When we think of pregnancy symptoms, everyone knows nausea and morning sickness are guaranteed side effects. You may also know about ligament stretching, tender breasts, and the inevitable labor pains. However, from experience it’s become clear that no two pregnancies are the same and symptoms vary from mild to obscene – I bet you didn’t know that snoring is quite common, for example.
Speaking for myself, my symptoms in the first trimester did not include morning sickness at all, but instead I endured total exhaustion and food aversions. My confusion about what’s normal and what isn’t continued right until the day my daughter was born.
Here’s a list of 5 pregnancy symptoms you probably haven’t heard of until now!
In the first trimester, my daily activities revolved around naps and early bedtimes. Every morning felt normal for a few hours which allowed me to decide between going to the gym or running errands. Gone were the days of doing both in the same 24-hour period. By the time either task was completed, I would crawl home to bed. Usually, in the afternoon I could drag myself out of bed for dinner and that was it. Lucky for me I had saved up a lot of holiday time at my job and this took the pressure off pretending to feel normal. If this sounds like you, it might be a good idea to ask your GP about iron supplements and get plenty of rest. An iron deficiency can occur as your body is busy producing up to 50% more blood than you normally carry around. I started takingthese iron supplements in month 2 and they helped enormously!
You often hear of ‘eating for two’ and the general opinion out there is that pregnant ladies eat all around them. But did you know the opposite is also true? Food aversions are a very real pregnancy symptom and if you’re a foodie like me, it will disrupt your whole life. The sight, smell, or thought of anything containing protein would send me running to the window to gulp in the fresh air. It was the smell of cooking food and eggs in particular that seemed vile. Not such an issue unless you work in a café as I did.
Eating is a chore when you suffer from food aversions. Getting sufficient protein for growing a baby became my number one concern and I made sure to eat plenty of my ‘safe’ foods such as chicken, black pudding, and cold meats. It took a long time before eggs featured on the breakfast menu again.
Do you know how your dad will fall asleep on the couch on a Sunday afternoon and abruptly wake himself with little throaty snores? Pregnant women and old men have something in common. Due to the additional hormones pumping through your veins, the sinuses can become swollen and congested. Combine this with the extra pressure on your diaphragm and you will be snoring to the tune of a foghorn. Or a lawnmower in my case. This delightful pregnancy symptom begins in the second trimester and lasts until you’re several weeks postpartum. Earplugs saved my relationship and if you’re showing signs of congestion, I recommend investing in some now!
Numbness and Leg Pain
All throughout the pregnancy, I experienced a strange pain on/off in my left leg that felt like growing pains. As one trimester turned into the next, the pain developed into a random numbness in one specific area of my left quad. Standing, sitting, walking around – it made no odds to this sudden numb patch. However, during the last month of my third trimester, this combination of throbbing pain and numbness spread to my hands and feet whenever I lay down at night. I had to sleep with both arms stretched out and flat against the mattress which is pretty hard to do when you can’t sleep on your back. If I bent my elbows at any point of the night, I would wake up in pain. I don’t have any advice on dealing with this symptom other than to get through it? It stops as soon as your baby is born.
A Different Body Scent
I’m not talking about sweat or unwashed-body smells. I’m talking about a change in your natural body odor that may or may not appeal to your partner. My husband complained that I was beginning to smell bad and there was nothing I could do. Swapping perfumes, testing different makeup products, and regularly showering in perfume did nothing to sort this pregnancy symptom. Eventually, we deduced it was my natural odor changing due to hormones and we accepted it.
Pregnancy is an amazing experience and it’s completely different from anything I could’ve imagined. The ups and downs are real folks, but it all becomes worth it when you see your little baby smile for the first time, or when you hear their first giggle. Nothing in this world brings more joy to people’s lives than a newborn.