Ah, pregnancy. It’s a beautiful miracle of nature. A woman makes another human being… inside of herself. It’s wonderful and amazing. Mothers are all superheroes with the ability to make people. While all of that is true, pregnancy is also seriously freaky. For as natural as pregnancy is, there is also something so seemingly unnatural about the whole process. You make a friggin’ baby inside of your body! It seems like the plot for a sci-fi film, but it’s just plain ol’ pregnancy – that thing that’s been happening since the dawn of man.
While pregnant, a plethora of crazy things happen to a woman’s body. Sure, we’ve seen some of these side effects depicted in films and television shows. Aunt Becky has some crazy cravings when she was pregnant with the twins on Full House. The cravings are just the tip of the iceberg, though. A woman’s body does quite a few weird things while it’s going through the process of making another human life. This is not to disrespect women or mothers. In fact, knowing that all mothers had to put up with these peculiar side effects makes them even bigger heroes than they already were.
Yes, pregnancy is a beautiful thing. It’s the miracle of life, but it’s also totally strange. Below are 15 of the weirdest things that happen to a woman’s body when she’s pregnant. If, after you’ve read this piece, you suddenly want to call you mother and thank her for being amazing, you should totally do it. Moms are great.
15. Her Mouth Tastes Like Pennies
The proper term for this side effect is dysgeusia. It’s the taste of metal in one’s mouth. A pregnant woman will sometimes feel like she’s been sucking on pennies in her sleep, which is not a great taste at all. This usually happens during the first trimester and will manifest in a sour, metal taste in one’s mouth. It will even persist when a woman isn’t drinking or eating. Yes, a pregnant woman could be sitting down and reading a book, but her mouth tastes like she’s sucking on quarters. Isn’t making a baby awesome?
What causes this penny mouth? Hormones, of course. Estrogen, in particular, plays a role in controlling the sense of taste. This is why pregnant woman will have a fluctuating sense of taste. For weeks, they could crave hot dogs and suddenly, the smell of a hot dog could make them vomit. While it seems like women are a slave to their craving while pregnant, they are really a slave to their hormones.
14. Chest Takeover
Since female breasts’ main biological purpose is breast-feeding, it makes sense that the breasts would change a lot during pregnancy. While it’s pretty well known that women’s breasts get larger during pregnancy, there are many other changes that come along with that bigger chest.
In the first trimester, a woman’s breasts may be extremely sore, which is from (you guessed it!) hormones. A pregnant woman’s breasts will start to grow as early as week six, which is also another factor of the soreness. Good news for the dads-to-be: a woman’s breasts continue to grow all through pregnancy. This, of course, is good news in the breast department and not too freaky. On to the weirder changes…
A woman’s nipples will appear darker in color and, towards the end of the pregnancy, grow in size. It’s been said that it’s almost like a nipple takeover in the boob department. Her breasts may also appear to have more veins. This is due to the increased blood in her body and the necessary blood flow to her breasts for breast milk. Oh, and a woman my start leaking milk way before her baby is ever born. Yeah, the bigger breasts may be a perk, but they bring about some other weirder side effects.
13. Her Pee Smells Different
A woman’s pee may smell quite different when pregnant. This strange occurrence can actually be due to a couple of reasons.
Some women report that they can smell hCG, human Chorionic Gonadotropin. This is known as the pregnancy hormone. It is what the at-home pregnancy tests detect in a woman’s urine. Smelling this new hormone may be the reason that a woman’s pee smells weird. The idea of smelling a hormone may seem extreme, but women also develop a heightened sense of smell when they are pregnant.
Women also have to stay hydrated while pregnant. The general thinking is that a human should drink 8 glasses of water a day, but pregnant women must drink much more. If they are eating for two, they are also drinking water for two. If a woman is dehydrated, her pee may become more concentrated, thus making her urine smell of ammonia.
12. Her Enhanced Sense of Smell
Being pregnant means you’re a superhero because you are growing a baby inside of you. It also means you’re a superhero because you develop some Spidey senses. How cool, right?
Most women experience an enhanced sense of smell while pregnant, but there are various theories as to why this happens. One theory has to do with a pregnant woman’s blood. Because she has more blood in her body, things moving from her blood to her brain will reach her brain faster. This is one explanation for that heightened sense of smell, as it hits her brain faster. There is also a theory more grounded in evolution. This theory suggests that the enhanced smell is a form of protection that keeps her and her baby from inhaling anything harmful.
While food smells can make a pregnant woman react very strongly, that’s not the only thing her enhanced sense of smell will pick up. A woman can be extra attracted to her partner’s scent while she’s pregnant. This could be a primary instinct, as the idea that he’ll protect you and your child is kicking in. That’s kind of romantic if you think about it.
11. Food Cravings And Aversions
This is one of the odd effects of pregnancy that the media loves to exploit. Like we pointed out earlier, Aunt Becky had some odd cravings on Full House, but it wasn’t just her. Almost any pregnant character will go through some odd cravings for comedic effect. Is the old joke still funny? Was it ever funny? That’s for you to decide, but cravings and aversions are the real deal when pregnant.
Pregnant women will both crave something to the point of needing it, and have such an aversion to something that they are repulsed by the sight or smell of it. They can have pretty extreme feelings about food. One reason women will react so strongly to food is because of those pesky hormones. Women are seriously prisoners of their hormones during pregnancy. Another reason may be because the body is craving what it needs. If it needs calcium or vitamin C, it may be drifting towards one particular item.
Sometimes, it takes a turn and a woman can crave something like ashes or laundry starch. This craving is known as pica. It’s usually a sign of an iron deficiency so, instead of doing something crazy like eating laundry starch, you should see your doctor.
10. Pregnancy Gingivitis
Pregnancy brings about many not-so-fun changes in a woman’s body. There’s the weight gain, the swollen limbs, the morning sickness. We all know about these things, but did you know about pregnancy gingivitis? Yup, it’s a real thing.
Gingivitis is an inflammation of the gums, which doesn’t seem so bad by itself, but it brings many other issues. These swollen gums are more susceptible to bleeding and infection. So, all pregnant women should get ready for their mouths to taste like pennies and their gums to bleed. Sounds lovely, right?
This happens because of that dirty H-word – hormones. Hormones make more blood flow to the gums, which results in sensitive and swollen gums. The hormones also hinder the body’s response to bacteria, meaning your teeth can more easily become infected while you’re pregnant. A bleeding, infected mouth. Great, yay pregnancy!
9. An Innie Belly Button Can Become An Outie
This may not seem like a big deal, but we all know that people with outie belly buttons are evil, right? Alright, I’m kidding. (Kind of.)
Around week 26, women will usually have their belly button “pop” due to their round belly. This causes women with innie belly buttons to have outtie belly buttons. Because of her expanding uterus, a woman’s belly button will sometimes protrude far past the normal outtie level. This will cause her outtie to poke through clothing. Her nipples may also do the same, but that’s due to the hormones. Oh, the hormones.
There is absolutely nothing a woman can do to avoid having a gross outtie belly button. I’m kidding, outties are great. A few months after delivery, her body will start reverting back to its old ways. Her belly button will go back to being an innie, though it may look a little more expanded than it once was.
8. Vivid Dreams
When you’re pregnant, your dreams can take on a whole new life. Women have reported vivid dreams and nightmares, with the ability to remember many more details than one usually remembers about their dreams.
The fact that her dreams are much more vivid could be due to the hormones. You may be starting to see a pattern with the whole hormone thing. However, her emotions may be to blame too. If she is feeling excited or anxious about her new role as a mother, this may be making for some intense dreams as well. These vivid dreams and nightmares can result in disrupted sleep patterns for the mothers-to-be, which is an issue, especially because they will be feeling more fatigue to being with.
One reason that women may recall their dreams with such intense detail is because their sleep patterns are broken to begin with. Many pregnant women will get up to use the bathroom in the middle of the night, thus waking up and being able to recall details from dreams they just had.
7. Baby Brain
Baby brain is a bit of an urban legend, but if you ask most pregnant women they will tell you that baby brain is the real deal. What exactly is baby brain? Well, it’s the idea that pregnancy can affect a woman’s ability to think or remember things. So, being pregnant can make you a ditz, more or less. These cognitive changes can be due to (what else?) hormones. The stress of the impending motherhood and the lack of sleep can also be to blame for baby brain.
There are also doctors who dispel the idea of baby brain, as there is not much science to back it up. They claim that pregnant women will be forgetful simply because they think pregnant women are supposed to become forgetful. It’s the whole human nature thing. We’re guessing none of these doctors ever actually dealt with baby brain, though. If you ask a mother about it, she will usually tell you just how difficult it was to simply remember her keys. Considering that their brains are distracted with the whole making a human being thing, pregnant women get a free pass and are totally allowed to forget their keys.
6. Gestational Diabetes
Pregnancy can give you diabetes. No, I’m not kidding. On top of the weight gain and morning sickness, you can also develop diabetes while pregnant.
Gestational diabetes, like type 1 and 2, causes blood sugar levels to become too high. When a woman is pregnant, her body will naturally become more resistant to insulin, which is the hormone that breaks down and helps your body absorb glucose. This happens so that there is more glucose for the baby. If her body is greedy and keeps taking all of the precious glucose, her baby won’t get any. This all makes sense.
Because of the resistance to insulin, her body will need to produce more insulin in order to break down down the glucose. If the pancreas cannot produce enough insulin to breakdown the glucose, blood sugar levels will rise. Boom, diabetes!
This can be treated and will go away after delivery. However, developing diabetes while pregnant is a crazy effect of pregnancy. It, unfortunately, makes the chance of developing diabetes in the future more likely.
5. Teenage-Style Acne
Ah, as if being a teenager wasn’t hard enough. When a woman is pregnant, she may experience teenager-like acne. Like acne that occurs when you’re a teenager, this is also brought on by hormones. Hormones! What else, guys? They are to blame for everything.
Extra levels of androgens can prompt her sebaceous glands in her skin to enlarge, which boosts the production of sebum. That was a very sciencey sentence. Long story short, it can all lead to bacteria multiplying rapidly and adult acne. What fun!
This is not always a guarantee, though. Some women who have acne-prone skin will experience less acne during their pregnancy. It’s the hormonal dice roll. If you’re lucky enough to not breakout, the water retention and extra blood circulation can lead to that “pregnancy glow.” See? There are some positive aspects to pregnancy – the glow and the whole parenthood thing.
4. Leaking Urine
Not only may your urine smell different, but you also may leak it all over. Fun stuff!
Some women may misidentify this, and worry that their water broke or that they are leaking important fluids. Of course, if a woman worries about this, she should see a healthcare professional just to be sure.
That being said, urine leaks occur quite frequently with expectant mothers. A woman may especially notice that she leaks with she coughs, laughs or sneeze. With all of the extra stuff in your stomach (y’know, a baby) there is less room for her bladder. That will make for less security in the pee department and a few more, err, accidents. It will also make for more trips to the bathroom.
3. Permanent Feet Growth
It’s not just her belly that grows in size when she’s pregnant. Her feet could grow in size as well. What’s even crazier is that unlike most of the other changes women go through while pregnant, her feet may not go back to their original size.
The foot is made up of 26 bones, but also over 30 joints held together but ligaments. While a woman is pregnant, her ligaments will loosen throughout her body. This happens in order to prepare the pelvic joints for the birthing process. After the delivery, the ligaments may simply not snap back, leaving her with larger feet forever. Her weight gain is another factor. Since her body weighs more, her feet have more stress on them. This could cause them to widen and stretch in order to support her body.
This whole issue is different than the simple swelling of the feet, which most women go through. The swelling goes down after pregnancy. If your feet actually stretch in size through the joints, you may have to buy a size up in shoes forever.
2. Hair Growing Everywhere
Because of hormones, her nails and hair will grow. This usually isn’t a problem, as having long, thick, shiny hair is something to which woman usually aspire. That part is great, but the hair doesn’t just grow on her head.
While she’s pregnant, she may grow a mustache. Yes, a fuzzy little mustache above her lip. The fact that the most female thing in the world (pregnancy) can produce a mustache on a woman’s face is a little funny. And, it doesn’t stop there. Her downstairs area will experience the same intense hair growth. If she can’t bend over to put her shoes on, she may not be in the position to groom and maintain her downstairs area. Here’s the real cherry on top – she may also grow hair on her belly and chest. Yes, she may have a hairy chest.
1. Babies Pee And Poop Inside Of You
When the pregnancy gets into the later stages, the baby starts developing more and more human qualities. These human qualities include peeing and pooping… inside of the mother.
Babies actually begin passing urine at about 10 weeks. They will swallow the amniotic fluid, then pee right back into the amniotic fluid. The baby continues to drink said fluid, which is now mixed with his or her pee. The urine is sterile so it’s all good, even if it sounds totally gross.
The placenta actually filters out much of the waste and sends it back to the mother to deal with. This means that there is not a reason for the baby to pass waste while in the womb. However, certain things that the babies swallow will stay in the lower intestine and accumulate for the baby’s first poop, called meconium. This is usually passed a day or two after the birth… unless they can’t wait. Some babies pass it while they’re still inside mommy dearest. This will be absorbed into the amniotic fluid. In fact, 10-20% of deliveries show signs of meconium in the amniotic fluid. That’s a 10-20% chance your baby will poop inside of you. INSIDE OF YOU! Is that is not the freakiest thing you’ve ever heard about pregnancy?
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