5 rarely talked about pregnancy side effects the Babybee community wish they knew of before falling pregnant
Many women, even before falling pregnant, will be well-acquainted with some of the strange and unusual side effects of pregnancy. Mood swings, swollen feet, and bizarre food cravings are just a few of the more common side effects of pregnancy. But what about the side effects that are less spoken about?
We reached out to the Babybee community to find out what were the craziest, most unheard-of side effects mum’s wished they had known of before falling pregnant, and our inbox was flooded with responses! So here it is - the top 5 crazy pregnancy side effects you probably have never heard of.
1. Moles getting bigger and darker
Natalie from Melbourne described her moles to “double in size” and increase two-fold during her pregnancy!
Whilst changes in skin would usually be cause for concern, during pregnancy, this is 100% normal - and quite common, according to leading women’s health GP Doctor Matilda Hunt.
“The higher levels of oestrogen and progesterone in your body stimulates the melanin cells in your skin to make more pigment,” Doctor Hunt explained. “Moles and freckles are collections of pigment cells in the skin, so like the area around your nipples (areola), they may become darker.”
Doctor Hunt says women should only get their moles checked whilst pregnant if they are red, cause pain, become heavily raised, or has an uneven colour.
2. Loving the smell of chemicals
Kaneisi from Woolongong says she loved smelling cleaning products during both her pregnancies.
Whilst many women cite an increased sensitivity to smells whilst pregnant (called hyperosmia), a strong desire to consume things you would not normally eat whilst pregnant could be linked to a condition called PICA - the eating of non-foods.
PICA is most prevalent among children and pregnant women and can result in the desire to eat dirt, mud, paper or spending hours smelling cleaning products in the supermarket! For most women, PICA will stop almost immediately post-birth, and is nothing to be concerned about (as long as you are not consuming these non-consumables).
Little is known about the link between PICA and pregnancy; however, according to the Journal of American Dietetic Association, there may be a connection to an iron deficiency. Some speculate that PICA cravings are the body’s attempt to obtain vitamins or minerals that are missing through normal food consumption. If you are concerned with any of your pregnancy cravings, you should always consult with your GP or obstetrician.
As submitted by Babybee customer Esha, headaches are quite a common side effect of pregnancy and are most common during your first and third trimester.
According to Headache Australia, many women experience an increase in the frequency of headaches from around week 9 of pregnancy, largely caused by hormonal changes and an increase in the volume of blood your body is producing. To help minimise the frequency or pain of a headache, there are several natural remedies women can try for relief including pregnancy yoga, getting more sleep, or eating regular well-balanced meals. If these options fail, paracetamol with our without codeine is generally considered safe for pregnant women, but avoid using other pain medications such as aspirin or ibuprofen. You should always consult with your doctor before taking any pain medication whilst pregnant.
4. Disgusted by coffee
Reyhaneh from Perth described being absolutely disgusted by the smell of coffee, something she drank every day for 20 years pre-pregnancy!
Similar to women experience cravings whilst pregnant, your body may also trigger aversions to foods and substances that are harmful to your baby, according to Registered Nurse Sharon Perkins.
“If you normally drink coffee in the early hours, you may also be experiencing your aversion as a result of morning sickness,” Shanon says.
Whether the smell of coffee is off-putting to you whilst pregnant or not, it should be avoided whilst pregnant due to the high amounts of caffeine present. For great alternatives to coffee and other foods and drinks you can’t consume whilst pregnant, you can check out our blog post here.
5. Carpal tunnel
Until this was submitted by Babybee customer Keira, we at Babybee HQ had never heard of carpal tunnel as a pregnancy side effect!
Whist experts aren’t sure what makes Carpel Tunnel Syndrome (CTS) so common for pregnant women, the consensus is that hormone-related swelling could be the cause. This is due to fluid retention and an increase in swelling in your joints, resulting in CTR development.
As always, it's best to consult with your doctor if you have any symptoms of CTR, which include:
numbness and tingling in fingers, wrists, and hands
throbbing sensation in fingers or hands
trouble gripping objects
The good news is that for many women, symptoms of CTR will alleviate post-pregnancy. If symptoms persist, there are an array of treatments that can be administered by your local GP.