Real moms confess: Unexpected pregnancy side effects

You might hear lots of different things about what it’s like to be pregnant, but we’ve spoken to moms who have recently been there about some of the real effects of pregnancy on their bodies.

Sure, there are the obvious signs of pregnancy, like tiredness and nausea, but unless you’ve been there before, it can be quite surprising to discover a whole slew of other side effects.

Here’s what some real moms shared with us:

Boob leaks

Sometimes pregnancy can be considered a practice run of what to expect once the baby is born. Katia, mom of a little girl, shares that her breasts started “working” from about five months into her pregnancy.

“I just started producing a fluid very early on. It was so bad that I had to wear a padded bra that was washed very frequently or nursing pads so that I didn’t leak through!” said Katia.

Very veiny

Still on boobs, one mom confessed that she didn’t expect her chest to get so full and veiny.

Michelle, currently pregnant with her third child, said she was surprised the first time around at how blue and prominent the veins in her boobs became. “My chest looked like a road map!” she said. “I just ended up wearing T-shirts or anything that would cover the veins.”

The age-old question: To breastfeed or not to breastfeed? >>

Hemorrhoids

While all the focus tends to be on the… er, front, your behind might also feel the effects of pregnancy. It is actually pretty common for women to get hemorrhoids at some point during the nine months and possibly after birth too. Rachel has had two pregnancies and got hemorrhoids both times, but she said, “Thankfully it wasn’t too painful. It just made me feel really unsexy.”

Applying a hemorrhoid ointment like ANUSOL® can help manage discomfort or swelling but talk to your doctor about your concerns before using any ointments. Keep in mind that some women also experience hemorrhoids after a vaginal birth.

Skin rashes

Some women have that well-known pregnancy glow, while others struggle with red, raw and itchy skin. Mom of one Andi said she’ll never forget the itchiest rash she had during the last trimester of her pregnancy.

“I was unlucky enough to get PUPPP (pruritic urticarial papules and plaques of pregnancy) on my tummy and legs, and the itchiness was so intense it felt like my skin was on fire!”

Your health care provider is the best person to guide you on how to treat PUPPP, which usually disappears after giving birth. However, some home remedies include taking a tepid oatmeal bath or applying a relieving aloe vera gel.

Stretch marks

Sure, most women can expect to get stretch marks around their tummy. However, ask a mom, and you’re bound to discover that the marks went beyond their tummy, also appearing on their breasts, lower back, arms or legs.

Claire, who recently had her first son, said, “I felt so relieved that I didn’t get any stretch marks on my tummy, but then one day I spotted some on my legs and behind my knees.”

Here’s what to expect in the maternity ward >>

The need to pee from day one

You can understand how once there is a fully grown baby in your tummy late in pregnancy that you’d be running to the restroom thanks to the constant pressure on your bladder. But what most women don’t expect is that the urge to go frequently starts almost from day one thanks to some of the early-pregnancy hormones.

Rachel, mom of two girls, said, “I was surprised by the constant, relentless need to pee. I had no idea what pregnant women were going through until it was me. Unfortunately, since having my babies, I still can’t hold it as well as I could before.”

Big feet

“I knew that I’d have to wear ballet flats instead of my heels during my pregnancy, but I didn’t know that I’d be buying new shoes in the next size up!” exclaimed Jennifer, mom of one.

Yes, it’s true. Pregnant women can expect to need a bigger size of shoes. The pregnancy hormone that makes your muscles relax and stretch also affects your feet, meaning they can expand.

Enjoy the excuse to go shopping!

More on pregnancy

5 Things no one tells you about your body after pregnancy
What to expect during an elective C-section
7 Tips for dealing with morning sickness

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