Pregnancy books are full of the same information that tells you you'll poof up, get stretch marks, your breasts will swell, you'll probably puke, your sense of smell will improve, and Hallmark commercials will make you cry harder than Steel Magnolias.
There are lots of other things to know about your pregnancy as well, things that don't get mentioned nearly as often, really strange pregnancy symptoms, and some that might be too embarrassing to mention to anyone.
So, what weird things might you face during pregnancy? Let's take a look:
1. You can get nosebleeds. This actually is often due to the increased blood in the body, causing the blood vessels expand. I was shocked to learn this after waking up looking like I belonged in a horror movie.
2. You might be a snot factory. If your nose isn't bleeding everywhere, it might be dripping mucous. Your body can make you stuffy, which can be a relief from your overwhelming sense of smell coupled with nausea.
3. Pushing anything out can be tough. Constipation is the bane of many a pregnant woman, though take heart ... days before birth, your body will often clean you out pretty thoroughly. Don't push too hard trying though, or ...
4. You'll get hemorrhoids. Painful, embarrassing, and annoying. Get some Tucks pads or witch hazel wipes/pads. Pat rather than wipe. Ouch.
5. Random hair growth is normal. Unfortunately, I'm not just talking about your curly locks, but it's not uncommon for pregnant women to sprout random hairs in other places, like their back, shoulder, butt. Ew.
6. You might sweat ... a lot. Wake up drenched in sweat? You might be pregnant. While there are other serious things that can cause a sudden sweat-bath, early pregnancy can be considered as well.
7. You'll look like a road map. Veins can pop up everywhere, especially on your legs. Just what you need to complement the stretch marks, right?
8. Your favorite phrase will be: Is it hot in here? Hot flashes aren't just for women in menopause. I became aware of this one after wanting to strip in my OB's office and complained about the heat.
9. You'll still need pads. Just because you're not bleeding doesn't mean you're in the clear ... leaky mucous and pee (especially when you laugh or sneeze) might sneak out so your undies may be in need of protection.
10. You'll need a bib. Okay, not quite, but pregnancy can make you drool, literally. It can also make your gums a lot more sensitive, but because oral health problems are linked to preterm birth risk, see a dentist if you see pink in the sink.
11. You'll look like a teen or dalmatian. Not everyone gets radiant skin, but instead there's a slew of pregnant women who experience tons of acne or even blotchy spots and patches all over their face and their whole body.
12. Your nipples change. While you're ogling your new boobs, you might also notice your areolas and nipples have gotten darker, huge, and covered in lumps. This is to help a baby who can only feel things and see contrast locate your boobs, since now they look like giant targets.
13. You're stupid. Pregnant women lack normal short-term memory, concentration, and learning ability. Read those breastfeeding books and learn to install the car seat before you're too dumb to remember.
14. You're going blind, too. As if being klutzy, constipated, and forgetful isn't bad enough, your eyes change during pregnancy as well. Thanks to fluid retention and hormones, your eyeballs can change shape, leaving you unable to read the McDonald's menu from the order box. Don't get new glasses until you're way past birth and preferably even done breastfeeding since you need your hormones level again before shelling out dough for new lenses. If it's anything like tunnel vision or spots though, let your doctor know ASAP.
15. You can leak. It's not just women who are newly engorged who can leak breast milk. You start making colostrum -- the only food your baby will need for up to their first week -- about halfway through pregnancy. It's a good time to try out different breast pads to see which you like best.
16. You might get carpal tunnel syndrome. Forty-five percent of pregnant women experience carpal tunnel syndrome, again likely due to swelling and fluid retention, this time putting pressure on nerves in your arms and wrists. Fortunately, it goes away for most women.
17. You might need new shoes. A combination of swelling, the chemical relaxin, which helps spread out your ligaments, your extra weight, and change in posture can make your feet spread out, often enough to warrant new shoes, possibly permanently destroying your use of your entire shoe wardrobe forever. I sadly went up more than a shoe size per pregnancy. Bye-bye dainty 4.5 shoes, hello average 7s.
18. Your head might ache. Hormones and changes in posture can all contribute to headaches.
19. Your can get dizzy or even faint. Especially in the last trimester, when standing in one place for too long (say, the grocery store) or even for seemingly no reason at all, you can come dangerously close to fainting, or even pass out. Pay close attention and sit down in the middle of the grocery store if you need to, don't try to "push through."
20. None of this will matter. No matter how much pregnancy sucks, even for people who have very, very difficult ones, once your baby is in your arms, all the discomfort will be totally worth it.
What was the weirdest thing you experienced during pregnancy?
Image via skye underwater/Flickr