Pregnancy is one of the most intensely emotional and physical experiences you can undertake. It also can do some pretty weird things to your body.
From colour-changing vaginas to a superhuman sense of smell, here are a few unexpected ways your body might change inside and out during pregnancy.
Your voice could change.
Pregnancy can cause your voice to change, fertility expert Dr. Kim Clugston told Cosmopolitan. This is due to an increase in levels of estrogen and progesterone, which can affect lung capacity, muscle control, and body fluids. These changes may cause a swelling of the vocal cords and a slightly deeper voice.
Pregnant peoplemay not be able to reach high vocal notes, but they might be able to hit notes lower than they were able to before.
Your vagina might turn blue.
That’s right – it’s not uncommon for a pregnant person’s vagina to turn blue during pregnancy due to increased blood flow to the area, obstetrician and gynecologist Dr. Katherine Babaliaros revealed to CNN.
Some people can experience this as early as six to eight weeks into a pregnancy, and the condition can become painful as pressure on the vagina increases due to the growth of the baby.
Your shoe size might permanently increase.
It’s not just your belly that expands during pregnancy. The Bump reported that your feet can often grow up a half-size or more.
Swelling isn’t the only culprit. During pregnancy, your ligaments loosen to help prepare your body for childbirth. This loosening lingers after the baby is born, meaning that your feet might be permanently enlarged.
You could find hair growing in unexpected places.
Pregnant people might experience increased hair growth that isn’t confined to their heads.
“Pubic hair can grow long and fluffy, and that freaks some women out,” obstetrician and gynecologist Dr. Gilberg-Lenz told CNN. “And you can see an unwelcome growth on your lips, chin, and cheeks and more hair than usual on your arms, legs, back, and belly.”
These changes are due to an increase in male hormones during pregnancy. Some people also find that their head hair looks glossier and thicker during pregnancy. Either way, hair growth should return to normal after giving birth.
Your breath might stink.
For some, bad breath is an unwelcome side effect of pregnancy. Dr. Clugston told Cosmopolitan that hormone changes may cause bacteria in the mouth to grow rapidly, leading to bad breath and bleeding gums.
You can combat pregnancy halitosis by keeping up with your dental appointments and flossing regularly.
You could break out in rash all over your body.
Approximately one in 150 pregnant people will experience pruritic urticarial papules and plaques of pregnancy, or PUPPP, during pregnancy.
According to Healthline, PUPPP is an itchy rash that appears as tiny, pimple-like spots or hives that may join together to form red plaques. The rash tends to begin on the stomach and may spread to thighs, arms, legs, and buttocks. It is extremely itchy and usually only goes away after childbirth.
You might become more flatulent.
Some pregnant people experience more gas and flatulence during pregnancy, Dr. Babaliaros told CNN. This is due to an increase in the hormones progesterone and relaxin, the combined effects of which can loosen your sphincter muscle. This is the muscle that allows you to control when you pass gas.
You could experience increased vaginal discharge.
The special term for this thin, white, milky discharge is leukorrhea, according to the American Pregnancy Association. It’s completely normal to notice more vaginal discharge during pregnancy, but you should visit your doctor if you find that your discharge is an unusual colour, has a strong smell, or is accompanied by itching or redness.
You may notice you’re producing extra saliva.
Some people find that pregnancy causes them to produce more saliva than usual, according to Baby Center. Experts aren’t in agreement about what causes this increase in saliva during pregnancy, but most attribute it to hormonal changes, nausea, or heartburn. The average person makes about one and a half quarts of spit per day.
Your nose might be stuffier than usual.
Baby Center reported that up to 30% of pregnant people experience something called pregnancy rhinitis, which is nasal congestion or a stuffy nose brought on by hormonal changes. The condition is caused by swelling in the lining of the nasal passages and can start as early as your second month of pregnancy. Unfortunately, the stuffiness usually gets worse later in pregnancy but should resolve after delivery.
You could have a keener sense of smell.
Your sense of smell could get much stronger during pregnancy. Baby Centre reports that about two-thirds of people say that their sense of smell changes while pregnant. This might sound like a superpower, but this heightened awareness of odours can aggravate pregnancy-related nausea for some people.
Visit INSIDER’s homepage for more.
Business Insider Emails & Alerts
Site highlights each day to your inbox.