Weird Pregnancy Symptoms
Most women know the telltale signs of pregnancy: nausea, fatigue and weird cravings. But some symptoms are so bizarre, they leave mamas-to-be scratching their heads. Lest you think you’ve been dealt some horrid fairy tale curse, arm yourself with the knowledge of these 10 weird pregnancy symptoms, what causes them and what to do about them.
1. Metallic Taste
Imagine waking up to the sensation that you’ve been sucking on copper pennies or tin foil. It’s every bit as unpleasant as it sounds, yet it’s a surprisingly common early pregnancy symptom with a name of its own: dysgeusia. Thought to be caused by increased levels of estrogen, dysgeusia typically hits hard during the first trimester, only to fade away by the second one. To combat this case of metal mouth, arm yourself with acidic foods that can combat lingering bitterness, such as citrus juices, crackers, sour candies or items brined in vinegar (dill pickles, anyone?). If all else fails, turn up the heat with spicier foods, then cool it down with icy beverages.
2. Excessive Gas
Potty humor might make you crack a grin, but passing gas when you least expect it is no laughing matter. Bloating, cramping and an excessive need to break wind are all uncomfortable and unfortunate side effects of pregnancy, thanks to the increase of progesterone working its way through your system and slowing digestion. Unlike some odd symptoms that come and go, you may find yourself in pain (or painfully embarrassed!) throughout your entire pregnancy. What you can do about it is graze on smaller portions throughout the day instead of eating three bigger, traditional meals. Also, avoid cruciferous foods such as broccoli, cabbage and cauliflower, high-fiber foods such as beans, and carbonated drinks.
3. Drooling Like a Baby
Hormones cause so many changes throughout pregnancy, don’t be surprised that even saliva production can be impacted. Known as ptyalism or also hypersalivation, this condition can cause some pregnant women to produce anywhere from three or four quarts of saliva a day. Kansas City mom Machelle Kuftack knew this problem all too well throughout her pregnancy. “I couldn’t have conversations with people without needing to spit every few seconds. It was just pooling in my mouth! And I couldn’t swallow it because it would make my nausea worse,” Kuftack says. “I eventually had to carry around a spit bottle as if I were chewing tobacco. It went away as soon as I delivered, thankfully!”
4. Hot Flashes & Excessive Sweating
If you find yourself sweating like a pig throughout your pregnancy, there’s good reason. Extra blood pumps through a mother’s body thanks to metabolic overdrive. Adria Martinez found she needed fans on all the time, despite always feeling cold pre-pregnancy. “I didn’t have it my first pregnancy but had it with the rest,” she says.
The valve between the stomach and esophagus can become relaxed during pregnancy, allowing stomach acid to leak and cause heartburn. Odder still, sometimes uncomfortable lifelong heartburn can actually go away when a bun is in the oven. “I had severe heartburn for several years and was on daily medication until I became pregnant,” KC mom Yolanda Navarrete says. “The heartburn miraculously went away for nine whole months! That was until it came time to deliver. I couldn't push without feeling horrible heartburn. Those were the best nine months of relief I've ever had from it!”
6. Leaky Breasts
Sore breasts are par for the course during pregnancy. But it can be surprising to find fluid leaking from them as early as 14 weeks along. Don’t be alarmed. The liquid, a highly nutritious milk known as colostrum, is perfectly normal and nothing to be alarmed about. Just make sure to have nursing pads handy, as you may need them to prevent leaking through your bra.
7. Darker Skin
Melasma, dark patches on the face, is sometimes referred to as the mask of pregnancy. Affecting the pigmentation surrounding the forehead, cheekbones, upper lip and nose, melasma is the consequence of increased melanin, the substance that naturally creates the pigmentation of your skin. Typically a first trimester side effect, melasma is known to go away on its own shortly after delivery. In the interim, reach for a wide-brimmed hat and sunscreen, and avoid direct sun exposure, which may increase symptoms.
For Denver, IA, mom Mary Brown, nosebleeds were a startling pregnancy symptom. “I never had one in my life until I was pregnant,” Brown says. “I would wake up in the middle of the night to blood running out of my nose or have it all over my pillow. I've never had a nosebleed since.”
Brown’s not alone. More than 20 percent of pregnant moms suffer from nosebleeds, the result of expanded blood vessels and increased blood supply throughout pregnancy. If you find yourself prone to nosebleeds, drink plenty of fluids to keep your mucus membranes well hydrated, run a humidifier in the house during cold weather season and blow your nose gently.
One of the most surprising pregnancy symptoms could also be one of the most common: allergies. Some 25 percent of pregnant women develop allergies throughout their pregnancies, some being downright disheartening. Overland Park mom Lisa Marie Bworggah’s allergies hit particularly close to home. “I became allergic to my cat,” she says. “I have had my cat for years and years and, all of sudden, I became allergic to her. I still have a hard time being around cats. I struggle to breathe after too long with them.”
Lauren Greenlee is an Olathe mom of three who experienced her own pregnancy anomaly: foot growth. She went from wearing a size 8.5 to a size 10 after having her first!
As always, please consult your health care provider with any questions or concerns.