We often hear about pregnancy as one of the most magical times in life. This can be absolutely true, but what is magical can also be incredibly mysterious. If you are starting to plan your pregnancy, now is the best time to find an OBGYN that can support you. The earlier that family planning care begins, the more smoothly your pregnancy may go from beginning to end. Ideally, women receive guidance from a trusted medical team before they become pregnant. In this way, they can give their bodies what is needed to thrive. Additionally, early care provides patients with the information they need to go through pregnancy with a better understanding of what is happening in their bodies.
Here, we discuss a few of the normal but mysterious things that pregnant women may experience.
- Changes in skin color. It isn’t like a woman’s skin tone changes entirely during pregnancy. What may occur in the vast majority of pregnancies, however, is a change in the color of the areolas. In response to hormone changes that affect the breasts, the skin around the nipples may darken quite a bit. Another surprising area of skin color change may be the labia. The blood vessels in the vaginal area are very close to the skin’s surface and, as a result of a 30 to 50% increase in blood volume during pregnancy, they may become more prominent in this delicate area. This should not cause pain but it can be alarming to see a change in the genitals if you’re not expecting it. A final, common change in the skin that may occur during pregnancy is a dark brown line running vertically down the belly. This may occur as the abdominal muscles and skin stretch to accommodate the growing fetus. All of these changes should resolve after giving birth.
- Hot flashes and sweating. Hot flashes? Aren’t those a symptom of menopause? They are. They are also a direct symptom of hormone shifts. Menopause is not the only time that the hormones change significantly. As this happens during pregnancy, a woman may experience waves of heat that come on suddenly or, conversely, may simply feel like they’re “running hot” in general. As hormone regulation occurs after childbirth, body temperature should return to normal.
- Brain fog. While doing things like putting your car keys in the fruit basket or your glasses in the refrigerator may be funny stories to tell later, these little mistakes can be frustrating when they happen. Interestingly, doctors do not understand exactly why nearly 80 percent of pregnant women experience pretty dramatic brain fog. There could be a variety of reasons, from hormones to simply having a lot on their minds. Regardless, cognitive function tends to return to normal shortly after childbirth. You needn’t worry that you might put the baby bottle in the washing machine.
- Increased sex drive. This may be a change that comes as a nice surprise. After the first trimester and its fatigue and nausea have passed, many women find that they are more inclined to be intimate with their partners. This is another side effect of changing hormones, and one that can be enjoyed due to the irrelevance of birth control.
The best pregnancies start before conception. If you are ready to start planning your family, contact one of the experienced OBGYN providers at our Show Lo facility.