5 things you never bargained for when you got pregnant

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We all know about stretch marks, sickness, cravings and cramps, but there are some much more unlikely surprises in store when you get pregnant. Here, Rachel Tompkins gives us the rundown of what you really should prepare yourself for when you’re expecting….

1. More hair don’t care!

Feel like your hair’s turning into an unruly lion’s main when you’re pregnant? You’re not far wrong. Apparently, the hormones produced by your body when you’re carrying a baby will make your hair grow faster and fall out less. Embrace the new barnet though, because once the baby arrives you’ll probably lose a lot of that hair. Those hormones have a lot to answer for.

2. Nasty gnashers

Never mind pain in the bum, if you’ve got pains in the mouth you’re not alone. Some women experience swollen and sore gums during pregnancy. They might bleed too. Again, this is caused by hormonal changes that make your gums more vulnerable to plaque, which results in the bleeding. It’s usually referred to as pregnancy gingivitis. The good thing is that most women in the UK are eligible for free dental treatment whilst pregnant and for a period after the baby arrives. So make the most of it while you can, and if all else fails, slap on a lippy with blue tones in - makes your teeth look whiter apparently!

3. Vivid dreams

Utterly terrifying and downright bizarre, my dreams were like stepping into a Netflix subscription when I was pregnant. And I swear I had loads more nocturnal nightmares than normal. Talking to other mums made me realise it was normal, and probably due to the fact that my brain was working overdrive to process all the changes that were happening physically and mentally. Some experts think that you don’t actually experience more dreams than normal, but that your sleep is interrupted (by needing the loo/back pain etc) so you just remember them more clearly. Either way, it brings a whole new meaning to a hair-raising night under the sheets. 

4. More bump and grind

If R Kelly didn’t see ‘nothing wrong, with a little bump and grind’ than neither do we! While some women worry that having a huge bump protruding out of their stomach might put them off sex, the truth can be quite the opposite. Many pregnant women experience an increased libido and lubrication down below, as well as a clitoris that’s more sensitive because of the increased blood flow. Perhaps it’s nature’s way of telling us to make the most of it before the baby arrives. Because after that it might not be top of the priorities list for a while...

5. Putting your foot in it

Struggling to get your favourite shoes on when pregnant? It’s probably because your feet have gone up a size. Actress Denise Van Outen was quoted in the press as saying that her feet went from a size 5 to a 6 when she was pregnant, and research has shown that it’s a common phenomenon for expectant mums. It’s not surprising when you consider all the extra weight they’re carrying, not to mention the loosening of muscles caused by hormones. But don’t throw out your favourite Louboutins (I wish!) just yet, most of the mums that I know have seen their feet happily shrink back to normal once the baby arrives. If only the rest of the body did the same!

@RachTompkins @mushmums