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.
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.
Many women find they gain a bra size or two during their pregnancy. (For better or worse, the change is usually not permanent.) The swelling, which signals an increase in fat reserves and milk gland size, may be accompanied by soreness.
"Itching is a very common complaint and can occur throughout pregnancy," Lindsay says. The usual areas are the breasts and abdomen, where the skin is stretching to accommodate your growing shape.
Here's one pregnancy symptom your mom may not have warned you about - you're likely to get constipated, especially in the late second and third trimesters. According to Lindsay, constipation may result from a number of factors:
- Changes in digestion caused by the hormone progesterone
- Increased water absorption in the large intestines
- Pressure of the uterus on the rectum
"Constipation may be eased or prevented by eating high fiber foods, drinking plenty of water and exercising regularly," Lindsay says.
Also common in the second and third trimesters is heartburn, a burning sensation between the breastbone and the throat. Lindsay says progesterone is once again to blame. The hormone relaxes the sphincter at the bottom of the esophagus, allowing gastric acid to come up. Lindsay's tips for easing heartburn:
- Avoid spicy foods
- Don't eat immediately before lying down
- Elevate the head of the bed -- try blocks under the head of the mattress
- Take antacids (Check with your doctor or midwife first.)
Seasonal allergies and asthma may become unpredictable during pregnancy. Stein tells WebMD some women see their symptoms improve, while others notice the opposite. She says expectant moms with asthma generally should continue using their inhalers. "If you don't breathe, your baby won't either."
Changes in Balance
In the third trimester, many women find they are perpetually off-balance. "This change happens later in pregnancy, but I notice very few women expect it," Stein tells WebMD. While a growing belly tends to throw off your center of gravity, there's more to it than that. "A hormone called relaxin kicks in toward the end of pregnancy," Stein explains. "Its main purpose is to loosen the pelvic joints so they are more flexible during labor. But this hormone also works on the hips, knees and ankles. This makes [expectant mothers] more wobbly and achy and likely to fall."