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Pregnancy: The Side Effects

Being the youngest of four sisters, almost the last of our friends to procreate, and having started much later in life to have kids, I'm amazed at how much I already knew about pregnancy. But then came a few of the "side effects" I didn't know or expect at all.

There are the big ones that you hear about in movies or tv (you know, the comedy fodder): constipation, gas, heartburn, morning sickness, dizziness, hemorrhoids, stretch marks. Fortunately, I've only had minor versions of the first three (so far)...

But there are two side effects I didn't hear about that have been quite surprising. Let's start with pregnancy sinuses. Not all women are affected by this but I am and how. They are mostly not a problem during the day. Oh I can tell there is some swelling in my sinuses, but I can still breath regularly. No, it's at night when I lie down that is sucky. At first it's no problem but hours later I am a mouth breathing troglodyte, tossing and turning, my tongue turning to cotton. Fun! When I wake up, it takes an hour or two to settle down.

Why does this happen? Apparently one's body is making all kinds of cool mucusy stuff to help with the baby area, especially the infamous "mucus plug". (It blocks stuff from coming into the uterus to keep baby safe and then is expelled before labor. Apparently it's not unlike snot being expelled from your nose, except it doesn't come out your nose.... TMI?) With all this awesome mucus production going on, my body said, "Hey! We should just make mucus everywhere, this is a blast!" The official name: Rhinitis of Pregnancy.

(Rhinitis...hmm...I bet there would be no other girls named Rhinitis...)

The other unexpected side effect? ITCHY NIPPLES!!!!! Christ on a cracker people, why didn't anyone say anything?? When the boobs start growing (and yeah, all I need are BIGGER boobs!) (Though I guess I don't hear Kurt complaining) the skin gets stretched and itchy. But damn! There were a few weeks when it was pretty wacky and let me tell you, trying not to scratch your nipples in public is HARD. It's calmed down now, but the girls are only going to get bigger again so I know it will happen again. Women about to get pregnant: consider yourself warned!

I've been fortunate so far with the standard stuff. There was no hurling, just some general nausea in the first trimester. I've moved on to the heartburn phase of the pregnancy so I keep my tums and gum handy at all times, but days go by when it's not a problem.

I'm not really complaining too much about this, because again, I've been lucky so far. And honestly, when I get heartburn or even an itchy nipple, it reminds me that things are progressing just as they should be and the Sweet Potato is doing just fine.