Pregnancy is one of the most traumatic experiences a woman’s body can go through and if you thought you knew everything that happens to a woman’s body during pregnancy, think again.
Pregnancy and becoming a mother is such an important, unique and ultimately, life-changing experience that the majority of women wouldn’t change for the world but that doesn’t mean it’s not without its issues.
As miraculous and joyous as motherhood might be, there’s certainly nothing particularly glamorous about some of the body problems that women experience alongside it.
A woman’s body undergoes many transformations during the nine long months of pregnancy. Some of these physical changes are visible, such as a growing stomach and putting on weight, while others are expected, like an enlarged uterus, morning sickness and backaches. However, a few bodily changes may be unexpected and catch some women by surprise.
Here are the 5 pregnancy symptoms that will shock you!
1. Losing teeth and peeling gums
Gum disease is a common oral issue for adults and it can range from anywhere between slight inflammation to severe issues, including losing teeth.
Pregnant women can be more prone to gum disease due to hormonal changes and an increase of blood flow. Pregnant women may suffer from swollen gums, which may be sore and more susceptible to bleeding. This chronic inflammation of the gums is called gingivitis. and often, pregnancy gingivitis is caused by the hormonal changes and cause your gums to be more sensitive and irritable.
Hormones also leave your mouth more vulnerable to bacteria and plaque, both of which make for tender gums during pregnancy, and can cause gingivitis, tooth decay and even tooth loss in some women if not treated properly.
2. Hair loss
You may have heard that hair becomes thick and shiny during pregnancy. This is true for some women, thanks to high levels of the hormone estrogen, which slows hair shedding.
However, some women experience thinning hair or hair loss either during pregnancy or in the months immediately following birth.
Some women may experience hair thinning and shedding due to stress or shock. This condition is called telogen effluvium, and it affects a small number of women during pregnancy.
The first trimester may stress the body as the balance of hormones shifts dramatically to support the growing baby. Stress may put more of the hairs on your head, 30 percent or more, into the telogen or “resting” phase of the hair life cycle. So, instead of losing the average 100 hairs a day, you may lose 300 hairs a day.
This condition is not serious enough to cause bald spots or permanent hair loss, and it should begin to diminish within 3-4 months after delivery. If you feel that you are experiencing unusual hair loss while you are pregnant, this may be due to a vitamin or mineral deficiency.
For most women in their third trimester, seeing blood in the toilet bowl would trigger panic. but for many pregnant women, it’s simply a messy inconvenience. Many pregnant women suffer from pregnancy-related constipation which causes them to strain, putting pressure on the rectum and causing painful hemorrhoids, which can bleed.
Hemorrhoids develop when the veins in and a round the anus become swollen due to the pressure caused by the weight of your pregnant uterus. The most common symptoms are anal itching and burning, and pain when you poo. Internal hemorrhoids will bleed when a hard bowel movement passes over the swollen veins. External hemorrhoids appear as swollen, bluish-coloured lumps on the outside of the anus and are painful but usually don’t bleed.
The best thing to do to prevent hemorrhoids during pregnancy is to avoid getting constipated. If you are constipated, avoid straining during bowel movements.
Try the following to prevent constipation:
Eat a high fiber diet
Drink plenty of fluids
Drink prune juice
Do not delay going to the bathroom
Eat plenty of fruits and vegetables
4. Intense Itching
During pregnancy, as the blood supply to the skin increases, it is very common to experience mild itching. You may also experience itching as the skin on your abdomen stretches and you get stretch marks.
While most itching during pregnancy is very normal and not a reason for concern, more severe itching may indicate an underlying liver condition known as intrahepatic cholestasis of pregnancy (ICP) or obstetric cholestasis (OC).
This is a liver condition that disrupts the flow of bile in the body during pregnancy. Bile salts generally flow from the liver to the digestive tract to aid in digestion. The flow of bile is disrupted causing a buildup of bile in the body. This can cause severe itching all over the body, although for some women, itching occurs primarily on the hands and feet.
This itching may come with a nasty rash other symptoms may include dark urine, gray bowel movements, and even jaundice.
OC occurs most commonly during the third trimester, although it can develop earlier. The good news is that it generally subsides within a few days after delivery.
5. Big Foot
Yes, your feet can actually get bigger during pregnancy and yes, it’s often permanent. This is partly due to pregnancy weight gain and swelling from the extra fluid, known as edema, your body retains while you’re pregnant.
However, there’s another reason that feet seem to grow during pregnancy. The aptly named pregnancy hormone relaxin, which loosens the joints around your pelvis so your baby can make its way down the birth canal, also loosens the ligaments in your feet, causing the foot bones to spread. Your foot bones aren’t actually growing, it’s just that the ligaments that hold these 26 bones together aren’t as tight as they were.
You may notice your shoes getting a little tight as early as the second trimester, and they may continue to increase in size until late in pregnancy. While the the swelling generally subsides within a month after delivery, any foot spreading caused by looser ligaments is permanent.
Most Mums end up going up a foot size after giving birth, and staying there!