As I write this, I am weeks away from meeting baby No. 3. Braxton Hicks contractions are in full swing and I’m on the lookout for every possible sign my weeble-wobble days are at an official end.
Because I somehow missed the pregnancy-is-beautiful-and-nothing-but-a-minor-discomfort gene everyone else in my family seems to have inherited, I have now spent more than two years of my life experiencing a slew of pregnancy symptoms. Some like tender breasts and nausea were expected.
Others, however … well … read along to discover 6(ish) symptoms I discovered along the way to being a mama of three. You might not have heard about some of these, but if you are experiencing them, just know that you are not alone!
Ugh. Snoring has hit me hard this time around. I might be inclined to believe my husband is exaggerating when he mentions it, except that it’s so bad it even wakes me up! I notice it a lot right as I’m in that cozy in-between almost asleep place. And then BAM! Wide-awake.
Women experience loss of sleep during pregnancy for a multitude of reasons including bladder compression and insomnia, so losing even more due to something that has, up to this point, been strictly my husband’s issue … it’s upsetting.
The good news is, I’m not alone. Up to 30% of women snore during pregnancy because of swelling in the nasal passages and pressure from the uterus encroaching on the diaphragm.
At least we have a good excuse. What’s yours, hubby??
2.) Loss of Eyelashes
Yes, you read that right. While pregnant with my son, my eyelashes fell out at an alarming rate. Although my lids were never completely bare (new ones slowly grew in while others were falling) it still came as a complete shock! I’ll be honest, my eyelashes are sort of my thing—always have been. So having them taken away in the middle of weight gain and never-ending morning sickness felt exceedingly cruel. It wasn’t until about six months postpartum that they returned to their original fullness.
Turns out, this can happen during pregnancy due to a vitamin deficiency or thyroid dysfunction as a result of hormone changes. Who knew?
3.) SPD – Symphisis Pubic Disfunction (or PGP – Pelvic Girdle Pain)
This little gem has been a particular nightmare for me throughout all three pregnancies. Imagine being unable to lift your leg into the car without literally dragging it in with your hands or being in complete agony when rolling over in bed.
This is the work of SPD, a condition thought to be caused by the hormone relaxin. It leads to instability in the joint that holds both sides of the pelvis together, resulting in inflammation and acute pain. So when my husband rushes into our room because he hears primal grunting noises and assumes the worst, he just finds me struggling to step into my pants because I literally cannot.
If you know anyone in your life currently struggling with SPD, send them some flowers, babysit for an afternoon, or sneak them some caffeine in a peppermint mocha (oh shh, a little is fine!)—but do something because SPD is no joke.
4.) Late Onset Morning Sickness
Everyone knows morning sickness is a possibility when pregnant. After three months of what can only be described as a 24/7 hangover from hell with my daughter, I was pleased to find that, while it lasted much longer, it was far less intense with my son.
When this pregnancy rolled around, I waited anxiously to see what would unfold. And then I waited some more. Because despite very noticeable nausea, I was able to keep the actual vomiting down to just a handful of occasions. Of course, one of those occasions happened to be in the middle of my work day and resulted in a room full of middle schoolers shrieking in mock-terror that I might have Ebola. But I digress …
For the most part, I felt exceedingly lucky. In fact, when my husband gifted me some morning sickness candy and tea at about 12 weeks, I silently mocked him in my head. Didn’t he know that if it was going to start in earnest, it would have by now?
Well, I ate my words and not much else after that because, turns out, hormones are highly unpredictable! Despite passing what I had assumed to be the “all clear” zone, I found myself suddenly pulling over to puke on the side of the road and carrying extra plastic bags everywhere I went for the next couple months.
Moral of the story? Don’t mock your husband for “misunderstanding” pregnancy symptoms. He might be a sorcerer, and he might make you pay dearly.
5.) Restless Leg Syndrome
Luckily, I have been spared by RLS this time around, but I’ve suffered throughout my other pregnancies. Let me tell you, this symptom is no walk in the park—despite the fact that it makes you feel like you could do that very thing on loop at 2 a.m. every night!
Restless Leg Syndrome might sound silly, ridiculous even, but its effects are very real. Most sufferers report feeling a crawling sensation or irrisistable urge to move, shake, or walk around. It may not be painful but it is maddening!
Like many other pregnancy symptoms, no one knows exactly why it happens or targets the women it does. It is assumed to be a combination of (surprise!) hormones, genetics, and dietary factors. And while it may be possible to reduce discomfort through a variety of small changes, rest assured that the vast majority of women find complete relief after giving birth.
Talk about a scary introduction to the wonders of pregnancy! I first experienced a near-fainting episode not long after finding out I was pregnant for the first time. I distinctly remember standing up from the couch and getting so lightheaded after a few steps that my eyes immediately went into tunnel vision mode. Thankfully, I didn’t black out entirely and managed to brace myself on a door frame and slowly lower myself to the floor. Several more episodes followed at various points throughout that pregnancy, something I have never experienced outside of it.
Women experience this scary symptom for a variety of reasons. Two of the most common can be considered pregnancy side-effects in their own right—hence the “ish” in the title!
This is a condition in which a person’s heart rate is higher than average. For pregnant women, this is classified as more than 100 beats per minute. Considering how hard a woman’s body must work to support a growing fetus (extra blood flow, creation of the placenta, etc.), it should come as no surprise that pregnancy results in a higher heart rate—though most people are unaware that it can be clinically diagnosed and the cause of serious problems. Among these numerous issues is, you guessed it, fainting spells.
As someone who has tachycardia regardless of pregnancy status, I was not surprised to learn about my elevated heart rate. I wasn’t, however, prepared for the scary side effects it produced because they were significantly more pronounced during pregnancy.
*Vena Cava Syndrome
You may have heard about the vena cava in relation to warnings not to sleep on your back while pregnant. This is a major vein in the body that can be obstructed by the pressure of a growing uterus. Although many women will experience minor discomfort when laying flat, especially during the third trimester, some (including yours truly) are significantly more sensitive.
When I was pregnant with my daughter, we lived overseas where I was given an ultrasound at every single appointment. While I was initially excited about this, it soon became overwhelming and I would dread ultrasounds, working through a language barrier to communicate my need to roll onto my side or be slightly propped up with pillows. I simply couldn’t handle laying on my back for the handful of minutes necessary. I would instantly become lightheaded, sweaty, and I would panic. Ultrasounds accounted for a couple of my near-fainting episodes. Of course, it makes total sense when you consider what happens when a vein is compressed, but it was a pregnancy symptom for which I was totally unprepared.
Pregnancy can sure be a weird, wonderful, and wild ride. No matter how many pregnancy books you read, there will always be some strange facet of pregnancy you weren’t expecting. So what stories do you have to share? Let me hear what crazy side effects I managed to miss out on!