You’re pregnant! Congratulations!
Now you are doing your research because you are noticing things changing with your body. Undeniably embarrassing changes that are difficult to talk about out loud.
Perhaps this is your first pregnancy and you’re just learning all the tips you can get your little eye balls on. Or maybe you’re an experienced mother looking for a reference to share with your pregnant friend – because let’s face it, these discussions need not take place – rather the topics brought forth here can may qualify as a resource that you might use for yourself or a pregnant friend.
Follow this list, in alphabetic order, to see what’s happening to your body as your pregnancy progresses. These awkward moments need defining, without the uncomfortable conversation.
Mayo Clinic reports that acne during pregnancy is not different from regular acne. They go on to explain that research shows that acne may become a problem during pregnancy. Hormone imbalances can cause an excess amount of sebum to be produced, which leads to acne while pregnant. This is only one possible cause. Research suggests that it is not clear what exactly causes acne problems to occur (or to become worse) during pregnancy.
Vaginal acne can also be a symptom to deal with related to a swollen, damp vulva. You should treat vaginal acne the way you would treat pimples anywhere else. Beware that topical creams will enter your bloodstream through your skin and affect your baby. Always discuss therapy and relief for acne with your doctor.
According to kidshealth.org, constipation during pregnancy is common because hormones slow the rate of food passing through the gastrointestinal tract. During the later stages of pregnancy, your uterus may push against your large intestine, making it difficult to have a bowel movement.
Some tips for avoiding (or easing) constipation:
Foods that are high in fiber (whole-grain breads, fresh fruit, whole-grain cereals, brown rice, vegetables and beans) are very helpful.
A minimum of six glasses of water should be consumed each day (maximum of eight). Fruit juice can also help, with prune juice being the preferred kind. A glass of warm water consumed as soon as you wake up could also help.
Exercise regularly – Walking, swimming, riding a bike and yoga can all help to ease constipation
Increased hormones and vaginal blood flow can cause a sticky white or pale yellow discharge, appearing constantly throughout your pregnancy. You may consider wearing a lightweight sanitary pad and using personal wipes for quick cleansing. It is not recommended to douche or use vaginal deodorants; they can be irritating. As a side note, you should know that the discharge should not carry with it any odor. If it itches, burns or turns a yellowish green, you may have an infection. Otherwise if it becomes very thick or watery you may want to consult your doctor.
4. Facial Hair
Hormonal changes are doing lots of things to your body, including growing hair in places you might not expect. Some women grow excess facial hair and/or hair around the nipples and abdomen. According to Bruce Katz, M.D. and founder for the Juva Skin and Laser Center in Manhattan, “most women lose a significant amount of hair in the postpartum period or after they stop breastfeeding.” He also suggests to “skip laser hair removal or depilatory creams while pregnant.
Furthermore, it is stated that your facial and body hair may grow faster when you’re pregnant.
Hemorrhoids are common during pregnancy, particularly in the third trimester. They are likely a causes of your constipation but also consider that your blood volume has increased and your uterus is putting pressure on your pelvis. Because of this, the veins in your rectum may enlarge into grape-like clusters.
Hemorrhoids may bleed, itch or sting, especially during or after a bowel movement and they can be extremely painful. In most cases, it is stated that hemorrhoids that developed during pregnancy will begin to resolve soon after giving birth.
Odor is an unpleasant effect that often accompanies pregnancy.
Health and Parenting reports that vaginal odor is a common effect that accompanies pregnancy. Hormone production is increased and the moisture level within the vaginal area are also enhanced. This often also puts the pregnant woman at a higher risk of obtaining bacterial or yeast infections. These infections may also be the cause of the unpleasant odor. In these cases, a visit to a doctor would be the best approach. Reports also claim that as much as 65% of pregnant women experience this effect. Some experience a stronger odor than others.
A doctor will usually be able to run several tests in order to ensure the odor is not caused by anything harmful. Should these tests results be negative, then reports claim that the changes to hormones may be the source behind the odor. These effects usually go away after birth. While experiencing these unpleasant odors, women can ensure their vaginal area are dry at all times and they can frequently put on a clean pair of underwear. Underwear made from cotton are usually recommended. Other tips include switching to a lighter pad and having feminine wipes with you at all times. These tips will help pregnant woman who feel conscious about their odor.
WebMD reports that excess gas is quite normal in pregnant women. This is mainly due to surges in hormones, which, as a result, causes the gastrointestinal tract’s processes to slow down. Michelle Smith also explains that, during a non-pregnancy period, it is relatively easy to realize when a gas buildup occurs, thus allowing the woman to put herself in a private situation in order to pass gas. She also explains that, during pregnancy, passing gas may become a problem as it can be unexpected at times.
In order to enhance the gastrointestinal tract’s mobility, exercise is recommended. This allows the food to transfer through the system at a faster rate, which leads to less gas being produced.
Keep in mind that if you’re battling with constipation, this could be an additional side effect.
8. Ingrown Hairs
You’re more susceptible to ingrown hairs because you’re producing more progesterone and your body has an accelerated metabolism. This causes sebaceous glands to get clogged with sweat and dead skin cells. The estrogen flowing through your body may cause hair on your head to become thicker, but different hormones are responsible for the growth of hair in pubic areas, which means hair may not always become thicker – thus the results achieved from shaving, waxing and through the use of depilatory creams may not be as effective during pregnancy.
Read Also: Hair Changes During Pregnancy: Facts and Myths
9. Yeast Infections
Some doctors blame pregnancy hormones for altering vaginal pH which allows yeast to grow, creating these infections. One recommendation is to wait before you dress after a shower, allowing your vaginal area to dry completely. Another suggestion is to avoid wearing underwear at nighttime. Wear breathable cotton underwear and avoid pantyhose and tight pants.
Finally, always feel free to discuss your issues with your physician. While it may seem embarrassing, the doctors all know what you’re dealing with. It is important for you to understand what is happening to your body for your own health and sanity and the health of your baby. Unwanted stress can cause implications in your pregnancy that can be avoided with proper communication.
Cleveland Clinic explains that additional pressure is added to the bladder during the period of pregnancy. The main concern regarding the additional stress applied to the area is the bladder sphincter, which lays at the bottom of the bladder. The bladder sphincter acts as a muscular valve and is responsible for opening and closing to control urinary flow. The stress thus causes the bladder sphincter to malfunction at certain times, such as when the pregnant women coughs or sneezes. This often leads to a urine leak.
While this problem is relatively common amongst pregnant women, the condition can continue to be a problem even after childbirth. The excessive stress placed upon the bladder sphincter, combined with the effects childbirth has on the woman’s pelvic area, can lead to weakened nerves in the area, as well as weaker pelvic floor muscles. It is recommended to perform 10 sets of kegel exercises per day in order to strengthen these muscles and to alleviate the problem. Each set of kegel exercises should contain a total of 10 reps, with each rep lasting 10 seconds.
Some bleeding during pregnancy is okay. It is actually common, especially during the first trimester and usually, there is no cause for alarm. As bleeding could be a sign of something serious, it’s important to speak with your doctor regarding your symptoms.
Reports claim that up to 30% of women may experience bleeding in the first 12 weeks of their pregnancy. An increased amount of blood supplied to the cervix is the main cause behind this bleeding. Spotting may also be present following sexual intercourse or pap smear. Terry Hoffman explains that they use a relatively small brush to swab vaginal cultures during the first visit. During this process, blood is seen in up to 25% of cases.
Take note that some women will experience spotting known as Implantation Bleeding. This occurs within the first six to twelve days after you conceive as the fertilized egg implants itself in the lining of the uterus. It is stated that some women don’t realize they are pregnant because they mistake this bleeding for a light period.