Just found out you’re pregnant? Congratulations! Odds are you’re already thinking about the typical things to expect – morning sickness, food cravings/aversions, a beautiful belly, etc.
Then, there are things you might not expect…
Along the way, feel free to visit Overlake’s Pregnancy Monthly Guide. It starts with month 1 and continues, month-by-month, through your full-term pregnancy, so you’ll know more about what to expect along the way.
10 Things That May Surprise You When You’re Pregnant
1. Sky-high estrogen production
Did you know that by the time your baby is born, your placenta will have made as much estrogen as most non-pregnant women produce in three full years? No wonder you’re tearing up at the drop of a hat.
If you sense your low moods are sinking lower – or for longer – than usual, let your healthcare provider know. Women are more prone to experiencing depression during pregnancy as well as after the baby is born – called postpartum depression.
2. Your skin may not look or feel like your own
Stretch marks may not be the only marks pregnancy causes on your skin. The most common skin changes include darker pigmentation of the nipples, areoles, inner labia/vagina and the anus. You may also notice a dark line (linea Negra) on the center of the lower abdomen. Chloasma, darker pigment in patches on the face and elsewhere is also common, as is acne. Typically, these will all reverse after the baby is born, but wearing sunscreen and keeping out of the sun goes a long way towards minimizing chloasma and pigment changes.
3. Where’d all the hair come from?
Many women notice their hair becomes darker or thicker when they’re pregnant. It might go from wavy to curly, or straight to wavy. Hair may even crop up in places you never had it before – like your face, tummy and around your nipples. Most of the time, all this goes back to normal once the baby is born.
4. It’s never been a better time to start doing yoga…
Your body prepares for labor by becoming more limber. To be precise, increases in a hormone called relaxin leads to better joint mobility. Why not take advantage of it and start a prenatal yoga class with a licensed instructor? Yoga is a great form of exercise for pregnant women – strengthening your pelvic floor, teaching invaluable breathing and mindfulness exercises and – of course – making you more balanced, strong and flexible.
5. Horses sweat, men perspire and women glow…
But in your case, that “glow” may feel more like the sweat of a horse. Your body is working hard to grow that baby – and you’re going to feel it by way of operating warmer than usual – and sweating (er, glowing…) more than normal. Dress in layers, carry a small folding fan in your purse, and bring a squirt bottle if you’re outdoors on a hot day.
6. You may feel better – and sexier – than you ever have before
We hear all about pregnancy ailments and discomforts via media and general chit-chat. What’s lesser known is that some women feel absolutely a-ma-zing when they’re pregnant.
They skip right over morning sickness, have that true pregnancy glow – not the sheen of perspiration kind mentioned above – and feel really great. Unfortunately, they mostly keep this to themselves to spare the envy (or loathing) of their pregnant friends who aren’t faring so well…
7. Say it, don’t spray it
Nope, it’s not your imagination; most pregnant women find they produce more saliva when they’re pregnant. It could be hormones; it could be nausea – it’s probably a bit of both. Either way, extra saliva (and bodily fluids in general) is nothing to worry about – – it’s just embarrassing in conversations from time-to-time.
8. Make poop a priority
There’s a common joke that once a baby is born, all anybody talks about is their bowel movements – and there’s truth to that. However, you may need to focus on poop (yours!) sooner than you think. Constipation becomes a reality as your baby and your belly grow, your g.i. tract gets squished, making it difficult for digested products to move as regularly as they did before.
Drink lots of water, eat high-fiber foods and talk to your doctor about safe constipation remedies if it becomes a problem for you.
9. Your legs might be restless – real restless
Restless Leg Syndrome affects roughly 10% of the general population – but about one-third of pregnant women experience it (in fact, this makes restless legs the most common problem for pregnant women according to a U. Michigan study…).
Symptoms of restless leg syndrome (RLS) include a “creepy-crawly,” tingly, burning or just plain unexplainable urge to move your legs – and an inability to keep them still. It occurs most often at night and can negatively affect sleep, so taking a warm bath and getting to bed before you’re overly tired is the best way to keep RLS at bay. Massages and acupuncture may also help.
10. You may lactate early
Many pregnant women are surprised to see a clear-ish or off-white, sticky ooze emerging from their nipples as early as month 4 or 5. This is colostrum – a nutrient and antibody-rich serum that proceeds breast milk and it’s the best drink you can give your baby after s/he’s born. It’s great news if you see it – evidence your breasts are gearing up for breastfeeding –it’s also totally normal if you don’t. If you are an early milk producer, don’t be alarmed if your breasts ooze or leak when you hear a baby cry – talk about instincts.
Would you like to partner with a women-centered labor and delivery team who will make sure you have access of all the information regarding a healthy pregnancy and labor? Schedule an appointment with us here at Overlake OB/GYN.