There are some pregnancy symptoms out there that everyone knows about- nausea, lower back pain, moodiness… But what about painful vaginal twinges / twitching / zaps during pregnancy? Here are a few pregnancy symptoms I had no idea about but are completely normal.
When we first found out I was pregnant, I was totally surprised. Other than being late, I was not experiencing any nausea or pains. My appetite didn’t even change. It wasn’t until later (probably about my second trimester) that I started having some “weird” symptoms. After talking to a midwife, however, I learned that these symptoms are completely normal.
1) Sympathetic Nausea
I did not experience regular morning sickness during my first trimester. Before you get jealous, let me explain that I did (and still occasionally do) experience what my friend calls “sympathetic nausea.” Certain visual triggers would cause me to gag or vomit. And I’m still experiencing this. If I see a stray hair somewhere it shouldn’t be (near my toothpaste, for example) it could send me off into a gagging fit. If there is a hair in my food, I lose it… literally.
Other triggers for me are TV shows showing surgeries (this did not affect me before), someone else gagging or vomiting, and some smells.
Oh. Also… sometimes, brushing my teeth triggers my gag reflex. That’s fun, right?
2) Vaginal Twitches, Twinges, and Zings
This one freaked me out so bad when I first felt it. The first time I felt my vagina twitching on its own was early in my second trimester. It was painless at first but later on, the random twinges would be accompanied by shooting pain in my lady parts. Sometimes, I would be standing in the kitchen cooking or even just lying down in bed and I would feel this pain.
When I asked a midwife about this, she said it was completely normal. There was no explanation for it. But she said some people think that the baby is moving around and hitting a nerve or even a muscle that is causing the pain.
3) Numb Hands
Before getting pregnant, sometimes I would fall asleep and wake up with an arm or a leg also asleep. This was because I slept on it funny or it was in a weird position. Nowadays, the only parts of my body that wind up numb when I sleep are my hands. Both of them. At the same time… even if I fall asleep with them in a normal position.
A midwife explained to me that because pregnant women have more blood pumping in their systems, it causes your hands and feet to swell slightly and when you are at rest, they can go numb. This is normal. You can prevent this by propping your hands or feet up when you sleep to prevent blood from pooling. My husband was freaked out by my hands being so warm and slightly red when I told him they were numb. A midwife said this was also normal. What is NOT normal is a numb body part that is cold and pale or blue. She said this is something you should definitely tell your doctor about immediately.
She also cautioned that if your hands are numb, be very careful lifting things. You could lose your grip easily and if you’re handling a hot pot or pan, this could result in a very nasty injury.
4) Low Weight Gain
There is a stereotype of women gaining a huge amount of weight while pregnant. While this can happen, if you’re not gaining a lot of weight, don’t be alarmed. I was very concerned with how little weight I’d put on when we went in for our check-up at 27 weeks. I’d only gained about 3-4 pounds.
Now, I am overweight. Some doctors have said I am “morbidly obese” while others say that it is my body type. Regardless, I am not a small woman. That being said, I had lost a lot of weight last year and did not know how that would affect my pregnancy. I do not want to gain so much weight that it puts me and my baby in danger, but I also don’t want to restrict my eating so much that it stunts my child’s development.
At our sonogram last week, the sonographer said the child was developing normally. He was at the perfect measurement for his age and weigh right in the middle of the range he was supposed to be in at 27 weeks. When I brought up my concerns with the midwife who saw us, she said that we want to do our best to keep me at a healthy weight and also make sure I’m getting enough calories for the baby. She said that women only really need to eat 300 extra calories when they’re pregnant. I think that’s about how many extra calories I’m consuming- if that. I don’t feel like I’ve been eating much that much more (except for the occasional, random “OMG I CANT GET ENOUGH FOOD TO EAT” days…) and my husband agrees.
If you are concerned, check with your doctor. They will tell you if your baby is developing as it should be and what changes you need to make, if any.
5) Upper Back Pain
We all know and expect there to be lower back pain during pregnancy. We’re lugging around a big ball of love on our tummies, after all. Getting up and walking around will put a bit of strain on your lower back. However, I did not expect upper back pain at all.
As we enter our third trimester, our tummies will grow quite a bit. And to compensate for the additional weight that is growing in front of us, we change our stances and posture to keep our balance. Also, as we get closer to our due dates, our hormones cause our muscles and ligaments to relax and make room for growing the growing baby. Add in our growing breasts and it’s no surprise that we start having pain in our upper back, neck, and shoulders.
There are a few different ways you can help alleviate back pain naturally. You could try and work on your posture/stance. Here is an excellent article from Dr. Sears about improving your posture while pregnant. Another great way to help with back pain (both lower and upper) is with prenatal yoga and stretches. This blog post from Rooted for Life has great yoga stretches you can do to help alleviate back pain. You can also ask your partner for a back rub. This is my personal favorite 😛 When I’m sitting in bed with my husband, if I lean forward, my husband immediately starts rubbing my lower back. The other night, I asked him to rub my shoulders and it was amazing.
Remember, do not be afraid to share any of your concerns with your doctor. I am not a medical professional. These symptoms are all ones I have personally experienced and have shared with the midwife at my doctor’s office. If you do not feel what you are experiencing is normal or is something that is freaking you out, always let someone know. Your health and your baby’s health are extremely important.
How do you deal with your pregnancy symptoms?
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