Pregnancy Side Effects: 20 Things They Never Told You About Your Pregnant Body

How much happiness can you feel for being asked questions like; how do you feel? Is he kicking yet? Have you started morning sickness? Are you tired; and do you feel dizzy? – Oh yeah… this is coming shortly after people starts to notice the bump, or probably following an official pregnancy announcement by you!


Regular symptoms like fatigue, nausea, back and joint pain, constant peeing, constant hunger and being “emotional” (both good and bad) are all considered to play a part when it comes to pregnancy – so no one is too surprised by them. However, there are many more delights that can come along with a positive pregnancy test that people don’t talk about or show you in both Holly and Nollywood!

The Common Pregnancy Side Effects You Probably Don’t Know About

These are 20 lesser-known pregnancy side effects and symptoms should give 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.

1. You May Have Sore Boobs.

One of the popular and first pregnancy symptoms that many women experience is sore boobs. Essentially, your body puts a call through upstairs saying, “mehn, the bubble had formed” and your breasts turn to each other; filled with a smile and say, “Yes! This is absolutely what we’ve been training for, man! Not getting out of traffic tickets. Not holding up tube tops. Not getting free drinks. It’s showtime!”

Wasting no much time, they flip the switch and start getting ready for milk production. Extra blood flow, fat production and hormones etc.

2. Your Nipples May Protrude and Your Areolas May Darken.

Guess what? Creepy guys around the world just said, “nice” to this little extra feature. Who doesn’t like to stare, even when they don’t own it.

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 be uncomfortable.

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. *winks*

3. You May Have Extra Spit.

No one seems to know the reasons behind the extra saliva during pregnancy, or do you?

This affects 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 to barf.

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.

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. Your intestinal tract actually works very hard to move stuff through. So once they get a little lazy, shit stops moving.

Move more, drink water, eat small meals and increase your fibre intake seems to be the suggested course of action

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. Hemorrhoids may come knocking.

Congratulations, you’re slowing turning inside out! Weeee!

Although it may seem like your body is dropping out of your ass, haemorrhoids are actually veins in and around your rectum becoming swollen and can affect up to 50% of pregnant women.

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 it in a park for the sake of your ass.

And guess what? Drinking plenty of water and increasing your fibre 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.

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 oesophagal sphincter. This loosening can cause stomach acid to back up into your oesophagus.

Whether it’s called acid indigestion, acid reflux 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 clears.

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. The 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.

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 distractions 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 a 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.

12. Your Feet Might Get Bigger.

Do your shoes feel tight? Well, it’s from a couple of things, relaxing 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 oversimplify 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 swell suddenly though, go see your doctor because it can be a sign of preeclampsia and you don’t want that shit.

13. You Might Wet Your Pants.

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 over 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. 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 suppose.

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 aren’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 morning sickness.

Why thank you! I would never have thought of riding 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.

A 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.

Well, that includes your gastrointestinal muscles, which slows down your digestion and 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.

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 nut 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 Vag*nal Discharge May Change.

I believe scientists thought long and hard to come up with the most disgusting sounding name for the milky white vag.nal 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 body.

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 defence, 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.

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 removed.

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.

So try to focus on the good parts of pregnancy and less on the crap, and if you’re feeling brave, you can check out the things that may happen after you give birth too. After all, this too shall pass.

I might have missed something…What else would you add?

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