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Pregnancy sometimes sucks: the top ten most common side effects of pregnancy

Ladies, pregnancy sometimes sucks… I said it.

There is a circulating myth amongst not-yet-pregnant women that pregnancy is nine months of glowing bliss.

Yes, there are some women that love being pregnant and do it with complete ease, but I think that those women come from the same tribe as women that eat whatever they want and weigh the same as they did in high school, otherwise known as, #blessed. The majority of women have a tough time with being pregnant and for good reason. Let me give you a run down of the top ten most annoying and common side effects of human gestation:

  1. Morning sickness

Imagine a hangover that lasts all day every day minus the fun from the cocktails the evening prior. Most pregnant women suffer from nausea, vomiting, or both during their first trimester. Symptoms are usually worst in the morning, but they can continue all day long. Nausea often eases significantly by about 14 weeks, but for a few lucky women it can last until delivery.

  1. Frequent urination

This starts as early as the first trimester and usually only gets worst. Hormonal changes cause blood to flow more quickly to your kidneys, filling your bladder more often. And later, your growing uterus puts pressure on your bladder. Oh, and you are required to stay hydrated at all times. So you are basically spending all day either chugging water or running off to the bathroom.

  1. Vaginal discharge

This is the symptom that most women are shocked (and disgusted) by. Due to increased estrogen production and greater blood flow to the vaginal area there is an increase in the production of an odorless milky discharge. Most people get worried that its an infection and it is important to always check with your doctor that it is not, but nine times out of ten it is just normal ickiness. You will get to know a panty liner real well.

  1. Gas and bloating

Belching, passing gas and extreme bloating. You get the picture.

  1. Bleeding gums

As you can imagine the first morning that this occurs leads to a freak out moment followed by a call to both the OB-GYN and the dentist. Therefore, it is good to know that during pregnancy it is common to have swollen, tender gums that bleed when you floss or brush.

  1. Constipation

Constipation affects many pregnant women. The hormone progesterone that is increased during pregnancy slows the movement of food through your digestive tract. The problem is compounded later in pregnancy by the pressure of your growing uterus on your intestines. Most women spend a lot of time trying to combat this by taking stool softeners and eating prunes.

  1. Excessive salivation

Some women feel as though they’re salivating more than usual during pregnancy, especially when they’re nauseated. A small number of women have so much saliva that they end up occasionally needing to spit all of the time like a baseball player in the dugout.

  1. Hemorrhoids

Hemorrhoids are blood vessels in the rectal area that have become unusually swollen. They can be merely itchy or downright painful, and sometimes they even cause rectal bleeding, especially during a bowel movement. Some women get hemorrhoids for the first time while they’re pregnant –if you’ve had them before pregnancy, you’re quite likely to have them again. The good news (yes, I just used the term good news and hemorrhoid in the same sentence) is that they usually resolve after the pregnancy is over.

  1. Nosebleeds

“So my gums and my nose bleed?” Sounds like the fight scene in Rocky IV right? Pregnancy can cause the blood vessels in your nose to expand, and your increased blood supply puts more pressure on those delicate vessels, making them rupture more easily. Looks horrible, but luckily doesn’t hurt like Ivan Drago.

  1. Swollen extremities (edema)

You become as puffed up as a bullfrog with a rope tied around its neck. I have had patients that cannot wear close-toed shoes. My best girlfriend who is normally a size six shoe had to buy size nines just to fit her little sausage feet into something she could wear to work. It is miserable and often times painful. And if you are pregnant in the summer or live in a warm climate it is double the trouble.

So with swollen feet, a bloated belly, and a bloody nose pregnancy is no walk in the park. It is especially brutal if you are pushing another little one in a stroller or running to the park from work.

I see women experience these aches and pains of pregnancy on a daily basis, but what is worst than the pains they experience is the guilt that they feel admitting that they are having a hard time. Many expectant mothers feel embarrassed and shameful that they do not absolutely love their pregnancy. The truth is relishing in all of the moments of those forty weeks is an unrealistic expectation that women place on themselves.

Women also worry that if they do not love being pregnant then they are not cut out for motherhood. This is simply not true. If you do not like being pregnant, don’t feel bad. You are amongst many. It isn’t a fun time for everybody and that is okay.

It is a necessary time though. Although unpleasant, it is an important time for a woman to get used to her life changing. It is the beginning of many sleepless nights to come. Her time spent alone, social life and body will forever be changed.

And just as it is difficult to get around with a large uterus, huge breasts and an extra thirty pounds, it will be equally as difficult to take your baby, car seat, stroller, milk, and diaper bags anywhere. But at least, after being pregnant you will be prepared.

Because ladies, pregnancy sometimes sucks… I said it. So now you can too.

About Dr. Pari

Dr. Pari
Dr. Pari is a practicing gynecologist, blogger and media contributor. She is passionate about educating women about their health and well-being. She's authentic and candid, making her readers and patients feel like they are talking to one of their best friends. To learn more about your body, visit her website doctorpari.com, find her on Facebook at Pari MD, or follow her on twitter @Pari_MD.

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