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You’re pregnant. How exciting! If life is anything like the movies, you know what pregnancy symptoms to expect: You might have some morning sickness at first, and you’ll probably need to pee a lot during your third trimester. That just about covers it, right?
Wrong. Life is nothing like the movies, as I hope you have figured out by now! The media gets a lot of things wrong about pregnancy, labor, and motherhood in general. I’m here to set the record straight on pregnancy symptoms.
Other posts in this series:
- 8 Weird (But Common!) Second-Trimester Pregnancy Symptoms
- 8 Odd Pregnancy Symptoms to Expect in Your Third Trimester
After completing this series, it seems like the first trimester is actually filled with the strangest symptoms. Or, maybe it just seems this way because people tend to keep their pregnancies on the down-low at first, so you might not hear about these symptoms, even though they are totally normal.
So, here are the strange symptoms you may experience during the first twelve weeks of your pregnancy!
I’m kind of cheating with this first one, as I’m sure you’re well aware of morning sickness. But, the term “morning sickness” is a total misnomer. You may want to brace yourself for all-day sickness.
I truly pray this doesn’t happen to you, but be prepared for the possibility that you may feel nauseated at any time of the day, and have aversions towards any food in general.
I, for example, tend to feel most sick in the morning and late at night, after about 8 pm or as I’m trying to fall asleep. With both of my pregnancies, my aversion to food has been so significant that I lost about 10 pounds.
Be sure to read my post on combatting morning sickness!
While everyone is aware that they will gain weight during pregnancy, many people don’t realize you may actually lose it in the early days.
In my first pregnancy, I remember asking the doctor if I should be concerned that I had lost about 13 pounds. She waved it away and said that it is actually very common to lose weight in the first trimester.
While extreme weight loss is not normal, you can expect to lose a few pounds if you have a lot of sickness or a low appetite.
Luckily, you don’t need to worry about the health of the baby. The baby will get everything it needs from your body regardless of your diet. You should still try to eat healthy foods, of course, but if all you can stomach is mac’n’cheese, don’t fret – your body will make up for any deficiencies when your appetite returns in the second trimester.
Also, the idea of “eating for two” is kind of a lie. You need about 1.5 times your regular diet during the third trimester, but in the first trimester, you only need about 150 extra calories per day.
Everyone is familiar with the image of a pregnant lady waddling to the bathroom to pee 90 times a day. But, the increased urge to pee will actually occur during the first trimester too. This is one of the most common early pregnancy symptoms!
This is because the hormone HCG increases blood volume in your entire body. The increased blood volume means that your kidneys are processing more efficiently, resulting in more waste, i.e., urine.
Even though you won’t be having a period, sadly the bleeding days may not be completely over. I’m pretty sure this misconception is how most people end up on the show “I didn’t know I was pregnant.”
Spotting or light bleeding early in pregnancy is usually due to implantation bleeding, which is caused when the fertilized egg implants in the uterus. It is nothing to be alarmed about!
However, if you are at all concerned that your bleeding isn’t normal, or is accompanied by severe cramps or pain, call a doctor. This could be a sign of miscarriage or ectopic pregnancy.
Ah, yet another symptom of pregnancy that is actually similar to a period! Cramping might be due to a wide variety of reasons, but generally, most symptoms of pregnancy are caused by hormones and uterus changes. Cramping is no exception.
Implantation may cause cramping to occur simultaneously with spotting. You might also feel crampy if the hormone changes are causing gas, bloating, or constipation.
Again, if you have severe cramping or are concerned, see a doctor! It might be something more serious.
Gas and Bloating
I have never been as gassy as I was when I was pregnant.
It’s terrifying to write about this on the internet, for the world to see, but it’s true! Your body will do crazy things because of the hormones, and increased gas is one of them.
Just joke about your “pregnancy farts” with your husband and move on!
Basically, hormones and a growing uterus do all kinds of crazy things to your digestive system!
So, you might have trouble, erhm, ‘going’ when you’re pregnant. If it really becomes an issue, ask your doctor about taking stool softeners. Don’t strain yourself – that will lead to the dreaded hemorrhoids!
Another product that I’ve heard excellent things about is the Squatty Potty. The Squatty Potty is a stool that fits around your toilet, and helps you elevate your legs to a position that is more conducive to pooping. American and European toilets are too high such that they bend the rectum in an unnatural position. By elevating your legs with the Squatty Potty, your body will be able to do what it’s supposed to do!
On the complete opposite end of the poo spectrum, there is diarrhea, which may affect you as well.
As long as it isn’t increasing in frequency such that you become dehydrated, this isn’t anything to be concerned about.
Just be prepared for your digestion to continue to swing wildly throughout your pregnancy. It may take a while for you to… regulate.
This pregnancy symptom is actually very well known, but I don’t think I realized the extent of it before I got pregnant. In the first trimester, I was always sleeping if I wasn’t at work. My poor husband said he missed me.
As long as you aren’t at your desk at work, go ahead and give in to the fatigue. Go to bed three hours early unashamed! Your body is growing another human, and that takes serious energy.
I read somewhere that the amount of energy a pregnant woman’s body uses in the first trimester is the equivalent of climbing up and down a mountain every day. Think about that!
Sadly, I’m not referring to the luscious locks you will have during pregnancy as a result of your hair no longer shedding. I’m talking about the strange, dark, coarse hairs that appear in strange places on your body.
This is another result of the hormones – aren’t they fun? Don’t worry, you won’t be turning into a werewolf, but you may want to keep a pair of tweezers handy!
Bleeding Gums or Noses
I was surprised the first time I spit after brushing my teeth and saw blood in the toothpaste. After some semi-frantic googling, I learned that bleeding gums is actually one of the most common pregnancy symptoms.
This is another result of the increased blood flow throughout your body. You may also notice some nose bleeds or blood in your mucus.
Being pregnant is kind of like having a cold for 12 weeks. You’re tired and generally not feeling well, and then you add extra mucus on top of that.
This is actually one of my main pregnancy symptoms. In the first trimester, I find myself blowing my nose constantly.
I think this is related to the increased mucus issue, but I find myself sneezing all the time during the first trimester, and this is quite common. Keep the tissues handy!
Both the mucus and sneezing are due to increased blood volume. Once your body begins to work itself out and more blood is directed to the growing uterus, these symptoms will fade away.
This fun word is a very specific term that refers to the sensation of a metallic taste in your mouth. After finishing your lunch, you might find that you suddenly feel like you’re sucking on pennies.
Gum or mints are an easy fix to this weird symptom. I thought I was imagining this until I googled it and discovered it is actually a very common symptom that no one talks about!
It gets better!
Luckily, all of the symptoms I’ve listed here are only in the first trimester. As your body figures out how to respond to the changes in hormone levels, you’ll find that your strange symptoms fade away.
Also, this list is not exhaustive. If you’re experiencing any weird symptoms, if you google “[insert symptom here] pregnancy”, you’ll likely find that pregnancy is the cause.
Our bodies can do some crazy things in the midst of their huge task of growing a human!
Let me know if I’ve missed one of the craziest symptoms of all in the comments below!
Don’t forget to read about the rest of pregnancy in the next two posts in the series!