The Side Effects of Pregnancy No One Talks About

Another unfortunate fact: Pregnancy stretch marks are not limited to the abdomen. According to American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG), these marks can appear on the breasts, buttocks, thighs … anywhere you gain weight quickly. These will appear suddenly as angry red-purple streaks and eventually fade to blend more with your skin after delivery, but they won’t go away completely. (Stretch marks are not to be confused varicose veinswhich are swollen, twisted veins that are just under the skin and usually occur in the legs.)

You’re Snoring, You’re Snoring

It’s no secret that sleep becomes elusive when baby comes on the scene, but catching those Zs during pregnancy is no easy task either. If you’ve been a back or belly sleeper, switch to a side sleeping position may take some time to get used to. Then there’s the growing belly that affects your sleeping posture, causing back pain and hip pain that wants to twist and turn. Hormonal changes and a compressed bladder can increase urination and you visit the john at least once a night. Bonus: Even if your bladder doesn’t burst, changes in the pelvic floor can cause incontinence, leaving you needing the bathroom more regularly.

However, none of these complaints are as awkward as the snoring that affects many parents-to-be. Shalini Paruthi, MDmedical co-director of St. Luke’s Sleep Medicine and Research Center, says, “About 30% of pregnant women experience snoring due to hormonal changes, weight gain, and fluid retention, which can lead to inflammation in the upper airways.” In the meantime, quiet your midnight motor by elevating your head with a pillow and sleeping on your side (necessary during pregnancy, anyway).

Even though snoring is considered normal, be sure to let your doctor know if you are snoring or experiencing shortness of breath as this may be a sign of sleep apnea. “Sleep apnea can cause more problems during pregnancy,” warns Dr. Paruthi. “The main warning signs for pregnant women include daytime sleepiness and morning headaches in addition to snoring, choking, or gasping during sleep.”

Pain Morning, Noon, and Night

While morning sickness may seem as run-of-the-mill for pregnancy as bloating, mood swings, and back pain, you might be surprised to learn that its name is a bit misleading. “Morning sickness” is a cruel misnomer perpetuated by ignorant plebeians. The truth is, most pregnant people experience some degree of nausea and an extremely keen sense of smell while expecting, and it’s certainly not confined to the morning hours. Mild to moderate to severe nausea and vomiting can occur daily—and nightly—at any time or all the time. Many expectant parents also experience heartburn, which makes eating more unpleasant.

Although morning sickness usually subsides after the first trimester, don’t expect to wake up suddenly feeling sick in your fourth month. Nausea gradually goes away at different times for different people. For the unlucky minority, it will last through pregnancy.

The best way to calm your gut is to always keep something in it. Take the opportunity to eat even small amounts when cravings strike. When food feels disgusting, snack on crackers or other mild munchies to keep the barf at bay. First thing in the morning, throughout the work day, and even before bed, keep snacking and sipping water. There are also some small remedies out there—wristbands, lollipops, ginger treats, and more—that can offer some relief. Otherwise, you’re pretty much waiting through the rough patch until you feel better.

Note: If you are so sick that you can’t really hold anything back, you may be suffering from a pregnancy complication hyperemesis gravidarum, or severe nausea and vomiting of pregnancy. Keep your health care provider informed about your situation. They may offer medication and want to monitor your weight and water intake. (You may need to go to the hospital for IV fluids if the situation becomes desperate.)

Mirror, Mirror, on the Wall: What the Hell?

You may have heard that a bounty of beauty perks are on the way from the moment you see a positive pregnancy test. That’s true; some people glow with pregnancy, looking more gorgeous than ever. There are, like, five of them. Everyone else gets oiliness, dryness, acne, increased sensitivity, and dark splotches.

While most acne medications (creams, pads, pills) is off the table until after your due datethere are pregnancy-specific skincare lines that work well and won’t harm the baby.

For dryness and sensitivity, moisturise often with gentle products, and be careful in the sun. Lip balm with SPF also helps keep the kisser.

The the dark spots that block the face of many expectant mothers melasma, or the “pregnancy mask.” said Dr. Hamilton says that genetic predisposition, pregnancy hormones (estrogen and progesterone), and UV exposure are to blame for this patchy pigmentation. Your best defense is good sun protection. Dr. recommends Hamilton chooses a sunscreen that includes zinc oxide. “After pregnancy,” said Dr. Hamilton, “lightening creams, chemical peels, and laser treatments can be added to the religious application of sun protection” to reduce the appearance of melasma.

Hair is messy, too—many pregnant women sport fuller, healthier hair as an early sign of pregnancy—but others notice random changes they never expected. I, for one, watched my blond hair turn brassy and all the purple shampoo in the world couldn’t restore my ideal color. A friend of mine with tight spiral curls had her locks go limp for the first time. It all has to do with hormones. If you’ve experienced changes in tone or texture, settle for new styles now, and check back to see how your hair is doing after the postpartum period. Your coif may be back to normal, or you may be looking at a new’ do for good.

Roller Coaster of Desire

Your Libido tends to go down and up and down again throughout pregnancy. In the first trimester, nausea and fatigue may bother you, but in the second trimester, some expectant parents enjoy a renewed rush of desire as energy increases, nausea subsides, and hormones rise. Having sex in the second trimester can mean mega orgasms due to increased blood flow to the region, but you can tell your partner it’s all due to practice.

Later in the third trimester, you’ll have a big belly to contend with, so sexual positioning may take some creativity. Your appetite is likely to decrease as discomfort increases and sleep becomes an elusive—but always enticing—prize. Also, there is the usual leakage effect. As annoying as it may seem, your partner’s touch can cause leaking breasts later in pregnancy. Laugh it off together; Sex is an adventure at any time, but definitely more so when you’re expecting.

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