Pregnant? - 10 side effects you might not know about

Pregnant? - 10 side effects you might not know about

People often associate the side effects of pregnancy with morning sickness, nausea, increased appetite, fatigue and back pain but there are some lesser known side effects of pregnancy that are worth knowing.

1.Bigger feet 

If your feet are feeling bigger it’s not your imagination and it’s not all due to swelling. The hormone relaxin that causes your ligaments to relax also affects your feet and causes your feet to spread out. You might in fact find that you permanently go up a shoe size. 

2.Sore breasts 

 Your breasts are getting ready for milk production. Increased blood flow, hormones and fat production mean that they get bigger and sore.

3.Carpal tunnel syndrome 

This causes numbness, tingling or pain in the fingers, hand or wrist and is common during pregnancy due to fluid retention. It often starts during the second trimester and can affect both hands. It’s caused by compression of the median nerve as it runs through the tunnel of the wrist. Things you can do to help ease symptoms include; identifying aggravating activities and limiting these during your pregnancy may be helpful and seeking some advice and exercises from a physiotherapist.

4.Extra saliva 

This is more likely during early pregnancy and whilst no one really knows why this happens the experts say that its most likely due to hormones. 


Extra progesterone which is great for relaxing the uterus also relaxes other muscles and can cause constipation. The reason for this is that it relaxes your intestines and they become sluggish which means that things don’t move along as well as they did before. Drink plenty of water and keep fibre rich foods in your diet.


This actually affects up to 50% of pregnant women! The veins in and around your rectum become swollen usually due to a growing uterus but constipation can also contribute and they can also occur during delivery. Good news is that they normally settle down after the pregnancy.

7.Leg cramps 

Nothing like a leg cramp to jolt you out of your sleep or just as you’re about to relax. There are many possible causes for leg cramps during pregnancy including fatigue, decreased circulation, dehydration or magnesium deficiency. Ensure you’re drinking enough fluids during the day, straighten your leg and flex your foot when you get a cramp to stretch it out and a gentle massage may also help.  

8.Heart burn 

Progesterone, the relaxing hormone can also cause the muscle that controls stomach acid entering the oesophagus to relax and become ineffective. This means that stomach acid moves back up into the oesophagus causing reflux, a burning sensation or discomfort.


Estrogen causes everything to swell including the mucus membranes in your nose causing congestion and sometime nosebleeds. Fun times.

10.Itchy skin 

Itchy skin is actually really common and mostly caused by stretching of the skin and estrogen. It’s worth mentioning itching to your doctor or midwife though especially if you have itchy palms or feet. There is a condition called cholestatis which is a liver problem resulting in the slowing of the normal flow of bile from the gall bladder. One of the main symptoms is severe itching and you’ll need to get it checked out.    

Everyone’s pregnancy journey is unique. You may experience some or none of these side effects. It’s important that you contact your health care provider if you’re concerned about any of the symptoms you are experiencing during pregnancy. It’s always better to get things checked out so that know you’re ok and you can relax. 


Reference: Better Health Victorian Government 

Image by Anastasia Makarevich from Pixabay

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