Everyone knows the big pregnancy symptoms – the morning sickness, the big belly, baby kicks, etc. But for every pregnancy symptom you’ve heard of there are many more surprising symptoms you may have never heard about. There were several times during my first pregnancy that I wondered out loud why no one ever told me such and such symptom could/would happen.
As part of my partnership with Florida Hospital I chatted with three experts from Florida Hospital Heather Collins birth care coordinator, Doreen Forsthe, Women’s Health Navigator, RN and Kristy Lund, RNC-OB and CCE about common pregnancy symptoms that moms are often surprised to experience. During our conversation I found myself nodding along and laughing in agreement, “Yep, I had that and had no idea it was a common symptom until it happened.”
So I am here to break down 10 things no one told you about pregnancy.
10 Things No One Told You About Pregnancy
40 weeks is 10 months – First, let’s clear something up. This whole pregnancy is nine months is a lie – a big fat lie. And no one told me until I was about eight weeks pregnant. There I was, sick as a dog, thinking I am two months down with seven to go only to find out that I have eight months to go. Perhaps the count is nine months because most women are about one month pregnant when they find out, but it doesn’t matter – pregnancy is 10 months.
You won’t see a doctor right away – When I found out I was pregnant I excitedly called the doctor right away for an appointment to confirm. I was shocked to learn my doctor didn’t want to see me until 8-10 weeks (I was 4 weeks). Unless there is a problem, trust the at home pregnancy test, take your prenatals and hang tight. Eventually you will become a fixture in your doctor’s office.
Extra blood means extra symptoms – Did you know that you have more blood in your body during pregnancy? All that blood can give you some unusual symptoms, like a stuffy nose. I didn’t experience this one, but Heather said it is very common. Extra blood can also cause your gums to bleed easily, mine bleed a ton when I brushed and flossed. Like many pregnancy symptoms, everything went back to normal after baby.
Your skin might not glow – I had high hopes for the pregnancy glow, instead I had acne like a teenage boy. But hormone-related acne isn’t the only funky thing your skin might do, some women get dark patches around their eyes known as the “mask of pregnancy” (chloasma). Others develop a dark purple or brown line on their belly running vertically called linea nigra. The good news is that all of these symptoms go away after the baby is born and hormones return to normal.
Leaky boobs – Even before the baby comes your breasts may start leaking, sometimes a lot. And yes, a baby crying can make it worse. The milky white discharge is colostrum, but don’t worry Heather assured me there is always plenty for baby later. You might also hyperpigmentation, which leads to the darkening of your areolas.
Say goodbye to the control of bodily functions – During pregnancy you will fart more and poop less, and there is nothing you can do about it. (Well stool softeners to help, but not fix.) At some point, I gave my husband an exasperated sigh and told him that I officially gave up saying, “Excuse me.” From that point on I just issued a blanket excuse me for every fart and burp I uttered until the end of pregnancy.
You will pee your pants – I had no idea that the luxury of bladder control was going to become a distant memory. Dubbed the Snizzle on baby boards, in my third trimester every sneeze, laugh or cough I peeed myself. TMI? Maybe, but it is true, and no one warned me. So be forewarned – don’t sneeze, laugh or cough or at least be prepared for the consequences. (Warning, this pregnancy symptom may never return to normal. Sorry!)
New aches and pains – You could waddle your way through pregnancy without any real pain, or you could end up with crazy pains like me. Pregnancy cause joint issues you’ve never had like carpal tunnel (me), sciatica, round ligament pain (me), hip pain (me), etc. The good news is that while it hurts like the dickens new pains like these will likely clear up after the hormones settle (sometimes a few months after baby is born).
Don’t expect a flood – You’ve seen it in movies a thousand times; a pregnant woman’s water breaks with a gush. I expected that, but in real life when your water breaks it is likely to be just a trickle. That could at first be confused with a Snizzle (see above). Even more likely, your water may never break until a doctor assists. Heather said that most women have to have their water broken in the hospital. I was one of those women.
Crazy dreams – I am not sure what it is exactly that causes the crazy lucid dreams, but every mom I have ever talked to agreed that pregnancy dreams were the craziest. They seem to be most prevalent in the first trimester, perhaps because they are too often interrupted by trips to the bathroom later, but I remember they were crazy.
Pregnancy is a crazy time filled with all kinds of changes to your body. One thing that the experts stressed is that when it comes to talking to you doctor, there are no silly questions. As crazy symptoms arise, as your doctor about them. Talk about what to expect and believe your doctor when they assure you that this will pass when the baby comes.
Moms today have a wealth of information at their fingertips, from Google to polling Facebook friends if you have a question about something odd – reach out. But never take friendly advise (or Google) in place of talking to your doctor.
And remember, you are growing a human. All of the pain of pregnancy will fade when that sweet bundle of joy arrives.
Expecting moms in Central Florida who are interested in learning more about services offered at The Baby Place at Florida Hospital Orlando can contact the Birth Care Coordinator, Heather Collins at (407) 303-7341.0