Nausea, exhaustion and weird cravings arrived as expected during early pregnancy. They are certainly the more common signs we hear talked about and see on TV. Peeing my pants, stuffing my bra and hacking up phlegm were not amongst the things I was prepared for. The question is why? Upon researching all of my “weirder” and more embarrassing changes, I came to find out that they are just as common as the token morning sickness. Let's get this conversation going to take the stigma away from some of the things we label as gross that are just a normal part of being pregnant. This blog post is for all women and men who want to support and understand women’s bodies and health!
5 Unexpected Pregnancy Changes that Caught me by Surprise:
The Change: Persistent Itchiness
At first I thought it was just because it was winter and my skin was getting dry, but it soon became obvious that the itchiest parts were the ones that were growing and stretching! I tried using the normal oils and creams I have for typical dry skin/itchiness, but that just wasn’t doing the trick.
The Fix: Cotton Clothes and Pregnancy Body Oils/Balm/Creams
I learned that anything but cotton was really tough to wear, especially when it came to bras, the night I wore a lace bra to a party. My nipples were legit on fire and being a size H (BTW you grow like a jillion cup sizes during pregnancy), there wasn’t a chance I could get through the intimate dinner party bra-less without it being obscene. I needed a barrier, so I literally stuffed my bra with toilet paper, which was somewhat softer than the lace. I then after learned to only wear cotton bras and clothing if I didn’t want to be scratching all day and night.
I also have loved using thick body oil after showering in all those itchy spots followed by a body butter or cream. I know it seems like there wouldn’t be a difference between the normal stuff and the pregnancy stuff, but I found way more relief when I bought some of the products specifically designed for expecting moms. My favorite products are the Zoe Organics Belly Butter, Belly Oil and Nipple Balm and the Mama Mio The Tummy Rub Butter.
The Change: Peeing my Pants
I had definitely heard that pregnant women pee more, but had not heard that they pee THEIR PANTS more. I found this out the hard way when I went to The Class by Taryn Toomey when I was visiting NYC during my first trimester. If you haven’t been, this workout involves an hour of jumping around in some capacity. It’s the absolute best and I love it, but wasn’t just drenched in sweat by the end…. This has continued to be an issue during high impact jumping workouts and when I sneeze! I learned from other expecting and new moms that the issue is common and continues postpartum.
The Fix: Fully Emptying Bladder/Avoiding Jumping/Incorporating Pelvic Floor Work
I try to avoid too much jumping around in workouts and stick to lower impact which has helped! That is not a real solution though. I learned from my favorite pregnancy podcast (shared in my resources list you can download below), that there is pelvic floor work to be done to fix this. I am doing some pelvic floor work during yoga, but am going to look into seeking out a specialist for the remainder or my pregnancy and postpartum. I also learned that completely emptying your bladder can help. Making sure to sit down and relax on the toilet while urinating can help rather than squatting and rushing though peeing- which we all do at times!
The Change: Thick Mucus
I have the worst allergies and sinuses in general, but things got really bad towards the end of the first trimester. I knew I wasn’t sick because I felt fine otherwise and had a hunch that something else was up. It didn’t take long to discover that thick mucus is a common change during pregnancy because of hormones. Mine is especially bad at night which makes it difficult for anyone to sleep because I can’t stop clearing my throat!
The Fix: Acupuncture/Hot Tea/Hydration/Hot Shower at Night
Getting needles put in my sinuses is something I have always had done at acupuncture from time to time, but has been extra important since this issue has gotten worse during pregnancy! Evening is when it really gets uncomfortable, so taking a hot shower before bed or enjoying a hot cup of tea are other ways I try to break up some of that mucus. Staying hydrated is always challenging for me, but another simple natural remedy.
The Change: Digestion Rollercoaster
I have a history of digestive issues, but prior to pregnancy had relieved most of my symptoms from lifestyle and diet changes. From the very beginning of pregnancy, my IBS flared up like crazy. Nausea, indigestion, gas, heartburn, diarrhea, constipation- you name it, I have had it! Though I wasn’t vomiting like many pregnant women, I was definitely running to the bathroom and not able to go about my usual mornings.
The Fix: Back to Basics
This was a situation where I knew what would help, but had to commit to doing it. I re-committed to incorporating the healing foods and herbs and digestion tips and tricks from my Good Gut Fuel E-Book. I also took time to reflect and document what was making me feel good/bad using the included journaling template. It reminded me that this is a good practice to do anyways from time to time, as our bodies are constantly changing. I can’t say my digestion was perfect after doing this because I do think part of it has to just be the crazy hormones, but it really helped.
The Change: Bloody Noses
I felt like a kid again when I started to get daily nosebleeds at the end of the first trimester. This was extra tricky since my nose was also more stuffed and blowing it would unpredictably result in a murder scene. Apparently since the flow of blood increases drastically during pregnancy, there is a higher chance of getting a bloody nose than usual. I’m sure that the air changing and becoming dryer for winter didn’t help much either!
The Fix: Humidifier
The first and last thing I tried to resolve this issue was getting a humidifier for next to my bed. I recalled having one when I got frequent bloody noses as a child and sure enough, it did the trick this time around. I still get them occasionally but maybe once every week or two versus daily or multiple times a day.