Pregnancy Symptoms They Don't Tell You About

Hello! Welcome to the honesty page! This page gives you GRAPHIC details about some (mainly all) unwanted side effects of pregnancy that I CERTAINLY didn't know about before my first pregnancy. Although I did try to read up as I went through last time, half of these things I didn't even knew existed beforehand. I’ll do them in list form and give brief details where I can (or graphic details if needs be!). I’ll start the list with the ones you’d expect and then get onto the more obscure thereafter. 
1. First things first Sickness. In this pregnancy I have been lucky. My sickness was horrific. I wasn’t able to keep much if anything down from 6.5 weeks to 12 weeks. I think I had Hyperememis Gravidarum. I took anti-emetics prescribed by the docs but as these are just anti-histamines they knock you out. Which isn’t the most practical when you have another kid or you have to be in work. Sleep is the ONLY thing that helps if you can get it. Ginger, travel bands, mint tea …..nothing help. Fizzy pop and ice lollies were some comfort but I avoided acidic things. In my second pregnancy DID stop at 12 weeks. BRILLIANT. In my first pregnancy however, it NEVER stopped. Although it wasn't as severe, I could keep food down for periods between throwing up. But the nausea lasted right up until the birth. I had no idea how awful constant nausea would be. And actually, if it had carried on in this pregnancy, I am not sure how I would have coped. And people can be really stupid about it, saying things like “Oh well in my day, we just got on with it”. NOT HELPFUL. I found this website awesome at finding responses to this kind of attitude here.

2.  Swollen extremities! (aka Oedema) My hands, ankles and feet mainly. My fingers are revoltingly fat and I took my wedding ring as soon as I got pregnant this time after hearing horror stories from a colleague about having to have hers cut off! And lovely cankles. But even the rich and beautiful don’t escape this!

Kim K's porky preggers trotters.
Left-just after giving birth / Right - a few weeks later.

3.  Indigestion. Apparently they have proved that there’s a link with indigestion and hirsute babies! My son has thick hair but he wasn’t mega hairy so this might not always be the case! Anyway I was popping rennies like they were smarties and I had to avoid all acidic food and drink. And weirdly milk didn’t help …it would come back up as a cottage cheese sausage ….bleugh. 
4.  Tiredness. This is probably the most universal side effect. But in the first trimester it’s unbelievable. You’re lucky to be able to get through the day without wanting (and if you’re lucky HAVING) a nap. This did ease in second trimester with both but it’s still an overwhelming tiredness you’re unlikely to have felt before.
5.  Cravings and aversions. I didn’t actually realise how strong aversions could be. And my cravings have all been fleeting, random and not that strong at all. But B.L.O.O.D.Y. H.E.L.L. My aversions in the first pregnancy and the first half of the second were SOOOO strong! And unfortunate. My main one was garlic. Which I normally LOVE. I mean properly 6-cloves-in-a-curry love. And it’s in EVERYTHING! The hours I’ve spent trawling through tomato pasta sauces in the supermarket and the ready meals desperately trying to find something that doesn’t have garlic in! And because my aversion has until recently included onions, I had to stop cooking at home, so all the healthy home-made meals we used to have (curries, chillies, soups, stews) have been replaced with quick cook or shove-in-a-pan things. This also meant no eating out because I could smell garlic in EVERY restaurant ever. Plus I couldn’t stand the smell of anything cooking. Also coffee and tea….which I think are common ones. And in my first pregnancy meat or rather meat substitutes. So any quorn mince or sausages made me boke. There is a theory that aversions to things like meat, eggs & butter are an evolutionary thing as these are things which could potentially make you ill. If it was the dark ages or you didn’t understand the concept of best before dates… 
6.  Stretchmarks. I don’t really need to write much here do I? Your stomach will end up looking like someone got hold of a purple/dark pink/red mini forked ended pencil and dragged it vertically down through the skin on your lower abdomen, and if you’re unlucky across your boobs, and all over your hips. 
Now onto the lesser known stuff (in no particular order):
You can just about see the line of
freckle/white neck.
7. Increased Pigmentation. I am freckly at the best of times but as I suffer from rosacea  and have broken veins sprawled across my cheeks and nose, I normal wear inch thick face make up. So perhaps a few my friends don’t even know this! But especially in my last pregnancy, as I was less conscientious with sun block, my face became a mask of splodgy tan brown. I say mask because rather unattractively the freckle overload seemed to stop at my jawline which made the effect even uglier. 
8. Spots. In my second pregnany my first trimester was pizza face hell. Probably not helped by regularly wiping acidic puke from around my gob. But I thought you were supposed to GLOW in pregnancy and not like a pus-filled beacon. 
9. Nosebleeds. Don’t really understand why but yes I had these.They tended to be more just a bloody nose rather than pouring out of my face. And bleeding gums when I brush my teeth too, despite my gums being perfectly healthy. I had this verified by the dentist in a free-cos-I’m preggers check-up. I think it’s because you have more blood or something. 
10.  Stuffy nose especially at night. This sounds like nothing but actually drove me MAD! It does clear up a bit as time goes on, so I wonder if it’s a first trimester thing. But basically every time I went to bed my nose would get just stuffy enough for me to not be able to breathe through it completely. But not blocked so much that I automatically breathed through my mouth. It was infuriating! I would try for hours NO EXAGGERATION to clear my nose with Vicks or by sitting up, by blowing every 5 minutes, ANYTHING until it eventually decided to clear. And I couldn’t just decide to breathe through my mouth. Oh no. because as soon as I’d start to drift off my subconscious would try to breathe through my slightly cleared nose but of course not get enough oxygen and I’d end up gasping for air. Ugh. 
11.  Speedy Skin healing. This was bizarre. I had problems with this in both pregnancies. In my first one, I had my legs waxed and my skin healed over the pores meaning that my legs became a mottled rash of itch and grossness. The second time I had my ears pierced the week before I conceived, and even after the recommended 10 weeks healing time, my ears kept healing up. Meaning a grim re-popping sensation each time I wanted to change earrings. 
12.  Extra body hair. Well this is probably an illusion because your hair doesn’t actually fall out during pregnancy so you get a lovely, thick head of hair but if you’re me you also get a full on beard and a nipple forest (more on the old nip nips later). Sexy.

13.  Uber strong sense of smell. I think this effects most people, but if like me, your nostrils cover half your face, then this is particularly distressing. I am like a blood hound at the best of times, always smelling things other people can’t. Namely things that smell of bums but that’s another discussion. So obviously the garlic thing revolts me…I can smell it on people if they’ve eaten it daaaays beforehand. In my last pregnancy my sense of smell was so overpowering that I could smell petrol fumes in the street as if the street was just made of petrol and it got to the point where I could barely wash my hair because my shampoo made me heave. I still can’t stand the smell of Herbal Essences WHATEVER THE SCENT or bio oil. So this time invested in all things “Simple” and just held my nose in the shower. All tho even this didn’t prevent the odd cascading flow of puke over the white enamel in the early days.
There is another point here…I THINK you SMELL more in pregnancy too. As in I think your body odour is stronger. From whatever orifice of yours normally smells. Which is quite horrific when you have an uber sense of smell and an uber case of the pukes. Poo’s are particularly traumatic. 
14. SPD aka Symphysis pubis dysfunction. (Sometimes also known as PGP) This is where your pubic bone softens and separates in preparation for the birth. In the worst cases it can incapacitate completely or at least mean they cannot walk without the aid of crutches. I didn’t have it that bad last time but I had a lot of difficulty getting up and down stairs, getting in and out of cars and turning over in bed. And there’s no way I could have gone swimming, doing any kind of scissor action with my legs was out of the question. I only had it mildly the second time so for me it’s just like a dull ache in my fanny bone and an inability to roll over in bed without sitting up first. 
15. Pregnancy asthma. Yep I’m not even joking. I had this albeit mildly the first time and I had a bit of squeaky wheeziness the second time but nothing much to complain about. But the first time around, I couldn’t work out what the squeaking nose was when I went to bed. It happened on the out breath and I really thought it was external! I tried to put ear plugs in to get rid of the noise! Imagine my surprise when I still heard it! Freaked me RIGHT out. So obviously I got straight onto the t’interwebs to find out what fresh hell I was experiencing now… and this is what I alighted upon. Perhaps it wasn’t /isn’t that. Perhaps I am actually housing a small rodent in my lungs. 
16. Carpal Tunnel Syndrome. I had this the first time. It’s some tunnel which surrounds some nerve in your wrist which can get squeezed by oedema (swelling) causing numbness, tingliness or just pain. I just had pain. In my left hand annoyingly. I’m left handed. 
17. Pelvic Floor Issues PRE BIRTH. No one told me you’d start trickling droplets of wee at the slightest exertion BEFORE you gave birth! No FAIR! I had really good pelvic floors before the surgeon’s scissors put paid to that last time! (Episiotomy …it still sounds like something belonging in the Victorian era) This time I might as well just wear a Tena Lady nappy and have done with it. 

18.  Itchiness. Ok I have the authority on this because of developing Obstetric Cholestasis. Which I am not going to list as a side effect because it’s not THAT common. But I think everyone experiences some kind of uncomfortable itching phase from what I’ve gathered from preggers friends. Tummies and Nip Nips seem to be 2 of the main offending areas. The itchiness you get from OC does make you feel like off your face on crystal meth and convinced bugs are crawling under your skin. You DO scratch yourself until you bleed. And nothing relieves it bar ice baths which are pretty unpleasant in themselves. Anti-histamines and calamine lotion can kiss my ass. 
19. Palpitations. I had these a little in the last pregnancy but the second time I had them loads. They seem to be mainly when I was tired or lying down and aren’t anything to do with caffeine overload. I am aware of the caffeine limit and most days I had no caffeine anyway. And I am pretty sure they are not anxiety related either as I am the queen of the panic attacks but luckily they are not accompanied by any sensation of panic or stress. 
20. Vivid Dreams. I have vivid dreams normally anyway because I sleep quite lightly. But these are on another level. I quite often wake up feeling really shaken. I seem to be having recurring dreams about having horrendous rows with people really close to me!
21. Sensitivity to Pain. How cruel is that? You’re just about to experience the single most painful endurance test known to humanity and just for shits and giggles, let’s make you MORE sensitive to pain?! Aaargh! Apart from the obvious tho, this affects you most when you have to give pints and pints of blood away for various tests and closer the “big push” and they want to have a fiddle about down there to test your Bishop’s score or whatever. And waxing. Waxing is hell. But when you’re a human yeti, needs must. 
22. Mahoooossive Wabs. Self-explanatory. Filled with Milk and pendulous to the point of absurdity.
23. Nipples like Chapel Hat Pegs. Nice little Welsh reference there for you. Before they were light and pink and almost flat when not in use (i.e. when cold or horny). Now they’re a dirty brownish pink and OUT permanently. Jennifer Aniston stylee. But obviously in no other way similar, I imagine. For a start mine are probably the size of her head.


  1. hahahaha sorry but the thought of your nips being the size of Jennifer Annistons HEAD!!

    I think you should add the inability to sleep through the night to the list. I remember towards the end of my pregnancies waking constantly and feeling really annoyed at not sleeping through when it was my last chance to do so before waking with a baby constantly. SOmeone told me it was the body's way of conditioning you to wake for your baby which if its true SUCKS!!

  2. Haha! Yeah you're right! I meant to put insomnia too! I've already been suffering from that. Thanks Anon! XXX

  3. Oh lordy, I think we're pregnancy twins as well as birth twins! For me, the worst was the never ending nausea. The smell of Bio Oil makes me retch even now because I felt so awful all the way through my pregnancy and used Bio Oil all the way through too. Also, I fell pregnant within weeks of starting a new teaching job, and ended up signed off from 18 weeks pregnancy because of nausea and complications, and when I came in with my new baby to show everyone when he was a couple of weeks old, I nearly threw up in the staff room skin because the smell of the staffroom reminded me of pregnancy so much. I had carpal tunnel syndrome badly too and it made my hands into immovable claws for the last 2 months of pregnancy. Plus my immune sustem got up and left the building for the duration too. Oh, pregnancy is a joy. I nearly punched someone in the face the other day when she told me she didn't know she was pregnant until she was 21 weeks gone because she had no symptoms. WHERE IS THE FAIRNESS?

    1. Haha! Yep i think we are soul sisters! I posted on my FB right at the beginning of this one about the ridiculousness of people saying they sometimes FORGET they are pregnant. Who in HELL forgets they are pregnant!!!?! I understand even more now your reluctance to do it again. Bio oil....BOKE!!!!! Yep i tried using it to begin with and i can't have it or any Herbal Essences shampoos anywhere near me! Pregnancy SUCKS!!!!!

  4. LOVE IT!!!! Hair loss was one of the biggest things that bothered me AFTER I had Lucy. But I got a massive patch of random pigmentation in the middle of my fodder from about 20 weeks pregnant and it didn't leave until my hair started falling out.... it was cruel!!!

    1. Ha! That IS cruel! Pregnancy is evil! When will they come up with a more efficient way to grow babies??? ;)

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