Ah yes, you’ve told people you’re pregnant and so the questions
begin, “how do you feel?”, “are you tired?”, “do you have morning sickness?” , “are you hungry?”, etc.
Symptoms like fatigue, nausea, back and joint pain, constant peeing,
constant hunger and being “emotional” (both good and bad) are all considered par for
the course when it comes to pregnancy so no one is too surprised by them. However, there are many (many) more delights that can come along with a positive
pregnancy test that people don’t talk about or show you in the movies.
you a bit of a heads up (or scare the crap out of you if you’re a teenager that
wants to be on a reality show) so you know you’re not alone.
You may have all of them to which I can only say, “I’m sorry” and only assume that karma will reward you down the road because you hit a lottery of
crap. Or you may have none, to which I say, “Lucky, whore” and seat you at the
exquisite birth table that is currently occupied only by Gisele Bundchen – my
patron saint of pregnancy (sorry, Saint Gerard Majella, you just don’t cut it with me as a pregnancy saint because you’re a virgin….and a man.)
So sit right back and you’ll hear a tale, a tale of a faithful
trip, that started in this uterus and quickly turned to shit. (Just kidding,
but I love Gilligan’s Island).
Here we go:
1. You May Have Sore Boobs:
One of the first pregnancy symptoms that many women experience is
sore boobs. Essentially your body sends a memo upstairs saying, “the eagle has
landed” and your breasts turn to each other and say, “This is what we’ve been
training for, man! Not getting out of traffic tickets. Not holding up tube tops.
Not getting free drinks. It’s show time!” Then they flip the switch and start
getting ready for milk production. Extra blood flow, fat production (hello
awesome rack) and hormones all make for tender tatas especially in the first few
2. Your Nipples May Protrude and You Areolas May Darken:
Ah yes, creepy guys around the world just said, “nice” to this
little extra feature.
Once again, your breasts are gung ho about the baby news so they
want to make sure everything is ready to roll – they are like an enthusiastic grandmother
stocking up on tinker toys – so they turn on the perma high beams and that can
Your areolas also tend to get darker, larger and jack up the
little sweat gland bumps that will lube up the area when you’re breastfeeding.
While both have a bit of a ‘belch’ factor for some women, it’s
completely normal so don’t sweat it too much and try to limit your braless,
white t-shirt outings if you don’t want to cause traffic pile ups.
3. You May Have Extra Spit:
Why the extra saliva? Who knows.
It seems to affect quite a few women during pregnancy and no one seems to know
why. Hormones seem to be blamed for the cause because it’s the go to reason for
most things during pregnancy. Nausea also is a plausible reason as well because
extra saliva is typically the body’s warning mechanism to tell you to get ready
Long and short of it is it doesn’t affect your pregnancy in any way so don’t worry
about it because it’s perfectly normal.
Unless of course you’re not actually pregnant in which case both rabies and dementia
can cause excess saliva. So, you know, check that shit out.
4. You May Be Constipated:
You have extra progesterone
pumping through you right now and it’s pretty important – hence the name that
means “pro gestating” – because it relaxes your uterus muscles so you don’t
have early contractions (just to name one of its important jobs).
The downside is that it
helps relax all your
muscles so you get constipated easily.
“Wouldn’t relaxed muscles
actually give me diarrhea?” you say. Oh contraire, my Petal. Your intestinal
tract actually works very hard to move stuff through, so once they get a little
lazy, shit stops moving. Literally. Shit stops moving.
Move more, drink water, eat small meals and increase your fiber
intake seems to be the suggested course of action. You may as well commit this
phrase to memory because it is pretty much the remedy suggested for EVERY.
SINGLE. PREGNANCY AILMENT. ON THE PLANET.
Just don’t use laxatives (or at least talk to a medical provider
before you do) because they can screw things up even more and there may be an
easier fix before you go that route.
This is also a nice segue into our next delightful treat….
5. You Might Get Hemorrhoids:
Congratulations, you’re slowing turning inside out! Weeee!
Although it may seem like your body is dropping out of your ass, hemorrhoids are actually veins in and around your rectum becoming swollen and can affect up to 50% of pregnant women. Lucky! Lucky!
Your growing uterus and increased blood flow is usually the culprit, but both constipation and delivery can cause them as well. They can run the gamut from itching to downright painful, but thankfully they usually resolve themselves after pregnancy.
Lying down on your side also helps keep the pressure off that area, so cue up a good movie and put in park for the sake of your ass.
And guess what? Drinking plenty of water and increasing your fiber intake helps. Who knew?!
6. You May Be Congested:
Some women suffer from nasal congestion during their pregnancy and it can be a huge
drag. Estrogen causes the mucous membranes in your nose to swell along with
everything else, so it can cause congestion and even nosebleeds.
So pretty. Nothing quite like a pregnant woman walking around looking like she stepped out
of a UFC Octagon.
Oh, I should also mention that this also may cause snoring when you sleep as well.
“Oh snap, is that a Victoria Secret model sleeping next to me or my pregnant wife?”
is without question what your husband will be asking himself on a nightly
basis… if he’s smart.
7. You May Have Heartburn:
Remember that awesome hormone, progesterone that relaxes your
uterus so it doesn’t eject your baby like a 007 car? Well, it’s also relaxing a
muscle called the lower esophageal sphincter. This loosening can cause stomach acid to back up into your esophagus.
Whether it’s called acid indigestion, acid reflex
or heartburn, it can feel like you’re gargling battery acid and it’s awful.
Thankfully this throat valve goes back to keeping the fires at bay once you’ve given birth.
8. You Might Suffer From Leg Cramps:
“Arrrgh, son-of-a-bitch leg cramp!” is something you may utter when you’re pregnant. Most likely it will be
when you finally get to sleep after your heartburn subsides and your nose
No one knows what causes them.* The possible culprits are compressed blood vessels, or just the pressure
of carrying around more weight. Either way, they are painful and wrench you out
of a glorious sleep like an air horn. Quickest trick to relieve them is to flex
your foot upwards and straighten your leg like you’re going to touch your shin
with your big toe.
* Yet there was a study to see if rats could tell the difference between Japanese and Dutch.
Spoiler alert: they can but not when spoken backwards. Thanks, Science, you
9. You Might Get Restless Leg Syndrome:
Restless leg syndrome is
not dangerous or a sign that anything is wrong, but it can be uncomfortable and
disrupt your sleep.
No one really knows what
causes the Jimmy legs (see rat study above), but it’s very common during
pregnancy and it tends to happen at night affecting the lower legs between the
knee and ankle, although, it can also occur in your feet and arms.
Stretching, warms baths,
acupuncture and massage seem to be the suggested remedies, but also mention it
to your healthcare provider because they may want to check your iron levels to
make sure you aren’t sporting a deficiency.
Some women keep a food
journal to see if something they eat (typically later in the day) is triggering
the jumpy legs at night. It’s certainly worth a shot. I suppose you could take
up clogging or Celtic dance too.
10. You Might Get Sweaty:
“Fire up the engines, we have a baby to make!” is what your body
is telling your metabolism and hormones, which kicks up your blood flow, which
makes you sweat like a whore in church.
Pregnancy “glow” is often caused by this internal furnace
overdrive so hopefully your rosy cheeks and dewy complexion with distract from
your wet pits and cleavage-stream. Hey, sometimes you gotta sweat like a pig to
look like a fox, right?
11. You Might Break Out in Acne:
Not so fast my glowing, Angel. This can also turn ugly with acne because hormones can stimulate your sebaceous glands, which can then
cause zits. The best part?! You can’t use a lot of the stuff that we use to treat them like Accutane, Retin-A, tetracycline, etc. because
they can cause nasty birth defect. Thankfully, companies are starting to fill
this gap and are creating pregnancy safe acne treatments so you don’t have to
walk around like a teenager full of angst in a John Hughes film – “I love you, Jake!”
12. Your Feet Might Get Bigger:
Do your shoes feel tight? Do you have Fred Flinstone feet like I
did during my pregnancies?
Well, it’s from a couple of things, relaxin is one
because it’s relaxing the ligaments in your body – including your feet – so they
spread out. Your body is also retaining fluids and, to over simplify it,
those fluids tend to pool at the bottom of your body (namely your feet) so they
puff up. Add a bunch on baby weight onto that and you’re sporting two loaves of
bread baking out of your ballet flats.
Your feet make actually go up a size permanently because they may
not snap back to their original shape after the baby comes. Okay, there are a
couple of things that may not snap back to their original shape after the baby
comes but we’re talking feet right now.
If you find your feet, hands and face swells suddenly though, go
see your doctor because it can be a sign of preeclampsia and you don’t want
13. You Might Wet Your Pants:
Tee hee she has to pee! It’s fairly common knowledge that women
have to pee a lot when they are pregnant. What they don’t always mention is
that the control around peeing may be a little compromised as well.
Your bladder sits right under your uterus so as your baby grows,
your bladder can’t always take the pressure (cue R. Kelly). The dam usually
leaks from abdomen pressure, such as sneezing, coughing or
exercising. Reason 4,357 not to do jumping jacks during allergy season I
This is one of the rare cases where “plenty of water”
is not recommended as a remedy. Kegels are. They are the smug I-told-so
exercises of pregnancy so get used to hearing about them.
14. Your Gums May Bleed:
Progesterone is the culprit again. Bleeding gums are a fairly
common side effect of pregnancy and isn’t cause for concern.
It is recommended that you avoid sweets (fuck that noise), visit
your dentist while you’re pregnant (tell them you’re pregnant so you don’t get
an x-ray) and rinse your mouth with water after you throw up if you have
Why thank you! I would never have thought of ridding my mouth of
the taste of vomit after I barfed! I wonder if they have any recommendation if
I come upon hot garbage on the sidewalk? Do I eat it? Do I avoid it? What is a
pregnant woman to do?
15. You Might Suffer From Itchy Skin:
Stretching and estrogen are often to blame for itchy skin and
it’s really common during pregnancy.
It looks like the best way to treat is the same way you’d treat
winter skin – lower the temperature in your shower, moisturize, and try not to
use harsh soaps, etc.
That said, it’s worth mentioning itching to your caregiver –
especially if your palms and feet are itchy – because they’ll probably want to
make sure your liver is happy.
16. You Might Have a Keener Sense of Smell:
Can you smell fish? In the fridge? At your next door neighbour’s house?
Heightened sense of smell is a charming pregnancy symptom that
many think is cute, unless of course it’s you experiencing it and you’re
sitting next to a co-worker that smells like B.O. doused in a cologne called “Repulsion”.
It’s caused by estrogen and can really wreak havoc on your gag
reflex exacerbating morning sickness (a.k.a. all day sickness).
Suggestions range from chewing gum to avoiding strong smells.
(Again, I hope money wasn’t spent on a study to see if “avoiding strong smells helped
a heightened olfactory system”. Put that in the money pile from the Dutch rat study along with the “Is water wet?” study, and we could dig a hundred wells in the third world.)
17. You Might Have Bad Gas:
Er, remember how I said progesterone and relaxin slow everything
down and loosen everything up? Mmmm, yeah. Well, that includes your gastrointestinal muscles,
which slows down your digestion, which forms gas. Gas that could rival a basement full of college guys consuming beer and cabbage in burp form. And gas that could singe nose
hair and kill canaries if it’s in fart form.
Whether it’s the roof or the basement, gas usually comes along for the ride on the
pregnancy train. Toot! Toooooooot!
18. Your Skin Pigment May Change:
Hormones kick up your melanin cells and they produce more pigment which will darken your freckles, areolas
and that charming line that runs down your belly called the linea nigra. It can also go a little nuts with the “tan dial” and cause random blotches on the
skin called Chloasma.
This hyperpigmentation tends to be more noticeable in women with darker
complexions but it typically fades after you give birth.
19. Your Vaginal Discharge May Change:
I believe scientists thought long and hard to come up with the most disgusting sounding name for the
milky white vaginal discharge that often comes along with pregnancy, and I
think they did it with the term “leukorrhea”. It’s a combination of the Latin
terms for “light” and “flow”, but sounds like the noise a cat makes
before throwing up morphed with the word “diarrhea”.
You don’t have to worry about it though – no matter how gross it sounds – and you have the extra
estrogen in your body to thank for stimulating all the mucous membranes in your
Stay away from douches and vaginal wipes because it can throw off your PH balance and that can unleash a
whole lot of nasty. Most sites suggest “clean” and “dry” with a panty liner
back up, is the best line of defense, but I like to think we’ve all figured out
that universal lady garden tip by now.
20. You Might Get Skin Tags:
I was going to cover off stretch marks for the
last symptoms, but most of us know those battle scars can strike with pregnancy
so I went with skin tags.
These are the little handles that your body makes so
angels can hang on them while they kiss your baby goodnight.
Ha ha, alas no, they are delightful little skin growths
that pop up in high friction areas like your armpits, neck and under your
boobs. It’s your body going nuts with the baby news and producing extra random
skin. Thanks Body, you’re like a crazy, elderly aunt that places hummel
figurines all over her apartment in case Elvis comes over.
They are completely benign and will usually go
away on their own. If not, you can just leave them (who cares) or have them
Don’t you feel stunning now!?
Listen, human bodies are gross – just ask the old
man cleaning out his ears with a paper clip at the mall – but rarely do they
produce something as perfect and beautiful as a baby. And that’s the
sickest part of all – it’s worth it.
After all, this too shall pass (gas). Brffpft!
Which ones did I miss? What else would you add?