Anyone who’s known a pregnant woman knows the unfortunate truth: that morning sickness can happen any time of day. But how much do you know about extra saliva? Or the fact that your heart actually gets bigger while you’re pregnant?
Here are 7 things you may not know about pregnancy, as well as some WellTuned resources pregnant females and their partners may find helpful.
1. Your mouth may produce extra saliva, especially during the first trimester.
Your body can generate extra saliva as a way to protect your mouth, teeth and throat from corrosive stomach acid. Extra saliva is more common if you’re struggling with acid reflux or vomiting, but it can also affect women who don’t experience nausea.
Treat it: There’s no known “cure” for excess saliva, but you can try:
- Chewing ice or sugarless gum
- Using mouthwash or brushing your teeth more often
- Eating or drinking something sour, such as water with a lot of lemon or lime
2. Your heart grows in size.
When you’re pregnant, your blood volume increases up to 50% to supply enough oxygenated blood to your baby. To get all that blood around the body, your heart also grows bigger.
Treat it: You don’t need to! This symptom shouldn’t cause discomfort and will make up part of your healthy weight gain during pregnancy.
3. You may get acne on your back.
Back acne — or “bacne” — is common for moms-to-be. It’s caused by extra hormones, and it doesn’t last forever, though it’s definitely not the most fun symptom while it’s here.
Treat it: Talk to your doctor about using over-the-counter cleansers to clear up back breakouts. Avoid vitamin-A based treatments containing isotretinoin, which can cause birth defects.
4. Your partner may think they’re experiencing pregnancy symptoms.
Sympathetic pregnancy, or couvade, is a scenario in which non-pregnant partners experience pregnancy-related symptoms. It is said to include physical symptoms such as nausea, heartburn, bloating, cramps and backaches, as well as psychological symptoms such as anxiety, depression and sleep problems.
Treat it: While some research suggests couvade is common, it isn’t a recognized mental condition. However, stress during pregnancy is common for both partners. Manage that by taking proactive steps such as attending prenatal classes or asking for advice from your doctor.
5. Your sense of smell may become supercharged.
Your sense of smell will probably become heightened, especially during the first trimester. Some women actually discover they are pregnant when their sense of smell starts working overtime, and experts believe this may be an evolutionary tool women use to avoid unsafe foods.
Treat it: If certain smells trigger nausea, try keeping a list of off-limits foods and share it with your partner and household. Chances are your preferences will return to normal post-pregnancy.
6. Your baby may be able to taste flavors in the womb.
Studies have shown that strong flavors such as garlic can pass through amniotic fluid. Since babies swallow roughly a quart of fluid per day, the baby may “taste” these flavors. Other studies have shown that when pregnant mothers drank a lot of carrot juice, their babies were more likely to develop a taste for carrot juice after birth.
Treat it: No need! Unless you want your baby to really like carrot juice 🙂
7. You literally “loosen up” during pregnancy.
When you’re pregnant, your body produces a hormone called relaxin that softens the ligaments connecting your joints and eventually helps relax your pelvic muscles to prepare for birth. Your body also produces progesterone, a hormone that is key to getting pregnant, starting by relaxing the uterus so the egg can implant. Later in pregnancy, however, that extra progesterone may also relax your esophagus so much that it causes acid reflux or heartburn.
- Try eating smaller, more frequent meals
- Limit fatty or acidic foods, carbonated beverages, caffeine and spicy foods
- Talk to your doctor about over-the-counter acid relievers
More WellTuned pregnancy resources
Check out all of WellTuned’s articles on pregnancy here, as well as these highlights:
- Pregnancy food guide: What you should and shouldn’t eat
- Immunizations while pregnant
- Are pregnancy and forgetfulness really connected?
- 7 ways to prevent back pain during pregnancy
- 3 tips for exercising during pregnancy
Learn about BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee’s Healthy Maternity program available to members.
Get more information about specific health terms, topics and conditions to better manage your health on bcbst.com. BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee members can access wellness-related discounts on fitness products, gym memberships, healthy eating and more through Blue365®. BCBST members can also find tools and resources to help improve health and well-being by logging into BlueAccess and going to the Managing Your Health tab.