. Increases in estrogen and progesterone cause the body to increase blood flow and store fluids, which in turn cause sensitivity to pressure. As your milk ducts and breasts grow, the skin can stretch and cause itchiness and soreness, as well.
26 Crazy Emotions
Finding out you’re pregnant can put you on an emotional roller coaster. One minute, you’re excitedly picking out names and nursery color schemes. The next minute, you’re terrified of labor and worrying about how your life will be forever changed once your little one arrives. These feelings are perfectly normal and natural.
25 Morning Sickness
Morning sickness is a misnomer. It can happen at any time of the day. Some remedies for nausea include eating a little something before you even get out of bed in the morning, foods with ginger, and sour candies like Preggie Pops. If all else fails, you can try acupressure sea sickness bands on your wrists.
24 Varicose Veins
All that extra blood that your body is pumping during pregnancy can put a strain on your veins. You may think that varicose veins are only in the legs, but they can show up in the vulva, and also as hemorrhoids.
Higher levels of progesterone cause your muscles to relax, which makes food travel through your digestive tract more slowly, which may cause constipation. Your growing uterus will squish your intestines and stomach, which can also add to the problem. Eating foods high in fiber and drinking lots of water can help.
Varicose veins in the anal area and constipation are both causes of hemorrhoids. Try soaking in warm water or using witch hazel wipes to alleviate the discomfort. Avoid sitting for long periods of time. If you have trouble with constipation, ask your doctor about fiber supplements or stool softeners.
21 Constantly Having to Pee
Early in your pregnancy, hormones cause blood to flow through the pelvic area faster, filling up the bladder more frequently. Later on in pregnancy, your heavy uterus will press on your bladder, causing you to have to pee at all hours of the day and night!
20 Heartburn and Indigestion
Progesterone is again to blame for your heartburn. Along with relaxing all of your muscles, it relaxes the valve that keeps stomach acid out of your esophagus. As your uterus expands upward and presses into your stomach, it can add pressure to that valve, causing acid to back up into your esophagus and leaving you feeling the burn.
It’s not always pickles and ice cream. A lot of women crave sweet foods like chocolate, and fruit. Some women crave salty stuff—chips, French fries, and pretzels. Scientists aren’t really sure what causes cravings, but as long as you indulge carefully and don’t overdo it, you should be just fine.
18 Food Aversions
In addition to, or instead of, cravings, you may experience an aversion to a food that you normally love. Hormones are to blame, as usual. Food cravings and aversions typically go away after the fourth month of pregnancy, so check with your doctor if you have lingering issues.
17 Heightened Sense of Smell
Some scientists think your increased blood flow causes you to respond to certain smells faster. Others think it’s instinctual, to keep you from breathing in something harmful when you’re pregnant. Having an increasingly sensitive sniffer can be one of the earliest signs of pregnancy.
16 Trouble Breathing
The hormone progesterone causes you to breathe more deeply, so you may feel like you can’t catch your breath. As your uterus grows and starts pressing on your diaphragm, you’ll find it hard to breathe. It does get easier once your baby drops into your pelvis near the end of your pregnancy.
15 Stuffy Nose
You may end up feeling congested even without having a cold. The increased blood flow through your mucous membranes can cause the nasal passages to swell, leaving you feeling all stuffed up.
14 Tooth and Gum Sensitivity
Hormones (again!) can be blamed for increased blood flow, which can result in sensitive teeth and swollen gums. Hormones can also change the way your body responds to bacteria, which can lead to periodontal infection.
13 Skin Changes
Pregnancy glow or acne eruptions? Your skin can change a lot during pregnancy. Some women experience redness, darkening or discolored patches of skin, skin tags, and spider veins.
12 Linea Nigra
Sometime later on in your pregnancy, you may notice a dark vertical line running down the center of your belly. This is known as “linea nigra” and shows up due to—you guessed it—hormonal changes. It’s completely harmless and tends to fade sometime after giving birth.
11 Thicker Hair
A lot of people think prenatal vitamins are the cause for such great hair during pregnancy. That’s not really the case. Hair has two phases: a growing phase, and a resting phase. While pregnant, the majority of your hair goes into the growing phase causing you to have a thick, luxurious mane.
10 Hair Loss
Enjoy that thick head of hair while you have it, because a few months after you give birth, it’ll fall out. You’re not really losing your hair. All the extra hair from your pregnancy is shedding as your estrogen levels drop. It’s normal, and it’s temporary.
9 Stretch Marks
You can get stretch marks anywhere, but they’re most common on your breasts, stomach, and thighs. They occur when the skin stretches rapidly, like when your boobs swell or your belly grows during pregnancy.
8 Braxton Hicks Contractions
Braxton Hicks contractions occur commonly in the third trimester. They are unpredictable and random, and also less painful than the real deal. Some women liken them to menstrual cramps. Other women explain it as feeling their belly get tight and hard. Braxton Hicks contractions don’t prepare you for labor; they don’t open your cervix or prepare your uterus for labor. They can occur during periods of increased activity, dehydration, during sex, or when your bladder is really full.
7 Engorged Breasts
Not all women experience engorgement, but when your milk comes in a few days after giving birth, you’ll probably know it! Your boobs will feel larger, fuller, and heavier. Engorged breasts are painfully full of milk and sensitive to the touch, as well as feeling warm, lumpy, or hard. This can happen when your breasts don’t drain fully during breastfeeding or if you have obstructed milk ducts.
6 Leaky Boobs
As your body gears up for labor and delivery, your breasts may leak colostrum, the nutrient-rich first milk of which your baby will get a taste. After birth, when your milk comes in, your boobs may leak in response to your baby’s cry, if they’re touched or squeezed, or even as warm water hits them in the shower! Use nursing pads to protect your bras and shirts.
5 Relaxin Relaxes
Relaxin is a hormone that helps loosen your muscles and ligaments, softening your cervix and making it easier for your pelvis to spread during labor. It works on all joints, so you might even feel like your knees and ankles are a little wobbly, too!
So, you know how relaxin and other hormones relax your muscles and ligaments? They work on all muscles, including the ones in your digestive tract. That means everything slows down, and you end up with gas and bloating.
3 Swollen Feet (and Hands and Face…)
During pregnancy, your body produces about 50% more blood and fluid to take care of your growing baby. Some slight swelling is normal, and can be caused by heat, being on your feet a long time, or a diet with a lot of sodium.
2 Flattened Arches
Weight gain and the hormone relaxin, the one which causes your joints and ligaments to loosen and relax, can also cause your arches to flatten out.
1 You Still Have a Bump after Birth
You were probably ecstatic when you could finally show off your belly bump, but be prepared for it to stick around for a while after you give birth. It takes about four weeks for your uterus to shrink back to its pre-pregnancy size!