The unpleasant side to pregnancy

We reveal the embarrassing and annoying side-effects of being pregnant

Pregnancy: The unpleasant bits

Not everything about pregnancy is rosy, here are some of the less glamorous bits you may experience

woman in bed feeling sick

Why did no one tell you about all the unexpected and embarrassing side effects of expecting a baby?

What the hell happened to your hair? Lots of women get newly thick, luscious locks in pregnancy – but why does nature go and spoil the gesture by making them sprout random hairs on their chest, face and bump, too?

Sweaty Betty. Suddenly your deodorant seems near-useless, you wake up in the morning able to wring out your PJs, and you’re throwing open windows when it’s freezing outside. Which brings us to…

Your newly sensitive nose. Every smell in pregnancy seems a hundred times more pungent than normal – which should be a good thing. Maybe you’d make a good sommelier if only the smell of wine didn’t turn your stomach. But smells are only ever bad now. Especially your sweat. And your (ex) favourite perfume.

Progesterone has a lot to answer for. The hormone that relaxes your muscles can also cause heartburn and constipation. It’s why you now have to carry around industrial supplies of chalky, minty lozenges and eat mountains of bran flakes and strange seeds that promise instant results…

And why did no one warn you about the, ahem, flatulence problem? If you just can’t keep it in any more, you can blame progesterone again for relaxing your muscles.

The entire contents of your linen cupboard are now on your bed, Princess and the Pea-style. You can only get to sleep with an extra duvet under your sheet, three strategically placed pillows, a rolled up bath towel under your bump, and another pillow between your feet. You’re sure your partner was in there somewhere…

Being woken up by leg cramps. Having only managed to get comfortable enough to fall asleep at 4am, is it fair to be woken up at 5.30 yelping in pain because your calf/foot/thigh has gone into spasm? In a word, no.

You will spend a lot more money in your local beauty salon. Remember how you used to take such care of your bikini line? Well, as you won’t be seeing it until the baby is a couple of months old, unless you can hold a mirror while reaching round your bump to apply strips of wax, it’s a job for the professionals for a while.

As if progesterone hadn’t done enough, it can also give you piles because it relaxes the walls of your blood vessels. (One in ten women gets piles in their third trimester.) Now you just have to work out how to pronounce Anusol (AINus-ol? AnOOS-ol?) and hope the chemist’s is empty of other customers, while wondering why the manufacturers didn’t call it something less obvious. 

The unpleasant side to pregnancy