8 things you won’t expect when you’re expecting…
Most of us are aware of the many undesirable afflictions that can come hand-in-hand with pregnancy. But what about those less commonly known ones? LISA JEWELL explains some of the pregnancy side effects you may not be expecting.
Your feet can grow
When you get pregnant, you expect that you’re going to put on weight. Probably most of it will go on the bump and you’ll gain a bit in your arms and legs. But your feet? Research shows that, on average, most women’s feet grow at least a halfsize in the second half of pregnancy. This is mainly due to fluid retention in the feet and ankles, but your feet can also grow because the ligaments become stretched. Most women find that their foot size goes back down after pregnancy but a few will permanently need to wear a bigger shoe size.
Your sense improve
During pregnancy, your levels of oestrogen increase and this has been linked to an increased sense of smell. Unfortunately, this means you’re going to be more sensitive to strong smells during your pregnancy – particularly things like perfume, cigarette smoke and body odour. You may also find that your sense of taste becomes heightened and that you can’t stand the taste of some foods and start to love foods that you previously hated. It’s thought that both of these heightened senses actually serve a purpose during pregnancy as they stop you from wanting foods containing things
that will make you nauseous or are harmful to the foetus.
You can get morning sickness all day
First of all, we should say that some women don’t get morning sickness at all – the lucky ladies. Unfortunately, you may fall into the category of women who do get morning sickness and it can (despite its name) go on all day. During pregnancy, around 80 per cent of women will feel sick
and it’s usually due to an over-sensitive stomach caused by pregnancy hormones. The good news is that morning sickness usually starts to improve at around 14 or 16 weeks and, usually, it won’t last the entirety of your pregnancy.You can try to relieve the sickness by changing what you eat. Ask your doctor for advice on ways to cope with the nausea.
You’ll get gassy
Yes, we know that it’s only men who burp and pass wind – women never do! But, during pregnancy, you’ll find that your gastrointestinal tract is working overtime and you’ll produce more gas in your stomach. This will lead to you belching more and becoming windier at the other end, often at the worst moments you can imagine! Cut back on foods that can cause gassiness – such as beans, brussels sprouts and soft drinks. If you’re lactose intolerant, dairy might be bringing on some bloatedness. Try not to worry too much about gassy habits. There isn’t very much you can do to control them and, unfortunately, they can just be a part of the pregnancy process.
You’ll get horny
It’s hard to imagine that, after the morning sickness and the gassiness, you’d feel in by a rise in oestrogen you’d feel in the mood to have sex. But being pregnant can certainly make you feel more amorous due to your changing hormones and the increased blood flow to the pelvis area. You’re probably more likely to feel horny in the first trimester of your pregnancy but there are no hard and fast rules. And it’s worth pointing out that you may actually have a low desire for sex during pregnancy, and that’s perfectly normal too.
You’ll get itchy
This isn’t a symptom that’s talked about very much and it might take you completely by surprise if you start itching and scratching all the time. The reason why you feel itchy is because your skin is slowly stretching, particularly around your belly and your breasts. And, once again, those pregnancy hormones have a part to play. If you sometimes have itchy skin because of allergies or dry skin, it may become worse during pregnancy. Some women also find that they feel itchy on their palms and the soles of their feet. This is usually caused by a rise in oestrogen and it disappears after baby arrives. To stop that scratchy feeling, make sure you moisturise well and use an unscented brand. While it’s important to shower or bathe, try to avoid very hot temperatures as this can worsen the itching. If you have very persistent or painful itching, do see your doctor.
Your gums become inflamed
You may find that, during pregnancy, your gums become more tender, bleed more easily and can become inflamed. It’s worth going to see your dentist for a check-up once during your pregnancy and getting their opinion on your inflamed gums. It could just be down to pregnancy hormones but it can also signal gingivitis, which can lead to a more serious condition called periodontal disease. If your gums remain tender, switch to a softer tooth brush and remember to floss regularly. If you’re suffering from morning sickness, remember to brush your teeth afterwards so that you eliminate as much bacteria from your mouth as possible.
You’ll get harier
Pregnancy hormones can do great things for your head of hair – it can become glossier, thicker and is less likely to fall out. Unfortunately, pregnancy is also great for the hair that appears elsewhere on the body and you may find hairs cropping up on your upper lip, chin, nipples and even on your back and your belly. You may have to shave your legs more often as little hairs quickly crop up. Don’t worry about the hairiness, it will go away after pregnancy and, if it is causing you distress, there are ways to deal with it so that you go back to looking fabulously smooth!