7 Big Pregnancy Secrets No One Tells You (But Should!)
Everyone’s eager to share their childbirth horror stories and unsolicited advice with a pregnant person. As time goes by, you’ll gradually discover how to smile and nod and tune out this white noise. But what about the things you actually need to hear? Those dirty little secrets about pregnancy that never in a million years would have occurred to you (but would’ve been nice to get a heads up about)? While it may not be news you’re happy to hear, we’re sharing the secrets we know (and wish someone had told us) about pregnancy.
1. Your tastes will change.
While your body’s changing hormone levels help your baby grow and develop, they’re also responsible for some less exciting changes in your own body. For some women, that includes experiencing dysgeusia.
Dysgeusia refers to changes in your sense of taste, and it’s especially common during the first trimester as your body is adapting to being pregnant. You may begin to enjoy foods you previously disliked or, alternatively, to hate foods you formerly enjoyed. People who experience dysgeusia often report having a metallic or sour taste in their mouths.
There isn’t much you can do to combat pregnancy-induced dysgeusia, but there are a few tricks experts recommend that might make it more bearable:
- Avoid foods that bother you and don’t feel guilty about it.
- Try something acidic, like vinegar or citrus, to combat the metallic taste.
- Rinse with a gentle baking soda or salt solution after brushing your teeth. Brush your tongue, too, while you’re at it.
- Switch up your prenatal vitamin, as some brands may cause a stronger metallic taste than others.
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2. You may hate being pregnant.
If you hate being pregnant, you're not alone. Many people simply don't like being pregnant. The physical aspects, the emotional roller coaster, the added attention, the loss of control, the morning sickness -- pregnancy is a lot to deal with over the course of nearly a year.
If you find yourself feeling this way, try to be honest with yourself and accept those feelings. Treat yourself with empathy and compassion. Remember, not liking pregnancy doesn’t correlate to not loving your child. It also doesn’t mean you can’t simultaneously feel gratitude for your pregnancy. Vent to a trusted friend or supportive partner, and continue to nurture and nourish your body as you complete the journey.
3. Your hair sheds like crazy after the baby is born.
Those thick, luscious locks you enjoy throughout your pregnancy? Get ready to bid them farewell just a few short months after your baby arrives.
Hair grows in cycles. While most of the hair on your head is actively growing, other hair is in a resting stage. Ultimately, the hairs in the resting stage are shed, and new hair grows in its place. During pregnancy, however, this cycle is disrupted. More of your hair stays in the growth stage – meaning, your hair looks lustrous and full. After you give birth, the steady drop in estrogen means all that hair that was in the resting stage is finally ready to make its grand exit…off of your head.
This condition is known as telogen effluvium. When it begins, you may find yourself pulling out handfuls of hair in the shower or while brushing your hair. It's especially noticeable if your hair is longer. This hair loss typically peaks a few months after giving birth. Most people regain normal hair growth about a year after giving birth.
If all the shedding is driving you crazy, there are a few tips from the American Academy of Dermatology Association that may help until your hair growth cycle returns to normal:
- Use a volumizing shampoo that contains coating proteins to help make your hair look thicker.
- Use a lightweight conditioner specially made for fine hair. Avoid heavier “intensive conditioners” or “conditioning shampoos” which can make hair look limp.
- Add conditioner only to the tips of your hair to avoid weighing down hair at the roots.
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4. Your feet will expand.
Women have long claimed that pregnancy causes their feet to expand, but new research now confirms it. A study by the University of Iowa published in the American Journal of Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation explains that, during pregnancy, the arch of the foot flattens out due to the weight of the baby and loosening of the joints. After childbirth, your joints don’t quite return to their pre-pregnancy position. The study suggests that this loss of arch height is permanent, and some women report going up an entire shoe size.
5. You’ll need maternity clothes sooner than you think.
Don’t try to squeeze yourself into your stretchiest pre-pregnancy clothes. Your body is expanding and changing, and roomier clothes will help make the process a bit more comfortable. There are lots of stylish and affordable maternity options these days. If you’re on a budget, consider thrifting or borrowing maternity-wear from friends. Your growing belly deserves to look great and feel comfortable.
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6. Your pelvic floor will weaken.
Pregnancy puts a lot of pressure on the muscles that support your vagina, bladder, uterus, and bowels. As your body stretches to accommodate your growing baby, those muscles may be weakened as a result. Doing Kegel exercises, or pelvic floor exercises, during pregnancy can help you build strength and improve your ability to control and relax those muscles in preparation for childbirth.
Regular Kegel exercises are also advised after labor and delivery. Pelvic floor exercises in the postpartum period facilitate recovery of torn tissue, build muscle strength, and improve incontinence.
7. Your could have an amazing labor and delivery experience.
Everyone wants to share the story of what a long, traumatic, exhausting childbirth experience they had. But it’s important to remember that, for many women, the process goes really well! It’s entirely possible you could have a short labor, effective pain management techniques, and/or a smooth complication-free delivery. Try not to concentrate on all the things that could go sideways during childbirth because there’s a good chance everything will work out just right.
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