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12 Weird (but Normal!) Things About Pregnancy

Side view of pregnant woman sitting on a sofa and caressing her belly; blog: 12 Weird (but Normal!) Things About Pregnancy

Pregnancy is an exciting and special time for many women. Watching your body change as your child grows and develops can be fascinating but sometimes jarring. Some of the changes you go through are positive, but many of them aren’t very much fun. 

The good news is that many things go back to normal sometime after you give birth or stop breastfeeding. But some don’t. So, while your focus is on the joy of having a baby on the way, you can also look forward to these weird (but normal!) things about pregnancy.

1. Feet Swelling

Swollen feet are a hallmark of pregnancy. Fluid retention and swelling while pregnant are unpleasant, but not uncommon. Your feet may go up in size, so make sure you wear shoes that accommodate for that change, even if that means buying a couple of pairs in a bigger size. And don’t be surprised if they don’t go back to their original size. 

To help, avoid standing or being on your feet for extended periods or crossing your legs when seated. You can also prop your feet up when sitting and use maternity stockings to help. But remember, while mild swelling is normal and not cause for concern, watch out for extreme or sudden swelling, as it can be a sign of high blood pressure or preeclampsia.

2. Change in Skin Tone

The higher hormone levels in your pregnant body can stimulate melanin cells, which are responsible for skin pigmentation. Your freckles may become more pronounced, your areolas( the area around your nipples)  might darken, and you can develop the linea nigra. The linea nigra, which means black line in Latin, is a dark line that runs vertically down the belly. Patchiness and blotching may also appear. Hyperpigmentation is most common among women who have darker skin tones and usually goes away or fades after the baby is born.

3. Bloody Noses

During pregnancy, your circulatory system has to expand to accommodate a developing baby. Your body creates more blood and increases circulation. This can cause the tiny blood vessels in your nose and gums to become prone to bursting more easily than before. Be gentle with blowing or wiping your nose while pregnant.

4. Bleeding Gums

Some women also experience bleeding gums, caused by both the increased blood flow and something called pregnancy gingivitis. Hormones (namely progesterone) make gums more sensitive to plaque which irritates the gums and makes them swell and bleed. Be sure to follow a good oral hygiene routine, which includes brushing, flossing, and maybe an alcohol-free mouthwash. You should also see the dentist, but make sure they know that you are pregnant.

5. Heightened Sense of Smell

Pregnant women can often smell things that non-pregnant people can’t. Or smells are way stronger to a pregnant woman than they are to anyone else. This is caused by estrogen. It might seem like a superpower, but olfactory sensitivity is often a burden because it can affect your gag reflex and make morning sickness worse. Even things that used to smell good can turn you off.

6. Pregnancy Brain

Many pregnant women complain of mental fog that includes forgetfulness and difficulty focusing. Commonly referred to as “pregnancy brain,” these cognitive changes could be caused by elevated levels of hormones, sleep loss, or stress. Some believe it’s a myth, but research has concluded that pregnant women do, in fact, experience brain changes that can affect certain cognitive abilities.

7. Sweating

The increase in blood flow and metabolism during pregnancy can make you hot. The pregnancy “glow” of dewy skin and rosy complexion are actually signs of heat. And don’t be surprised if you surpass the pretty glow and get really sweaty sometimes.

8. Leaking While Sneezing or Laughing

Many people have heard of this pregnancy side effect, but it can still be disconcerting. Because your baby is developing in the uterus above the bladder, as he or she grows (and the uterus expands), more pressure is put on the bladder. Add to that the fact that pregnant women should pay close attention to hydration and you get a recipe for leaks. If this is a problem for you, panty liners might be a good option. And always make sure you go when you need to and don’t hold it.

9. Stuffy Nose

One weird thing about pregnancy is that you may often feel stuffed up. You aren’t sick, your nose isn’t running, and blowing your nose yields no results. During pregnancy, the increase in blood flow and hormones can make your mucous membranes swell and expand, causing that stuffy and clogged feeling.

10. Snoring

Just as with the stuffy nose, swollen mucous membranes can force you to breathe through your mouth while asleep. This leads to snoring. You can try using a humidifier and a neti pot at bedtime as well as sleeping on your side.

11. Your Nipples Change

During pregnancy, a woman’s nipples change. The areolas may increase dramatically in size and grow darker in color. The increase in hormones is the cause of hyperpigmentation here, just as it is to blame for other skin tone changes mentioned earlier. You might also notice bumps developing around the nipple, which are glands to help keep your nipples from drying out. When you are done breastfeeding your baby, the areolas will shrink and lighten in color. However, they may stay darker than they were before.

12. Hair Changes

Your hair may become thicker, change texture, or seem like it’s growing faster. Pregnancy hormones do have an effect on the strength and appearance of hair and nails. While your pregnant hair falls out more slowly. However, there is a downside. Some women may experience hair growth in other places, like on their face, chest, back, and belly. And many new moms lose hair after they give birth.

Make an Appointment

At Triangle Physicians for Women, we offer comprehensive care for women at all stages of life. That includes providing education and support during pregnancy so you always have someone to ask about the changes your body goes through while carrying a baby. If you have questions or concerns about any obstetric or gynecological issue, call us at (919) 678-6900 or request an appointment online.

I think Dr. Grana and her assistant (Mandy) are the best. I have been going to TP4W for years – at least 20, and I have never been disappointed with the level of care I have received. I can be a challenge as my level for pain tolerance is low and they put up with me! I can’t help but highly recommend the practice to anyone looking for exemplary women’s healthcare.

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My visit was great! & my past visit have all been great.Kristy helped me even with me being a bit stressed & in a hurry because I had to be seen & my job is super strict. Her urgency to get me seen was phenomenal. I even got to see Heather, she’s awesome & amazing. She helped deliver my baby girl a year ago. My whole family loves her and Dr Sheshadri. We actually can’t wait to get pregnant again hahaha. Everyone treats you with respect and always makes sure your okay & answers whatever questions you have before you leave. Even leaving a message for the nurses,they get back to you so quickly.  This practice really makes you feel taken care of.  We appreciate you all!  – Erika Hooks

My experience with the TP4W staff has been top of the line.  They helped me through three pregnancies and coached me through every step of the way.  Eternally thankful I chose TP4W.  – Britney

TP4W have such amazing doctors, midwives and nurses.  I cannot say enough about Dr. Grana and the rest of the staff for all the help, advice, guidance and medical care they provided me with all of my kids.  She made me feel safe and calm through both c-sections.  My routine care and pregnancy care have always been top notch and I would recommend them to anyone looking for an OBGYN.  – Brooke

We were honored to receive a hand written note..

Dr. Grana, Angie, Jessica, Heather, April, Sarah and the rest of the staff –

Thank you all so much for taking such good care of me through both of my pregnancies and births, especially my latest one on 10/29! most of yall know how nervous I was from having gone through a lot (to say the least) with my first in 2016. You all made me feel so comfortable and at ease before, during and after. And going through a touch year with my dad, you guys always asked how he was doing at every appointment, which was so thoughtful and beyond your job description. I know that you all see many women go through what i did each and every day and deliver many babies and perform many c-sections. But I hope you know how special Ruby’s delivery was to me. You all have amazing jobs! I cannot thank you all enough. Merry Christmas!

Love, Lucy

I have been going to TP4W since 2010/11 and could not be happier.

The staff, nurses, midwives, and doctors are all amazing. I have 2 sons, both delivered via cesarean by Dr. V. Every visit and every provider did everything in their power to give me the birth experience I wanted, and also ensure that myself and my babies were safe and healthy. Dr. V even did everything in his power to help me avoid my first c-section and VBAC with the second, but that turned out to be out of his hands and he was the absolute best surgeon. With my two pregnancies, I experienced a few scares and some unusual circumstances that would be too long and too private to write in a review, but every single hurdle was handled with grace, honesty, and professionalism. I am so thankful for the recommendation from a friend to come to this office. I can’t imagine ever going to another practice.

TP4W is amazing and I am so very thankful I found them 9 years ago!! Amazing partnership between midwives and doctors, sweet nurses and front end staff, and relaxing environment. I literally recommend them to all my friends! I look forward to my appointments and feel like I’m going to catch up with old friends.

I’ve always had wonderful experiences at TP4W. Everyone is friendly, knowledgeable, and thorough in their care. April delivered my son and I can’t say enough wonderful things about her. She is patient and compassionate. I had the best labor and delivery experience thanks to her. I do and will continue to recommend them to my friends and family!