There are many surprising facts about pregnancy. Pregnancy is full of many unknowns all leading up to one of life’s biggest surprises: meeting the tiny new human who now will rule your world. But even if you’ve read that dog-eared copy of “What to Expect When You’re Expecting” from front to back and back again, there are still some things that you may not be expecting. Read on to learn three pregnancy facts to add to the lists of infinite reasons why pregnancy is both weird and wonderful.
Most mamas-to-be notice a change in sense of smell during pregnancy. While the extent may vary from woman to woman, many find it extreme…and less than palatable. Scientists posit that this heightened sensitivity may be connected to your innate drive to protect your baby by sniffing out potentially harmful smells.
A few simple strategies can be helpful in diffusing the situation. Eat and cook only foods that smell good to you. Garlic and onions? Not so much. Keep windows open to allow fresh air to circulate through your home, and wash clothing and interior upholstery frequently as fabric can absorb odors.
If possible, surround yourself with scents that do appeal to you. For example, many women find that lavender, mint, or ginger are actually soothing instead of offensive.
You’re probably aware that you’ll need to invest in a pregnancy wardrobe, including undergarments, work attire, and maternity workout clothes, but did you also know that new shoes are likely in order? Your feet may expand up an entire shoe size. In fact, up to 70 percent of pregnant women report an increase in both foot width and length during pregnancy.
And while you may eventually get back into your favorite LBD, your feet may have a different idea when it comes to squeezing back into those amazing Christian Louboutins. While swelling can be attributed to fluid retention, changes to the size and shape of your feet may be permanent — particularly if you develop flat feet.
These changes to your feet aren’t just inconvenient, they can also hurt. Minimize pain by wearing comfortable shoes with plenty of arch support, drinking plenty of water, and elevating your feet. Regular exercise is also an important part of promoting circulation and overall good health.
And look at it on the bright side: you have a scientific reason to go out and buy new shoes!
While you often hear about that radiant “pregnancy glow,” the truth is that more than half of pregnant women experience melasma. Also known as the “pregnancy mask,” this hyperpigmentation leads to darkening of the skin around the eyes, chin and mouth.
Even if you’re in the minority who doesn’t endure hyperpigmentation, you may also experience anything from new spider veins to dark under-eye circles. As your hormones continue to fluctuate after birth, you can expect to see continued changes in your skin.
Luckily, there are plenty of lifestyle, over-the-counter and prescription solutions for skin problems. Staying out of the sun and keeping your skin hydrated can play important roles in maintaining your complexion. Or talk to your doctor about safe skin treatments. And remember: a lot of that glow comes from within!
The nine months of pregnancy are filled with many changes — some exciting, some not so much. The more knowledgeable you are about what to expect, the more prepared you can be to sail through pregnancy with minimal surprises … right up until the magical moment of birth.
Do you have some pregnancy surprises of your own? Leave a comment below to join the discussion.
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