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linea negra pregnancyIn the second trimester, you might notice that there’s a dark, vertical line that runs down your tummy – from your navel to your pubic area. This is called the linea nigra (also spelled linea negra), and it’s a common pregnancy change when you’re expecting.

Linea nigra (which is literally “black line” in Latin) can run from just above your pubic bone, up through your navel, and it can be as high as your lowest rib. In most women, however, it stops right around your belly button. This dark line is typically only less than half an inch wide.

You have always had this line, but it’s never been noticeable since it was always so light. Before pregnancy, this line is called the linea alba (literally means “white line”). During pregnancy, this line becomes darker, due to an increase in the skin pigment melanin. For most women, the linea nigra starts to appear in the fourth or fifth month of pregnancy.

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pregnancy nails
You don’t expect your nails to undergo any changes in pregnancy, but they do. Your nails can change for the better, or the worse. Like with other pregnancy symptoms, you can blame your hormones for the havoc that it causes on your nails.

Some pregnant women report that their nails grow faster when they’re having a baby; others experience harder nails. It’s also common for women to have softer or more brittle nails. These nail changes are normal, and shouldn’t cause you any alarm.

Fortunately, nail changes are temporary, and your nails will go back to normal after delivery. With good nutrition, your fingernails will return to their former glory within three to six months after you give birth. It might take your toenails a little longer than this – possible up to nine months or one year.
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larger feet in pregnancyYour belly isn’t the only part of your body that gets bigger in pregnancy. A strange pregnancy symptom that you may notice in the second and third trimester is larger feet. Women with more petite feet may rejoice at this change; others aren’t so happy with a larger foot size. Some pregnant women are dismayed when they have to buy new shoes, but this change is temporary and it will go away after your baby is born.

Your feet may seem like they’re growing in pregnancy, and you may even need a larger shoe size. In reality, your feet are not growing any larger, but your arches collapse and your feet get wider and longer due to edema (or normal swelling that occurs in pregnancy).

During pregnancy, you may need to buy a larger shoe size – possibly half a size up, or even two sizes larger than normal.
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pregnancy hemorrhoidsRectal bleeding is an unpleasant pregnancy symptom, but it’s not uncommon in the third trimester and in the weeks following delivery. Bleeding from your rectal area is usually nothing to worry about, and it won’t harm your pregnancy in any way. However, rectal bleeding should be mentioned to your doctor or midwife.

What Causes Rectal Bleeding in Pregnancy?

In most cases, rectal bleeding in pregnant women is caused by hemorrhoids – a pregnancy symptom that occurs when blood vessels in your rectal area become swollen. Hemorrhoids are common in the final months of pregnancy. If you’re constipated and you strain when you pass a bowel movement or you pass hard stools, the swollen veins in the rectum can bleed, leading to rectal bleeding.

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Pregnancy GingivitisHave you noticed that your gums are tender, red, and swollen when you brush or floss your teeth? This is a sign of pregnancy gingivitis, and it’s a common pregnancy occurrence. An estimated 50 to 70 percent of all pregnant women will have bleeding or swollen gums when they’re expecting.

What Causes Bleeding or Swollen Gums in Pregnancy?

Pregnancy gingivitis isn’t actually a pregnancy symptom, but hormonal changes make you more likely to develop this dental problem in pregnancy. Gingivitis, which is an inflammation of the gums, is a result of the increased levels of the hormone progesterone surging through your body.

Progesterone can make it easier for gingivitis-friendly bacteria to grow in your mouth, and it can make your gum tissue more sensitive to plaque (the sticky film of bacteria that forms on teeth, most noticeable first thing in the morning before you brush your teeth). Plus, this hormone can actually exaggerate your body’s response to the toxins that come from plaque. As a result of this hormonal change, you are more likely to develop gingivitis when you’re pregnant.

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abdominal pain in early pregnancyAbdominal pain in pregnancy can be a common pregnancy symptom, or it can be a sign of a problem. Occasional bouts of abdominal discomfort are generally harmless and nothing to worry about. (However, if you have severe abdominal cramping or persistent abdominal pain, this may be a sign of something more serious.)

Causes of Normal Abdominal Pain in Pregnancy

Experiencing mild achiness or abdominal pain can be caused by a number of normal pregnancy changes.

Implantation – In early pregnancy, abdominal pain and discomfort can be caused by implantation. While some women have no clue that they’re going through implantation (which is the process of the embryo embedding itself into your uterine lining), some women do experience light spotting (called implantation bleeding) that comes with lower abdominal pain or period-like cramps for a day or two.

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hair and pregnancy

More Volume and Fuller Tresses, More Facial and Body Hair

One of the strangest, unusual pregnancy symptoms that you may notice when you’re pregnant is that your hair changes. Some pregnant women experience a fuller, thicker head of hair. And it’s not just the hair on your head that undergoes change; you may even grow more facial and body hair. (More volume with the hair on your head is probably a cool pregnancy symptom; more hair on your face is not so much fun.)

Hair and Pregnancy: What’s to Blame?

During pregnancy, you may have a fuller head of hair, but you actually aren’t sprouting new hair. And the stands of your hair aren’t getting more volume. It just appears that you have more hair. Your body deceives you! In reality, you are shedding less hair than you normally do.

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pregnant rib pain

pregnant rib painRib pain and discomfort is a common pregnancy symptom in the third trimester. When you’re pregnant, rib pain can range from mild discomfort to severe, sore pain. Rib pain in pregnancy is often worse when you’re sitting down. This pregnancy symptom is uncomfortable, it’s one of the physical consequences of having a baby.

Causes of Rib Pain During Pregnancy

In the final trimester, your huge uterus presses into the abdomen and squashes your ribs. (Not to mention, your baby will spend much of her time kicking and punching you, which can be very painful in the third trimester, since there is limited room in your belly.) As your baby grows larger and larger, some of your organs have to shift to make room for her growth. Your uterus stretches upward and outward, and it can press against your ribs. (This same physical change is why pregnant women experience shortness of breath, too.)

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lightheadedness pregnancyStarting in the first trimester, you may experience dizziness or the sensation that you’re lightheaded during pregnancy. Feeling dizzy and lightheaded when pregnant is a normal pregnancy symptom, and while it’s a frightening experience, it is absolutely normal.

Causes of Dizziness in Pregnancy

When you’re expecting a baby, your cardiovascular system undergoes a lot of changes to support your pregnancy. Your heart rate increases, and you are pumping more blood than ever. The volume of blood in your body increases up to 50 percent.

In the first trimester, your blood pressure gradually lowers, reaching its lowest part in the second trimester. After that, it increases again, returning to its normal level by the time you have your baby.

Most of the time, your body can adapt to all these cardiovascular and nervous system changes. But sometimes, it has a hard time keeping up with all these changes. As a result, you may feel faint or lightheaded sometimes. Dizzy spells are a common result of these changes.

Feeling dizzy is normal, but if you actually experience fainting, this might be a sign that something’s wrong, and you’ll want to contact your healthcare provider.

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 discharge during pregnancyHave you noticed that you have more vaginal discharge now that you’re pregnant? Increased vaginal discharge is a common pregnancy symptom that you may experience throughout your entire pregnancy – starting from the first trimester and lasting until you deliver.

What is Leukorrhea?

The vaginal discharge that you’re experiencing in pregnancy is normal leukorrhea – which is the odorless (or very mild smelling) vaginal discharge that you might have seen in your underwear before you had a bun in your oven. Leukorrhea is usually milky in consistency, and it should never be foul smelling. (That would signal a vaginal infection or a sexually transmitted disease of some kind.)

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