I knew all about swollen feet, an engorged tummy, heartburn, and morning sickness pregnancy side effects. But what about the unspoken pregnancy side effects? The ailments that no one ever discussed with me? These unspoken afflictions have coursed through my body multiple times during the span of my four pregnancies in this lifetime. Each pregnancy got harder, as I got older and had more little ones calling me mom. I wish someone would have issued me a warning at every doctor’s visit about these unsavory parts of pregnancy.
Please tell me that I am not alone in these eight pregnancy unmentionables?
1/ Yeast Infections come fast and furious.
As if a swollen vulva was not enough trouble, the addition of stingy, itchy, white cottage cheese action was another persistent pregnancy condition I endured while incubating my middle daughter. My mother-in-law told me there used to be an old wives tale that the more yeast infections suffered during a pregnancy meant the healthier the baby. I had a hard time buying into this vintage myth while applying the physician prescribed vaginal cream at a heavy lather.
2/ A horrible aftertaste that lasts for months.
My appetite suffered a lot during pregnancy, especially throughout the first trimester. I learned to navigate the quickest route from dinner table to toilet should a wave of nausea hit pretty efficiently while with child. The vomiting led to a bad taste in my mouth, but so too did just the regular routine eating of breakfast, lunch, dinner, snacks, milk, juice, cheese, meat, vegetables, fruit, and all other perishables. Just swallowing saliva, or any other soluble under the sun left me with a stinging tang on my tongue. At least my oral hygiene was never an issue during pregnancy because as a knocked up lady I brushed my teeth constantly to get rid of the bitter aftertaste that was present the entire nine months of each pregnancy. The only way for me to get rid of this ailment was to physically have the baby and set those messy hormones free.
3/ It becomes very, very hard to wipe after going to the bathroom.
As the second trimester exits and the third stage of pregnancy entered, it became increasingly hard for me to sit on the toilet and adequately wipe my own nether regions. Forget the simple female rule of “front to back”. Wiping, while really pregnant, become a four-part mapping process: 1-Very front region, 2-Front- middle area, 3-Middle- rear if reachable, and 4-Backend (a repeated amount of times). No matter if I was going #1 or #2, wiping was a challenge during pregnancy and I received no extra credit points for trying hard to get at it all clean and fresh with double ply toilet paper. Even the best wiping attempts could not guarantee the avoidance of skid marks showing up later on my undies.
4/ Pregnancy induced carpal tunnel.
Yes, this is really a thing. I knew to expect aches and pains during pregnancy, but the tingling sensation in the wrists, hands, and fingers was almost enough to drive me mad. The tingling would lead to numbness which would lead to an overreaction by me to try and stretch or shake my tender hands and forearms into submission. I now know pounding fists in frustration or punching someone for making a rude pregnancy comment are not recommended just because one suffers from pregnancy induced carpal tunnel.
5/ Wearing your significant other’s underwear.
There is no shame in trying to be comfortable while pregnant, and sometimes that meant I had to raid my baby daddy’s closet for a loose fitting pair of boxers or some nice high wasted whitey tighties. Yes, it was a fashion faux paux, but the extra elastic always gave my swollen tummy and rear a little relief. However, I had to be careful because my older kids do not understand boundaries or personal space and would often walk in on my getting dressed in the morning. I lived in fear of my soon to be big sisters tattling on me and proclaiming to all who would listen that mom wears dad’s underwear. The list of avid listeners would certainly include: grandmas, grandpas, classroom teachers, high priests, the town mayor, and even a cashier at Starbucks.
6/ Hair (everywhere) grows faster.
The elongation of hair length during pregnancy is often thought of as a positive, but while my locks may look thicker and shinier they also grew at a tempo that was difficult to maintain. Speedy hair growth meant my roots showed sooner and my gray hairs protruded at an alarming rate. Plus, what about the hair that is not on my head? Legs and armpits need more razor attention during pregnancy, and I even went so far as to Google the question “Can I get a bikini wax while pregnant?” *Short answer is yes. *Long answer is still yes, but also with a drawn-out explanation of how waxing hurts even worse during pregnancy due to extensive swelling and blood flow around one’s lady bits.
7/ Restless leg syndrome diagnosis.
Legs get overworked during pregnancy because they are forced to tote around a lot of extra weight courtesy of baby, placenta, night-cravings, and miscellaneous fluids. So it only seems logical that this girl’s lower limbs would have appreciated the reprieve of laying down at night, but not so fast! While pregnant with my youngest, I suffered from restless leg syndrome, which compounded with frequent urination and non-stop baby kicks made for long nights of insomnia.
8/ Hard bowel movements followed immediately by torrential downpours of diarrhea.
That is right, as a pregnant gal my stool deposits were never consistent during the nine months of gestation for any one of my pregnancies. Intense battles with constipation would often be immediately followed by an encore of toxic flatulence and massive runs. During pregnancy the excretory system of an expectant mother appeared to know no boundaries (at least in my case). My intestines would harden and soften at a scary frequency, which wreaked havoc on my kidneys and rectum.
At least there are grand prizes for embracing and surviving these ailments.
For me they were four little bundles of joy and the release of many misery causing hormones (that only got quickly replaced by other intense ailments such as: senseless emotional crying, threats of colic, thrush, and leaky nipples).