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Pregnancy Symptoms: What They Never Told You

Morning sickness isn't the only one. Here's a list of pregnancy symptoms you might not be expecting.
By Sherry Rauh
WebMD Feature
Reviewed by Louise Chang, MD

In the movies, the first clue a woman is pregnant is when she darts out of bed, clutches her stomach and runs for the bathroom. But there are many lesser known pregnancy symptoms that rival morning sickness - which, by the way, doesn't only strike in the morning.

"I've been thinking about what I've been going through that Mom never told me about," says Erika Shapiro, an administrative assistant who is expecting her first child. Three months into her pregnancy, she has already experienced plenty of surprises. "I've heard of morning sickness, but nobody ever told me that brushing my teeth would bring it on," she tells WebMD. "I want to make sure all my friends hear the truth when they get pregnant."

WebMD is here to help. We checked with the experts to create an uncensored list of pregnancy symptoms you might not be expecting:

"All Day" Sickness

Morning sickness is probably the best known of the early pregnancy symptoms, but many people don't realize the term is inaccurate. "Morning sickness can strike at any time of day," says Michael K. Lindsay, MD, MPH. Lindsay heads Emory University's Division of Maternal Fetal Medicine. He tells WebMD nausea may be more common in the mornings because stomach acids build up overnight. But most women who get morning sickness also feel nauseous at other times of day.

Sickening Scents

Even before the nausea kicked in, Shaprio developed "an extremely-heightened sense of smell." Scents were so over-powering, the Shapiros avoided cooking for several weeks, relying instead on bland take-out. "Pizza, teriyaki chicken, and eggs were just some of the foods that were too much for my nose to handle," Shapiro says.

Exhaustion

"Massive changes in all body systems can cause overwhelming tiredness," says midwife Elizabeth Stein, CNM, owner of Ask Your Midwife, PC. She points to higher levels of progesterone, along with changes in blood production, metabolism, heart rate and breathing. The sense of exhaustion can be so intense that concentration suffers, Stein tells WebMD.

Shapiro knows the feeling. "I'm usually very organized... This morning [my boss] had a meeting, and I completely forgot to print the documents he needed. It's embarrassing to think about."

Fatigue tends to be most common in the first trimester, Lindsay says, but often occurs later in pregnancy as well. Carrying around all that extra weight can make you tire easily in the third trimester. In addition, you may have trouble sleeping if your growing belly makes it hard to get comfortable. Lindsay recommends that expectant moms with severe fatigue be evaluated for anemia and depression.

Bathroom Breaks

Frequent urination is another early pregnancy symptom most expectant moms know all too well. The culprit is often hormonal in the earlier stages. Later in the pregnancy, frequent bathroom breaks are often caused by an enlarged uterus (and the rapidly growing baby inside) putting pressure on the bladder.

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