Pregnancy hormones. In short, they are crazy. The changes to your body and hormones during pregnancy can sometimes be strange. Of course, pregnancy comes with its perks: an excuse to wear sweats 24/7, you can pretty much get out of anything you want to, and you have a cute little person growing inside of you. But, there are also some things that happen that have no explanation…and are just plain weird. Here are five common but odd things that may occur during your pregnant months.
1- Metallic Taste
A common pregnancy symptom that you may see in your first trimester is an increase in sensitivity to tastes or smells and even a metallic taste in your mouth. Some mothers describe it as off-putting as if they have a penny tucked in their cheek or as mild as drinking from a metal bottle. Though it may be an annoyance, it doesn’t signify any problems. The metallic taste, known as dysgeusia, is simply caused by your changing hormones. Estrogen especially seems to play a role in our sense of taste. So, as it fluctuates your tastes might also change as well. To get rid of the metallic taste, you can focus on sour foods (like citrus juices) or other acidic flavors such as foods marinated in vinegar (like pickles). Another fix might be ginger or ginger flavored foods, which can also help with your first-trimester nausea.
2- Bleeding Gums
About half of pregnant women experience tender gums that bleed when brushing or flossing. Hormonal changes and an increase in blood flow can cause your gum sensitivity to the bacteria in plaque and cause pregnancy gingivitis. Continue to practice good oral hygiene and preventative dental care. Contact your dentist if you experience more severe symptoms such as
- a toothache,
- gums that frequently bleed or are painful,
- other signs of gum disease, or
- other growths in your mouth.
On top of your regular brushing and flossing, gargling sea salt or increasing your vitamin A and C intake may help with the symptoms. Vitamin C can help battle the bacteria in your mouth. Vitamin A is essential for bone and teeth growth, and the salt water can help reduce the inflammation.
Another symptom of the increase in estrogen and blood flow may be nasal congestion. To ease the symptoms, try
- steam inhalation,
- using a humidifier,
- saline spray, or even
- applying petroleum jelly.
There are many other home remedies, but if symptoms persist or are accompanied by other symptoms like coughing, sneezing, or sinus pain, consult your physician.
4- Vivid Dreams
An increase in dreaming and dream recall is also a strange symptom of pregnancy. Because of baby movement or waking to use the bathroom, pregnant women can remember more of their dreams. Pregnancy dreams often have themes that coincide with your point in the pregnancy. During the first two trimesters, dreams including symbols of fertility, such as gardens. Dreams that include water are also common at this time. In the third trimester, dreams can often be more specific about your upcoming baby, such as dreams about the baby’s name or gender. They also often include themes like packing or planning that symbolize fear of the unknown. Just remember that vivid dreams are a completely normal part of pregnancy and enjoy!
5- Voice Changes
Rises in the levels of estrogen and progesterone can cause changes in parts of your body that may affect the sound of your voice. Examples of physical changes that can change your voice are
- postural changes,
- swollen vocal chords,
- reduced lung capacity, and
- lowered nasal resonance.
Voice changes are completely normal unless it is a very sudden change, a significant loss of voice, or if accompanied by pain.
6- Mild cramping
No pregnant momma wants to experience cramping—it makes us all nervous. Am I miscarrying? Is it an ectopic pregnancy? Is my baby okay? Though cramping can accompany these concerns, mild cramping is more often than not nothing to worry about. Cramping can be caused by a lot of things.
Your uterus is constantly expanding, preparing for your growing baby. That will cause some cramping. Your digestive system gets all out of whack with bloating and gas. That will cause some cramping. If your cramping gets worse and is accompanied by bleeding and sharp pains, go see your doctor.
If you experience some cramping, take a deep breath. Reach out to your doctor with any questions if you are concerned.
Food, glorious food. Pregnancy cravings can be straight up weird. You can crave burgers one week and have them sound appalling the next. You can crave weird pairings like pickles and Cheetos. Or, you can have a crazy sweet tooth or need to crunch on something all the time.
It is still unknown why you develop cravings during pregnancy. Probably hormone related. We don’t know why some women crave endless fruit and why some crave endless french fries. You would think your cravings correlate with the nutrients you need or are missing. But this is not grounded in anything.
A nutrition professor once overheard two young women talking, one of them being pregnant. The pregnant woman said to the other “I am craving olives all the time!” to which her friend responded, “That is your body telling you that your baby needs olives”. Perplexed, the professor thought to himself “What is a baby going to do with a bunch of olives?”
As such, you probably won’t understand your cravings or be able to predict them. If you find yourself cravings fruits and veggies, eat away! If you crave cake and cookies, indulge now and then (for your sanity) but not too often.
8- Gas & Bloating
Your baby bump might not show until 16 weeks but unwanted bloating might make it look like your showing. Bloating and gas are a few of the not-so-glamorous digestive issues during pregnancy. What causes excess the excess gas? While pregnant, your body releases increased amounts of progesterone. This hormone relaxes muscles, including your intestines—overall, slowing down your digestive system. This is what causes gas and bloating.
There are some things you can do to help.
Anti-nausea. Many anti-nausea supplements or candies can help relieve an upset stomach which can help with gas.
Drink up. Get a lot of fluids and drink all throughout the day. Staying hydrated is not only helpful for gas but is a necessary part of staying healthy during pregnancy.
Move around. Going on walks or doing low-intense exercise can help get your digestive system moving a prevent constipation.
Stool softeners. Ask your doctor about taking a stool softener or a fiber supplement.
Around 25% of women snore while they are pregnant. Snoring can happen if you weren’t previously a snoring machine. There are a few possible causes.
Congestion. Increased levels of estrogen are to blame for congestion during pregnancy, as it causes swollen nasal passages. This congestion can cause unwanted snoring.
Expanding blood vessels. You can also get swollen nasal passages due to an increased blood supply. This can also lead to snoring.
Weight gain. During pregnancy and in general, weight gain can cause snoring. Weight gain during pregnancy is 100% normal and necessary—speak with your doctor about healthy weight gain.
10- Skin and nails and hair
Do you have the glow? Honestly, most pregnant women say they never experienced the glow. But, fingers crossed you are one of the lucky ones. Your skin, hair, and your nails will do some crazy things. Why not, right?
Stretch marks, hair growth, skin color changes, fast-growing nails, and more. You might get the thick hair you always wanted but go back to the skin you had in middle school. Or you might lose some hair and get the glow. Why do these changes happen? Once again, hormone levels are the cause. The hair and nail growth can also be thanks to your prenatal supplement giving you all that extra nutrition!
11- Shoe size
A study was done that tracked the foot size of 49 women during their pregnancy. Around 60-70% of the women had lost some arch support in their feet (most likely due to the additional weight) which increased their foot length. This is typically more common for first-time moms. Pregnancy swelling can also cause your shoes to get a little tight. Massage, exercise, compression socks, and elevating your feet can help (if due to swelling).
If you are nervous about going up a shoe size, there are a few things you can do:
Compression socks. These stockings can help prevent swelling in your feet and lower leg.
Hydration. It sounds counterproductive but the more water you drink, the less water you retain. Which means less swelling.
Quality shoes and insoles. A good pair of shoes and arches are necessary for supporting your arches against the additional stress during pregnancy. Your doctor can help you find the right insoles.
Healthy weight gain. If you gain more weight than recommended by your doctor, you can put more strain and pressure on your arches.
Feel like you’re dying from heat? Sweating more than comfortable? Another one of the weird things that happen during pregnancy.
The increased heat can be due to a couple things: you are carrying a little baby incubator, your metabolism is increasing, and you have got some extra blood pumping. All these things can make you feel hot. And the heat can amplify if you are pregnant during the summer. If you can’t handle the heat, here are some ways to keep cool:
- Stay hydrated
- Set up fans
- Eat fruits and veggies
- Go swimming
- Wear breathable, light maternity clothing
13- Lots and lots of tears
Many women feel they cry a lot more while pregnant. The truth is, you do. Hormones such as hCG, progesterone, and estrogen all play a role in why you can’t hold back the tears. If you find yourself a little weepy, don’t worry too much. You may find that writing in a journal helps you work through your emotions.
However, if your mood swings and emotions seem to be taking control and if episodes of sadness last longer than two weeks, speak with your doctor. Clinical depression can happen during pregnancy and continue postpartum. Up to 15% of pregnant women experience depression during their pregnancy. You are not alone and there is help available. Speak to your doctor about options.
14- Nose of a bloodhound
Just like your emotions become a little more sensitive, so does your sense of smell. A heightened sense of smell is one of the earliest signs of pregnancy. This side effect can have its pros and cons. It can make you really enjoy the smell of your perfume or it can’t make you gag at the smell of your once favorite meal. If you find your nose giving you a run for your money, here are some tips for taming your overactive sense of smell:
Take advantage of the smells you like. If there are certain scents, keep them around your house. Whether that be a food
Keep a journal. As ridiculous as it sounds, it can help you keep track of what to stay away from.
Stock your fridge with the good stuff. Don’t force yourself to eat things that make you gag.