5 most embarrassing pregnancy symptoms

The good news is that you're pregnant. The bad news? A few uncomfortable side effects that commonly go along with pregnancy. Here are five you'll probably encounter and tips on how to handle them.

Pregnant woman on yoga mat grabbing her belly

Photo: iStockphoto

1. Morning sickness

The majority of mamas-to-be (about 80 to 90 percent) will experience nausea at some point in their first trimester due to increased hormone levels. You might think you’re just queasy, but you never know when “morning sickness” is suddenly going to turn into throwing up on the subway or tossing your cookies in the frozen foods section. (Certain smells, food, etc., are bound to turn your stomach when you’re expecting.) To keep the vomiting to a minimum, try sucking on hard candy (ginger-flavoured preferably), ice chips or a lemon (lemonade can work wonders too — both have an antinausea effect on the body). If that doesn’t help, try taking your prenatal vitamins at night on a full stomach instead of first thing in the morning. Wearing an acupuncture wristband (people who suffer from seasickness wear the Sea Band to avoid nausea on cruise ships, for example) can also help.

2. Unruly gas
You might find yourself the centre of attention when you accidentally let out a big belch in a meeting at work, or turn a deep shade of crimson after passing gas in a crowded elevator. Unfortunately, gas is another one of those things that can be blamed on high levels of progesterone in the body. Progesterone relaxes the muscles in your gastrointestinal tract and slows down digestion, allowing gas to build up. Avoid embarrassing situations by paying attention to your diet and the frequency of your meals (small meals several times each day can help). Try to cut out culprits such as carbonated drinks, beans, cabbage and broccoli too.

3. Unruly hormones
Be warned —pregnancy hormones can be and often are worse than your monthly PMS moodiness. And not only do hormones make us feel more annoyed, aggravated and angry than usual, they can take us from happy to completely upset in a matter of seconds. (This is the embarrassing part!) Not only do progesterone and estrogen toy with our emotions, hormones are to blame for our strange food cravings. Prepare yourself for mood swings in first trimester and toward the end of the pregnancy (though many women experience emotional ups and downs for the entire nine months).

4. Leaky bladder
Don’t be surprised if you piddle in your pants if you laugh too hard or sneeze when you’re out to dinner with friends. Pregnancy and incontinence are like peanut butter and jelly — they just go together. Accidents happen because your uterus presses against your bladder, and that makes it super difficult to hold even a tiny amount of pee. Your best line of defense is to start doing your Kegels (pelvic muscle-toning exercise to strengthen the bladder) or wear a sanitary napkin when you’re out of the house.

5. Pregnancy brain
You’ve probably heard the term “pregnancy brain” or “mommy brain” before–that’s because it’s a real thing. While doctors aren’t sure if it’s your hormones that cause you to feel absentminded and forgetful in the first and third trimesters especially, there’s no doubt that many women experience trouble remembering the simplest of tasks when they’re expecting. (Write yourself notes to turn off the stove if this is you.) There’s speculation that your concentration and memory could suffer because you’re so focused on all the changes going on in your body, thinking about your baby, etc. Sure, it can be a little embarrassing if you forget a client’s name or your husband’s birthday, but most people understand that you’ve got other (more important) things on your mind.

Read more:
When it’s not just morning sickness

Your guide to pregnancy hormones
Natural cures for common pregnancy symptoms

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