13 Unusual Pregnancy Symptoms from Congestion to Canker Sores
Oh, the joys of pregnancy! Morning sickness, breast tenderness, extreme tiredness, and a missed period are all pretty clear-cut signs that you have a little bundle of joy on the way. However, there are many women, including myself, who found that their initial clues were a little less obvious. If you suspect that you are expecting, here is a rundown of some of the more unusual pregnancy symptoms to look out for in the first few weeks of pregnancy.
1. Heightened Sense Of Smell
Pregnancy hormones can trigger an array of symptoms in the first trimester. While most women experience the obvious indicators of pregnancy at the end of their first month, there are more subtle signs that can appear before a positive home pregnancy test even occurs! One of these surprising symptoms of pregnancy is a new mom’s transformation into a super-smeller! This condition is called hyperosmia.
This innate ability to suddenly decipher what spices are used in every single dish is all thanks to the rapidly rising levels of human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG) and estrogen in your body. Unfortunately, most women note that this heightened sense of smell does not go away until the baby arrives and it is one of the main triggers for morning sickness and food aversions.
Thus, the best remedy is to avoid unsavory smells. Cooking can be a big trigger for expectant moms so consider eating cold meals like salads and sandwiches when possible. Moreover, chewing gum or lighting lemon-scented candles can also help to mask unwanted odors.
Throughout pregnancy, your blood volume will increase by approximately fifty percent! This increased blood flow is necessary to create new life, but it can also put pressure on your smaller blood vessels, like the ones found in your nose. Regrettably, this can cause nosebleeds and those ladies who live in drier climates tend to experience this common symptom more often.
In order to prevent this from occurring, try to stay indoors on exceptionally dry days and run a humidifier in your home. Moreover, avoid blowing your nose. This quick and sudden pressure change can put more stress on your already strained vessels, causing them to rupture. However, if a nosebleed does occur, sit upright and pinch the center of your nose. Hold this position for a few minutes and continue until the bleeding stops.
3. Pregnancy Congestion
Speaking of blowing your nose, that same increase in blood volume causes the open space in your nostrils to shrink as the vessels expand. Additionally, your body will retain more water during your pregnancy. Add in seasonal allergies, pollutants, and other environmental triggers and it is no surprise that pregnant women experience runny noses, congestion, and stuffy noses throughout those nine months.
The best solutions for this early sign of pregnancy are to run a HEPA filter in your home, take antihistamines (that are approved by your healthcare provider), and sleep with your head elevated. Moreover, taking hot showers and staying hydrated can also help!
4. Heartburn & Indigestion
As your hormone levels rise, your body is designed to relax to accommodate for the growth that will occur over the next nine months. However, this loosening is not localized to your lower abdomen. It occurs all throughout your body, including the valve at the base of your esophagus. This can lead to stomach acid moving in the wrong direction. Unfortunately, this only becomes exacerbated as the pregnancy progresses because the baby takes up more and more room in your abdomen, therefore pushing everything upward.
Referred to as acid reflux or GERD, this condition can lead to extreme discomfort. The best way to avoid heartburn is to eat small meals throughout the day, not lie down immediately after eating and steer clear of trigger foods that could make the symptoms worse. These can be spicy dishes, greasy foods, citrus-based fruits, and even caffeine.
Those pesky hormonal changes will also relax your colon. This, in turn, slows down digestion. Constipation is one of the more uncomfortable first signs of pregnancy, that can stick around through all the stages of pregnancy. Worst of all, your prenatal vitamins can actually exacerbate the symptoms. Why? Since your blood volume increases so rapidly, you need to increase your iron intake. These supplements provide you with the excess that you need, but a side effect of increased iron is constipation.
In order to counteract these changes, you need to drink A LOT of water. Moreover, add specific fruits to your diet. As the saying goes, an apple a day keeps the doctor away! However, you can also eat pears, prunes, and citrus fruits to remedy this potty problem.
6. Bleeding Gums
Yet again, those increased hormone levels bring another unusual pregnancy symptom to the mix. Bleeding gums, otherwise known as pregnancy gingivitis, are a more common symptom for women who have plaque buildup. This is because the plaque causes inflammation. Just like with your nose, your gums are very vascular and the tissue is thin. Thus, the added blood volume in your body paired with the inflammation makes bleeding inevitable.
While most moms-to-be notice this symptom while brushing, it is imperative that you continue practicing good dental hygiene. This also includes regular checkups with the dentist. Furthermore, avoid foods that can easily get stuck in your gums. Popcorn and seeds are normally the biggest culprits when it comes to this issue.
7. Tooth Loss
While one of the more uncommon pregnancy symptoms is tooth loss can occur during pregnancy. This is due to an array of factors including pregnancy hormones, indulging in regular cravings for sweet treats, and contracting pregnancy gingivitis. The Centers For Disease Control notes that “if gingivitis is not treated, the bone that supports the teeth can be lost, and the gums can become infected. Teeth with little bone support can become loose and may eventually have to be extracted.”
Again, the best method of prevention is engaging in good oral hygiene habits and limiting your sugar intake. Moreover, drink plenty of water throughout the day to help flush away any food debris. While this may increase urination, it is better than the potential alternative.
8. Canker Sores
Canker sores are ulcers found in the mouth. While hormones and stress can cause these to arise, the more pertinent trigger is a lack of folic acid. Since this is a crucial vitamin in your baby’s development, it is imperative that you pay attention to this seemingly odd pregnancy symptom.
If you are not taking a daily prenatal vitamin, start taking them immediately! Conversely, if you are staying on top of your folic acid intake, then continue brushing and flossing. For those who develop canker sores during pregnancy, warm water rinses and staying away from foods that may irritate the area is the best course of treatment. The sores should subside within about two weeks.
9. Carpal Tunnel
Throughout your pregnancy, a normal woman is expected to gain between 25 and 35 pounds. What you may not realize is that 25% of that weight gain is fluid! This build-up can put pressure on your nerves, causing pain in your wrists. Carpal tunnel can also cause numbness and tingling in the hands.
In order to limit these symptoms, you must give the area time to rest. This can be extremely hard for those who work on a computer. Thus, take small breaks throughout the day and maintain good posture. Moreover, elevating your hands can help to push the excess fluid away from the region and alleviate some of the pressure. Lastly, like many other symptoms, water is a great solution! Frequent urination is worth removing the discomfort in your extremities.
10. Skin Itchiness
The sudden feeling of dry and itchy skin is not related to the weather — it is due to your growing belly! As you transition into your second trimester, your tummy will become more pronounced. This stretching depletes the moisture in the dermis, so the best remedy is simply to moisturize. Look for products with shea and cocoa butters, Vitamin E, and oils to help nourish the skin. This will assist with any discomfort and prevent stretch marks!
11. Lightning Crotch
As the name implies, this is a sudden and sharp pain that occurs in your nether regions. It normally only lasts a few seconds, but it will sure stop you in your tracks! It is normally triggered by round ligament pain, your baby moving around, or your belly dropping.
This jolt of discomfort can occur any time in your pregnancy, but it is more likely when you are farther along. The best remedies are Kegel exercises, daily stretching, and wearing a belly band. While shocking, this is a normal symptom that most pregnant women experience at some point before the baby comes.
12. Metallic Taste In The Mouth
Estrogen is to blame for the ongoing changes that occur with your sense of taste throughout pregnancy. This leads to food cravings and aversions as well as more unusual sensations, like the feeling that you are eating pennies. Interestingly enough, this taste can arise with and without the presence of food. Officially called dysgeusia, this symptom is quite common in the first trimester. While you can’t prevent it, you can diminish this nasty flavor by consuming acidic foods like oranges and pickles.
While food cravings are one of the most common early symptoms of pregnancy, having an appetite for non-food items like paper, dirt, chalk, and soap, can also occur. This condition is called pica and it is theorized that pregnant women experience this phenomenon because they are lacking in essential vitamins and minerals.
This can be exacerbated by vomiting brought on by morning sickness or increased bathroom visits flushing out your system thanks to the hormone progesterone. No matter what the cause, it is important that you do not indulge in these odd urges. Instead, talk to your healthcare provider about running blood tests to determine what nutrients you are lacking so that you can supplement them and help to nip these weird cravings in the bud.
Pregnancy is a constant period of adjustment. While most symptoms are completely normal, others can arise as a signal that you or your baby need something. Do not be afraid to talk to your doctor or ask seemly stupid questions. This is a new experience and every pregnancy is different! It is always better to be safe than sorry.
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Heidi is an experienced journalist who worked in the television news industry for a decade, where she gave local forecasts as an award-winning meteorologist, was a reporter, hosted a lifestyle show, and contributed to a weekl