Dealing With the Weird and Disgusting Things That Happen to Your Pregnant Body

A pregnant body is wonderful! It is also a sweaty, gaseous, spastic, painful, leaky, bumpy thing. Nobody says raising a new person is easy, but few will tell you about all the strange and serious ailments that can arise during these nine months. This is why they happen and what you can do about them.

Itching all over the place

Why It Happens: Stretched skin is itchy skin, so by the third trimester, abdominal itching is common . The increased blood supply to all of your skin can lead to itching in other places as well, such as on the scalp, vulva, or (I’m sorry) in the anus.

An itchy rash can also appear during pregnancy with fancy names like PUPPP and pemphigoid gestationis . Most are harmless, but if they drive you crazy, your doctor may give you medicine to help.

However, be aware that severe itching on the palms of the hands and soles of the feet is one of the signs of a liver condition called intrahepatic cholestasis in pregnancy , where bile from the liver builds up throughout the body. This condition can harm the baby, even cause premature birth or stillbirth, so be sure to check for any severe itching.

What you can do: Moisturizing your skin can help relieve itching. Try to keep your skin comfortable: avoid belts that are too tight and any products that used to irritate your skin. Oatmeal baths can be soothing too – either with real oatmeal or with Aveeno powder.

Numb hands

Why it happens : The fluid that makes you feel so bloated anywhere else can also put pressure on your wrists. One of the nerves in your hand , the one that serves your thumb and first few fingers, travels through the narrow space between the bones and ligaments of your wrist. This is the infamous carpal tunnel (carpal tunnel), so your symptoms are about the same as people who type all day and end up with carpal tunnel syndrome. The good news is that your baby will disappear shortly after giving birth, so there is no need for surgery.

It is also easier for your arms and legs to fall asleep during pregnancy than when you are not pregnant. (Blame the same fluid buildup for this, or sometimes the baby can put pressure on the nerves leading to the legs.) Serious conditions associated with numbness in the arms and legs during pregnancy are rare, but it’s worth mentioning to your doctor anyway.

What you can do : Wrist splints can help relieve pressure in the tunnel of the wrist. If you type a lot or use your hands for any other repetitive motion, make sure you take care of your wrists and don’t make the problem worse.

Sore feet

Why it happens : Your feet become flat during pregnancy , possibly partly because your growing belly is pushing your center of gravity forward. You are also carrying more weight than before, and your tendons relax a little. Your feet may take up more space than usual, and you may feel uncomfortable in regular shoes.

Swelling can also cause soreness in your feet and lower legs, and can make your shoes feel too tight.

What you can do : Supportive shoes can help. Try arch supports even if you don’t normally wear them, and consider contacting an orthopedic professional if the pharmacy doesn’t help you.

To reduce swelling, support your legs whenever possible and avoid standing still, especially in hot weather. And check into a shoe store – you may need a larger size to be more comfortable.


Why It Happens : Progesterone, one of the hormones that increases during pregnancy, can cause more oil on your skin than normal. If you’re prone to getting acne right before your period, the situation is similar, except this time you have to deal with elevated hormone levels for months rather than days.

What you can do : Acne during pregnancy is no different from regular acne, so the usual advice still applies: keep your face clean, moisturize to keep it dry, and look for non-comedogenic skin care products and cosmetics.

Certain acne medications are not safe to use during pregnancy, including isotretinoin (Retin-A), Tazarotene, and spironolactone. If you have them in your medicine cabinet, stop using them immediately and ask your obstetrician / gynecologist or dermatologist about your next best options. Some other acne medications are less dangerous but generally not recommended, including Differin gel and some antibiotics. Here’s a rundown of the most common acne medications and their risks , but be sure to talk to your doctor to find out what’s best for you.

Cravings for things that are not food

Why this happens : No one really knows, but the main theory is that strange cravings arise from your body telling you that it desperately needs iron or some other mineral. Common nonfood addictions include dirt, clay, and laundry starch.

What you can do : Some peak addictions are not dangerous, for example if you really like ice or cornstarch. But many are like that. If you have strong cravings for something you definitely shouldn’t eat, like dirt that’s full of germs and, you know, dirt, ask your doctor if they can check your iron and other minerals and discuss the risks whatever you eat. You can also approach the urge to eat it as if it were a bad habit you need to give up: distract yourself, call a friend, and try to find healthier foods when cravings arise.


Why it happens: Blood circulation increases during pregnancy, and because there are many small blood vessels in your nose, they are prone to rupture. Thus, nosebleeds may occur.

What you can do: If you need to wipe your nose or blow your nose, do it carefully. And in winter, when the air is particularly dry, use a humidifier in your home. If you do get nosebleeds, the easiest way to stop it , according to a Harvard doctor, is to tilt your head forward, place your thumb and forefinger on either side of the bridge of your nose, and slide those fingers down until you jerk. fall ”, where the bones give way to cartilage, and then pinch for at least five minutes.

Leg Cramps (Charlie Horses)

Why it happens: It is not entirely clear, but some theories say it is due to fatigue, pressure from the uterus on certain nerves, decreased circulation in the legs due to the baby’s pressure on the blood vessels, or a lack of minerals such as potassium. , calcium and magnesium. These violent leg cramps often occur at night in the second and third trimesters, causing you to wake up.

What you can do: From a preventive point of view, stretching your calf muscles before bed can help. With your hips forward, you can place one foot in front of the other and thenslowly lunge forward until you feel a stretch in your calf. Then switch legs. Or try slowly bending and relaxing your feet a few times.

While there is no evidence that potassium supplementation prevents leg cramps, some women swear that eating bananas helps.

If you feel a cramp is coming, loosen it by contracting the opposite muscle as hard as possible . If you have calf cramps, the opposite muscle will be the tibialis anterior muscle on the front of the lower leg. To do this, bend your leg as if you are trying to touch your shins with your toes, and hold this position for a few seconds.


Why it happens: Swinging hormones, especially a decrease in estrogen levels, are to blame for these intense hot flashes, which can cloud your vision, cause you to sweat profusely, and cause chills.

What you can do: Hot flashes, while uncomfortable and annoying, are usually harmless. To prevent them, stay hydrated, maintain a healthy weight, and exercise . Rhythmic breathing can also help – when you feel a hot flush, expand your lungs with very slow, controlled breaths, inhaling through your nose and exhaling through your mouth.

At night, sleeping on a cooling pillow will help you feel comfortable. Wear breathable clothing, and if hot flashes are frequent, you can carry a portable ventilator with you. See your doctor if hot flashes are accompanied by a fever.

Urinary incontinence

Why it happens: When your uterus is on top of it, your bladder is under intense pressure during pregnancy. Every time you cough, sneeze or laugh, it becomes an additional push. Therefore, it is normal for urine to leak.

What you can do: Pee frequently (before you feel a strong urge to “go”), put on pads or panty liners, and do lots of Kegel exercises that help strengthen the muscles that control urine flow. Also watch out for weight gain during pregnancy – women who gain too much weight during pregnancy are more likely to experience urinary incontinence.

Excessive gas

Why it happens: You have elevated levels of progesterone, a hormone that relaxes not only the uterus but also the digestive tract. Gas builds up faster, leading to bloating, belching, and flatulence.

What you can do: Gas cannot be prevented, but there are ways to reduce it. You can track your food to determine what gives you the most gas – unfortunately, many gas-causing foods are good for you, including beans, peas, whole grains, broccoli, asparagus, kale, and Brussels sprouts. Avoid carbohydrate drinks, fatty fried foods, and artificial sweeteners, as these can aggravate digestive problems. Movement can also help. Walking, jogging, and other exercise allow gas to pass faster through the digestive tract.

Heightened sense of smell

Why it happens: Hormones, especially estrogen. Fortunately, the worst – when every smell seems to cause nausea – usually goes away quite early during pregnancy.

What you can do: Leave windows open whenever possible , wash clothes and sheets often, avoid foods and scents that you suddenly can’t stand, and surround yourself with scents you like. Smell yourself with mint, ginger, or cardamom to relieve nausea. Then look forward to the end of the first trimester.


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