I wanted to take a moment to recognize and discuss the weird things about pregnancy. Like the things that no one really publicly talks about and has you Google-ing and asking your doctor if these things are “normal”. Often the Google-ing resulted in me being scared into thinking I was having a miscarriage or some rare disease so I wanted to share some of my personal experiences incase you are going through the same. Keep in mind that I am NOT a doctor, and any concerns you have should be talked about with your’s, but hopefully some of my experiences can give you a little peace of mind.
Cramps…like A LOT of cramping.
So this was a really scary one for me because they started around 9 weeks pregnant and continued to get more painful and more often until about 18 weeks pregnant. Any time I exercised or moved quickly (such as getting in or out of the car or the bed), I would get strong cramp-like pains on one side of my lower belly or the other. I also experienced really bad cramping (but all over cramping, not localized cramping like this time) when I did have a miscarriage in the pregnancy before, so any time I cramped I was worried it was happening again. And the fact that they got worse and not better scared me more. I never had an spotting (bleeding) that accompanied the cramping, so my doctor said it was likely nothing to worry about, but instead “Round Ligament Pain”. The round ligaments surround your lower belly and as your uterus expands and gets larger, these ligaments have to stretch to make room for the growth. Some women don’t feel much as all, but some feel sharp, short cramps as the ligaments stretch. As long as the pain doesn’t last longer than a few seconds, it is apparently nothing to worry about. And fortunately, the cramps seem to have subsided the last couple weeks, so I’m feeling much better at 21 weeks pregnant.
Itchy all Over
This one was weird and also slightly scary. I didn’t have specific localized itchy spots (such as just my stomach which could be PUPPS, or just my hands and feet which can be signs of a liver condition) but instead I was itchy all over. All my clothes would make me more itchy, rubbing on my skin, and I was worried I had symptoms of a different concerning condition. Fortunately, I was put at ease when I found out itchy all over is a common reaction to there being much more blood supply to the skin during pregnancy. Did you know your blood volume doubles while pregnant?!
So much discharge! Ever since about 10 weeks pregnant, my vaginal discharge has increased dramatically. I know this might make some readers uncomfortable but I think something as common as female discharge should be a healthy and open conversation. It is milky white/clear, has no odour, and is watery with a little mucus consistency. The increase is most obvious in the mornings when I wake up, gushing out all at once, and then there will be a couple more flows wetting my underwear during the day. At first this worried me too, but my doctor said as long as there is no odour, no colour, and no blood, the discharge is very normal and a good thing. It means I’m having a healthy pregnancy. So now that I know this is a regular occurrence, put a liner pad in my underwear every morning.
In connection to the increase of mucus discharge, I also have what seems to be a never ending mucus filled nose. It actually has a name: “pregnancy rhinitis“. While extra mucus is being created for the baby in the uterus to protect it, excess mucus is also being created every where else, like my nose! So I constantly have moments of feeling “stuffed up” and need to blow my nose all the time, but again, this is very common and healthy during pregnancy. This is caused by pregnancy encouraging production of higher levels of the hormone estrogen.
Everyone knows that breasts get tender and larger almost immediately when you first find out you’re pregnant. At first they are sensitive like you’re just about to get your period, then they get so sensitive it hurts to put on tight bras, sleep on them or to even touch them. But what I did not realize is that not only do your boobs grow, but the size of your areola and your nipples can grow! They can also change colour (mine haven’t, yet) but I’m definitely seeing changes in shape and size of everything to do with my breasts! In 21 weeks I’ve already grown from a B bra size to a D bra size, and I’ve been told they get even larger once I start breast feeding…how many new bras am I going to need to buy?!
Those are the symptoms I’ve experienced that needed additional explanation or confirmation that they were normal, so I hope this blog helps you feel normal too! All pregnancies are unique, so you may not experience ANY of these symptoms, and you may have even more questions now, so please do your own research, talk to friends and definitely your doctor. Ultimately anything that is worrying you should be discussed further because we want ourselves and our baby as happy and stress-free as possible. 🙂