Your weird and wonderful pregnant body
Being pregnant is certainly not without its challenges! Aside from the obvious expected body changes – a growing tummy, swollen breasts, morning sickness and slightly erratic moods – many mums-to-be also endure their fair share of unusual, but frankly quite amazing, changes as their body prepares for the exciting journey ahead. Don’t be too surprised if you find yourself experiencing some of these rather curious and sometimes downright weird body changes during pregnancy.
During pregnancy, “eating for two” may necessitate something a little out of the ordinary. Desperate for ice cream at 4am or pickles smothered in peanut butter? You’re not alone. Although food cravings are probably caused by pregnancy hormones, there may be some truth to the thought that pregnancy food cravings are simply your body’s way of expressing a need for something it’s lacking. However, should the food craving turn to the inedible, such as sand, grass or even laundry detergent, this could be a sign of the uncommon condition known as “pica” and does require medical attention.
Food and smell aversion
Along with the food cravings comes the aversion to certain foods and smells, which is linked to the notion that women develop a stronger sense of smell and taste during pregnancy. It may be simpler to just avoid anything that revolts you, and steer clear of the meat and seafood section in the supermarket!
Skin pigmentation changes as hormone levels rise and mothers-to-be may experience “linea nigra”. Meaning “black line” in Latin, linea nigra is a dark vertical line on your tummy running from the belly button downwards, and is usually more noticeable in darker-skinned women. It should fade a few months after birth.
Mask of pregnancy
Roughly half of pregnant women will experience chloasma, or “the mask of pregnancy”. Chloasma is characterised by dark, blotchy patches of pigmentation on the face. Extra bold freckles. Using a good SPF sunscreen when out in the sun can lessen the effect of chloasma, and these blemishes should fade shortly after birth, when your hormone levels return to normal.
Hair and nails
Hair loss slows right down during pregnancy and some mums-to-be notice a drastic change as they now acquire thicker and more luxurious, often quite uncontrollable, locks of hair! After birth, the hair growth cycle returns to normal and a sudden loss of hair is typical. Nails may undergo a growth spurt or become dry and brittle with the change in hormone levels.
Get your glow on
During pregnancy, many women appear to “bloom” or “glow”, particularly in the second trimester! Your skin retains more moisture, smoothing out lines and wrinkles and “plumping” up the skin. Also, the increased levels of progesterone and blood flow result in a radiant, pinkish glow. Regrettably, the oil levels in your skin may rise too, often triggering an outbreak of pimples you thought you’d left behind in high school.
Increased hormone levels in the body can cause your gums to swell and even bleed during brushing or flossing. It’s important to take extra care of the teeth during pregnancy and talk to a dentist if you notice any changes to your teeth.
Painful leg cramps or “restless legs” are usually experienced at night when the body relaxes, and may be due to pressure on the nerves by your growing baby or your enlarged uterus.
Find yourself retrieving your car keys from the fridge again? It’s been proven that the brain shrinks slightly in the third trimester and this may cause a very frustrating symptom of pregnancy. Known as “pregnancy brain” or “porridge brain”, women suddenly find themselves deviating from a little absent-minded to just plain forgetful. Thankfully, the brain returns to normal size a few months after birth, although it may take a little longer for the effects of pregnancy brain to abate.
You’re excused! One of the less desirable symptoms of pregnancy is passing wind or gas, usually at the most inappropriate times. Yes, blame it on those pregnancy hormones again.
Have you experienced any or all of these? Comment below