Everyone talks about the symptoms of early pregnancy: morning sickness/nausea, breast enlargement/sensitivity, heightened sense of smell, food cravings… What I had never heard of before a year ago was abnormal thirst. Apparently during the course of a normal pregnancy a woman will increase her blood volume by up to 50%. That’s a lot of extra fluid in the body. About 30% of this blood volume gain happens during the first trimester often starting around week 7 or 8. Our bodies try to increase our blood fluid volume by taking in more liquids, so all of the sudden we may start to feel extreme symptoms of thirst.
So now not only is my expanding uterus putting more pressure on my bladder, I’m also taking in a TON more liquids to help alleviate my thirst. And people wonder why pregnant women need to make so many trips to the restroom…
What’s surprising to me is that I had never heard of this phenomenon before. I’ve been lucky that I don’t suffer from morning sickness or nausea, although I did encounter a short period (a week or less) where if I didn’t eat almost constantly I started to get an upset stomach or faint feelings of nausea. However once I ate something the feeling went away for awhile until I was hungry again. As far as other indicators; breast tenderness (check), heightened sense of smell (check), food cravings (check) and now extreme thirst. If I hadn’t already seen the ultrasounds I would definitely know based on these other symptoms.
Another pregnancy indicator for me is the inability to sleep more than 8 hours at a time and increased frequency of dreams that I remember upon waking. I am one of the lucky people who doesn’t have any problems getting to and staying asleep. It’s very rare for me to wake up during the night even due to loud noises like thunderstorms. Last night, however, I woke up at 4 am and had a hard time getting back to sleep. It wasn’t due to the cats, needing to use the bathroom or even a loud noise (that I’m aware of). I just woke up and it took me probably another 45 minutes or so to get back to sleep.
Does it really seem fair that I’m already more tired than normal due to the pregnancy, but now I also can’t get an uninterrupted night of sleep? Maybe this is my body’s way of preparing me for the potential of having a newborn and going without sleep in order to take care of the little one. Instead I would like to enjoy the most restful pregnancy possible to make up for those first months where getting more than two hours of sleep at a time is almost an impossibility.
Has anyone else encountered any strange pregnancy symptoms that they had never heard of before becoming pregnant for the first time? If so, I would love to hear them so I’m more likely to be prepared for it to happen to me!