Welcome to the second installment of “Pregnancy: When your body goes absolutely nuts.” I wasn’t sure if there would be a part 2, given the thorough (and graphic) detail of the first post, not to mention the fact that my hormones (the primary culprits of crazy-making) have leveled off since the first trimester. However, I have experienced some particularly weird things over the past few months that I can’t help but share. And don’t worry. This isn’t nearly as TMI.
Gigantic hair – I joked in one of my progressive pregnancy photos that my hair was also pregnant because it is so large and in charge. In fact, pregnant women DO have pregnant hair, in that their hair doesn’t fall out for 9 months (give or take). The average person loses 50 to 100 hairs a day (you’ll see this on your hair brush or in the drain). As someone who doesn’t brush her hair and washes it only every once in a while, I always rake out globs and globs of hair during a shower. I mean, I could donate the stuff for a wig. The last few months or so, I’ve managed to gather about 5 hairs with each shower. The first time I noticed, I found this so phenomenal, I ran downstairs, wet strands in hand, to show Dave. He was also impressed. In reality, my hair isn’t really growing either. It’s just frozen in place until I give birth, when it will fall out with abandoned.
Gigantic feet – I am only 5’3″, yet I have size 9 feet, quite large for a small person. I had hoped to get through pregnancy with the same size shoe, but this has not been the case. The hormone, relaxin, kicks in during pregnancy and causes your ligaments to relax (hence the name). This is great for your pelvis, which has to accommodate a growing babe. But this also can spread your feet. Now I wear a 9.5, which means I’ve had to buy new shoes and will likely have to give away all my very cute but very uncomfortable size 9 shoes because the change is usually permanent. My friend’s mother gave birth three times and her feet grew half a size with each pregnancy. My sister’s feet, which used to be a 9 are now a 10 (with baby #2).
Feeling hot ALL THE TIME – Pregnant women have close to 50% more blood coursing through their bodies than they did pre-pregnancy. This makes them walking saunas. I still feel just as cold when I’m out in 30-degree weather, but upon going indoors, I overheat quickly. My body just can’t regulate it’s temperature like it used to. I sleep with two fans on at night and only a sheet. I try to wear short-sleeves, even in January, so I don’t pass out when I’m indoors. I am constantly fanning myself in church, at the movies, in the car. I. Am. Always. Hot.
Constant cold – My nose runs all the time and I’m never without a box of tissues. I blow my nose 100 times a day. Because of the increased blood volume, your nasal passages swell, convincing your body to make more mucus to flush out evil germs when in fact you are virus free. So, if you hear me hacking or sneezing around you, don’t be alarmed. Pregnancy is not contagious.
Burps – Digestion is slowed in pregnancy so your body can extract more nutrients from the food you eat. But slower digestion combined with a crowded torso means you experience a lot more heartburn, acid re-flux and belching. I might have been mildly embarrassed about belching in public before. Now, all bets are off.
Back pain – Pretty classic pregnancy symptom but quite annoying. My back pain has moved from my lower back all the way up to my shoulder blades as the pregnancy has progressed. The chiropractor says it’s my changing posture, but I imagine it’s also my changing bra size, as well. I sleep with a heating pad every night and have to take frequent stops on long car trips to walk around. It’s pretty much always with me and there ain’t much I can do about it!
Swollen eyes – That’s right – not only have my belly and my feet grown, but also my eyes!! This has to do with blood volume, which especially affects your eyes (and all of it’s tiny blood vessels). My contacts don’t fit very well at all and I spend most of the day squinting. My eyes always feel dry. I’ve started to wear my glasses more.
Forgetfulness/clumsiness – Supposedly this is pretty common for pregnant women. Some have coined forgetfulness associated with pregnancy the “pregnancy brain.” And clumsiness comes with relaxed ligaments and changing center of gravity. But quite frankly, I was forgetful and clumsy before pregnancy, so I haven’t really noticed a difference. I lose things, am terrible at memory recall, spill things and trip over myself pretty much all the time. But I think that’s just the way that I am.
I’ve been fortunate enough to avoid (or no longer have to endure) some of the more heinous pregnancy symptoms like hemorrhoids (only experienced these twice in the second trimester), constipation (I drink a LOT of water), stretch marks (none on my stomach, anyway), sciatica, vomiting, high blood pressure (my blood pressure was low a few weeks ago, it was 90/60!), mood swings and the like. Here’s hoping none of these will pop up over the next 10 weeks. But if they do, at least the end is near!