Hey knocked-up ladies, have you noticed one of these lesser known—and sometimes downright bizarre—pregnancy symptoms? Don't worry: These strange changes to your body are pretty common in almost every pregnancy, and most will start within the first six weeks. Here they are explained.
You have to go to the bathroom more
You've probably trekked to the bathroom four times in the last two hours, and that's normal. Dr Teresa Malcolm, an OBGYN with Banner Health in Surprise, Ariz. says that frequent urination is a result of the pregnancy hormone hCG, which increases the blood flow to the pelvic area and the kidneys. "Since the pregnancy hormone rises quickly and reaches a peak level during the first trimester, women may find themselves running to the restroom soon after reading a positive pregnancy test," she says. The bad news? You'll only get a small relief of that pressure on your bladder in your second trimester—in the third, it gets worse! "As the highly-anticipated due date gets closer, the weight of the baby presses directly on the mother's bladder," she adds.
Your areolas are darker
Not only will your breasts get larger during pregnancy—and especially while breastfeeding—but your areola (that circle around your nipple) gets darker too. Malcolm says hyperpigmentation (the darkening of the skin) is a common change as a result of the increase in hormones. "Don't worry about it and look out for other changes," Malcolm says. "You might notice more prominence of the nipples and hypersensitivity, too." The darker area and tenderness can occur as early as the first few weeks of pregnancy.
You have more discharge
The good news for your go-to period panties that you don't care too much about? You can use them throughout your pregnancy, too, because you might notice some heavier discharge throughout your nine months. "The milky, odorless or mild-smelling discharge is in part because of increased estrogen production and greater blood flow to the vagina," Malcolm says. "It is also pretty normal, even for those who aren't pregnant. It's just heavier when you're expecting."
Your sex drive, is, uh, not all there
All of that hot (and maybe carefully calculated) baby-making sex you were just having? Once you're actually officially pregnant, you might notice that desire bottom out. "Hormone change during pregnancy can put a damper on sex drive, and some women report having a complete lack of libido," Malcolm says. "Fatigue, changes in body image and the emotional pressure of pregnancy can also contribute to lack of sexual desire." Remind yourself—and your hubby—that this too will pass. And hey, you might even really want to have sex if baby is holding out past her due date.
You have an odd metallic taste
If you're noticing that your taste buds are a little off—and yes, you're a little nauseous—you might also start tasting a metallic flavor in your mouth. According to Malcolm, it's believed to be caused by the increasing production of estrogen, and has something to do with our sense of taste. It could also be caused by prenatal vitamins or other medications women use during pregnancy, like antibiotics or hormone pills. "The best way to get rid of the taste is to neutralize it," Malcolm says. "Acidic foods and drinks, like orange juice or lemonade; or ginger-flavored food and drinks, which have an anti-nausea component, can also help control the sense of taste and smell."
You're reaching for more antacid
Even if you've never had trouble with heartburn before, you might find yourself aching more often when you're pregnant with your babe. And no, it's not just because your heart is breaking out of anticipation to meet your little love, it's because of the excess hormones running through your body. They cause the lower esophageal sphincter (the muscular valve between your stomach and the esophagus) to relax, causing trouble. To make matters worse, your enlarged uterus pushes stomach acids upward when it fills up the abdomen. You might notice these symptoms as early as the first few weeks of being pregnant.
You're having a hard time going #2
As early as your first trimester, you might notice yourself spending more time in the bathroom. In addition to the constant potty breaks and that pesky morning sickness, you also might have a hard time with bowel movements. "The higher level of progesterone causes slowing of the muscular contractions that move food through your intestines," Malcolm says. "Also, prenatal vitamins contain extra iron which contribute to constipation." Ask your doctor about mild laxatives or stool softeners, and make sure to drink at least 8 8-ounce glasses of water a day. Mild exercise will help you to release, too.