There are lots of things we’re told about pregnancy, but when it actually happens to you, you realise there’s so much more to learn. In Unexpected, we’ll chart some of the less spoken about things that happen in the months between finding out you’re pregnant and giving birth.
Tender breasts, a missed period and needing to wee all of the time – many of us have heard about these early telltale signs of pregnancy. But interestingly, they’re not the only symptoms that might tell you you’re expecting.
While a pregnancy test is the best way to find out for sure whether you’ve got an extra guest on board, Marie Louise, aka The Modern Midwife, walks us through some other interesting signs that could signal you’re pregnant.
1. A weird taste in your mouth
Pregnancy causes all kinds of bodily changes – and one of those that’s rarely discussed or even known about is a change in taste, known as dysgeusia. You might have a metallic taste in your mouth or foods you once loved all of a sudden taste pretty awful. Hormones are to blame.
“Really not feeling like your morning coffee is a very common one,” says Marie Louise, who wrote The Modern Midwife’s Guide.
“A woman once told me how much she loves coffee and had been drinking four cups a day for 15 years.
“One morning she woke up and really did not fancy it – she had no other symptoms of pregnancy so dismissed it until she started to feel sick. It was only then that she considered she might in fact be pregnant.”
2. Night sweats
Getting hot and bothered at night? Yes that’s right, night sweats can also be an early sign of pregnancy and, once again, it’s all down to your hormones.
“It’s ever so common,” says Marie Louise. “Many women suffer with night sweats in early pregnancy and it can be really frustrating.
“This symptom is often dismissed too as it’s not a symptom that is commonly discussed.”
If you’re affected, make sure you’re drinking plenty of water to stay hydrated.
Lots of us know to look out for the classic pregnancy sign that is a missed period, but some women – around 20% in fact – do bleed in early pregnancy.
This will look like a light amount of blood – pink, red or dark brown in colour –either on your tissue when you wipe after going to the toilet or in your underwear.
“Although all bleeding during pregnancy does need to be investigated or discussed with a healthcare professional, it’s actually really common and doesn’t always indicate that there is anything wrong,” says Marie Louise.
“Sometimes it can just be an implantation bleed or there’s never a known cause.”
While this sign is usually associated with the second and third trimesters, many women report cravings during early pregnancy, says Marie Louise – especially for carbs.
“Toast and chips are probably the most common foods women tell me they’ve been craving during early pregnancy or before they knew they were pregnant,” she says.
Those potato waffles that you added to your shopping basket now make so much sense.
5. Heightened sense of smell
Yes you’re basically turning into a super hero. The midwife says a heightened sense of smell is very common and often grouped in with morning sickness, but they’re different symptoms.
“That said, your new improved sense of smell can set off sickness,” she says, “and many women tell me they have to breathe through their mouth whilst walking past triggers to prevent vomiting.”
Garlic, the smell of the fridge, fish – all kinds of scents might now set you off.
With all this excitement going on in your body, you might feel something more than tiredness at the early stages of pregnancy – we’re talking sheer exhaustion, to the point where you can’t get off the sofa in the afternoon or need to nap at every opportunity.
Marie Louise recalls how in her first trimester she would fall asleep on the tube, “something I’d never normally do but just couldn’t help it!”
While some people might feel shocked and happy to see a test that’s positive, for others the news might elicit feelings of anger, anxiety or fear. There’s no right or wrong way to feel during this time.
NHS Inform details the options you have – from continuing with your pregnancy, to opting for abortion, to choosing to place your baby for adoption. If you’re unsure, you can speak to your local sexual health clinic or your GP who can support you.