Forget morning sickness and stretch marks, did you know that some women can grow a third boob when they are pregnant? When reading up about pregnancy and post-pregnancy conditions, you’ll find that all the focus tends to go on the obvious side effects that arise, so we’ve put together a few that you might not be aware of. While I go off and order my bespoke 3-cup bra, have a read and let us know if any of these happened to you or if we left any off the list.
1. Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
I first got Carpal Tunnel in my wrists when I was in my third trimester, and it was so debilitating. Carpal Tunnel is caused by pressure on a nerve in your wrist and is common amongst pregnant women. It causes pain, weakness and tingling in your hands and wrists that, for me, took almost a year to go away. Try picking up a one-year-old with a pair of wrists that don’t work, it’s almost as challenging as trying to look nice for a night out while wearing a pair of wrist splints (you can’t, you just look like Rocky in a dress).
2. Hair Loss and Regrowth
The relationship I have with my hair has always been strained, but when pregnancy happened, my God. At first it fell out, usually in terrifying chunks in the shower but sometimes also in nest-form on my pillow in the morning. With so much less hair, I felt like Gollum every time I looked in the mirror. But I wish I hadn’t prayed so hard for it grow back, because when it did, it came back with a vengeance – to the point where I had frizzy, curly, baby hair poking out at all angles. I grew a full fringe against my will, that’s how thick the regrowth was.
It finally settled towards the end of my pregnancy, at which point I believed the nightmare hair chapter was over. Not so. It fell out and regrew a further two times after I had my baby. I grew three fringes I didn’t want in less than 18 months. My hair is still not right to be honest, and my kid is two years old. Thank the sweet lord baby Jesus for keratin, that’s all I’m saying.
Because having non-functioning wrists and looking like Gollum is not enough, my pregnancy threw in another unwanted affliction to the mix: flaky skin. Thanks, body. So my scalp is now raining dandruff, I have dry skin flaking off all around my mouth and eyes, eczema on my feet and skin callouses on my finger tips. Before getting pregnant, I hadn’t had a single skin issue in my life. This was all new and, you guessed it, two years after giving birth it’s still here and according to the doctors, pretty permanent. Fab.
4. Skin Tags
This is another one that I didn’t know about. From pregnancy until about a year after I gave birth, I started to grow little skin tags and moles on my skin. Nothing too offensive, more weird and annoying, but although not inconvenient or painful, it wasn’t helping my plummeting confidence to now have these little skin flaps popping up everywhere. They aren’t harmful and they’re easy to get rid of – a quick trip to the dermatologist and they were gone – and while you’re in there, if you have noticed new moles growing make sure to get them check out too.
5. Bleeding Gums
You may find as you navigate your pregnancy, that flossing your teeth leaves your bathroom looking like a brutal murder scene. Do not panic. Your body is now producing a lot more blood than it normally does so this is just another wonderful side effect. The production of so much new blood can also make you feel a bit faint at times, so remember to listen to your body and rest when it’s telling you to. Maybe skip the flossing for a few months too.
Now that I’ve regaled you with tales of my first-hand pregnancy conditions, let’s move on to what I was lucky enough to avoid. If you want to get the full list of conditions that could be in store for you, check out this great book called Pregnancy OMG: The First Ever Photographic Guide for Modern Mamas-to-Be by Nancy Redd.
6. Kidney Stones
Kidney stones are actually pretty common in pregnancy. Annete Fineberg, an American OB/GYN, explains in this Washington Post article that “part of the reason is because a woman’s uterus is rotated whilst pregnant and blocks the ureter a bit. So you don’t make more stones, but the small ones we naturally have are simply harder to pass.”
Who the hell designed pregnancy? Because I’m starting to think that engineering wasn’t their calling.
7. Permanent Foot Growth
You’ve heard of ankle and foot swelling that disappears after birth, but pregnancy can also increase your foot size for good. This happens because the hormones that relax your pelvis during pregnancy and birth also relax the ligaments in your feet making it easier for them to spread out. You foot arch can also lower itself slightly or collapse completely which, again, can contribute towards your new forever shoe size.
8. Third Boob
I’ll be honest, when I looked at my Gollumesque reflection in the mirror, I did think to myself, “you know what would make this all better? An extra nipple.” I was disappointed, therefore, to not be one of the 5 percent of women grow a third breast, and if that’s not insane enough, some of these extra boobs actually lactate.
*throws hand up*