Wacky Pregnancy Symptoms You Never Expected

Strange and uncomfortable symptoms are par for the course when you’re expecting. If this is your first pregnancy, you may be surprised at some unpleasant symptoms that your doctor never mentioned and your girlfriends neglected to warn you about. Don’t worry, Mom, these symptoms are totally normal during pregnancy—embarrassing for sure, but as common as the more expected morning sickness!



Pregnancy Symptom - LeakingThe Strange Symptom:

You may leak urine when you sneeze or laugh. Pregnant women are advised to drink a lot of water: at least 64 ounces every day! Add a growing baby pressing against your bladder to the mix and it’s inevitable that something’s gotta give!

How to Cope:

Don’t try to hold it in. Make very frequent trips to the bathroom to decrease the likelihood of an accident. Keep up with your Kegel exercises to strengthen your vaginal muscles, and for extra protection, wear a mini pad or thin maxi pad. Tuck an extra pair of underwear into your bag so you have a fresh, dry change if necessary.


Pregnancy Symptom - DroolingThe Strange Symptom:

Sometimes pregnancy seems like an exercise in keeping excess liquids from escaping your body—they just won’t stay put! Many pregnant women produce a flood of saliva: up to four quarts daily!

How to Cope:

Eventually, this symptom will diminish, but if you’re affected, switch to a soft toothbrush because bleeding gums and small mouth nodules often accompany this symptom and gentle dental care will minimize that issue. Also, limit the amount of starch in your diet and try adding a squirt of lemon juice to your water. Keep plenty of tissues handy, as discreetly spitting and mopping up may be your best option until this symptom abates.


Pregnancy Symptom - DIschargeThe Strange Symptom:

Increased hormone levels and elevated vaginal blood flow are the culprits causing a sticky discharge (typically white or pale yellow) that sends you frequently running for a clean pair of undies.

How to Cope:

For normal discharge, try using moisturized wipes for a quick cleansing and wear a lightweight pad. Change your underwear often to feel fresher and more comfortable, and most importantly: don’t panic! This is normal.

A discharge with a foul odor or one that itches, burns, changes color or consistency can indicate an infection and is a sign you should see your doctor.


Pregnancy Symptom - FlatulenceThe Strange Symptom:

As if the leaking and drooling weren’t embarrassing enough, this pregnancy symptom can crop up at the worst times. Bloating and cramping in the belly may cause you to spontaneously to break wind often, because during pregnancy, the intestines tend to be more sluggish thanks to all of the progesterone in your system.

How to Cope:

Fight back by keeping careful tabs on your diet and avoiding the foods that make you gassy; typically, beans, broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, onions, and most carbonated beverages tend to be the usual suspects. If you’re constipated, bloating will increase and make the problem worse. A blander diet may be boring, but it’s a small price to pay to avoid a humiliating—and possibly noisy—public gas leak!

Stuffy and Runny Nose

Pregnancy Symptom - SnifflingThe Strange Symptom:

Blowing and sniffing can make you feel like you have a perpetual cold, along with burning sinuses and sneezing fits. Pregnancy can cause the mucus membranes to swell, or to dry out and bring on nosebleeds.

How to Cope:

Use a humidifier to keep the air you breathe moist, and continue to drink plenty of water. A saline solution nose drop or Neti pot can help to relieve some of the irritation. Carry plenty of tissues because you’ll have to continue to wipe and blow until these symptoms blow over.


Pregnancy Symptom - SnoringThe Strange Symptom:

Those pesky mucus membranes strike again! While you sleep, they swell and cause congestion, forcing you to breathe through your mouth and snore like a chainsaw.

How to Cope:

Sleeping on your side can help, so invest in a body pillow that keeps you from rolling over, or prop yourself up higher in bed and get the added benefit of quieter nights and some relief from pregnancy nighttime heartburn. Run a humidifier in your bedroom to help keep nasal passages moist and open, and dose yourself with a saline-based nose drop before you turn in.


Pregnancy Symptom - SweatingThe Strange Symptom:

Your metabolism is in high gear and there’s no slowing it down, so it’s no wonder you’re experiencing your first run in with the dreaded hot flash! Extra blood is pumping through your body and that warms the skinsometimes to fry-an-egg-on-me temperatures (not really, it just feels like that). Sweating is the body’s natural mechanism for cooling you off. Pregnant women perspire more under the arms, on the face and neck, between the legs, and on the stomach. 

How to Cope:

Use a talc powder to absorb moisture and to help avoid chafing. Drink plenty of water to replace the fluids your body is expelling to avert dehydration. Also, dress in light layers, choosing natural fabrics like cotton over heat-trapping synthetics.

Thickening Hair

Pregnancy Symptom - Thickening HairThe Strange Symptom:

This one sounds good, doesn’t it? And it is—at first. Initially, you’ll love the fact that your crowning glory is thicker, shinier and more luxurious than ever, thanks in part to the power of those prenatal vitamins and in part to your elevated levels of estrogen. The downside? All of your hair gets thicker, so you may see a new crop sprout on your upper lip, your chin, and you may find that you need to shave your legs and underarms with increased frequency. No advanced warning eases the shock when you first discover hair starting to flourish on your back, your belly—and even your nipples!

How to Cope:

Remind yourself that it’s temporary. Face this pregnancy symptom with a stiff and smooth upper lip using the right treatment. Many hair removal methods are considered unsafe while pregnant, and even those methods that are approved for preggos may irritate your unusually sensitive skin during this period. Talk to you OBGYN or dermatologist about safe hair removal and lightening methods. Waxing and shaving (carefully) are generally known to be safe and effective, but talk to your doc about the details beforehand.

Enlarged Veins

Pregnancy Symptom - Varicose VeinsThe Strange Symptom:

Pressure from your uterus can cause an accumulation of blood in your veins resulting in enlarged, bulging, purple or black veins, commonly on the legs but sometimes also on the labia. You also may be suffering from hemorrhoids, which are actually varicose veins that form in the anus.

How to Cope:

For leg veins, swap out your normal hose for support hose, and get off of your feet as much as possible. Standing for long periods of time allows the blood to gather and pool in the veins. Prop up your feet whenever you can, and ditch the habit of crossing your legs. You’re pregnant, so take advantage and just sit down!

Soothe hemorrhoids with a topical hemorrhoid cream and a regime of regular sitz baths.

Skin Scales

Pregnancy Symptom - Skin RashesThe Strange Symptom:

During pregnancy the body produces extra melanin, and partnered with hormonal changes this can cause dark splotches and skin tags: bits of skin hanging from your breasts, neck, or in the armpits. Tiny spider veins appear on arms, chest, neck and face, and dark patches may also form in these areas.

How to Cope:

The good news: you can expect most of the dark patches and the spider veins to fade after the birth of your baby. In the meantime, minimize the dark spots with use of a good sun block, and conceal with a light touch of makeup.

Skin tags form due to friction. If they are uncomfortable, a dermatologist can remove them during an office visit. Take extra care by keeping your skin clean, moisturized and protected from harmful UV rays while you are pregnant.


Pregnancy Symptom - ClumsinessThe Strange Symptom:

Nobody expects you to be poetry in motion when you’re balancing a kicking, squirming person inside of you! When you are pregnant, your center of gravity changes and continues to change as your baby grows and shifts positions, so simple movements like walking gracefully suddenly become a real challenge. Your balance is off, and it’s difficult to manage the ordinary: getting out of a chair you’ve sunk into, bending low, or reaching above shoulder height.

How to Cope:

Give yourself a break. Forget about gliding effortlessly through your days and just move more carefully as your body learns to adjust for the extra passenger it’s carrying. Baby on board!


Pregnancy Symptom - Sex DriveThe Strange Symptom:

Finally a symptom you can enjoy! As your pregnancy enters the second trimester, a lot of your initial fatigue will just fade away, to be replaced by a big surge in your sex drive.

How to Cope:

It’s time to get busy! Your raging hormones are causing you to be in the mood—all of the time. Your partner will likely embrace this symptom as enthusiastically as you do, so cherish this time together. You’ve had to put up with a number of uncomfortable changes both physically and emotionally, so take advantage of this one by studying some anatomy (up close and personal) with your mate!

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