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Pregnancy: What They Never Told You

New aches and pains, severe allergies, and other lesser-known symptoms happen to many pregnant women.
WebMD Feature
Reviewed by Louise Chang, MD

Sure, you've heard about morning sickness. You've probably heard the horror stories about how first trimester morning sickness sometimes becomes all-through-the-pregnancy-all-day-long sickness. And you might even be excited about the prospect of a new bra size. (Hmm, could you really go from a 32A to a 34C?)

But what about all those other symptoms of pregnancy, the ones you weren't prepared for? We've talked to moms and moms-to-be who've been through it, and a midwife who's been through it with them, and persuaded them to tell all.

Here are a few lesser-known tales about what you can expect when you're expecting.

New Pains in New Places

Many pregnant women notice pains in parts of their bodies they previously paid little attention to. Ro Harvey, the Michigan mother of three sons, reports the "joyful discovery of my sciatic nerve" during her pregnancies. "My middle son parked his baby butt on my sciatic nerve during the fifth month and never left until the day he was born. Well, except for during the times he was performing acrobatic feats inside my uterus," Harvey says. "I'd lie in bed watching his head peak at my belly button, then his back, then his feet.  I'd get a hard pinch on the sciatic as his head passed, and then a dull ache when he settled back in position.  No one warned me that babies seem to have an instinct for what the absolute most uncomfortable position in the world is!"

The Nutrition Dos and Don'ts of Pregnancy

You may also find yourself waking up at night with restless leg syndrome, like Jessica Miller, a first-time mom in central New Jersey who's now 35 weeks pregnant. "I had no idea that this condition even existed until someone else in a pregnancy group said she had it," Jessica says. "It's a tingling, numb feeling and extreme feeling of restlessness in the legs. I only get it at night; sometimes it happens while I'm lying on the couch. My legs just crawl and I feel like I have to move them. Once I'm up and walking, it's fine."

If you have allergies, pregnancy can aggravate them to an unbearable degree. Pennsylvanian Dawn Beck had mild allergies to cats before she got pregnant. Now 18 weeks along with her first child, she reports, "I seem to be severely allergic to cats, dogs, pretty much anything with hair!" In fact, she recently had to give her beloved dog a temporary new home with her mother-in-law because she couldn't breathe. "This has come on quite suddenly, and as time goes on it keeps getting worse," she says. "I hope it goes away after the pregnancy so I can get my dog back!"

"An empty bladder does not exist when you're pregnant!" Harvey declares. "I wasn't warned about the bladder jabs. I'd go to the bathroom, feel that joyous sense of relief, and continue on about my work. About 10 minutes after I'd left the bathroom I'd feel a foot, or an elbow, impacting on my supposedly empty bladder with the force of a stampede. Maxi-pads became my best friends."

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