When you think of pregnancy side effects, it’s usually the most common ones that come to mind, such as nausea, backaches, joint pain, morning sickness, sleep deprivation and the like. Aside from these symptoms, there are actually a whole lot more side effects you may not know about.
Of course, pregnancy may have completely different effects on different types of bodies. We can’t promise for sure that the same symptoms happen to every pregnant mom-to-be out there. However, if you have plans for pregnancy, here are 7 lesser-talked-about pregnancy symptoms you don’t often see portrayed on TV.
Let’s start from the top.
1. Nasal congestion
Because of a pregnancy hormone called oestrogen, the mucous lining in your breathing passage becomes more susceptible to inflammation. As a result, your nasal passages get clogged up, which then leads to breathing congestion, worsening sinuses, and consistent nosebleeds.
It’s also a pretty common side effect when you start snoring because of the swollen nasal passages. Other factors that aggravate pregnancy snoring include an increased blood volume in your body and excessive weight (belly) gain.
2. Bleeding gums
You may find that your teeth feel extra sensitive and your gums bleed a lot while pregnant. Known as pregnancy gingivitis, it’s when your pregnancy hormones cause gum inflammation and also make your teeth more vulnerable to plaque buildup.
To reduce the symptoms, use only soft-bristled toothbrushes and brush your teeth as gently as possible. Remember — floss and mouthwash are your best friends. Take your prenatal vitamins and cut down on sugar to improve your oral health and hygiene. If your gums keep bleeding constantly, consult your doctor as soon as possible.
3. Changes to your breasts
Pregnancy boobs are a real thing. While you’re no doubt more confident and happier that you’re filling out your old favourite shirts (that used to be a tiny bit too baggy on the top), there are days when your breasts are just too painful and tender to the touch. The sore, engorged breasts are due to the extra blood flow and fat production preparing you for milk production.
In addition, you’ll also notice that your areolas get bigger and darker in colour, with unsightly bumps around the area. Again, these are to prepare you for breastfeeding — the bumps are sweat glands for providing lubrication when your little one starts nursing.
4. Heartburn, indigestion, and acid reflux
During pregnancy, your body secretes a lot of progesterone, another pregnancy hormone. It is extremely important for decreasing uterine irritability and preventing spontaneous pregnancy loss. However, this hormone is also a muscle relaxant. That means it causes the muscle controlling the valve of your stomach entrance into the oesophagus to be relaxed, allowing acidic stomach contents to easily spill back into your throat and mouth. Also, it sure doesn’t help that your growing baby is constantly pressing against your stomach and forcing the contents back up as well…
5. Constipation, haemorrhoids, and more
Thanks to the progesterone pregnancy hormone, you’ll most likely face constipation problems throughout your pregnancy because of its relaxant properties. If you wonder why your poop doesn’t just come out smoothly since your muscles are so relaxed, we’ve got just one thing to say — it’s complicated.
Even if your rectal muscles are fairly relaxed, you’ll still get constipation because your intestinal muscles aren’t moving as much as they should, and everything just gets stuck in there for a long time. But the journey doesn’t end when it reaches your rectum, because, well, haemorrhoids. The blood vessels in and around the rectum get swollen due to increased blood flow and pressure from the uterus. Combined with the previous constipation problem, going to the toilet can be an incredibly painful experience for some. That’s why it’s important to drink more water and consume more fibre in your pregnancy diet.
Oh, and one more thing — pregnancy farts are notoriously acrid and pungent too. Blame it all on the progesterone!
6. Peeing all the time
The main reason for the constant urge to pee is the ever-expanding uterus that presses down against your bladder. However, you may also find yourself leaking from even the slightest abdomen pressure, like from sneezing, coughing, laughing, and exercising. Investing in a reliable mattress protector is a good preventive measure so you don’t accidentally ruin the bed when you can’t get up quickly enough to use the bathroom in the middle night.
7. Intense leg cramps and swelling
The extra weight you’re carrying in your belly causes pressure on the nerves and compresses the blood vessels in your legs, causing a decreased circulation in the legs and sudden intense leg cramp attacks at random times in the day. Besides the pressure, recurring leg cramps may also be a sign of dehydration or lack of Calcium and Magnesium in the body.
Another thing about pregnancy feet is fluid retention — the pooling of fluids at the lower half of the body that results in painful swelling. In fact, some women have reported a permanent increase in the size of their feet, even after giving birth and having had time for the swelling and water retention to go down!
Need quick relief for swollen feet and ankles during pregnancy? Soak your legs in a tub of warm water with TYT Herbal Foot Bath at home to ease the aches. It’s formulated with 6 different kinds of dried local herbs and has anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial, and antioxidant properties that help soothe the pain and improve blood circulation as well!