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We’ve all heard about the most common signs you’re pregnant – the throwing up and missed periods, for example. But what about the other oddities? You know, the weird pregnancy symptoms no one realizes can be a part of the process!
If you’ve never been pregnant before, I’ve got something to tell you–there’s a whole bunch of stuff that doctors, tv, and movies have NOT prepared you for!
Sure, morning sickness is real, and baby kicks to the ribs will occur, but side effects like these are just the tip of the gestational iceberg. From hemorrhoids to hot flashes, growing a child has many strange pregnancy side effects you’ve probably never heard of.
Luckily for you, we’re here to help pull back the curtain and give you a glimpse into what you should “actually” expect when you’re expecting!
How Soon Can You Tell You’re Pregnant?
If you’re anxious to find out if doing the deed did its job, there’s a good chance you’ll find yourself looking for any unusual early pregnancy signs.
While one of the most common “first signs of pregnancy” is a missed period, that won’t occur until you’re around four weeks pregnant. Some women, myself included, show weird pregnancy symptoms before a missed period has time to happen.
For example, when I was pregnant with our first daughter, I suddenly noticed I could barely stay awake during the day.
This should’ve been a big ol’ red flag for someone who doesn’t usually nap.
In addition to fatigue, there are some other side effects you could experience during the two-week wait after ovulation, such as:
- Light Spotting (Often Called Implantation Bleeding)
- Stomach Trouble
Are There Very Early Pregnancy Signs at 1 Week?
First and foremost, let’s clarify something: if you are one week pregnant, you’re not technically pregnant yet!
That makes sense, right?
Let me put it plainly–most doctors start counting your 40 weeks of pregnancy on the first day of your last period before conception. That means your period is the only one-week pregnancy symptom you will deal with.
Unusual Early Pregnancy Symptoms & Beyond: Someone Should Have Prepared Me For This
What Weird Pregnancy Symptoms Should You Be Aware Of?
After that first week of unofficial pregnancy, things start to get interesting.
I don’t just blame medical practitioners and fictional plotlines for my misconceptions about pregnancy. My friends, family, and every other woman who’s ever been pregnant are also to blame. (She says in a mischievous voice as she silently plots revenge.)
For some reason, we don’t discuss the unusual “stuff” that comes with pregnancy. For example, I didn’t realize I should be asking questions like:
“When does pregnancy acne start?” or “Is insomnia a sign of early pregnancy?”
For anyone currently pregnant or hoping to become pregnant soon, I’m here to offer my unauthorized expertise on all the things we wish we knew more about.
From weird early pregnancy signs to the strange pregnancy symptoms you might face right before delivery, here’s a sampling of what your body MIGHT do throughout your gestational journey.
Mental Health Pregnancy Signs
Fact of the Day: Up to 78% of pregnant women will deal with insomnia at some point.
Since most of us are familiar with fatigue as a typical pregnancy symptom, it might be shocking to learn that having a tough time falling asleep is another of our weird pregnancy symptoms.
Why, might you be asking? Well, there are a few different reasons for insomnia during pregnancy:
- Increased Urination
- Overall Discomfort from Your Changing Body
- Pregnancy Hormones (Shocking, I know!)
- Vivid Dreams (Another weird side effect of pregnancy!)
Insomnia can be a weird pregnancy symptom! Talk to your doctor if you’re struggling to sleep.
Up to 35% of expecting mamas will experience heightened anxiety and stress during pregnancy. Practicing stress management habits, such as gentle exercise, meditation, or journaling, is crucial.
Depression doesn’t just strike after the baby is born. The American Congress of Obstetrics and Gynecology (ACOG) believes 14-23% of people experience depressive episodes throughout pregnancy.
4. Mood Swings
Does your mood constantly feel like it’s going up and down? This is perfectly normal (albeit annoying!)
Much like typical PMS symptoms, mood swings can wreak havoc on your emotions while you’re expecting.
5. Baby Brain
No matter how well-rested or good you feel, you may have difficulty staying focused before the baby comes.
Focusing might not be the only problem during pregnancy, though. You might get a lovely case of “baby brain,” too. This means you’ll probably forget to put on deodorant or brush your teeth a time or two!
6. “Feeling” Pregnant
It may sound weird, but it’s possible to just “feel like you’re pregnant” before getting a positive test.
7. Vivid Dreams
During both of my pregnancies, I remember experiencing the strangest dreams! Apparently, I’m not an anomaly.
Per the Sleep Foundation, higher than normal levels of progesterone can cause vivid, more memorable dreams while you’re expecting.
8. Differences in Libido
Are you jumping into the sack every two seconds or avoiding your partner like the plague? Estrogen and progesterone could be toying with your libido.
Weird Stomach Symptoms During Pregnancy
I’m one of those people who will likely experience stomach issues no matter what’s going on with my body. Unfortunately for people like me, stomach issues are no joke during the gestational process.
Morning sickness – enough said.
2. Increased Burping
As progesterone pumps through your body and slows down digestion, there’s a chance you’ll be burping more than usual.
This might be your moment if you’ve ever dreamed of entering a burping contest!
While most of us know morning sickness is a thing, you might not realize vomiting isn’t always part of it. In fact, only 50% of us will throw up, while 70-80% will struggle with nausea.
4. Feeling Full
As your baby grows, things get a little squished inside your abdomen. This can end up leaving you feeling full after not eating much food.
Cramping is pretty common during pregnancy. Actually, it’s one of the most common successful implantation symptoms.
Since constipation can be quite an annoyance during pregnancy, you’ll want to ensure you stay active, eat plenty of fiber, and drink tons of water.
Some of us, however, will have the opposite problem. Hormones can leave soon-to-be mamas sitting on the toilet bowel with diarrhea much more than they’d like.
8. Constant Hunger
Do you know what’s frustrating about getting full quickly during pregnancy? When you constantly feel hungry at the same time!
While that slow digestive tract from changing hormones is causing more burps and fewer poops, it might leave you bloated, too.
10. Heavy Sensation in Your Stomach
As your belly grows and things start to get bigger, you can notice a heavy, tight feeling in your stomach. This sensation might feel concerning, but it’s normal.
11. Round Ligament Pain
As your body begins changing to accommodate the baby growing inside of you, the ligaments connecting your uterus to your pelvis will start to grow, too. While this is entirely normal, it can cause pain and discomfort that are alarming for some people.
This is called round ligament pain (RLP) and usually feels like a tightening, spasm, or cramping.
Remember that slow digestive tract we talked about earlier? Yep, it can cause heartburn, too!
13. Acid Reflux
See above and discover why you might also struggle with increased acid reflux!
While not precisely a stomach issue, hemorrhoids can stem from many other symptoms in this section.
Strange Pregnancy Symptoms Involving Your Senses
From our hearing to our taste buds, our five senses could be on a roller coaster of changes while we’re expecting.
1. Heightened Sense of Smell
Hyperosmia, also known as a heightened sense of smell, is just one more of the unusual early pregnancy symptoms. So, if you suddenly feel like you can smell every ingredient in your food, you’re not alone.
Pregnancy hormones, specifically estrogen, are to blame for this as they can make us more sensitive to the odors surrounding us.
2. Tinnitus & Hearing Loss
Have you ever dealt with an annoying ringing in your ears? That’s called tinnitus, and regretfully, it can happen during pregnancy.
For 1-in-3 pregnant people, changes in their bodies can cause compression to nerve endings and swelling that cause this nuisance of a weird pregnancy symptom.
For the same reasons we sometimes deal with tinnitus while pregnant, you could also struggle with minor hearing loss.
3. Blurry Vision
During my first pregnancy, I noticed my contacts didn’t seem to work as well as usual. I went to my eye doctor, and she explained that blurry vision could happen during pregnancy.
The good thing is things will likely return to normal after the baby is born.
4. Light Sensitivity
Fluid retention can sometimes lead to light sensitivity while carrying a baby.
Be careful; this side effect can also indicate blood pressure issues, such as preeclampsia. If you experience this strange symptom during pregnancy, contact your doctor.
5. Metal Taste in Mouth
Dysgeusia, a metallic taste in your mouth, is a frequent complaint among pregnant people!
Head-Related Symptoms During Pregnancy
For various reasons (primarily hormonal), our heads tend to take a beating during pregnancy! Here are some common pregnancy side effects you should know about.
Uhh, headaches. While this symptom is most prevalent during early pregnancy, some lucky souls experience them the whole time.
As a general rule, headaches aren’t an issue during pregnancy. If you’re experiencing extreme pain or having it frequently, you should speak to your doctor, as this could represent a bigger problem, like preeclampsia.
2. Dizziness & Lightheadedness
Don’t stand up too quickly or avoid eating during pregnancy! Hormones and changes in blood pressure can lead to increased dizziness during pregnancy.
Similarly, the same blood pressure transitions and hormones can make you feel lightheaded. Be sure to eat small meals throughout the day to help.
Migraines are more than just a headache.
They are an intense experience that affects nerves and blood vessels. They can lead to light sensitivity, nausea, vomiting, and headaches. They’re also quite common for pregnant people.
4. Nose Bleeds
Hey, guess what else hormones can do during pregnancy? Yep, got it – cause nose bleeds! These usually aren’t a cause for concern. If you experience a lot of blood, though, call your doctor.
Pregnancy Side Effects Involving Cravings (or the Aversions)
We’ve all heard of pregnancy cravings, but you might not know how weird they can get!
1. Strong Desire to Drink Water
Whether you were a big water drinker before pregnancy or not, there’s a good chance you’ll start acting like a camel while your bun is baking.
Pregnancy could be here if you’ve ever wanted to chow down on cornstarch or mothballs (please don’t do either!). This strange occurrence is called pica.
Pica cravings are related to any items with zero nutritional value and that aren’t actually food – think chalk, dirt, and paint chips! Yeah, you read that right.
Some medical professionals believe pica cravings in pregnancy are related to a lack of necessary vitamins and minerals.
3. General Food Aversions
Do you know what stinks? When your husband takes you to a nice Italian restaurant to celebrate your pregnancy news, and that’s the moment you discover you can no longer eat red sauce!
Food aversions are common during pregnancy – and unfortunately, spaghetti sauce was one of mine!
4. Unquenchable Thirst
With the onset of other early pregnancy symptoms, many people will also experience increased thirstiness.
5. Aversion to Coffee
Since you’re not supposed to have tons of caffeine during pregnancy, you’ll be happy to hear many of us can’t stand coffee while expecting.
Changes in Your Mouth While Expecting a Baby
Yes, that’s right – your mouth is the stage for some pretty weird pregnancy symptoms.
1. Sore & Bleeding Gums
Pregnancy hormone surges can lead to an unpleasant case of bleeding gums. In addition to bleeding, hormones can leave your gums feeling extra sore and sensitive.
2. Dry Mouth
It’s good that you’re feeling extra thirsty during pregnancy because the gestational journey might also give you a delightful (sarcasm!) case of dry mouth.
3. Voice Changes
Studies have shown that increased swelling and episodes of acid reflux can permanently affect a person’s voice, even after they deliver their baby.
4. Dental Issues
While not a common issue during pregnancy, it’s also not unusual to experience various dental problems. Sometimes, a person’s teeth might even loosen because of muscle-relaxing hormones.
Hair, Nail, & Skin Side Effects During Pregnancy
So, you’re expecting a baby…does it suddenly seem like you’ve reverted to your teenage, pimply self? Regretfully, sudden acne isn’t too unusual during pregnancy.
What’s the cause?
It’s once again pregnancy hormones that send you hunting for the Clearasil and Noxema products from your youth!
2. Hair Loss
Approximately 40-50% of expectant mothers will deal with hair loss and shedding.
3. Increased Sweating
Hormones and increased blood flow can make your skin extra sweaty while pregnant.
4. Brittle Nails
Some people might end up with long, lovely nails during pregnancy, but for others, brittle nails aren’t a unique experience.
5. Dry Skin
You might want to buy a bulk lotion supply because dry skin is often part of pregnancy.
Hormone changes can end up leading to reduced natural oil and elasticity of the skin. Drink plenty of water and frequently moisturize to help with this one!
As your skin stretches to accommodate your growing bump, you might feel increased itchiness.
As many as 90% of people will notice areas of their skin darkening (called hyperpigmentation) during pregnancy. This can even include the areolas around your nipples!
Weird Pregnancy Symptoms Involving Your Body in General
From big feet to veiny boobs, our bodies undergo odd things during pregnancy.
1. Weight Loss
It’s not uncommon for some people to lose weight instead of gain during early pregnancy. Especially if they’re struggling with severe nausea or hyperemesis.
2. Nipple Pain & Sensitivity
While nipple pain and sensitivity aren’t uncommon during the first trimester, this side effect usually fades throughout the second and third trimesters.
3. Bigger Boobs
Your belly might not be the only thing growing during pregnancy! Your boobs could increase by a cup size or more.
4. Hip Pain
As your uterus and bump grow, it may cause pressure on your sciatic nerve. Occasionally, this results in hip pain.
5. Bigger Feet
Some people notice an increase in their shoe size during and after pregnancy due to pregnancy hormones. During a study of 49 women conducted by the American Journal of Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation, researchers found 60-70% of their feet grew by almost a full shoe size.
6. Restless Leg Syndrome
If you feel like you can’t keep your legs still at night, you could be struggling with pregnancy-induced restless leg syndrome.
7. Veiny Boobs
While pregnant with my eldest, I noticed a cascade of blue veins stretching across my breasts. I started to worry until I looked it up and discovered this was normal.
8. Changes to Your Belly Button
Don’t be alarmed if your innie suddenly becomes an outie while pregnant! Many people notice their belly buttons either flat out or begin to protrude while they’re expecting.
9. Increased Nipple Size
So, your boobs have gotten bigger since you saw your first positive pregnancy test? Don’t be alarmed if your nipples start to expand, as well!
Peeing During Pregnancy
Oh, how I wish peeing didn’t need its only section, but alas, pregnancy is weird. Take a look at some odd things you could notice when you’re heading to the bathroom.
1. Increased Peeing
First and foremost, the cheesy scenes in TV and music where the pregnant lady goes running to the bathroom or accidentally pees her pants – they’re not far from the truth!
Your bladder can be a problem while carrying a baby.
80 – 95% percent of people will experience frequent urination at some point in their pregnancy.
Since hormones can affect a person’s urinary tract, you can count UTIs as another strange symptom of pregnancy.
If you suspect a UTI, don’t wait to contact your doctor. Severe urinary infections can lead to pre-term labor.
3. Cloudy Urine
Does your pee suddenly look thick and cloudy? No worries! It’s likely from increased vaginal discharge.
Feeling “Sick” While You’re Pregnant
When you think of feeling sick during pregnancy, you’re probably picturing typical morning sickness. Sometimes, though, the process can leave you feeling like you’ve got a bad cold.
1. Worsening Allergy Symptoms & Congestion
During the 2nd and 3rd trimesters, around 20% of people will experience a condition called pregnancy rhinitis, that’s caused by swollen nasal membranes. This leads to uncomfortable congestion.
If you already fall victim to seasonal allergies throughout the year, it’s possible that nasal swelling might also intensify those symptoms.
2. Feeling Under the Weather
I was talking to a fellow mama one day, and she was complaining about generally feeling under the weather for much of her pregnancy. Not actually sick, just a little blah. This happens more than many of us realize.
Other Miscellaneous Symptoms You Might Experience While Pregnant
Some of these don’t really fit into the other categories, but they still deserve a spot on this comprehensive list of odd pregnancy symptoms.
1. High Blood Pressure
With any luck, you won’t experience this particular symptom as it typically means something isn’t right.
High blood pressure can sometimes happen, and it’s nothing to play around with. If you believe you’re suffering from this symptom, get help immediately.
2. False Pregnancy Tests
When it comes to very early signs of pregnancy, you can occasionally experience symptoms before a home pregnancy test can pick it up. It’s possible you could’ve conceived and still ended up with a false negative pregnancy test.
It may only occur in 2.4% of people, but hypersalivation (yes, that’s the real term!) is an actual symptom experienced by some during pregnancy.
As an embryo burrows into your uterine lining, spotting is common. Sometimes, however, this side effect can continue throughout the first trimester. Call your doctor if you’re concerned this is an early sign of miscarriage.
5. Burst Blood Vessels
This one surprised me during my second pregnancy! I suddenly had a weird red spot on the end of my nose. Color me shocked to learn that pregnancy can cause small burst blood vessels. Often, these resolve themselves over time.
6. Kids or Pets Acting Strangely
I’ve heard stories before of kids and pets knowing their parent was pregnant before they did. Be on the lookout for strange behavior, as it might indicate the stork is on its way!
7. Cervical Mucus
During a normal cycle where conception doesn’t occur, most cervical mucus will dry up after ovulation. If you conceive, however, you’ll probably continue to produce some for a more extended period.
8. Yeast Infections
Pregnancy hormones can disrupt the natural PH levels in a person’s body. When this happens, it can lead to yeast infections.
Weird Pregnancy Symptoms Right Before Labor
Despite what many of us women might believe, a sudden gush of water or high-powered contractions aren’t the only ways to tell that labor is imminent. There are also some weird pregnancy symptoms you might experience in the days and hours leading up to the big event.
If you’re struggling with the question of “when to go to the hospital for labor,” be on the lookout for signs like these:
- A bloody show, a.k.a. a release of the blood-tinged mucus “blob” that blocks your cervix throughout pregnancy…ew.
- Diarrhea, or the feeling you need to go to have a bowel movement.
- The sudden urge to do some spring cleaning is commonly referred to as nesting during pregnancy.
- A “leaking feeling” if you slowly lose amniotic fluid before labor begins.
- An increase in lower back pain or cramping sensations.
The Pregnancy Fake-Out: What Other Conditions or Situations Resemble Pregnancy?
In some situations, an individual might experience many signs of pregnancy without actually being pregnant. Whether it’s missed periods, headaches, fatigue, or cravings, some conditions, like the ones below, can mimic pregnancy:
- Sudden weight gain and obesity
- Hormonal imbalances
- Depression or other mental health struggles
- Poor nutrition
- Premenstrual Syndrome
If you believe you might be pregnant or could be suffering from one of these other conditions, check with your doctor for an in-depth diagnosis.
You’re Not Alone in this Pregnancy Journey
So, the moral of the story is this: even if you have a sudden craving for chalk or your voice drops a few octaves, you’re probably not alone.
Whether it’s unusual early pregnancy symptoms or side effects of impending labor, our bodies experience a lot when we’re carrying a baby. Just remember, though, if you’re ever concerned or confused about something you’re feeling, make sure to let your doctor or medical practitioner know.
Have you experienced any of these weird pregnancy symptoms? Did you deal with something else that didn’t make our list? Let us know!
Kristen Bergeron is a freelance writer from Florida. In addition to writing, she is a wife, mother of two beautiful girls, Hadley and Scarlett, and a part-time photographer. After overcoming infertility and having two successful IVF cycles, she’s made it a personal goal to help educate men and women on the realities of fertility struggles. She is passionate about supporting fellow women who are trying to navigate the complicated world of conception, pregnancy, and learning to be the best mothers we can be.