Many women say that carrying a child is a beautiful, though sometimes strange experience. Nobody knows how weird your body can be like a pregnant woman.
If you’re thinking of having a baby or are starting your first pregnancy, we encourage you to talk to a trusted OB/GYN to address any concerns or questions you may have.
Also, read up on some of these often unexpected but totally normal body changes that can happen during pregnancy.
Hot flashes and sweating
Your body temperature tends to go up during ovulation each month. But for a lot of women, it stays up during pregnancy. The heat can come in waves or flashes, or it can feel more continual. Either way, if you find yourself cranking the thermostat way down while your partner piles on the blankets, you’re not alone.
You may notice that your skin starts to get darker in certain areas or even change colors completely. Many pregnant women find that their nipples turn brown or they have a brown line (called a linea nigra) that runs straight from their belly button down their lower stomach. You can thank pregnancy hormones for both of these color changes (and possibly others).
You may also notice that your vagina turns a shade of blue or purple. While that may seem really alarming, it’s actually very normal. When you’re pregnant, you have 30-50% more blood pumping through your body. Because your veins are really close to the surface of your skin in the genital area, you’re more apt to notice a color change.
In case you’re genuinely freaked out now, it may help to know that all of these skin color changes go back to normal within a few weeks after childbirth.
Everything is loose
As your body prepares for your baby’s arrival, your hips start widening out and all of your ligaments and tendons loosen to allow for more stretching. Your body produces a hormone called “relaxin” that does just as it sounds.
While this is a good thing to ensure a smoother delivery, it can be painful during pregnancy (especially towards the end). Many pregnant women have a lot of back and hip pain because of the extra loose muscles (not to mention the extra baby weight).
Forget to bring your wallet to the store? Run a stop sign without even realizing it? Stick your mail in the freezer?
The amount of strange and brainless things that happen during pregnancy can be maddening (and maybe funny later).
According to one study on memory impairment in pregnant women, about 80% of pregnant women feel like their brains have walked off and left them. Experts don’t know exactly why this happens, but it is definitely a real thing.
Fortunately, this too should dissipate after childbirth.
Lots of hair
Feel like you’re turning into a hairy monster?
Thanks again, pregnancy hormones!
Some hair growth can be positive, like the extra thick hair on your head. But other types of hair growth can be more embarrassing, annoying and unwanted.
The extra hair is from the increase in male hormone production during pregnancy. Again, it won’t be like this for long. After your hormones get back to normal postpartum (after birth), so will the amount of hair growing on your body.
Higher sex drive
Pregnancy hormones strike again! Maybe you can actually thank them for this one.
Sometimes in early pregnancy, with all of the nausea and tiredness, women have little to no sex drive. Not to worry, though, because in the 2nd and 3rd trimester some pregnant women notice a big increase.
That increased blood flow we talked about earlier actually helps in this case to make sex more pleasurable for pregnant women. And many women find sex to be a lot less stressful during pregnancy because they aren’t worried about conception at all.
If you’re experiencing bodily changes during pregnancy that are concerning to you, don’t be afraid or embarrassed to talk to your OB about them. It can be a weird and difficult thing to watch your body go through so many changes, especially if this is your first pregnancy. But it’s much better to ask than to stress about all the “what if”s.