In case you missed the announcement (since I’ve been kinda quiet around here), we’re expecting in April! After learning we’re pregnant with our third girl, I can say without a shadow of a doubt that every pregnancy is different!
I started compiling a list of the weirdest pregnancy symptoms I’ve experienced, because I honestly wish someone would have told me about some of these and less about stretch marks!
Stinky. Breath. GROSS! I worked at a dental office when I was pregnant with my oldest, and no matter how much I brushed my teeth and tongue, I still had a foul taste in my mouth, and my husband even commented a few times. It was so embarrassing, and thankfully peppermint helped my insane morning sickness, because I needed mints A LOT. At first I told myself that it was from eating different foods or hormones or throwing up, but even when those things leveled out, I still had really stinky breath. I finally asked my dentist and hygienists and they told me it’s common in pregnancy. Who knew? I definitely wish I’d been given a heads up about that sooner!
Extreme “Morning” Sickness
There’s morning sickness, which doesn’t necessarily only occur in the mornings, and then there’s extreme morning sickness or hyperemesis gravidarum, HG. I learned Princess Kate had it, which helped a little, but wow, let’s talk about misery. I threw up a few times a week with my first daughter, but HG with my pregnancy with my second daughter made me SO much sicker. I actually lost weight the first few weeks of the first trimester, and was throwing up around the clock. NOTHING helped, and I mean nothing — if you’ve seen it on Pinterest or Google, trust me I tried it and more. Eventually, when I was waking up 2-3x a night to throw up, I had to call in professional help. I got a prescription for Diclegis, which is a delayed-release combination of doxylamine (Unisom) and pyroxidine (B6). It stopped the constant vomiting, but made me constipated and gave me some of the most disturbing, awful dreams at night. Eventually I learned I can take an over the counter Unisom and some B6 candies with a similar effect (not delayed release, so it required more diligence on my part, but I welcomed the relief from the horrible dreams).
I touched on this above, but for some women, since hormones in pregnancy make your metabolism/digestion slow down, it can also make you constipated. Certain antiemetics can exacerbate this effect, as can the iron that’s found in some prenatal vitamins! (Iron in vitamins can also make morning sickness worse, too, who knew?) Wowza, I never realized how regular I was, and how much I valued that regularity, til pregnancy. With my first I toughed it out, but with my second I learned the hard way (ha!) that sometimes you need a stool softener or some Metamucil to help keep things moving along. This pregnancy I started out with the opposite problem, though, so there may be no “winning” in this area, friend. One of the best things I can tell you is to hydrate, hydrate, hydrate! Yes, you will pee all the time, but honestly that’s part of pregnancy, too, so best get on board.
Weird Dreams & Messed Up Sleep
As mentioned above, I noticed some horrible dreams on the Diclegis, but even before it (and after stopping it), there is something about pregnancy that just messes with my sleep. Maybe it’s preparation for motherhood? In any case, if it wasn’t extreme fatigue during the first trimester like I had with my first, or insomnia like I am having with my third, it was weird and disturbing dreams like I had with my second (and a little this time, too). I can’t go into detail because some of my dreams were just downright terrifying and I don’t want anyone to have that in their brain, but I’m talking all kinds of weird and vivid nightmarish things. I legit struggled to sleep some nights despite being so tired because I was so afraid of what I was going to dream. They were so vivid and felt so long! It’s hard to feel rested after waking up with your heart racing and drenched in a cold sweat. This disruption in sleep is something that I’ve noticed is distinctly different during pregnancy. Anyone else experience this?
Joint pain, round ligament pain, pelvic girdle pain…I’d heard of all those. But having the shooting pain down my leg along the sciatic nerve, even before my belly got too big to overpower me, definitely threw me off. It wasn’t until recently that a friend told me you can take a brisk walk when you feel it coming on to help alleviate it. I’m told hydration helps with this, as well. Sciatica didn’t affect me til this pregnancy, so it makes me wonder what other factors might be in play: age? Having two others to chase after and clean up after? Third pregnancy? Who knows! PT seems to help as well, and avoiding sitting in one position for any length of time, too (long car rides are tough on any aspect of pregnancy!)
Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
I had a few friends who dealt with this but I never understood until my second. Around 14 weeks pregnant, I started getting this weakness and tingling, aching pain in my wrists, and around 18 weeks I needed help pulling on my socks and pants! I tried wrist braces at night which helped provide some relief, but I couldn’t do much with them on so it was challenging to wear them during the day. I learned about some stretches in PT that helped with the ulnar nerve (which explained the pain/tingling running down my arm to my ring and pinky fingers) and provided some relief from CTS, but ultimately the thing that finally helped the most was these raw baltic amber and hazelwood bracelets from Etsy. I was a huge skeptic and I never tried amber teething necklaces before, but I was desperate for some relief! (I nearly dropped a glass salad bowl at dinner on my toddler’s head because of the pain and weakness in my wrists whenever I gripped anything). $25 and 24 hours later, I had immense relief. It seemed like some kind of voodoo magic (may the Lord forgive me), and I still do not know why they work, but I swear they do. Placebo effect? Perhaps, but it’s cheaper and less invasive than a cortisone injection (and I couldn’t get that pregnant, anyway).
A sneaky devil. I had some PPD/baby blues/PPA after each of my girls, so I assume I’ll have it postpartum this time, too. What I didn’t expect, however, was antenatal anxiety and depression this time around (during pregnancy, not after). I was instantly filled with doom and dread upon learning I was pregnant, but the thing that made me mention it to my midwife was bouts of irrational and uncontrollable anger at insignificant things, feelings of extreme overwhelm at basic tasks, and a general negativity or lack of motivation. I made a few lifestyle changes such as being more intentional about working out, trying to eat better, and being more open with close friends and family as a series of “Check Engine” lights, but ultimately I needed more help from a clinical perspective. Thankfully, there are a number of medications that are truly safe for pregnant and breastfeeding mothers, and that along with some new coping strategies learned through talk therapy has given me the ability to feel much more on top of of the things I can’t control. I don’t battle those negative, frightening intrusive thoughts anymore, I don’t have out-of-body fits of rage (by the way, all of this is super vulnerable and hard to admit, because even though I know I could have muddled through, it wasn’t wise for me to — and yet there will always be naysayers, particularly those who have never personally experienced it). I generally feel a bit depressed during the fall/winter months, which has taken me many years to admit even to myself, but something about being pregnant THIS fall (when I’ve been pregnant in previous falls) felt extremely different and difficult to manage.
Other than some of the basics (weight gain, food aversions, cravings, discomfort) these were definitely some of my weirdest pregnancy symptoms. However, I’m only just beginning my third trimester with this babe, so perhaps there’s another post in the making with a bunch more symptoms coming your way! Each day is an adventure, right?
Don’t forget to leave a comment to tell me about any weird pregnancy symptoms that you had!