When you’re pregnant, you know that your body is going to change. I mean, it has to — you’re growing a human, for goodness sake. But beyond a burgeoning belly, there are some really weird pregnancy symptoms you might experience that no one tells you about. Why? Maybe it’s because we all want to portray a picture-perfect pregnancy, even though the reality might be far from Pinterest-worthy.
Having gone through four pregnancies, I can tell you that a) not one of them was similar to the other, b) each one came with its own set of joys and hardships, and c) each and every one of them was totally worth it — stretch marks and all. But since knowledge is power, you should know what could potentially be in store for you during those nine months (actually ten if you’re really counting). While some of these symptoms are simply annoying and will go away after a trimester or two, or even after your baby has been born, others might warrant a call or a trip to your OB/GYN… just to be on the safe side.
Above all, never be afraid or embarrassed to mention any weird pregnancy symptoms to your doctor. After the birth of my son, I swore that everyone sounded like robots. Crazy, right? I thought I had lost my mind, (or hello, some unusual form of postpartum depression), but my mom made me call my OB to see what was wrong. As it turns out, I had a massive ear infection (I’d never had one before), and that’s why everyone sounded like R2-D2. So if anything ever seems alarming and you’re afraid to speak up, let me be the first to say: your doctor has heard it all already. Check out these weird pregnancy symptoms and laugh at the way pregnancy can be weird — and wonderful — all at the same time.
It can be scary to blow your nose and then suddenly see blood in the tissue. During pregnancy, your blood flow increases, which can result in a nosebleed. Sure, it might be messy and a little unsightly, but nosebleeds are a common pregnancy symptom, according to Parents. Still, see your doc if the bleeding is excessive or troubling.
2. Leg Cramps
It’s totally unfair. You’re not spending your days running a 5k (and if you are, hats off to you), so why are you experiencing leg cramps come nighttime? There might be many factors, from fatigue to a calcium or magnesium deficiency, or even dehydration, Today’s Parent reported. While it’s a pain in the, um, leg, it’s more of a nuisance than anything else.
Just the thought of your future baby might make your head spin with happiness, but pregnancy can also make it feel like the room is spinning, too. Your blood pressure might drop during pregnancy (i.e. hypotension), according to Healthline, and that can make you feel dizzy upon standing, especially during the first trimester. While you should always take it slow when you stand up, (and drink water to stay hydrated), dizziness can be a symptom of other more serious issues, Healthline reported, such as gestational diabetes or anemia.
Pooping becomes a problem when you’re pregnant. One time, I pushed so hard that I literally passed out on the toilet. Passed out, people. When I came to, I was half hanging off the toilet. Good times. Constipation is just a crappy part of the pregnancy process, and can be attributed to soaring hormone levels, or pre-natal vitamins that contain iron (a known contributor to constipation), reported Medical News Today. And as your pregnancy advances, your expanding uterus puts pressure on the bowels and makes it harder to go number 2.
I had never had heartburn until my last pregnancy. But when it reared its heated head, it hit so hard that I thought I was having a heart attack. Yes, heartburn doesn’t just burn, it is also so painful that you will feel like there’s an elephant sitting squarely on your chest. One middle-of-the-night ER visit (and one cardiac CT scan later), and I was diagnosed with having heartburn, which affects over half of all pregnant women, WebMD reported. It’s common during the second and third trimesters. Hormone levels are to blame, so to avoid feeling like your throat is on fire, you should skip spicy, fried or fatty food (yep, all the good stuff), and eat smaller meals throughout the day instead of chowing down all at once. And having a bottle of Tums with you at all times can be a lifesaver.
Know that expression, “Bun in the oven”? Well, pregnant women can sure feel like one, since overheating is common during pregnancy. Your body is working in overdrive to create your little baby, and as such, it can raise your core temperature. But overheating is dangerous during pregnancy, Health Status found, and can increase your baby’s chances of birth defects or even miscarriage in the first trimester. Drink plenty of H2O, wear loose and comfy clothing, and try to avoid peak heat times, so that you and baby stay cool and safe.
7. Runny Nose
Some pregnant women might spend their nine months having a perpetual cold, thanks to pregnancy rhinitis. A nasal congestion, rhinitis affects between 18-42 percent of preggos, and is typical during the first and third trimesters, found Healthline. Added blood flow to your nose can create swelling, which leads to stuffiness and a dreaded drip-drip-drip. But if you aren’t feeling well or if you spike a fever, you should talk to your doctor.
8. Areola Darkening
Getting bigger boobies can be a perk of pregnancy. What isn’t always so attractive are your darkening areolas, which is due to hormones that trigger its pigmentation to make them more prominent. In nature’s infinite wisdom, this biological design was created to help nearsighted newborns find the nipple so they could nurse. For the most part, your boobs should go back to normal post-baby, Parents reported — even if they might be somewhat deflated.
And you thought your days of breakouts were behind you. Pregnancy picks up where middle school left off, and you just might find yourself with a blemish (or five) on your face. Again, it’s the hormones that are the culprit. But before you pop a pimple or reach for an acne medication (which might not be good to take), consult your doctor about your acne issue. During pregnancy, it’s sometimes safer to use a cosmetic cover up instead.
10. Bleeding Gums
Ever brush your teeth and swish out a pink swirl of toothpaste? Bleeding gums is a sign of pregnancy gingivitis, which is caused by hormonal changes that can make your gums more inflamed and swollen. As a result, you might bleed while brushing or flossing. If you’re concerned, you should make sure that you’re up-to-date on your dental checkups and voice any concerns to your dentist to make sure that it isn’t something more serious.
Pregnancy can make you get goopy… down there. As What To Expect explained, vaginal discharge during pregnancy is called leukorrhea (which sounds STD-ish) and is actually normal. Try not to douche or use tampons, as both can lead to possible infection. And if it becomes green or yellow (or has a strong smell), talk to your doctor, since it might be a yeast infection.
12. Varicose Veins
Like stretch marks, most women don’t want to get varicose veins during pregnancy. (You know, those oh-so-attractive blue/purple veins on your legs?) They can become itchy or even painful over time, and if you get them, you can thank your momma, since varicose veins are hereditary, reported Kids Health. While you might not be able to get rid of them once they appear (they’re caused by the uterus putting pressure on the inferior vena cava in your leg), you can try to minimize them by avoiding crossing your legs while sitting and elevating your feet often.
13. Metal Mouth
The taste of food takes on a whole new dimension during pregnancy. For some moms-to-be, though, food can taste sour or even metallic. Dysgeusia is a common pregnancy symptom, What to Expect reported, and is caused by increased pregnancy hormones like estrogen. Thankfully, it should go away once you hit your second trimester — just in time for those crazy cravings.
Pregnancy can be one big old scratchfest. From your belly to your back, everything starts to itch. BabyCenter said that itchiness during pregnancy is because of increased blood flow, but that isn’t going to make you less scratchy. Slather yourself up with moisturizer and wear soft clothing to soothe your skin. If your itching gets worse, it could be a sign of a liver issue, so be sure to speak with your OB about it.
If you’re sporting the “mask of pregnancy,” then you’ve got melasma. About 50-75 percent of expecting moms get melasma, but that doesn’t make it any easier to deal with those dark, uneven splotches on your face. The good news is that you can try to prevent melasma by using sunscreen with at least an SPF of 30, wearing hats to shield your face, and avoiding direct sun exposure, according to The Bump.
No pregnancy is perfect, nor should you expect it to be. So take the good with the bad, and keep in mind that in just a few days/weeks/months, you’ll be holding your baby, and you’ll soon forget that you tasted metal while you had a nosebleed and were scratching your belly as you wondered when you would ever poop again.
Editor's note: This post has been updated from its original version.