Here we go!
When you read (or skim through) books like What to expect when expecting, you get all these known and most popular pregnancy symptoms that you can expect from your pregnancy, like:
swelling (feet, hands, nose)
nose that can smell your neigbour's dirty socks
However, there are symptoms that are rarely shared in books or in person until one brave pregnant woman shares her experience and a camaraderie of yes I've had that too responses will start to fill the discussions.
Here I am, being one of the brave women and giving light to these less popular symptoms.
Disclaimer: These symptoms are from my 3 pregnancy experiences and it may not apply to all.
Pregnancy Eczema (Atopic Eruption of Pregnancy)
I personally never knew how eczema felt like (or look like) until I was in my third trimester in my first pregnancy. Suddenly, I started having these itchy dry red patches that drove me insane because they were so bloody itchy and even the calamine lotions didn't stand a chance, they didn't work. As it turns out, they were eczema.
This time around, I started having the pregnancy eczema at the beginning of my pregnancy and I get flare ups here and there. Right now, I have dry itchy patches every where and they take their turn on when to be itchy. I've been prescribed a cream (pregnancy-safe of course) that I use as spot treatment just on areas I need. I tell you, it's my saving grace because the itchiness seems to start in the middle of the night and I lose sleep over it.
Oh no you didn't! Yes I did. When I was pregnant with my first son, I grew a beautiful mustache and two uneven side burns. I started growing them at the beginning of my third trimester. It did go away eventually, maybe 3 months post-partum or even less. Phew!
I am yet to grow them again in this pregnancy. I am only 25weeks as I write this post and to rejoice at the possibility of no facial hair this time is a rookie mistake. I shall wait with great anticipation. (not).
Yeah, this old chestnut. As you may all know, from the photos I've been posting in this blog, I am Asian, Filipino to be specific and I am one of the lucky ones who doesn't grow body hair (ie, arms, legs, chest, underarm, etc). When I was pregnant with my first, I grew leg hairs! Insert face in horror emoticon. For the life of me, I didn't know what to do. I've never waxed nor shaved so I let them grow. and grow they did. It was baby fine hair but they are there and everywhere. It went away after birth (eventually) and it was back to no hair again before my son turned 1.
I also grew underarm hairs like no other. I used to have about 5 or 10 in there (no kidding) and epilate them. The hormones kicked in and them hairs were growing faster than I could count them.
I also had some chest hair in between my boobs that led all the way to my belly button, like some kind of party trick I used to show my husband. Follow the maze.
And let's not forget my vajayjay and the afro it decided to grow. I'll stop there.
I was a very (very) hairy woman with my first. My second pregnancy was too short but the first thing I noticed was the rapid growth of my underarm hairs and with this current pregnancy, still in the early days I think but I have nothing to report on excess body hair (yet) and not even an afro.
Some women has it on their faces during pregnancy and others are on the crevices or folds of their body. I have mine on my neck, underarm, under my boobs, around my belly button and around the bikini area. insert crying emoticon here.
I had it with my first son and also with this pregnancy. I think in all the unpopular symptoms, this is the one that I had the most trouble accepting.
I read that it's more common in Asian and African women to overproduce melanin during pregnancy because of them hormones. I tell you them hormones! Myth was if you're carrying a boy then yes, you're more likely to have these discolouration but I know a few women who had girls and also had this symptom.
All tears aside, the discolouration went away after my first son was born. Slowly but surely but it was never the same as pre-pregnancy.
I didn't have this issue with my first pregnancy. I had beautiful, strong, healthy and shiny hair the minute I tested positive. Ok, exaggeration much? But really, I didn't shed at all while pregnant with my first. I did start losing hair though post-partum and that was terrible. It definitely compensated the months of no hair fallout.
This pregnancy my hair is dry and weak. I have hair fallout everywhere in my bathroom, pillows, in the car, at my work desk! I shed. The dryness is another level. I have to use conditioner, hair masks and leave in conditioner just to make my hair look healthy. It's not as bad now in the second trimester but it's no where good as when I was pregnant the first time. I have so much baby hair sticking out my friends it's not even funny.
Them hormones I tell you. It changes the pH balance in your body. I asked my husband if he can smell me and he says no. Good man he is, knows how to answer these trick questions.
It doesn't help that my sense of smell is so strong I can smell myself and it heightens my nesting feels. I feel dirty even when I am not.
To add insult to the injury, my favourite perfumes don't smell the same on me when I'm pregnant, that's how powerful these hormones are.
OMG, let's not forget my feet. I've thrown 3 pairs of shoes because they made my feet smell. I thought they did but it was just my feet. I've had them shoes for years and only now it made my feet smell. Annoying.
I won't even dive in to it. Just know that you're not alone and it's them.friggin.hormones!
I blame them for everything.
Changing Feet Size
This was a surprise for me and I think this is genetic too. My feet grew 2 sizes up when I was pregnant with my first and they never went back to my original size.
I am still wondering if my feet is going to grow again this time around but the swelling has not started yet. We'll see if I'll end up with giant feet after all these baby making business.
Majority of these symptoms went away weeks/months post-partum and some stayed the way they are like my feet size and some skin discolouration.
It may all be physical changes and it can definitely affect your self-esteem but if we all look past it and see that miracle that is our babies, I think it is all worth-it.
I have to admit that I was very conscious with my first when all these changes are happening and even had some self-esteem issues but this time around I am all for it. Embracing the good, the bad, the ugly and smelly that this pregnancy is bringing to the table. My eye is on the prize and that is a healthy baby in my arms that I get to bring home to my family.
One day I will think back and hopefully feel proud to be able to actually experience it all.
What are the less popular symptoms you've had when you're pregnant? Did it stay or go away?
Hope everyone is ready for the weekend ahead.
I hope to have a relaxing one. No cleaning or nesting activities I hope for me.
Speak to you soon,