Being pregnant is usually a happy, exciting and nervous time for most women. There is lots going on in your body, both physically, mentally and emotionally. While you hear about the common side effects of pregnancy such as morning sickness, there are other pregnancy symptoms that are less commonly mentioned; some of them for good reason!
Here is my head to toe of the more unpleasant sides of pregnancy.
Bleeding gums – This is caused by hormone changes in pregnancy which can make your gums more susceptible to plaque. The plaque sticks to your gums more easily, causing them to become inflamed which can lead to them bleeding when you brush your teeth. This can be avoided with good dental hygiene. When you are pregnant, you are entitled to free dental care while you’re pregnant and up to a year after your baby is born. The form is called a FW8 form and your midwife or GP can give you this. It is important to take advantage of this care and have regular dental check-ups while you’re pregnant. If you are suffering from morning sickness, it is important to clean your teeth after you have been sick, as there will be more acid in your mouth.
Excessive saliva or ptyalism to give it its real name! Again, this is caused by hormones in pregnancy. It is often associated with heartburn as producing more saliva can help neutralise the acid caused by heartburn. It can also be caused by smoking, tooth decay or other oral infections, so take advantage of your free dental care! It can be worse if you are suffering from morning sickness.
Nosebleeds – You are more prone to nose bleeds in pregnancy due to them dreaded hormones again! Your nose may get more blocked then usual too. Usually, the nosebleeds are light and don’t last long. To stop nosebleeds, you should sit and lean forward and pinch your nose where the soft tissue starts for about 20mins. You should to speak to your GP if the nose bleeds are heavy or prolonged.
Haemorrhoids or piles as they are more commonly known. These are veins that are present in your bottom that become swollen in pregnancy. This is due to hormones that allow your veins to relax and the pressure of your growing womb. Signs you may have piles are bleeding after you go to the toilet, the presence of mucus or you may feel little lumps as you wipe. They are often associated with constipation as you may strain more when trying to pass stools. You can try and prevent piles by eating a fibre rich diet, drinking plenty of water, exercising, not straining when you go to the toilet. Pelvic floor exercises will help too. There are creams available to help soothe the area. Some women will develop piles during labour as they push their baby out. Usually, they disappear a few weeks after you have had your baby.
Varicose veins – Varicose veins often appear in your legs but can develop in your vulva too. They are blue/purple veins that bulge from under your skin. They are caused in the same way as haemorrhoids; both by pregnancy hormones that relax the veins and the weight of your growing womb on your pelvis. They can difficult to prevent but things that can help are not standing for long periods of time, not crossing your legs and avoiding large weight gain in pregnancy. They can be helped by wearing support stockings or compression stockings. Varicose veins should ease after you have had your baby, but be warned, they may reappear in your next pregnancy!
If you are concerned about you or your baby’s health at any point in your pregnancy, please speak to your midwife or GP.
For more information on pregnancy symptoms or general health advice, I always use NHS Choices. It is an evidence based advice website –