6 weird things pregnancy does to your body

Some of the ways your body changes in pregnancy could take you by surprise, warns one mum-of-two...

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  • 1. Your sex drive goes off the scale

    When I'm pregnant, I want to have sex all day, every day. 

    This 'revved up to rampant' side effect of pregnancy – that seems to kick in almost as soon as the sickness and tiredness of the first few weeks fade – came as a bit of a surprise to me. But I'm not complaining.

    Nor is my husband.

    And I'm pretty sure I'm not the only one to discover that pregnancy turns you, well, on: 21% of you feel the same, according to a recent MadeForMums survey.

    Experts tell us it's all down to the physical fact that there's an extra 40-50% of blood flowing through our bodies, which means increased sensitivity and increased arousal. Plus, we have the sex hormones oestrogen and progesterone increasing lubrication.

    But there's also lots of positive body image stuff going on, too: we feel proud of our bodies and understandably sensual. And there’s no need to get distracted from the bedroom action by thinking about contraception – or holding your tummy in  – for the next 9 months!

    My pregnant friend Judith said to me, “I think about sex all the time. Do you think this is what being a man is like, every day?”

    Quite possibly, yes.

    In fact, when I told my husband I was pregnant for the second time, his first words to me were, “Great. Will you turn into a porn star again?”

    Click through the gallery for 5 other surprising things pregnancy can do to your body…

  • 2. You get bigger feet

    Doctors reckon our foot arches flatten out over 9 months, due to all that extra weight we carry around, while the pregnancy hormone relaxin is said to loosen ligaments in our feet.

    Hey, at least it means we can go shopping for new shoes... 

  • 3. Your boobs get humungous (and then shrink)

    Move over, Dolly; the pregnant cleavage could rival even your marvellous assets. It's a fairly well known fact that your breasts tend to get bigger during pregnancy and while breastfeeding, but did you also know that, post-pregnancy, you can be left with smaller boobs than you had before?

    It’s not uncommon to drop a FULL bra size after having a baby, compared with pre-pregnancy. OK, you win, Dolly...

  • 4. Your skin can go all weirdy and wrinkly

    Clichés abound that pregnancy gives us all a healthy glow, due to all that extra blood perking up our complexion but, actually, many of us find growing a baby also means hatching a surprising clutch of acne.

    Others experience dark skin patches (chloasma) and develop a dark line down our abdomen (linea nigra), though these generally fade after the birth.

    And then there's stretch marks.

    You can try to minimise them by keeping your bump and surrounding skin well moisturised, and trying not to put on a tonne of weight but quite a few of us fail to escape the beginnings of motherhood without a few silvery wrinkles that weren't there before.

    Hey, it’s all normal, and I amuse myself by playing noughts and crosses on the stretch marks left on my thighs!

  • Continue slideshow >

  • 5. You're more flexible than you thought possible

    Those pregnancy hormones that loosen up the pelvis to make it easier for you to give birth, also loosen up the rest of you.

    On the downside, this can lead to Symphysis Pubis Dysfunction (SPD), so don’t overstrain.

    On the upside, yoga can suddenly become a breeze. Just don’t try to get cocky or your bump-laden Downward Facing Dog will turn into Downward Facing Doh...

  • 6. You could get varicose veins in unmentionable places

    You probably know varicose veins can appear on your legs, old-lady-styles, due to blood pooling in veins that have been enlarged by your pregnancy hormones. They usually disappear after birth.

    Now, brace yourself. They can also appear in your rectum as haemorrhoids – and in your vagina.

    Tips? Move around, drink plenty of fluids, don’t cross your legs and elevate your feet when you can. And if you don’t want him to see the veiny bits, make use of that blindfold you bought for the porn-star phase...

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