10 Unexpected Ways Your Body Changes During Pregnancy

Pregnancy can be a perplexing time because a woman’s body goes through so many changes. There are several unexpected changes that can happen when a woman is expecting. Thanks to surging hormones, a woman’s body is a flurry of activity as things start to grow and swell.

It’s important for expectant moms to know what to expect as they go through each trimester. From going up a shoe size to noticing changes in your complexion, the more you know about what’s happening to your body, the better. Here are 10 unexpected ways your body changes during pregnancy.

10 Back And Joint Pain

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One unexpected change that appears in a pregnant woman’s body is the loosening of the joints and ligaments. Pregnancy kickstarts the release of the hormone relaxin, which is secreted to help prepare the pelvis for labor and delivery.

Related: 10 Things Pregnant Moms In Their 40s Must Remember

There is a pesky little side effect from relaxin and that is all the joints and ligaments in the body become susceptible to loosening. This means that moms may get backache or have problems with the sciatic nerve. Talk to your doctor if the discomfort is too much to handle. They will probably suggest performing approved stretches.

9 Good Hair Days

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Many pregnant women love how lush and full their hair feels while they’re expecting. This is one of the few unexpected changes that is actually a win. You can thank the pregnancy hormone estrogen for prompting your hair follicles to grow, sometimes making hair thicker. Although, more hair can show up in unwanted places as well, such as the upper-lip or other facial hair.

The flip side of this change is that some new moms experience hair loss after they’ve given birth. Don’t panic, this is caused by hormones being out-of-whack postpartum. Everything will get back to normal after around 6 months post-baby.

8 Sense Of Smell

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Can you smell the full trash can from across the house? Is there one specific stink that can just make your stomach lurch? You’re not going crazy. Many expectant moms notice that they have a heightened sense of smell, especially during the first trimester. A sensitive nose can make morning sickness feel even more nightmarish.

Once again, you can thank estrogen for giving you this unwanted pregnancy superpower. This pregnancy hormone heightens your sense of smell. It should taper off as you progress into the second trimester. In the meantime, avoid stinky places, or dab an essential oil on your wrist to combat an unwanted stench.

7 Digestive Woes

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One annoying change that many pregnant women face is digestive issues. From heartburn to constipation, many expectant moms deal with major tummy discomfort. Progesterone is the culprit once again. This pregnancy hormone also slows down the digestive system, causing all sorts of problems.

Related: 10 Habits To Avoid While Pregnant

Some pregnant women feel gassy while others suffer from acid reflux. The key to dealing with all these digestive nightmares is to drink plenty of water and be sure to eat a diet that is rich in fiber. Talk to your doctor if things get unbearable and they might prescribe medication to help give you much-needed relief.

6 Shortness Of Breath

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Shortness of breath is another pregnancy symptom that can affect moms-to-be. If you find yourself huffing and puffing, it’s nothing to be alarmed about. This is just another case of pregnancy hormones wreaking havoc on your body. In this case, the release of progesterone makes you need to breath deeper.

Another culprit is relaxin, the same hormone that loosens your joints actually softens your respiratory system, making it harder to breathe. Your expanding uterus can also put pressure on your diaphragm. Just be sure to pay attention to your posture throughout the day as sitting up straight can ease breathlessness.

5 Going From An Innie To An Outie

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Many women are shocked when their bellybutton goes from being an “innie” to an “outie”. It can happen suddenly or gradually, but there might come a moment when your belly button pops out. You can thank your growing uterus for this phenomenon.

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The pressure of your growing baby pushes on your tummy and forces your bellybutton to expand. Don’t worry, once you have the baby and the pressure is released, your tummy will go back to its original state. Until then, don’t be surprised if your bellybutton feels a bit tender. That’s another common pregnancy symptom and nothing to worry about.

4 Complexion Changes

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Pregnancy glow is a real thing as increased blood circulation during pregnancy makes your skin look all glowy. This is just one of many potential changes that your skin could undergo during pregnancy. Some women experience the “Mask of Pregnancy”, which causes dark spots to appear on your face.

You might also feel like you’re reliving your teenage years when a pimple or two pop up. Pregnancy hormones can affect your skin in many ways, so don’t panic if you notice some changes. Be sure to wear plenty of sunscreen to offset any possible side effects of unwanted hormonal pigmentation.

3 Bad Breath

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Another unexpected change caused by pregnancy is bad breath. If you wake up feeling nauseous from morning sickness, sometimes the smell of toothpaste is just too much. Many women just skip brushing altogether so that they don’t spend the morning barfing. This can cause some serious vampire breath.

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Poor oral hygiene has been linked to premature labor. The last thing you want is untreated bacteria in your gums. Be sure to brush and floss your tooth daily, as directed by your dentist. Regular dental check-ups during pregnancy should keep your mouth feeling fresh and clean.

2 Insomnia

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It seems like a cruel joke that a pregnant woman should have to deal with insomnia. Sleep disturbances can happen at any point during pregnancy but insomnia is most common during the third trimester. How unfair is that? Just when your body is preparing to give birth, you suddenly feel like you’ll never sleep again.

Hormonal shifts are more than likely the cause of sleeplessness. Although it can be caused by discomfort, needing to pee at night, heartburn, the list goes on and on. Be sure to talk to your doctor if your insomnia gets out of hand. They might prescribe medication to help you sleep.

1 Feet Growth

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If you suddenly feel like your shoes are too tight for your feet, don’t worry, you’re not losing your mind. Pregnancy can also make your feet grow. You read that right. We can once again thank the pesky hormone relaxin, the same one that loosens your joints, for making a pregnant woman’s feet go up a shoe size.

This hormone also relaxes the ligaments in your feet, which makes your bones spread out, resulting in a larger foot. I hate to break it to you, but they usually don't shrink after childbirth. Hey, look on the bright side of this development, it’s a great excuse to go shoe shopping!

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