Ah pregnancy! A time that promises a healthy glow, feel-good hormones, and all the lustrous, shiny hair a woman could want. But what about the not-so-glamorous side of pregnancy? The stuff that makes a woman feel like a teen in puberty or, worse, a frat boy from a bad '80s movie? Are these things normal, or do they only happen to women with really bad karma? Well, I can assure you it has nothing to do with karma. In fact, there are a lot of really awkward things about pregnancy that are totally normal. Yes, I'm talking about even the most seemingly weird and offensive pregnancy symptoms.
Now, I want to be clear that the following pregnancy symptoms all happened to Yours Truly. I was not what one would consider one of those "Hot Pregnant Women," (I mean, I was hot in the sense that my temperature had me sweating buckets, especially at night) or a woman who breezed through pregnancy with the greatest of ease. However, I do know those women actually exist, and in no way am I trying to suggest there is only one way to experience pregnancy. Nope, it's as diverse as women themselves.
However, I experienced a slew of pregnancy symptoms, and every other symptom made me feel like the Loch Ness Monster most of the time. For the duration of my first trimester I would have preferred staying in a dark room with a paper bag over my head, to match how gross I felt both inside and out. I didn't know at the time that many of the symptoms I was experiencing were totally normal, because I was one of the first people in my friend group to become pregnant. What didn't help? The people that I did know who were pregnant, didn't seem to be having the same issues. Way to make me feel like a freak of nature, you guys.
"Chacne" and Bacne
I made up this word, but it is what I lovingly refer to as "chest acne," or, what happens when your hormones go ape in your first trimester when you're feeling gnarly anyway. In addition to every other indignity, they make your body break out in gross, cystic acne in places you've never had breakouts before (like your chest and back). Increased hormone production means your skin is producing more natural oils. More oil can lead to (yep) breakout city.
This happened to me in the worst way with my pregnancy with my first son. I felt like a swamp monster. Worse, I had a wedding to go to, and the only nice dress I had that fit had a revealing neckline and deep V back and I had no time between my breakout and the wedding to get a new dress. Luckily I am pretty handy with cover up and foundation.
Those Horrible Night Sweats
Oh, hi! Hormones here, wreaking daily and nightly havoc on your life!
Pregnancy can bring all kinds of strange changes to your body, including your temperature. You may, as was the case with yours truly, wake up soaked in a pool of your own sweat for a full nine months, including during the dead of winter because pregnancy is cruel. Don't freak out, though. You are not drowning in your own filth. Excess sweat (day or night) is a completely normal symptom of pregnancy.
Increased Vaginal Discharge
Up there with some of the least glamorous things about pregnancy is how hormones can cause your discharge to be heavier, and to change color. You might notice that it becomes stickier, or a darker color yellow during pregnancy. Ugh.
If your family pet is the kind that goes nuts for your underwear (like my dog does) and enjoys parading it around the house and leaving it in full view of company, you may have to be more diligent about hiding it or throwing it in the wash immediately upon disrobing. Nothing like having crusty underwear splayed out on the couch when guests come over to start a visit off right!
Constantly Needing To Spit
This one doesn't happen to everyone, but it happened to me and so I must share in order to demystify it for others. You guys. Having to spit during pregnancy is a real thing. Sometimes pregnancy causes you to produce excess saliva (experts don't seem to know why exactly, but there may be a link between nausea and the excess saliva), and a gal's gotta get it out somehow, right?
Since I couldn't just hock loogies on the sidewalk like a camel whenever I damn well pleased (I mean, I could have, but I'm a lady) I carried around paper towels and hankies into which I spit discreetly. My husband was so grossed out. In the privacy of my own home, I often had a little spit cup by my side. Even I was disgusted with myself.
Reflux is a common pregnancy symptom because (oh, hell again hormones!) hormones can cause muscles in the esophagus to relax more frequently. For me, this meant that I had to burp more frequently and with a lot more gusto. My pregnancy burps were the absolute worst at night, and if we happened to be out to dinner, my husband and I would have to rush to find a deserted alley or street corner where I could really let it rip.
When I say that my burps sounded like a commanding leader from an alien race I am not kidding you. If, for some reason, we miscalculated and a stranger happened to pass by mid-burp, I would blame my husband for the noise by saying, "Ew! You're so gross!" Most of the time, after my pregnancy belches, he would start mocking me by singing, "This is why I'm hot."
Purple Face, Purple Face
Apologies to the late Prince. After a particularly rough vomit session from the morning sickness that lasted all day and night and didn't go away for seven months, my face would break out in purple splotches, mainly around my chin and lower cheekbone area. Sometimes, if I was really lucky, I'd get broken blood vessels in my eyes as well. Small children would run and hide when they caught a glimpse of me.
Passing Out At Random Times Of The Day
This happened most often during my first trimester but, if given the opportunity, I could take a nap almost anytime and anywhere. Much like my grandpa used to do in his later years, when left in one place for too long, I would start to doze. Since I was working from home at the time, this was a little awkward when our dog walker would come in and find me splayed out on the couch, drooling at like, noon in the middle of the day. Even more awkward, because it was my first trimester and I didn't have the excuse of being hugely pregnant as to why I wasn't walking my own damn dog.
Fun to say, but not fun to have. As your nipples and breasts prepare for nursing, you may experience some itchiness 'round those parts. Nothing says awkward like boob itch when you're out in public!
You may also notice your nipples getting darker and wider. So if you used to enjoy going braless in light-colored shirts (like I would) and suddenly woke up one morning with extra-dark colored nipples, it may be time to cover up with you know, a real bra. If you care about that kind of thing, that is.