The fact is, a lot of nasty stuff happens with your body when you're pregnant, weird symptoms your friends may be embarrassed to tell you about or your doctor may gloss over because they're not big health concerns,
"Pregnant women have questions about what's happening, yet they're just told, 'Oh, that's normal.' But when you've got excessive gas or find strange things on your skin, the last thing you feel is normal,"
Symptoms: Sticky white or pale yellow discharge can appear constantly during pregnancy, leaving you in frequent need of new undies. Talk to your doctor if it develops a foul odor, itches, burns or becomes greenish-yellow, very thick or watery; you may have an infection.
Cause: Increased hormones and vaginal blood flow.
How to deal: Wear a lightweight sanitary pad and use personal wipes for quick cleaning. Don't douche or use vaginal deodorants; they can be irritating.
"I leak when I laugh."
Symptoms: You laugh, you sneeze you leak.
Cause: Well, let's see. You're instructed to drink something like 64 ounces of liquid a day, and you've got an extra 10 or so pounds of baby and uterus sitting on your bladder. It seems pretty obvious.
How to deal: Give yourself permission to pee—a lot. The more you hold in, the more there is to leak. Use mini-pads (or thin maxis), and keep a spare pair of underwear with you. Finally, try Super Kegels to improve muscle tone: Empty your bladder, tighten your pelvic floor muscles and hold (like you're holding your pee). When the muscles begin to naturally release, squeeze and tighten again until you feel a tingling sensation. Hold and count to 20. Do about five Super Kegels a day, but not all at once.
"I'm so gassy!"
Symptoms: Bloating and sometimes painful cramping in your belly, and the urge to break wind often.
Cause: The intestines are sluggish during pregnancy, thanks to all that progesterone circulating in your body.
How to deal: Theoretically, treating constipation should minimize your gas and bloating, too. It's not always that simple, however. Watch your intake of the usual suspects, such as broccoli, brussels sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, corn, onions and carbonated beverages. If the problem persists or gets worse, talk to your health care provider.
"I'm stuffed up, but I'm not sick."
Symptoms: You may feel like you have a perpetual cold, and blowing your nose gets downright gross.
Cause: Your increased hormones and blood production cause mucous membranes to swell, dry and bleed.
How to deal: Use saline nose drops, drink plenty of liquids, and run a humidifier. If you have a nosebleed, don't tilt your head back. Keep your head straight and pinch the nostrils closed until the bleeding stops, which usually takes about five minutes. Put ice over the bridge of your nose and pinch it again, if necessary. If the bleeding persists, call your doctor.
"I sound like a chain saw at night."
Symptoms: You know how your grandfather sounds at night? Double the decibel level.
Cause: Blame those swollen mucous membranes again. Your congested nose forces you to breathe through your mouth and snore.
How to deal: Use saline nose drops before you go to sleep and during the night, if necessary. Sleep on your side and invest in a body pillow to keep you from rolling over. Run a humidifier and prop yourself up on some extra pillows, which will relieve nighttime heartburn as well.
"I sweat like a pig!"
Symptoms: Sweat everywhere: under your arms, between your legs, on your belly and running down your face and neck.
Cause: Your metabolism is in overdrive, and extra blood pumping through your body warms the skin. Perspiring is your body's way of cooling off.
How to deal: Dress in layers and avoid heat-trapping synthetic fabrics. Drink plenty of fluids, and use underarm antiperspirants and talc-free powder liberally.
"I'm drooling like a baby."
Symptoms: Some pregnant women produce up to three or four quarts of excess saliva a day!
Cause: No one's quite sure what prompts the excessive saliva, but hormones are usually to blame for everything else while you're pregnant, so why not saliva, too?
How to deal: Spitting it out may be the only option, but you can try limiting starch in your diet or drinking water with lemon juice.
Symptoms: You always heard your skin would be glowing, but growing? You may notice dark patches on your face; a dark line on your belly; spider veins on your arms, chest, neck and face; or bits of skin hanging from your breasts, armpits or neck.
Cause: Your body is producing extra melanin, which causes the dark spots. Increased blood production is to blame for the spider veins. The skin tags are due to friction and hormones.
How to deal: The splotches and spider veins usually fade postpartum, although they may not disappear entirely. Slather on sunblock to minimize darkening, and cover the veins with makeup. A dermatologist can remove the skin tags if they're uncomfortable.