Apr 06, 2016 1:00 AM

Author: Libby Mitchell

There are symptoms of pregnancy that everyone knows. Nausea, exhaustion, and sore breasts are common and expected by expecting women. However, there are symptoms that are not expected, but are far from uncommon. 

Libby Mitchell

Libby Mitchell is the Social Media Coordinator for University of Utah Health Care. Follow her on Twitter @LibbyMitchellUT.

pregnancy womens health

Pregnancy Symptoms

Facial Hair

Singer Adele recently revealed that while pregnant with her son Angelo she grew a small beard named Larry. Such facial hair growth is not uncommon in pregnant women. “Hormones of pregnancy may cause hair to sometimes grown in unwanted places such as breasts, abdomen or face,” says Celeste R. Thomas, M.S., C.N.M., a nurse midwife with University of Utah Health Care. “Tweezing or waxing is probably your best option for removal. Often these symptoms will resolve when the pregnancy is over.”


Some women produce excess saliva during the first trimester of pregnancy, which can exacerbate feelings of morning sickness. “It can often make nausea worse or make women feel they have to spit frequently,” says Thomas. “Sometimes sucking on something sour helps to alleviate it. Luckily it usually goes away by the second trimester.”

Darkened Skin

Most women will notice a dark line of skin running down their belly during pregnancy. This is caused by an increase in melanin triggered by hormonal changes. The same increase in melanin production may lead to darkening in the skin on the face. “It’s called Melasma or sometimes referred to the “mask of pregnancy,"” says Thomas. “The pigment changes often fade once pregnancy is done but there is not much that can be done about it during pregnancy.”

Stuffy Nose

It’s not a cold or allergies – it’s pregnancy causing congestion. Nearly 30% of women experience this symptom. “The hormone changes cause increased inflammation and mucus the respiratory passages,” says Thomas.

Voice Changes

Actress Kristen Bell had to rerecord some of her lines as Princess Anna in the movie “Frozen” after her voice deepened during pregnancy. “This may be related to increased congestion and mucus in the nasal passages and throat,” says Thomas. That can alter the length or quality in the vocal chords, affecting the sound of the voice.

Bigger Feet

Pregnancy not only makes a woman’s stomach grow – it can also lead to bigger feet. “Women's weight and center of gravity changes in pregnancy,” says Thomas. “This can cause the bones and ligaments of the feet to widen and lengthen permanently.” So, after pregnancy, plan to go shoe shopping.

Metallic Taste in the Mouth

Some women describe their mouth tasting as if they are “sucking on a penny." This common symptom is called dysgeusia and is common in the first trimester. “It is most likely related to estrogen fluctuations,” says Thomas. “Women can suck on something citrus flavored to help alleviate it if it is bothersome.”

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