3. Runny nose: This started very early on in my pregnancy and still continues today. Apparently, during pregnancy, your body increases mucus production to protect you from germs. Makes sense, but I can’t recall noticing pregnant women with red, runny noses, even now that I’m looking for them.
4. Leaky nipples: Well, actually, I expected this one. What I didn’t expect is that it would begin around 16 weeks. Every pregnancy book I’ve looked at doesn’t seem to mention leaky nipples until the eighth or ninth month. Apparently, unlike the procrastinator I am, my breasts like to be prepared extra early.
5. Leg cramps: I guess these are a very common pregnancy symptom, and perhaps it’s just showing the naïve state I was in when I got pregnant, but I seriously had never heard that pregnant women get leg cramps. I’ll be laying in bed and feel the need to stretch out – bad idea – once I stretch my leg straight and point my toes, that’s when it hits! It’s excruciating pain, and no matter how hard I try, I cannot bend my foot back. Thank goodness these only happen at night when I’m in bed because that means I have my husband right next to me and as soon as he hears my screams, he’s able to flex my foot and massage my calf until it goes away. A couple of times my calf has actually been sore for three days after the cramp! And what’s the worst about these leg cramps is that doctors don’t really agree what’s causing them so there isn’t really any definitive way to prevent them (although taking quinine, stretching and staying active supposedly help).
All that said, I’m still enjoying my pregnancy very much and, of course, the baby is worth each of these inconveniences and discomforts! But I just thought I would share some of these symptoms so they don’t catch some unsuspecting mama-to-be unaware. If these things happen to you, don’t worry they are normal. Well, as “normal” as leaky nipples and sudden-onset food allergies can be.
On a more serious note, you should still discuss all your symptoms with your doctor or midwife, even if you think they are perfectly normal. A young woman I graduated from high school with was experiencing the symptoms of non-Hodgkin lymphoma while pregnant, but just chalked them up to pregnancy symptoms. After her little one was born very premature at 26 weeks, her doctors discovered the cancer when these symptoms didn’t go away. (Thankfully, mama is in remission after a round of chemotherapy and baby is at home now and doing well!)