Thanks to sitcoms, romantic comedies and our mother's cuss-filled horror stories, we all know pregnancy is no walk in the park. In fact, pregnancy can cause some horrible, horrible things, like inny belly buttons temporarily turning into outies and ugly-people-making.
And then there's the stuff from a horror movie. Here are seven bizarre symptoms pregnant women experience prior to giving birth that would make the rest of us think we were dying of a disease they're going to name after us.
#7. Hyperemesis Gravidarum
In movies like Knocked Up, vomiting is a quick and tidy signal that the lady in question has a bun in the oven. Once she realizes what's going on, the nausea magically disappears, and our mother-to-be gets on with her wacky life crisis, right?
"OK, puking is over, what's next in the manual? Looks like crying."
Anyone who's ever had a killer hangover or suffered through a raging flu has experienced the glory of constant nausea. Not just the throw-up-and-get-it-over-with kind of sick, the kind where everything that goes down comes back up in the form of Satanic bile. Everything. Every meal, every snack, even every sip of water or swallow of saliva. Even when you don't eat, you're treated to the dry heaves and the burps. You're so broken-down that all you want to do is go to bed and/or die.
This picture just made 418 pregnant women throw up on their keyboards.
Now, picture getting that sick after every meal of every day for nine solid months. Oh, and another thing -- picture that as the months progress, a rib-crushing basketball grows under your shirt, making your hourly face-down trips to the toilet an exercise in torture. Also, just for funsies, imagine you're also experiencing a host of other ailments, like heartburn, backaches, random bloody noses, loss of bladder control and a wicked case of the furious farts. If you can imagine all that, you've got hyperemesis gravidarum down pat.
"No, it's not a contraction -- get a lighter. This is going to rule."
In the worst cases, extreme nausea lands moms-to-be in the hospital for dehydration, and nothing short of an IV can get them back into fighting shape. And even when someone does come up with a medicine to treat nausea, most ladies hesitate to medicate themselves while hosting a mini-human parasite. Especially since the last time a nausea medicine was widely prescribed, it left 10,000 kids around the world with severe birth defects.
"You know what? Worth it."
#6. Metal Mouth
Anyone who's ever spent more than an hour around a pregnant woman already knows what hormones can do to an otherwise normal, reasonable person. When not sobbing over weight gain or the horrors of elastic waistbands, her heightened estrogen levels are also turning her body into a freak show. For example, in some cases extra estrogen is making the inside of the woman's mouth taste like a quarry.
Mmmmm ... hey, this one even has a drive-through!
To someone already suffering from a host of other ailments, the constant taste of penny suckage is not the best way to start the day. Plus, some prenatal vitamins make the metal taste worse. And it's not like you can skip out on the prenatal vitamins if you ever want to look your child in the eye (eyes, if you're lucky) later on. On the plus side, for most women suffering from metal mouth, the taste goes away after the first trimester. On the negative side, the best way to distract taste buds is with foods that are high in acid, which probably aren't going to be doing the maternal stomach any favors.
Pregnant women are advised to avoid taking acid. Unless they're looking for a really good time.
What starts out sounding like something the Fresh Prince and DJ Jazzy Jeff do in the summer actually suuuuucks when you're pregnant. As everyone knows, the most horrifying part of pregnancy isn't the changes your body goes through, it's the prospect of squeezing a person out of a lemon-sized orifice. Fortunately, that's where the hormone relaxin comes in. Relaxin is what gets the pelvic muscles all loosey-goosey in preparation for the big push. So, obviously, it's a good thing. Unfortunately, the hormone doesn't just confine itself to the nether regions; it's also what causes women's feet to grow by up to a whole shoe size during pregnancy, as the tendons that keep the bones in her feet together relax and start high-fiving the ground with every step.
There used to be a building exactly where her foot is.
But walking around with a permanent case of clown feet isn't the worst part of relaxin. The horror is that all that relaxin extends to your freakin' esophagus. As in, the one place that blocks stomach acid from shooting up into your throat hole. So if you're ever talking to a glowing mom to be and she gives a sudden, gurgled "GAHHARHGG," don't make fun. Her stomach contents just relaxed their way up into her mouth.
The magic of pregnancy!
Speaking of relaxin, sometimes ladies get so much of it that their abdominal muscles relax the fuck off the belly. They just flat out vamanos from the the Front of the Stomach Club and separate. That's when a new gang shows up, the Ridge Going Down the Middle of Your Stomach Gang. That ridge? That's a uterus. Here's an illustration of one in action:
That's right. Pregnant women get goatse'd by their abs.
It's almost like the abdominal muscles are giving your body a preview of what's going to happen to your vagina in a few months. But where things really get disgusting is after the baby is long gone from its home womb. When a mom has a diastasis recti, her abdominal walls stay separated, but without a 7-pound person stretching them out. It looks, uh, sorry to do this, kind of like this:
Be sure to call your mom and say hello!
#4. Gingivitis and Pregnancy "Tumors"
There's an old wives' tale that says, "For every pregnancy, a woman loses a tooth."
It turns out that researchers at NYU found that, on average, women with children have fewer teeth than women without. As the levels of estrogen and progesterone climb higher, gums become more sensitive and often swell. They also bleed more easily, so the pearly white smile that normally follows a good tooth-brushing becomes a nasty red one.
"No, I didn't drink Kool-Aid, why do you ask?"
In fact, according to one report, up to 75 percent of women suffer from gingivitis during their pregnancies. And since we're so jaded from hearing all about gingivitis on toothpaste commercials, we tend to forget what actual gingivitis looks like. Here you go!
It's almost like the gums are Sherman and the teeth are Atlanta. But with more bloodshed. Fortunately, if the gum-swelling is kept in check, it will just disappear after the baby's birth. That's also true with pregnancy "tumors," which fortunately aren't actual tumors. They're just painful growths that can bleed, crust over and stay put until long after that baby is squeezed out.
Babymaking: Not even once.