6 Unexpected Symptoms of Pregnancy (Which Are Totally, Totally Normal)

Readers who have kids will understand all-too well that parenthood is an uncertain journey across unknowable terrain. Of course there are many people who can offer you part of the road map. Your own parents, friends and colleagues, parenting book and even blogs like this one can help you to navigate certain twists and turns on the long and winding path of parenthood. But ultimately, it’s a map you need to draw yourself. And you may well find that if and when your next child comes along, the topography has changed even more. If there’s one piece of advice this blog can impart to parents, dear reader, it’s to expect uncertainty. If fact, it’s just about the only thing you can rely on. Parenthood is, by definition, wracked with uncertainty. Parents constantly agonize over whether they’re doing the right thing, whether their actions as parents measure up to those of other parents, and whether they’re doing the right thing for their little ones.

What’s more, the uncertainty begins long before your first baby is born. Pregnancy is a beautiful experience… but it can also be terrifying. Your body changes in all kinds of ways, and even when your OB-GYN lets you know exactly what to expect, you’ll likely find that something surprises you every day of your pregnancy. The good news, however, is that while many of them seem shocking most of them are totally, totally normal and not necessarily an indicator of complications. Let’s take a closer look…

Restless Leg Syndrome (RLS)

Many people of a nervous, excited, agitated (or over-caffeinated) disposition bounce or jiggle their legs when concentrating or working. But while many call this Restless Leg Syndrome (RLS), true RLS is a different beast.

RLS is usually experienced as a creeping, itchy and / or burning sensation in the legs. In order to alleviate this sensation, those affected have no choice but to move the legs constantly. Hence the name. While it’s not often discussed, around a third of women will experience RLS while pregnant. Although this can be distressing and uncomfortable, and prevent you from getting a good night’s sleep, there are lots of ways in which you can mitigate RLS. The condition is caused by a lack of dopamine in the brain, and there are lots of natural supplements such as magnesium, iron and potassium which can restore the balance and relieve the discomfort.


There are many women who may start to feel dizzy or light headed when they’re in their first trimester. Of course, such feelings of vertigo and dizziness can be extremely unsettling for new Moms-to-be. However, there’s nothing to be feared from these vertiginous symptoms.

When you’re pregnant, it’s very common for your blood pressure to drop and your blood vessels to dilate. So that even something as simple as standing up or turning around too fast may make you feel like you’re on the verge of fainting.

Take heart, however, as this is usually nothing to be concerned about. You only need to talk to your doctor about this is it’s coupled with other symptoms like vaginal bleeding and sharp stomach pains. Combined, these may indicate an ectopic pregnancy - where the fertilized egg has implanted itself somewhere outside the womb.

Shooting pains

All our lives, we’ve come to accept that pain is our body’s way of telling us that something is wrong. The unfortunate truth is that, for Mons-to-be, pain is just a part of the deal. Many women experience shooting or “lightning pains” around the pelvic area during the latter stages of pregnancy. These can be extremely intense and can lead women to believe that the baby is coming early or that something has gone wrong in the pregnancy.

Yet, while shooting pains are often very distressing, they are usually perfectly natural. They are usually caused by pressure when the baby changes its position (usually as they start their descent into the birth canal). While there’s no sure-fire way to avoid these shooting pains, many women find that it helps to stay as active as possible throughout the pregnancy with gentle exercises such as swimming.

Increased discharge

< Okay ladies, we need to talk about discharge! We need to stop getting embarrassed about it, and we need to stop shaming ourselves for it, because it’s the most natural thing in the world, whether we’re pregnant or not.

That said, some women do experience increasingly frequently (and in greater volumes) when pregnant. If you experience a sticky, whitish or yellowish mucus early on in the first trimester, fear not. This is perfectly natural and will likely continue throughout their pregnancy. However, you should talk to your doctor if your discharge starts to change color, burn, itch or smell strange as these can be signs of an infection. Better yet, have yourself check through a pregnancy scan to monitor you and your baby's condition.

Toilet troubles

Speaking of things we don’t talk about enough, let’s take a trip to the bathroom. If you were expected to maintain your regular bathroom habits while you’re building a little person inside you, prepare for disappointment. You can expect to need to pee virtually all the time as your growing uterus puts more pressure on your bladder. On the other hand, the hormone changes you experience while pregnant (as well as any prenatal vitamins) can also make you constipated.

While the disparity can be very frustrating, it’s nothing to worry about and can be rectified by adding more fiber to your diet, staying hydrated and exercising as regularly as you’re able.

More colds and flu

Finally, when you’re pregnant your immune function takes a nosedive. This is because your immune cells are all hard at work in the lining of your womb keeping your baby safe. Unfortunately, however, this can make you more vulnerable to colds and flu. Make sure you look after your body whether you feel ill or not and eat lots of immune boosting foods like citrus fruits, green leafy veggies, nuts and seeds etc. Your doctor may need to give you a flu shot if you are not up to date to reduce the risk of complications.

1 comment

  1. Interesting post. I think this would be really helpful to a lot of women.


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