When we envisage pregnancy we imagine a glowing face, a blooming bump and eating for 2. I found that I was very naive about what pregnancy could actually entail and I still feel that a lot of areas are not discussed enough or if they are it isn’t in the appropriate detail that we need. We have come through times where talking about personal issues is a no-no but I feel we are now in a society where we want the information, where we need to hear the truth and want to be far more prepared for what will happen during pregnancy, birth and when the baby arrives. It is time to speak out about those unexpected symptoms and shed a light on the areas that may be a little embarrassing or even debilitating during those nine months.
Ok, first off it is not ″morning″ sickness. What I have learnt about pregnancy sickness is this:
- It can start at any time of day
- It can go on for the entire day
- You may not feel sick at all… if you are lucky
- You may feel sick and never actually be sick
- You may be sick for the whole nine months
- You may vomit without even realising it is going to come up
- Tiredness is a big contributor to feeling sick
- Feeling nauseous without being sick can be hard work and draining
I spoke to some other bloggers (to find out more about them just click on their names) to gain their perspectives on pregnancy symptoms and Lyndsey had this to say on sickness:
″Morning sickness can actually mean having no warning, throwing up exactly where you are, even if you’re at work in a children’s play area!″
Yep, the first stages of pregnancy can be quite classy eh! Do not believe what you see in the movies where the woman throws up once in the morning and then functions normally for the rest of the day, this symptom can be very severe and can take over your life.
″I always thought morning sickness was just actually being sick but it’s not. It’s mostly feeling nauseous and sometimes even the thought of stepping foot in a supermarket can make you feel green.″
″I never knew there were so many “cures” for “morning” sickness – but none worked and the sickness lasts all day and not just in the first 12 weeks.″
This is where your sickness escalates and can become a very serious problem. I must admit that I have only just been made aware of this condition recently. I didn’t know that sickness could become this severe when I was pregnant and I hadn’t heard of anyone I knew having suffered with it. It is quite scary that you can go through an entire pregnancy and not know of this symptom. With food and drink not being kept down this condition will often see the woman be hospitalised for fluids and it can last the whole pregnancy. I think this symptom needs more awareness and focus so women realise when their sickness has perhaps gone too far and understand when they need to receive medical help.
Hahahaha, you would also have a glow if you were feeling nauseous, had been sick and were having hot flushes every now and then… to me it is no symptom of health but one which results due to other symptoms.
Jade didn’t get the glow at all and had this to say:
″The ‘glow’ is just made up and is fantasy like the Easter bunny and the tooth fairy…″
I didn’t personally experience these but I have heard of other women who suffered at some point with nose bleeds during their pregnancy. You can blame those damn hormones for these!
Suzanne told me this:
″Nose bleeds! Just when you stop bleeding out of one orifice it comes out your snozz.″
The actual reason for these cramps isn’t known. We can guess that extra weight and pressure on the legs can affect the muscles or that the hormones affect blood flow but whatever the reason a lot of women will suffer from them and it will mostly occur at night when you are laying in bed.
Danielle suffered and told me:
″Leg muscle cramps… they were the bane of my life. I woke up in agony most nights and they lasted ages and I could only hobble afterwards. I did not know it was even a thing before!″
″Calf cramps, oh I had them in all three pregnancies in the middle of the night and they were horrific!″
Restless Leg Syndrome
Oh, I remember these and it’s funny because when I do it’s almost as though I can feel it in my legs again! It is the strangest sensation and always happened at night for me… again probably because of the extra weight being carried and my legs being tired at the end of the day. The sensations can vary from tingling to burning and feeling the need to move your legs to take away the odd feelings.
″No one tells you about restless leg syndrome. Oh my goodness, I wanted to chew my own legs off!″
There is always the joke around cravings and how crazy some women’s tastes become but for me it was a nightmare to know what to eat and when because something that may have been my favourite food one week would make me feel nauseous another week! I did turn to strawberries and Mars bars for most of my pregnancy and went completely off other foods that I would usually love but I couldn’t wait until it was over so I could regain my normal appetite.
″I knew about cravings but didn’t realise it went the other way too – I couldn’t stomach a lot of my favourite foods or drinks. Can’t believe I went pretty much my whole first trimester without wanting a cup of tea!″
Cravings can also be dangerous if the woman cannot control her urges.
Collette told me:
″I didn’t think that I would develop a craving for ice cubes and Radox bubble bath. I literally felt like I could eat the bubbles!″
They can also be a sign that there is something wrong.
″I didn’t realise cravings could be your body telling you the nutrients you need – I craved spinach and later found out I was really anaemic″
This is such a taboo topic, isn’t it? Yet most women will suffer during or after pregnancy simply because of the strain that is placed on the bladder and the pelvic floor. If more women talked about this I think there would be fewer suffering for so long in silence. You have carried a baby and pushed it out… it is ok that your body may be failing you in some way. If you are sitting there knowing that you have an issue but haven’t told anybody, please do. The solution could be so simple.
Lisa told me:
″The worst thing for me was the urinary incontinence. Admittedly much worse in my second pregnancy than the first but still an issue. Not being to cough or laugh let alone jump/run without wetting yourself a bit! Not fun!″
This was the bane of my pregnancy. I would literally carry the largest bottle of Gaviscon in my bag at work and glug at it throughout the day! I gave up on dosage rates and using a spoon- when you are in that much pain you just want it to go away. I wish I had known about this symptom and I really wished that people would stop telling me that it was because I must have been having a baby with a lot of hair… damn old wives’ tales!
″Nobody told me about the heartburn how painful it is and annoying every night before bed when you get it makes me want to cry.″
Laura had a tough time with a few symptoms and told me:
″I got the nose bleeds and heartburn too. Especially in the 3rd trimester. I also hated pregnancy, to be honest. I gave birth in August and travelling into London every day in the heat was almost unbearable at times. I also threw up on my steering wheel when I was stuck in traffic one day. Not a proud moment!″
You think this arrives once the baby does but your body feels as though it needs to prepare you in time for your bundle of joy and during my third trimester I found that I would be wide awake at 1am. I ended up watching quite a few films in those last weeks!
″Insomnia like full on being awake ALL night. With my first I was awake here and there with my second I got quite good at pulling all-nighters!″
These little things will take over your body and will be the reason for most/all of these symptoms. We are all different and will be affected in differing ways. Some women are very lucky to sail through their pregnancy and to feel amazing due to their hormones but I think the majority of us suffer in some way at some stage. Most women can relate to becoming more emotional and may cry over the smallest things. Others may become angrier, have a shorter fuse and get wound up by the tiniest issues.
Lyndsey told me:
″Loads of hormones! Should be labelled as involuntary going ballistic at your partner for forgetting x, y or z.″
I hadn’t heard of this one but blogger Ayse told me that this was a huge problem for her sister and the over production can be quite a common complaint. I think we can blame those hormones again!
″My sisters biggest symptom was phlegm! I didn’t even know that was a possibility – thankfully I never had it because it drove me mad (her too!)″
The relaxin hormone is responsible for the softening of our ligaments in the pelvis in order to prepare the body for labour. However, it also relaxes other areas and can lead to injuries if you don’t exercise safely or if you push your body past its limits. This hormone also remains in the body for up to 2 years after birth so can continue to cause issues.
Lauren’s situation was quite severe:
″No one told me about the relaxin hormone – all my muscles moving and stretching, couldn’t do anything without pulling one!! Rolling over & getting out of bed was impossible!″
Headaches and migraines can become issues during pregnancy but what would you do if you had blurred vision or hearing loss?! I cannot believe no one mentioned this to me! Both temporary conditions may I add!
″Blurred vision was a new one for me this time around! And my friend who was pregnant at the same time went deaf!″
Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
This condition can occur due to the swelling in the wrists which puts pressure on the median nerve.
″I suffered from carpal tunnel syndrome when pregnant. If anything jarred by hands or wrists – I yelped with shooting pains!″
Another of those symptoms that you may not want to discuss but diarrhoea can be a sign of dehydration and constipation can, unfortunately, lead to Haemorrhoids. Keep an eye on how you feel and monitor your movements.
″No one told me that pregnancy can do bizarre things to your bowels, from constipation to diarrhoea. I had mild diarrhoea every day of my second pregnancy from start to end!″
I have been told quite a few times about how sinuses can be affected by pregnancy. Lucy had this to say:
″I didn’t know that pregnancy could irritate your sinuses and give you a permanent cold-type-thing. Combine that with not being able to take hay fever tablets and I tore a chest muscle sneezing so much! Ouch″
″I definitely had a stuffed up nose! And a hiccup type burp after every meal. Oh, the glamour!″
This is a liver disorder which can rear its ugly head during pregnancy causing the normal flow of bile to reduce within in the body. Bile salts then leak into the blood stream resulting in symptoms such as itching, loss of appetite and feeling unwell.
Natasha told me of her experience:
″I suffered from Obstetric Cholestasis and nobody had mentioned to me that feeling very itchy was a symptom which could have had very serious implications. It was only bearable with a menthol aqueous cream (prescribed) but it was pretty miserable. I was monitored a lot after diagnosis and then induced at 37 weeks because of it (my 2 other pregnancies ended at 42 weeks)″
I have no experience of this but I wanted to include it because when I spoke to Beth she highlighted an area of pregnancy that I wouldn’t usually think about.
″I had twins and all throughout my pregnancy I was scared half to death and told they would almost certainly be born early, need to go to the neonatal unit and be small. No one talked positively and/or optimistically it all felt doom and gloom. My girls were born exactly at 37weeks at healthy weights and never left my side. I wish there was more positivity towards multiple births.″
These are just a handful of symptoms and areas that some of us women have come across through our own first-hand experience of being pregnant and I could have written more as I was inundated with information… it could probably be created into a book!
Some of these symptoms can be quite funny and we can laugh because we know the end is coming but for others, they can completely take over your life and have a negative effect on what you believe is going to be the best stage of your life. Whichever conditions/symptoms come to light you will get through it all and speaking out about them will also help… as you can see, many women have been through it before and can offer you help and advice.
Do you have any more to add? Let me know