Monday, July 4, 2011

What the?!? Things I Didn't Expect to Happen in Pregnancy

Being a big reader, I thought I had read about every symptom and side-effect of pregnancy known to man (and woman). I knew about all the usual suspects, like morning sickness, moodiness, constipation, swelling, the appearance of a linea negra, and sciatica. I was prepared to meet them all, and luckily escaped a few. 

So, imagine my surprise when I started encountering some issues that I hadn't read about. Of course, I turned to Google, but usually this is never a good idea when pregnant. Almost always there will be a plethora of articles about how you have some rare disorder and your baby is in danger, and then you start to freak out. Most of the time, the answer from medical professionals is "oh, that's common in pregnancy". Sometimes I wonder if I told a doctor that I am incapable of speech and can only communicate through song if they would just smile politely and say "oh, that's common in pregnancy". 

So, I have compiled a list of the things I never expected to happen to me, and which took me by surprise when they started. 

1. Sore Knuckles/Hands/Wrists: Just after I finished working, so about month 8 or so, my hands started to get very achy in the mornings. It started off feeling like a stiffness. I attributed this to swollen joints, although I didn't have any noticeable swelling. It began to get worse, and as of now when I wake up in the morning, I can't make a fist, grasp a door knob, hold a pen, etc. This usually persists for a few hours, and then it lets up enough that I can function pretty well. I can't put any weight on my wrists now, though. The explanation for this is not just swelling; it's pregnancy induced Carpal Tunnel syndrome. This was a bit of a shocker to me. After finding out this is common in pregnancy (surprise!), I asked the doctor why. I especially was curious as to why it was worse after sleeping. He said that the increased amount of fluid in your body puts extra pressure on the ligaments in the carpal tunnel. When you are standing and moving around, the fluid drains down to your extremities (hence my Frodo Baggins feet), but when you are lying down, it sort of pools evenly around the body. are wise, good doctor. Apparently no help for this but delivering the baby. You can wear wrist splints to help a bit, but that's about it. 

2. Abdominal Nerve Pain: Once my belly started to get noticeably bigger, I started getting this numb area at the bottom of my rib cage/top of my belly. It was a rather bizarre feeling, to be honest. It's right at the spot where my bra band sits, so it was getting really annoying. Now that my belly is huge, it has become a burning, shooting pain that happens every now and then. Some days it's really bad, and others it's not too bad. When you Google this one, there are lots and lots of pregnant women who seem to be complaining of this, and most don't know what it is, and they haven't gotten any answers from their doctors. After bringing it up a couple times at my appointments, and getting the standard "this is common in pregnancy" but no one ever telling me what it is, I finally got a doctor who seemed to know right away what I was talking about. She said the nerve at that spot was being compressed, which was causing the numbness. Now, it has become inflamed, which is causing the pain. Again, nothing can be done, just delivering the baby (notice a trend here...??). Maybe ice and/or heat. I find those make it worse for me though. 

3. Skin Changes: I was prepared for the changes to my skin that you commonly find in pregnancy books, like the linea negra appearing on my belly (yup, got that one), the "mask of pregnancy" (luckily escaped that one), and so on. What I wasn't prepared for was the appearance of more moles and beauty marks. I have quite a few speckles throughout my body, but all of a sudden I thought I was going crazy, as I started noticing spots where there were no spots before. I couldn't be 100% positive that they were new though. By now, I know for a fact that they are new, since I turned more awareness to them. Eventually, I also started getting (ew, this part creeps me out) tiny little tags of skin developing around my neck where my necklace was rubbing, and under my arms where my bra meets the skin. What the heck?!?! This one is also apparently common in pregnancy, due to the amount of hormones coursing through your veins. I am assuming all my new spots are permanent, but I guess time will tell. 

So, those are the big ones that took me by surprise. I am really hoping there aren't any surprises awaiting me in the whole labour and delivery thing (which is only about 2 weeks away. HOLY CRAP!). 


  1. ahh. that stupid nerve pain, numb tingly I had it too my midwife said it was common but at my persistence thought it might be a hernia, I think your explanation makes a bit more sense as it stopped as soon as I gave birth!

  2. Thanks for following me on twitter :) I had the hand / joint pain too...and my arms were always falling asleep. Too weird! Good luck with your delivery - I see you're really close!


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