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Things You Did NOT Expect While Expecting

6 min read

By Sarah Reynolds

Medically Reviewed by Dr. Andrea Eisenberg, MD

So it’s happened. You’re pregnant. Congrats! Now, you enter into this majestic 9 months of your life where you glow and look adorable and everybody wants to be your friend. But wait! There’s more. You’re experiencing all these strange sudden symptoms and they can’t possibly have to do with pregnancy…can they?

Obviously, an alien has taken over your body and is messing with your entire system. Okay, so not really, but reality is, growing a baby can make you a snoring, sweating, spitting, crampy, pukey hot mess. Oh, and now that you’re preggers, you’re not allowed an entire list of over-the-counter medications to help ease your discomfort like your normal self could. So let’s go through some rather common (and a few unexpected) symptoms of pregnancy, and tips on how you can remedy them naturally…

Charley Horse

One of the most bizarre things that ever occurred to me during a pregnancy, was this sudden shooting cramp and pain in my calf while I slept. I went on to discover this was, in fact, a bizarre symptom of pregnancy. I had never experienced the pain or sensation before, and when I described it to my midwife, she was quick to tell me it was a “Charley Horse”.

While Charley Horse cramps can be prevented in methods of diet and hydration, in that moment of pain, you need relief. Pregnancy already steals much of your sleep, so these middle of the night cramps are no welcome visitor. The cure? Lay flat, keep your leg straight, and pull your toes towards your head. It should immediately relieve the cramp, and you can go back to the much needed sleep you need to grow a human.

Restless Leg Syndrome

The name itself sounds like a joke. How is this an actual thing? You try and lay down to sleep and your legs are doing an Irish dance and you can’t settle yourself. Meanwhile, your partner is complaining that you’re moving and kicking, and it’s making you feel like you’ve gone crazy. Restless leg syndrome (RLS) can make your legs feel anywhere from tingley to itchy to just downright uncomfortable, causing you to keep moving them in order to find some comfort.

Baby Centre reports that approximately 16 percent of pregnant women experience RLS, and many don’t even know it’s a pregnancy symptom. Taking supplements such as iron, magnesium, folate, or B12 may help with the symptoms, just be sure to talk to your doctor or midwife first so you can be steered in the right direction. Another natural approach is taking a warm bath, or leg rubs from your partner before bed (hey, any excuse…am I right, ladies?).


Morning sickness doesn’t affect all women during pregnancy, and for some it can strike in the form of nausea. Nausea during pregnancy is difficult to navigate, because there’s not much for safe over-the-counter medications to relieve this.

While ginger is often recommended, many women can’t stand the taste, and it will turn their stomach even more. A much more fun option, is a sour candy and lollipops, which are easy to tote with you, pop in your mouth, and suck on to relieve nausea. It works, for who knows why. Frankly, it’s just great that it works. Nowadays there are also motion sickness band available which some women find helpful. Also, vitamin B6 has been known to help with nausea. 

Acid Reflux

A common symptom for many pregnant women, is acid reflux. With the limitations on medicines that will actually help, it can be frustrating for many. The causes of acid reflux are plentiful. In pregnancy, it’s recommended that you abstain from eating a few hours before bed, and avoid drinking while eating, instead opting to hydrate between meals.

When the reflux strikes, a simple way to help ease it (without having to get up or, err…roll out of bed) is to add an extra pillow beneath your head while sleeping. It may take a bit to get used to, but that extra bit of angle for your body while sleeping can help keep acid from creeping up into your esophagus, causing that awful sensation we call heartburn. There’s also some neat bed props on the market to help angle your entire bed. Of course, Tums, Maalox, or Mylanta are other safe options to use for heartburn. You should also avoid eating spicy foods. 

Stretch Marks

While many women are genetically predisposed to having stretch marks, there’s still methods of prevention, hopefully to help keep them at bay. If the methods don’t work, you can wear your stripes of honor with pride for your accomplishments.

I wish coconut oil was a thing (or a known thing) back during my pregnancies. But luckily for moms still to-be, it is now! If it doesn’t help prevent stretch marks (but, many swear that it does), it will at least ease the tight feeling in your skin that can be so uncomfortable. Remember your skin is like an elastic, it’s going to feel tight as it expands. So help nourish it along the way to prevent damage and help it snapback!


According to a study published in Acta Obstetricia et Gynecologica Scandinavica, 3 out of every 4 pregnant women will experience constipation during their pregnancy. Why is this? Well, all those human growing hormones relax the muscles in your body, including your bowels, which slows digestion and causes constipation.

There’s many cures for constipation found in your local pharmacy but, since you’re pregnant, you probably can’t have them. That’s alright because natural remedies are the way to go! Eating more fiber, like fresh fruit and vegetables, beans, bran cereal, and prunes are all great options to keep things more regular. Additionally, make sure you’re well hydrated. I realize this is often avoided because you already need to use the bathroom every 5 minutes, but it’s necessary to drink at least 10 cups (or 2.3 litres) of water every day, as recommended by the Institute of Medicine.


This is the time and place where your snoring partner gets to rub it in your face that you too, are making sleepy time sounds that could cripple any relationship. It’s not your fault. You’ll get through this pregnancy, and back to elbowing your mate in the side when they snore in NO time.

The congested feeling, often making your voice sound different and then causing the night time snoring, is a side effect of all the extra blood flowing through your body. Your blood supply increases by 50 percent during pregnancy, and combined with pregnancy hormones, can cause your mucus membranes to swell up. The best way to soothe snoring, is with plenty of hydration (I know, I know…you’re gonna pee yourself soon). A humidifier in your room while you sleep is also helpful, and not a bad investment to make if you don’t already own one, because (spoiler alert!) you have a baby on the way and a humidifier is really useful for infant congestion.

Excess Saliva

Another bizarre twist on pregnancy is all of that excess spit. It might not seem like a terrible symptom, but that “sweaty mouth” feeling can really start to affect you, especially at night when you wake up in a pile of drool.

The excess saliva, more or less, is caused by hormones as well as feelings of nausea and morning sickness. Excessive salivation is called ptyalism. To help, try avoiding excess starch in your diet, and take small sips of water consistently throughout your day. Also, try skipping the mouthwash that can often have a drying affect on the mouth.

MD, Obstetrics and Gynecology

Andrea Eisenberg, MD is a board certified OB/GYN in the Metro Detroit area. She has dedicated her life to caring for women through all stages of their lives -- from adolescence, to delivering babies, and later into menopause. Her special interests include minimally invasive surgeries, adolescence, family planning, infertility, and menopause. In her spare time she writes about the human side of medicine on her blog and has several essays published in a variety of journals. To decompress, she enjoys trail running and baking.



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