7 Most Embarrassing Pregnancy Symptoms
How to handle excess gas, hemorrhoids, acne, and more.
3. Facial Hair
During pregnancy, hormones are responsible for hair growing in unwanted places.
"Most pregnant women are ecstatic to learn that they'll soon be sporting a beautiful mane of hair," Hakakha says. "But when we start talking about the breasts, abdomen, and face, the excitement soon turns to horror."
Waxing or tweezing is the safest methods for hair removal during pregnancy.
"Any time it's a cosmetic outpatient procedure not medically indicated, most dermatologists and plastic surgeons will push it off until after pregnancy," University of Alabama at Birmingham obstetrics and gynecology associate professor Kim Hoover, MD, says. "During pregnancy, laser treatments on the face can affect skin pigment, and it may cause scarring."
Some women develop a stronger sense of smell during pregnancy. Many develop an aversion to strong food odors, such as poultry or seafood. A smaller percentage of women begin picking up on their own scent, which can be embarrassing.
"Sometimes you can smell yourself vaginally, especially toward the end of pregnancy," Hoover says. "It could be because you have more mucus then. Some people get worried about the odor and bring wet wipes wherever they go. But no one else can tell. Your scent hasn't gotten stronger; your sense of smell has improved."
Tell your doctor about any new noticeable vaginal odors to rule out a yeast infection, which can be safely treated with anti-fungals during pregnancy.
Ask any new mom about hemorrhoids, and she'll probably have an uncomfortable story to share, if she chooses to tell you about it.
"Hemorrhoids are a sure bet when a woman becomes pregnant," Hakakha says. "They often occur with constipation and the straining that ensues in an attempt to have a bowel movement. And we all know that constipation is one of the most common complaints in pregnancy."
Reduce your risk of developing hemorrhoids by avoiding constipation. Stay well-hydrated, eat more fiber, and use over-the-counter stool softeners.
"Consult your doctor about supplementary fiber as well," Smith says. "Hold your nose and stifle your gag as you force it down."
If hemorrhoids develop, witch hazel pads and anti-inflammatory creams can help, and they're safe during pregnancy, Hakakha says.
Pimples and unsightly outbreaks are common -- especially during the first trimester -- because of the additional hormones coursing through your system. Certain acne medications, such as Retin-A, are off-limits during pregnancy, but other treatments are allowed.
"Most acne washes are safe since the product does not sit on your skin for long periods of time. But ask your doctor before using any acne product," Hakakha says. "Use topical acne medication sparingly, only on affected areas. Products containing salicylic acid, benzoyl peroxide, and azelaic acid are safe to use in small amounts."