Whether you have been pregnant 16 times or never been pregnant at all, you can likely recite the telltale pregnancy symptoms by memory. Morning sickness - check. Missed period - no brainer. Food cravings - got it. But because pregnancy wouldn't be such a miraculous thing without some wildcards thrown in there, you've also got the side effects that are pretty common but less travelled in the rumour world.
Some of them may not be so surprising because, well, the change your body takes while pregnant is indeed a giant one. And no, we're not talking about those feet. But even still, learning about more symptoms would make anyone cry out, "There's more?!" The good news is that it all comes to an end after those 40 weeks are up. Give or take a few extra days, ahem.
The bad news? You could very well be the lucky mama who gets to experience all of these sometimes wacky and mostly uncomfortable pregnancy side effects that you probably had to Google to make sure they were normal. Right about now, you're probably silently thanking your mom for all of that wisdom she forgot to bestow on you about that pregnancy Carpel Tunnel Syndrome, and cursing your doctor for conveniently forgetting to mention how not only would your feet swell.
But it isn't all bad and in some cases, could be much worse than the occasional discomfort or slight pain during any of your three trimesters. No amount of convincing could really quell any of your concerns though, so we don't intend to ply you with earnest reassurances.
But at least you can take comfort in the fact that although lesser known, these side effects of pregnancy are completely normal.
7 Bleeding Gums
Brushed your teeth lately? Oh, and you've been flossing too? Good for you. What's that? Despite taking great care of your mouth, your gums have still decided to create a red river of water in your bathroom sink? Not to worry. it's just another super fun side effect of pregnancy.
Even though it's one of the lesser known conditions brought on by having a bun in the oven, it is a surprisingly common occurrence. Actually, believe it or not, almost 75% of pregnant women experience this throughout their entire pregnancy. It may not make it all go away, but it makes you feel a little better, right?
Still, it's always good to know the "whys", the "home comes" and, of course, the "WTF's" or pregnancy. Simply put, your hormones are to blame. No, really! Typically, a hefty buildup of plaque is what causes gums to bleed. During your pregnancy, your hormones are making you produce even more of that delightfully offensive filmy stuff. Thus, your bleeding gums.
It's not a bad case of gingivitis, it's just pregnancy
Not the most attractive sight to face in the mirror, as you try in vain to suck in your belly like you used to be able to do. But the (only) great part about bleeding gums is the shiny end result from all of that brushing.
The best thing you can do is maintain good dental hygiene throughout your pregnancy. With a little luck - and a lot of gentle brushing - you may be able to keep the bloodbath to a minimum.
6 Extra Sweat - Fun, Huh?
Lucky for you - and those around you - it isn’t the smelly kind of sweat that is pouring out of your every, well, pore. Instead, it is a pretty much odourless sweat that constantly moistens your forehead, cheek, back - you name it. So it's not entirely terrible, right? Except, you know, for all of the inevitable discomfort.
Thanks to those increased hormones, your metabolism is also heightened, making your body work overtime to keep that baby growing healthy and strong inside of that belly. Of course it doesn’t help if your pregnancy is progressing through the summer months. During a time when you would already be sweaty and sometimes miserable from the heat, you get to experience it ten-fold. Yay, you.
Nothing says pregnancy glow like beads of sweat across your forehead
Like we said though, it isn't all bad. You may be a tad more uncomfortable and sure, you might need to change your shirt a few times a day, but in the plus side, you won't be as smelly as you're probably dreading now.
But while it is a not to well-known effect that comes with pregnancy, it really shouldn’t come as a surprise. It is only natural that you would be feeling hotter - you're carrying some serious extra poundage. Whether it is all in that belly or not.
5 The Need To Eat Like A Goat
Okay, maybe not exactly. But goats have been known to nibble on tissues or pieces of paper and with the pregnancy disorder Pica, you are likely to be craving the same thing. While the presence of Pica affects less than 25% of pregnant women, there is still that small percentage who get touched by the disorder.
Pica refers to the strong craving for non-foods that tend to have zero nutritional value. Some of the more common cravings include chalk, charcoal, ashes and dirt. But yes, paper Is also on the menu with Pica.
You feel the need to eat 5 minutes after a meal
Although an exact explanation for this condition during pregnancy isn’t known, the Journal of American Dietetic Association suggests that it may be linked to an iron deficiency in pregnant women. As is to be expected, Pica is harmful to both mom and baby. Eating these non-food substances brings none of the necessary vitamins and nutrition to either of you.
Don't panic yourself into snacking on some coal just yet though. Tell a friend about your condition so that they can keep you on track with eating nutritional foods and help you to steer clear of the harmful non-food items. Talk to your doctor especially if you're experiencing these wacky cravings. And if you aren’t? Well, then we'd say you dodged a bullet with this particularly unpleasant one!
4 No Morning Sickness
You read that right. There is a good uncommon side effect of pregnancy to hope for. See, it's not all sweat and blood - literally. Even if nausea and morning sickness are two of the first telltale symptoms of pregnancy, there is no real guarantee that you will experience them. Or, you may very well get the nausea without the physical sickness.
Admittedly, neither are particularly fun to go through as a pregnant woman likely already suffering from a myriad of other unpleasant symptoms. So instead of worrying over this side effect, count your lucky stars.
This is the only side effect that women pray they get
Still though, chances are, if you're one of the almost 30% of pregnant women who do not experience morning sickness, you'll come down with a case of the pre-motherhood worries. But you needn’t be. As long as your doctor sees the right amount of hormones in your blood work, you're good to go. As in, go out and give into that cheese fry craving. Because no nausea means more yummy foods to indulge in for you and baby, right?
It's plenty normal for nearly every symptom and non-symptom to worry us as we progress through our pregnancies, but finding the positive aspects in each one are key to going on to enjoy your pregnancy and this quiet time that just you and baby get to share.
3 Sensitive Senses
Remember when Lori from "The Walking Dead" got pregnant and we heard tales of her heightened sense of smell being a personal indicator of positive pregnancy? Okay, maybe not the best example of a real life aspect of pregnancy, but hey, it works. Kinda. Yet again, thanks to those lovely hormones, you get to undergo a change privy to mostly just pregnant women. But in a way, it makes you a superhero!
Thanks to raised levels of estrogen, your sense of smell is also heightened, though as with all pregnancy side effects, it varies from person to person. One woman may be extra sensitive to baked goods, smelling past the gooey goodness of brownies and instead getting constant whiffs of a syrupy sweetness that is downright nauseating.
The police should seriously consider hiring you to sniff out narcotics
Or, she may be able to sniff out raw meat, smelling it as a strongly as though it were rotting on the counter instead of sitting out, fresh and ready to prepare for dinner.
While in some ways, it's actually pretty convenient to have a heightened sense of smell - who doesn’t love extra fresh smelling laundry straight out of the dryer? And who would say no to being able to locate the slice of bologna that somehow fell behind the stove? Then again, if the more rancid smells come along with this "superpower" and in turn make you feel more nauseated than you probably already do, then maybe it's not so fun after all, huh?
2 Swollen CALVES
We've all heard about the dreaded swollen feet during pregnancy. And we all undoubtedly know a fellow mama who can now lay claim to size nines instead of her petite eights from years past. But what is seldom talked about are the swollen ankles and calves that follow. Because yes, those babies are plenty capable of retaining fluid too, leaving you with bona fide cankles.
We all look forward to a chubby, bouncing, healthy baby boy or girl. But you never expect that baby and your growing uterus are specifically what's causing the extra pressure on your body to generate those extra fluids. Although your calves may seem to be expanding by the day (they aren't, we promise), remember that water retention is totally normal throughout your pregnancy.
Suddenly your ankles and calves have become one
Of course that doesn’t mean you have to like looking down at those babies though. That is, if you can still see them over that bump you're sporting.
To try and reduce the increase in swelling in your calves, try to remain hydrated, as the heat can often be another factor in generating those fluids in your body. And be sure to get regular exercise as best as you can manage, while still allowing yourself enough time each day to put your feet up and relax. In some cases, it may be easier said than done, but if you'd like to try and prevent or at the very least lessen the onslaught of swollen ankles and calves, then try and keep off your feet whenever you can.
And, as an expectant mom, while you still can.
1 Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
This has got to be one of the most inconvenient, unpleasant and downright terrible pregnancy side effects. Carpal tunnel isn’t talked about as much as some other effects and symptoms, but if you are faced with this condition, you'll likely find how common it is. It is simply one of those issues that isn't talked about. Maybe because it is so unpleasant?
You'll know that you're dealing with pregnancy carpal tunnel syndrome if you wake up with tingling, numb, or downright painful hands and fingertips in one or both hands. Sounds fun, right? Luckily, it typically occurs during the third trimester and miraculously goes away after your pregnancy is over. That's the good news.
This pain will wake you up and bother you for days or weeks
The bad news, however, is that while it is happening, springing up in the morning after waking up or even in the middle of the night, it is not only at times painful, but frustrating too.
You can't make it go away with any magic pill, but regular stretching and strengthening exercises with your hand and wrist certainly help, as does wearing the typical carpel tunnel wrist splint. But as with all of the other unpleasant side effects of pregnancy, the aftermath is worth it all, wouldn’t you say?