You already know what to expect during pregnancy: weight gain, morning sickness and fatigue.
But with all of the hormones and changes your body goes through, there are other pregnancy symptoms that might surprise you. And while they may be strange, theyre completely normal.
Although its always a good idea to talk to your doctor first, rest assured these 10 common symptoms are nothing to worry about.
1. Excess vaginal discharge
Leucorrhea, or an increase in vaginal discharge, is common and happens because of the hormonal changes that happen during pregnancy.
The hormones cause the glands in the vagina to have an increased production of secretions which then manifests itself as leucorrhea, said Dr. Kelly Kasper, a board-certified OB-GYN at Indiana University Health in Indianapolis.
Excess vaginal discharge can also occur as you near your due date because the cervix will begin to ripen, or become soft to prepare your body to give birth.
Vaginal discharge thats white to light yellow is nothing to worry about, but if it becomes itchy or has an odor it could mean you have a yeast infection. Also, if the discharge is persistent and watery, it could mean youre leaking amniotic fluid, so call your doctor immediately.
Between 20 and 40 percent of women will have spotting during the first trimester and most of the time its simply because more blood is being pumped into the cervix. Spotting can also happen because of implantation bleeding when the embryo is implanted in the uterine lining, which happens between six and twelve days after fertilization.
A small amount of light pink or brown blood is normal but if its bright red or its heavy like your period, call your physician. Bleeding could indicate placenta previa or a miscarriage but most of the time, its normal and will resolve itself.
Dont freak about it because it happens a lot and most people are fine. But do take precautions and talk to your physician thats what theyre there for, said Jeanne Faulkner, a registered nurse in Portland, Ore., author of Common Sense Pregnancy: Navigating a Healthy Pregnancy and Birth for Mother and Baby and host of the Common Sense Pregnancy & Parenting podcast.
3. Bloody noses and bleeding gums
The pregnancy hormones that increase the blood vessel supply throughout the body can also make the tissues in the nose and gums hypersensitive. As a result, you might have a bloody nose and notice that your gums bleed when you brush them or have a dental cleaning.
Running a humidifier at night and using a saline nasal spray or gel can help keep your nasal passages moist. When you brush your teeth, use a soft bristle toothbrush and brush gently.
4. Skin tags
Skin tags are small outpockets or excess skin growths that show up in the folds of the body like the neck, the underarms and the groin and usually develop between the fourth and six month of pregnancy.
Although its unclear why they happen, it might be due to hormones and weight gain. There also seems to be a genetic component and they tend to happen more frequently with age.
Sometimes they regress or fall off after pregnancy but most of the time, theyre markers of pregnancy and they tend to stay until your dermatologist snips it off or burns it off, said Dr. Doris Day, a board-certified dermatologist in New York City and author of Forget the Facelift: Turn Back the Clock with Dr. Days Revolutionary Four-Step Program for Ageless Skin.
If you notice new or changing skin lesions or moles, however, tell your doctor at your next prenatal visit to make sure its not skin cancer, which is common but treatable during pregnancy.
5. Racing heart or a pumping sensation in the ear
The increased blood volume means theres more blood for your heart to pump throughout your body, so your heart has to work harder. If you feel your heart beating harder or even hear the sound of your heart beating in your ear, know that its nothing to stress out about.
6. Varicose veins in the legs and the vulva
As your blood volume increases and your uterus and baby grow, the pressure on the large blood vessels can make it difficult for the blood to circulate back to your lower extremities.
As a result, the blood can pool and create varicose veins in your legs and even in your vulva, which happens in about 10 percent of women and can be quite uncomfortable.
10 pregnancy symptoms you should never ignore