Morning sickness, heartburn, cravings, food aversion, and frequent urination. These are common symptoms that every pregnant mom usually experienced throughout pregnancy. It’s listed on every pregnancy book, mentioned by your doctor, and can be easily found on every pregnancy website under the sun. Everybody knows that.
So when I was pregnant with my first, I expected such symptoms to happen to me too. And they did.
But I also experienced a couple of weird things on my body.
One day I found my feet are swollen. Then, I had a couple episodes of painful leg cramps at night time, which never happens before. In the next couple of weeks, there was this dark vertical line appearing in the middle of my stomach.
What are these? Is it normal or a sign of pregnancy problem? Why doesn’t anyone told me these things before?
For all the moms-to-be, these are unexpected symptoms that may happen to your body during pregnancy. Sometimes they are unpleasant but normal. Sometimes it’s a sign that warrants a call or visit to your ob-gyn.
Either way, it’s reassuring to know that you’re not alone in this journey, right?
1. Bleeding Gums
Brushing your teeth can be a hard task when you are pregnant. In addition to bleeding gums, you may also gag especially during the first trimester.
It can get disgusting, really.
But luckily, bleeding gums (or gum inflammation otherwise known as gingivitis) is a fairly common symptom during pregnancy.
Thanks to the hormones, estrogen, and progesterone, pregnancy gingivitis makes your gums more sensitive to the bacteria in plaque. Sometimes you may notice that your gums are swollen. But as long as you have good oral hygiene, there is nothing to worry about.
A study showed a link between severe periodontal disease and premature birth, low birth weight, and preeclampsia. However, other studies didn’t show any association. For preventive care or if it starts to get uncomfortable and painful to you, it is best to make a dental appointment.
Hormonal changes also can cause acne problems during pregnancy. Overproduction of sebum may lead to clogged up pores and bacteria build-up, a perfect condition for breakouts.
I was one of the unlucky ones to get acne, not just on my face, but all over my body. Again, not fun.
If you also experience this, please make sure to avoid oral isotretinoin medications (Amnesteem, Claravis) and topical retinoids as it is known to cause birth defects. Extra sensitive skin during pregnancy also needs to be considered for choosing acne treatments.
A few things that are recommended include cleaning up problem areas with a gentle soap-free cleanser, drink plenty of fluids and cutting out sugar and unhealthy fats.
3. Lightning Crotch
This is by far the funniest symptom I’ve ever heard (and experienced too!). But it’s real.
One time I felt this shooting pain down there, suddenly and sporadically painful that made me uncomfortable to even move. So I just stand there, waiting for it to subside a couple of minutes later. When I asked my pregnant friend, she nodded knowingly, “Ah! The zing pain on your crotch. I’ve been there”.
This weird symptom, a lightning crotch they say, refers to a sharp and shooting pain in the pelvic area. There is no exact explanation of what caused it, but some doctors said it might be caused by the pressure of a growing baby that compresses the nerve running through the muscles of the pelvic area.
This weird pregnancy symptom commonly happens during the third semester where the baby begins to descend into the birth canal.
Unfortunately, there is nothing you can do to prevent this condition. But to relieve the pain you can try to wear a support brace on your belly, taking a warm bath, or having a prenatal massage focusing on the back area.
4. Linea Nigra, aka The Dark Line Along Your Belly
The unfamiliar name comes from the Latin language, meaning a “black line”. This appears during pregnancy, running down vertically from the navel to pubic bone. It also can stretches all the way upward from the navel to the upper abdomen.
The presence of linea nigra is a completely normal part of pregnancy. Unfortunately, there is nothing you can do to make this weird pregnancy symptom goes away, except maybe covering it with cosmetic makeup. This dark line also will eventually go away shortly after the birth of your baby.
5. Nose Bleeds
While this is might cause a little discomfort, nose bleeds are also common and normal during pregnancy. Thanks to the pregnancy hormones (again), it increases blood flow to all of your body mucous membranes, including the nose.
The swelling of these membranes lining also might cause a stuffy nose, which can make you snore at night.
How very glamorous.
If you have this occasional nosebleed, you can relieve the congestion with saline drops, and keep your head up straight (but don’t tilt it back). Apply gentle pressure to the nostril for a few minutes until the bleeding stops.
6. Swelling on Feet and Leg Cramps
It probably feels like every part of your body is swelling these days. What’s even weirder is when you’re ankles start to swell too. It can starts around the second trimester all the way through the end of pregnancy.
Well, on the bright side, at this stage you won’t be able to see anything below your belly anyway.
Swelling on feet and around ankles area is caused by the increasing body fluids that are necessary for developing baby. Swelling also more likely to appear when you are standing for long periods of time or consuming high levels of coffee and sodium in your diet.
Mild swelling of the ankles and feet is mostly harmless. However, if you experience sudden swelling on feet (and other areas like face, neck, and hands), accompanied by blurriness or vision changes, and difficulty breathing, please contact the doctor immediately. These might be symptoms of preeclampsia, a serious condition that can be very dangerous for you and the baby.
Also if your swelling on one leg is bigger than the other (and accompanied by pain), it might also signal a possible blood clot. This also needs medical attention as soon as possible.
What can you do to reduce the swelling? You might want to avoid wearing high heels for a while. Have you seen a picture of Kim Kardashian wearing one while she was pregnant? I can only imagine it must be painful for her, in addition to the undesirable sight of swelling feet. Ouch!
It’s better to change your shoes to a more comfortable (and slightly bigger size) for a while. Other helpful hints are avoiding standing for long periods of time, wear compressing socks, and try to elevate your feet whenever you can. Another reason for more sleeping time.
Speaking of feet, there’s also that painful leg cramps. This weird pregnancy symptom usually happens at night, and believe me, it can be VERY painful. My poor husband jolted awake from his sleep to my shrieking cry of pain. It hit my calves, and although it usually happens for a couple of minutes, I feel like experiencing birth during that time, complete with the sweating and swearing.
To relieve the muscle contraction, you can try to stretch and massage your feet. Straighten your leg and gently flex the toes toward your head for a couple of seconds. Then gently massage the affected muscle. Hopefully, after a while, the pain will subside and you can go back to sleep.
That’s all? Wait, there’s more!
Now, before you whine “Why are there so many?? I didn’t sign up for this!”, please consider the facts that each pregnancy has its own quirks. It can be different for each person, even for each pregnancy!
You may experience some of them, or not at all if you’re lucky. But it’s good to know about the possibilities anyway, so you can brace yourself and be prepared, right?
In the meantime, why don’t you record these symptoms in a pregnancy journal? It’s a great way to preserve these fun (and sometimes weird) things as part of your pregnancy journey for memories later. You can also record these events to ask to doctor at your next appointment if you have any concerns.
I have this pregnancy journal that you can download and print, FOR FREE! Click the links below to download it.
Now lets see go to part 2, here!