The 10 Strangest Symptoms of Pregnancy

Today, we'll tell you about 10 of the strangest symptoms of pregnancy? Find out why they occur, when they'll go away, and more.
The 10 Strangest Symptoms of Pregnancy
Marcela Alejandra Caffulli

Reviewed and approved by the pediatrician Marcela Alejandra Caffulli.

Last update: 27 December, 2022

Pregnancy is marked by physical changes in the mother’s body, which occur as an adaptation mechanism to accommodate a new life. However, some of these changes may produce symptoms you weren’t expecting. Keep reading to discover the 10 strangest symptoms of pregnancy.

1. Pregnancy Rhinitis

Also known as a pregnant woman’s cold, it’s a case of prolonged nasal congestion that begins in the first trimester and resolves after delivery.

It occurs due to the vasodilator action of estrogens on the nasal mucosa, which stimulates the glands to produce more mucus than usual. As a result, the pregnant woman may experience a constant sensation of obstruction in the nose and discomfort when breathing.

A pregnant woman with a runny nose.

2. Nose and gum bleeds

As with rhinitis, the action of estrogens on the blood vessels increases the flow of blood to the nasal and oral mucosa. This predisposes bleeding to occur with minimal trauma.

In the case of the nose, this bleeding is called epistaxis and, while it can be bothersome, its mild and subsides quickly. The important thing is to know that this hemorrhage doesn’t produce major health risks for the mother or her baby.

At the same time, the gums become inflamed early in pregnancy and are particularly sensitive to minor trauma, such as toothbrushing. This is known as pregnancy gingivitis.

3. Pica habit

Pica is a craving to ingest atypical substances, such as clay, concrete, starch, toothpaste, or ice. In some cases, it may be an indication of iron deficiency anemia, but this isn’t the only cause.

Although it’s a common symptom outside of pregnancy, it can appear during pregnancy and disappear after birth.

One of the most important risks of this habit is possible poisoning with heavy metals, such as lead. This substance is present in some paints on concrete walls.

4. Constipation

Bowel movements slow down during pregnancy, mainly in the first two trimesters.

Estrogens relax the muscles of the intestinal wall and increase the residence time of the food, with the natural objective of promoting the absorption of micronutrients. Likewise, it causes a reduction in the evacuation rate and this favors the accumulation of hard and dry stools.

5. Belching and gas

The stomach also delays the time it takes to empty and tends to distend more easily. In addition, its gates (called sphincters) also relax and these two factors combined favor the rise of stomach contents towards the mouth.

As the uterus grows, the pressure exerted on the abdominal organs further worsens this phenomenon.

As a consequence of intestinal slowing down, a large amount of gases are produced by the fermentation of food, which seek to escape through the mouth (belching) or the anus (gases).

6. Increased salivation

Ptyalism is a rare symptom of pregnancy and is due to an excessive increase in salivation, which can reach up to 2 liters per day.

Although there hasn’t been a clear increase in production, experts believe that this phenomenon is related to swallowing difficulties experienced by pregnant women with nausea.

To reduce discomfort, women should limit the intake of foods that contain starch and high levels of sugar.

7. Visual disorders

The ocular changes of pregnancy are usually transitory, as the effect of the hormones of pregnancy thickens the outermost layer of the eye: The cornea.

This ocular modification causes difficulties in seeing clearly (or visual acuity) or focusing on objects, as occurs in farsightedness.

However, a sudden loss of vision, the appearance of flashes, or the limitation of the amplitude of the visual field should raise suspicions of a neurological disorder and require an urgent medical evaluation.

8. Darkening of the skin

During pregnancy, normally pigmented areas of the skin, such as the areola or vulva, darken even more.

This phenomenon also occurs in other areas of the body that are usually light, such as the chin or cheeks. This is the famous chloasma or melasma in pregnant women and its cause is still uncertain. Progesterone is believed to be responsible, as with the decrease in its levels in the postpartum period, the symptom resolves.

9. Vaginal varicose veins

Varicose veins in the legs occur due to multiple factors, including age and genetics. But during pregnancy, they can appear as a result of compression of the large abdominal veins by the growing uterus.

In the same way, some pregnant women suffer from vaginal varicose veins, which may or may not coincide with those in the legs. In addition to causing aesthetic discomfort, they cause inflammation in the genital area, itching, or pain. And when they’re large, they’re at risk of breaking and causing bleeding.

To avoid or treat them, the use of knee-length compression pantyhose is recommended.

10. Insomnia

“Pregnancy causes an increase in sleep disorders and relevant changes in sleep profile and pattern that persist during the postpartum period”

-Kathryn Lee-

The American Academy of Sleep Medicine has described a specific sleep disturbance that begins in pregnancy and can persist postpartum.

It’s characterized by the presence of insomnia or excessive sleepiness and can be associated with various pregnancy complications, such as maternal hypertension or fetal intrauterine growth retardation (Louis, 2010).

The causes of pregnancy insomnia are hormonal changes and physical discomfort, such as the growth of the abdomen.

Although it’s a common symptom, it’s important to consult with your obstetrician to rule out more severe health conditions, such as sleep apneas.

The mother’s body prepares for the baby’s arrival

Although many of these symptoms are known, surely some of them have been a surprise. In either case, the reason for them is the same: Your body’s beginning to prepare you for motherhood.

For 9 months, your perfect body adapts to the needs of a new life and this teaches us every day what it means to take care of a child. Therefore, try to remember that all change has a noble meaning and that it’s nothing more than the natural adaptation to live a new and unbeatable adventure.

All cited sources were thoroughly reviewed by our team to ensure their quality, reliability, currency, and validity. The bibliography of this article was considered reliable and of academic or scientific accuracy.

  • García penche-Santillán I et al.  Modificaciones fisiológicas de la mujer durante el embarazo. Capítulo 5. En: Gonzalez-Merlo J et al. Obstetricia. 7° Edición. Elsevier. España. Año 2018.
  • Antony K, et al. Fisiología Materna. Capítulo 3. En: Gabbe S et al. Obstetricia. Embarazos normales y de Riesgo. 7° Edición. Elsevier. España. Año 2019.
  • Atención prenatal. In: Cunningham F, et al. Williams Obstetricia. 25° Edición. McGraw-Hill. Año 2019.
  • Fathi R. Melasma. National Insittute of Heath USA – MedlinePlus. Año 2020. Disponible en:
  • Lee KA, Zaffke ME, McEnany G. Parity and sleep patterns during and after pregnancy. Obstet Gynecol. 2000 Jan;95(1):14-8. doi: 10.1016/s0029-7844(99)00486-x. PMID: 10636494. Disponible en:
  • Ramos-E-Silva M, Martins NR, Kroumpouzos G. Oral and vulvovaginal changes in pregnancy. Clin Dermatol. 2016 May-Jun;34(3):353-8. doi: 10.1016/j.clindermatol.2016.02.007. Epub 2016 Mar 2. PMID: 27265073. Disponible en:
  • Suzuki S, Igarashi M, Yamashita E, Satomi M. Ptyalism gravidarum. N Am J Med Sci. 2009 Nov;1(6):303-4. PMID: 22666711; PMCID: PMC3364630. Disponible en:

This text is provided for informational purposes only and does not replace consultation with a professional. If in doubt, consult your specialist.