A few weeks ago, I asked a question in the Remarkably Average Parents facebook group, asking people to describe any unexpected changes that happened to their body during pregnancy, especially ones that stuck around after too. Like peeing when you sneeze, stretch marks in strange places or anything else you don’t often hear women talk about publicly.
FYI, I have this weird thing that whenever I walk home really fast in the cold, as soon as I step inside my apartment and unclench whatever muscles I’ve been using, I pee a tiny bit. There you go! Never told anyone that before.
Also, I have a rather extreme innie belly button, and I remember when I was pregnant with my first baby, one day in my third trimester, my belly button suddenly flattened out (it’s so deep, it never popped) and sitting there was what I can only describe as a pretty sizable decade old piece of blue lint. Lovely, huh?
I asked my question in the group, stepped away from my computer and then the notifications started rolling in, one after the other after the other after the other. As of this moment, the thread has 535 comments. 535! If I could write numbers in ALL CAPS, I would.
Obviously, everyone has experienced different changes and no one has experienced all of them (at least I hope not) but there was something somewhat liberating about reading all the possibilities listed out and then adding your own issues to the list.
About a quarter of your comments mentioned an uptick in “pee in your pants” moments (sneezing, coughing, laughing, jumping, etc.), which is good, because this is a sponsored post for Always Discreet. When I think about incontinence pads, I always imagine they are worn exclusively by senior citizens, so it’s helpful to be reminded that one in three moms struggle with this issue too.
But I don’t want to talk about just pee. I want to talk about all the random (sometimes disturbing) changes that people mentioned in the thread. I also wanted to report that Allie, my 24-year-old editorial assistant, who was the first person to sort through the 535 comments for this post, has decided she is no longer having children.
If you are thinking about becoming pregnant in the near future, I suggest that you stop reading and do something else. If you have already been pregnant and will feel good knowing that there are other women in the same boat, read on.
51 Ways Pregnancy Changes Your Body that No One Warns You About:
1) Before I got pregnant, my feet NEVER smelled, like ever. When I was pregnant, my feet stunk so bad, my husband who has eternally smelly feet would scrunch his nose! And now a year later, my feet are still smelly. Like no matter what I do, they stink! – Jennifer
2) Having to cross your legs when you feel a sneeze coming is the worst! I will literally be walking down the streets of NYC and have to stop in the middle of the sidewalk to cross my legs as I sneeze. I’m sure all the other middle-aged moms see me randomly standing cross-legged and think, “I feel you, girl.” -Alyssa
3) My teeth moved around! It felt like my bite was off for months during and after my pregnancy. It went away once I stopped breastfeeding, but my teeth are much more crooked now. Also! I had 12 cavities at my last checkup. – Liz
4) No one warned me about random long nipple hairs… or maybe I’m just a freak who got them and there is no such thing. – Leah
5) When I got pregnant with my second child, I developed a lump in my armpit. I freaked out thinking I had cancer or something, but the OB told me that it was just a swollen mammary gland and would stay there until I gave birth. It even had the potential to lactate if it got larger! Thankfully, it went away shortly after I delivered. But I never wanted to wear tank tops because of that weird extra floppy lump that could potentially disperse milk out of my armpit. – Anonymous
6) I still can’t feel along my c-section incision. So weird! My husband will run his finger along it just because it freaks me out that I can’t feel it. My son turned 6 in May. -Shawna
7) No one ever told me the epidural could cause pain afterwards for a long time. For probably two months after having the baby, I had extreme pain in this one spot on my back and I assumed it had to do with how I was sitting to nurse. I found out at my six week followup that it was a result of the epidural. – Kaitlyn
8) I did a little sprint during Simon Says with my kids and wet my pants…so embarrassing! Also my husband randomly picked me up one day and I peed a little…NOT romantic! – Joanna
9) The hip spread that doesn’t go away. I was a size 7 before I had my son and now I will never be smaller than an 11. My hip structure wont allow it. – Barbara
10) This may just be a c-section thing, but it took me about a year before pooping didn’t hurt. It felt like my intestines weren’t lined up right and like the poo wanted to come out somewhere between my a-hole and v-hole. I went to the ER twice thinking I was surely dying. It wasn’t until my kid was six years-old that someone else told me they had the same problem – Amy
11) Everyone knows you pee more when you are pregnant, but nobody tells you about all the other ridiculous amounts of fluid your body will produce! All the snot and the constant runny nose. Nobody told me about pregnancy acne either. I broke out all over my chest and my neck and my face. If I glowed, it was from the sheer amount of sweat and oil my body produced. – Erin
12) I developed a super weird metal allergy that causes me to break out in a rash from ALL underwire bras. Before I realized that’s what it was, one spot got so raw that I started bleeding. Now, if I ever need or want to hoist the girls up for any reason, I have to pre-game with Benadryl. – Melissa
13) My butt, not my belly, got bigger! I joked I was having twins (both butt cheeks) and then it wasn’t funny when I delivered and the twins stayed around. – Katie
14) When I was pregnant, my legs would fall asleep when I sat too long. Your ligaments get more stretchy so you can give birth and I guess mine were so loose, they were moving my bones around and pinching nerves. – Patty
15) When I gave birth to my third baby, he broke my tailbone! So you could say, he’s been a pain in the ass since day one. That tailbone gave me problems up until my fourth pregnancy and delivery, which somehow set it straight. – Sarah
16) I can’t do any exercises that involve jumping since having my first. Jumping equals peeing. Also, I have to pee before I brush my teeth because I have a pretty sensitive gag reflex and when I brush my tongue, I gag, which also equals peeing a little. – Monique
17) No one warned me about the last trimester and swamp undies. I started to type more to explain, but anyone who has experienced it, knows what I mean. – Emily
18) My gums bled nonstop while pregnant and nursing. It was so gross to constantly taste blood in my mouth! – Courtney
19) This sounds so ignorant now, but I had no idea that I’d bleed for so long after childbirth. I really wish that had been talked about more because it made me borderline depressed how hard the recovery was. – Katie
20) That pregnancy melasma doesn’t always go away after your baby is born. Mine is on my upper lip, so I look like I have a mustache. But really, it’s just the darker skin. In the summer especially, I have to be careful in the sun because it’ll get really dark. – Leah
21) I’d heard women say that they had trouble jumping on a trampoline after they had kids because they peed, but always assumed we were talking about a small trickle. I didn’t have any other pee issues and by the time I went on a trampoline, it was a good couple years after I had a baby. Well, let’s just say it wasn’t a small trickle. It was a full-on unleashing of every drop of urine in my body. I pissed myself. My pants were soaked. There was a puddle on the trampoline. It wasn’t like I could just run off discreetly to the bathroom. I had to borrow a friend’s pants. And then I never went on a trampoline again. – Julia
22) Ever heard of hymenal remnants ’cause I sure hadn’t! – Caitie
23) After I had my daughter, I guess the skin inside my vagina stretched out and I developed a sort of pouch in there. It never returned to normal and isn’t even noticeable except for the fact that when I sit down a certain way (especially on a low couch), air can sometimes get trapped in it. When I stand back up, the air comes out and it sounds like a loud fart. Like really loud, no way you can pretend it didn’t happen. I’ve learned to turn to my side and get up slowly when I’ve been sitting on something low but there have been countless times where I’ve had to say “I swear that wasn’t a fart” to people around me. As an aside, once I was holding my newborn niece on a low couch and she fell asleep in my arms. Because of her being there, I couldn’t maneuver to get up properly and loudly “farted” in front of several family members. I just had to say “excuse me” rather than explain to everyone that it wasn’t a fart, just my post pregnancy vagina pouch. – Anonymous
24) I still have the nose of a bloodhound. My sense of smell is still strong as ever. – Tracy
25) When I was pregnant, I had the constant urge to spit. I produced so much saliva that I would get up from the dinner table to go spit in the bathroom, I’d have to open my car door at a red light to spit. I started carrying around tissues with me for the spitting. It was gross. – Carmen
26) After my 1st pregnancy, I always had hormonal migraines 2x a month: once when my period started and once when I ovulated. I got the whole 9 yards: ocular migraine, aura, beyond queasiness. Which made it fun when you were stuck in a commute and have to open the car door to puke your guts out. Lo and behold, after my 2nd pregnancy, it wiped it out. I had my occasional migraine, but nothing that Alleve couldn’t handle. So now when people ask how to deal with ta migraine, I jokingly say “get pregnant again.” – Karen
27) My nipples got big and colorful, especially the lower parts of the nipple. Supposedly so baby can aim for them!- Bagheera
28) I am way more emotional now. Before kids, I would cry at the occasional commercial or sad movie. When I became pregnant with my first, I became a total cry baby and now, nine years later, I am still a cry baby! I cry during any reality competition show, many commercials, most movies… having kids opened the floodgates! -Krystal
29) The craziest thing that happened to my body is how stretched out my lower stomach still is to this day. I have a post-baby foopa that will be with me forever and I am constantly trying to pull my pants over it. My oldest favored my right side, so that part of my stomach actually hangs lower then my left. My lower abdomen looks like a saggy W. – Rachel
30) I was excited to actually have some boobs while I was pregnant and after while breastfeeding. And then after my third kid, the boobs disappeared! I mean, like completely gone. I can’t even fit in a training bra! I can’t fit one in my hand! It’s crazy. I have the body of a 13 year old boy. – Natalie
31) I feel like my nose got bigger and didn’t go back to normal. – Christina
32) I get “phantom kicks” when I get stressed. I started getting them when my son was 13 months and was convinced I was pregnant again. I even took a pregnancy test. I thought, how could I be at least 4 months along and not know it? – Sarah
33) In addition to peeing a little with every big sneeze, can we talk about how unpredictable pee streams are now? This is surely TMI, but I’m gonna go there. When I pee now, I’m never quite sure what direction it’s going to go. Things got all kinds of crazy down there and will never be the same. – Courtney
34) The post-delivery hair loss! No one warned me! I am normally a heavy shedder, and I noticed that I didn’t shed as much while pregnant, but holy hell, I was not prepared for the small, dead animal I found in the shower drain! – Heather
35) I had hearing problems. After seeing 2 ENT’s and countless doctors, one finally realized I was just pregnant and the swelling in my Eustachian tube (eustachian tube dysfunction) was the cause. It took 9 months for it to finally settle. – Melissa
36) I have five dark chin hairs that I get each month that I didn’t have before kids. – Mariah
37) After having kids, I go from not having to pee to having to pee like a race horse within seconds! My husband is always rolling his eyes at me because he will tell me to go to the restroom before we leave and I won’t have to go. Then, without fail, we will leave a restaurant and by the time we get home, I am racing inside to get to a bathroom. – Paige
38) This is so gross, but when I was pregnant with my first child, I suddenly developed a bunch of skin tags! I mentioned it to my OB and she was like “oh yeah, that can happen. No big deal.” WHAT. – Amanda
39) One breast is definitely bigger than the other. Both my kids favored the left side, which is now the bigger one. – Lorena
40) Never thought wearing a tampon would feel like throwing a hot dog down a hallway after a vaginal birth. I had to size up. I’m still salty about that. – Amber
41) I never got stretch marks on my belly or my boobs like I was warned, but boy did I get a TON on my thighs! – Amanda
42) Varicose veins in your vagina. Yes, you read that right. I won’t have any subsequent pregnancies because of the pain. It was more painful than my c-section recovery. I couldn’t even walk. It was unreal. I’d heard of hemorrhoids, which I did not experience but nobody, not anyone, told me you could get varicose veins THERE!!! Thank god, they went away. – Jennifer
43) I got hairy. Not just a little peach fuzz. We’re talking Teen Wolf hairs that didn’t grow gradually, they appeared like they were conjured by Voldemort. Mustache in a day, two inch nipple hairs, dark arm hair that I suddenly discovered in horror while at work. I got hairier down there too. Don’t do laser hair removal until after baby! – Bagheera
44) My feet grew 2 sizes. TWO! I had to get rid of all of my awesome shoes. I miss all those shoes. Do you know how hard it is to find nice, comfortable, girly shoes in size 11? – Valarie
45) My hair has gotten curlier with each pregnancy, except not all of it. Just the back half of my hair! My hairdresser comments on how weird it is every time I see her. – Brooke
46) Hair shedding. Clumps of hair. Like I could have made matching sweaters for the family. I’m two years postpartum and it’s lessened, but has not stopped. – Brighid
47) The arches in my feet collapsed for each of my three pregnancies. I did not know that was a thing that could happen. It felt like a white hot zipper splitting up the lengths of my feet every step. Absolute torture! – Ashley
48) I had such severe anxiety and vivid dreams at night with my first pregnancy that I once called the cops because I thought someone had broken into my house. It was a tree scraping against the window. The cops came. We didn’t press charges against the tree, but we did cut it down later that year. – Mariah
49) The dark skin from my linea negra almost appeared to get concentrated in my belly button. At first I thought it was permanently discolored but then I realized that I could scrub it and it goes back to normal color. – Caroline
50) I’m hoping this stops when I stop nursing, but my boobs still tighten a little when I hear newborns cry. – Brittany
51) Urgent poops! Especially immediately postpartum while breastfeeding. I legit crapped myself a few times. I was nursing, had to poop all of a sudden and couldn’t move fast enough with my battle wounds and a newborn. There. I publicly admitted I’ve crapped myself. Please don’t let me be the only one. – Brooke
If this all sounds absolutely awful, please know that there were several comments saying how the kids are all worth it in the end. Which must be true because most of us have more than one kid!
Anyway. I wish I could help you all with your skin tags, mustaches and extra armpit boobs, but at the very least I can try to help everyone feel less embarrassed about bladder leaks and buying incontinence pads. There should be no shame in using a product like Always Discreet, because incontinence issues are really a very common problem amongst mothers. And just so you know, incontinence pads are different from menstrual pads because they are designed specifically to hold pee and disguise the odor. They are also way thinner than you think.