25 facts you didn't know about pregnancy

November 03, 2020

1. Baby can cry in the womb

It is difficult to say if there is a reason why a baby cries in the womb. Scientists can use advanced ultrasound technology to hear some type of sound a baby makes that is very close to crying, silent crying. This can sometimes be seen on a 4D ultrasound when the baby's lower lip is shaking. The scientists claim the cry of the baby in the womb is not disturbing. The baby learns a new communication tool that will be useful for it on the other side of the bump.

2. The uterus stretches from the size of a peach to a watermelon during pregnancy

It stretches in line with baby's growth. Woman's body is amazing, isn't it?!

3. One in 2,000 babies is born with a tooth

Teething is part of an infant's development in the first year of life. The first teeth - incisors (natal teeth) appear from 4 to 7 month of life. However, sometimes they grow during fetal life. Doctors don't know what is the cause, but it's worth to point out that in 15% of cases, the child's parents, siblings, or close relatives also had a birth tooth. It shows that genetics play an important role in this process.

4. Your feet may grow one size

There is no doubt about it. Pregnancy permanently changes the appearance and length of the foot. Scientists have examined hundreds of women before pregnancy, during pregnancy and five months after pregnancy. They have come to clear conclusions. In 60-70% of respondents, the feet during pregnancy became longer and wider. All due to the reduction of arching, which results in the foot dropping and its elongation by 2-10 mm. In most cases, the changes occurred in the first pregnancy. The next ones did not have any impact on further changes in the appearance and size of the foot.

5. Babies pee in the womb, they drink it then do it over again

At the end of the first trimester of pregnancy, your baby begins to produce urine. How is it possible? The baby swallows the amniotic fluid, which is filtered by the kidneys and then excreted back into the amniotic fluid as urine. Thanks to this process, her kidneys prepare for work, and the amniotic fluid remains constant.

6. Pregnant women can produce milk automatically when they hear a baby's cry

The let-down reflex is the release of breast milk. It usually happens after a baby has been sucking for about a couple of minutes. Thanks to the sucking, the oxytocin is released, and the milk production is stimulated. However, scientists say that emotions like thinking about the baby or hearing it can trigger the production of oxytocin as well. It doesn't even need to be your baby!

7. Central Africa has the most twin pregnancies in the world

Regarding having twins, data varies greatly by regions. However, Central Africa snags the record for the highest twin birthrate. The Benin - The central African country has the highest national average of twinning. There are 27.9 twins per 1,000 births! What is the cause? The scientists agree that the mother's age, height, diet, genetic factors and mortality rate have a big impact on this phenomenon. 

8. You have a better sense of smell

The sensitivity of the senses also changes during pregnancy. Not only the touch but also the smell. In the past, when the refrigerator was not even invented, it allowed a woman to avoid many dangers, including eating outdated meals. On a biological level, a better sense of smell is a sign of increased amounts of estrogen and the pregnancy hormone chorionic gonadotropin (HCG). It definitely has affected me during my pregnancy. The smell of the pine is my thing! Don't ask how many pine candles and pine disinfectants I already bought! Also, many pregnant women love smelling the bleach kitchen spray, chlorine, coal tar soap, a damp cloth, Vicks vapour rub, Dettol, white spirit or petrol. It's so weird, isn't it?! 

9. Only 5% of children are born on a precisely calculated date

Today is the day of delivery as calculated by the doctor, and the baby still doesn't want to leave the bump. There is nothing to worry about! Only 5% of all deliveries have their estimated due date. Children are often born late. However, doctors agree that a healthy, normal pregnancy can last up to 42 weeks, and it is not a threat to the mother and baby. According to statistics, 3% of children are born even after the 42nd weeks. Only in this case, we are talking about a transferred pregnancy. Probably you are thinking what is the cause why some babies decide to appear in the world earlier and some of them after the due date. The most important factor is the due date that is set up by the doctor and online calculators. It is only an indicative date ( I know it can be annoying when the due date is here and your family and friends ask you whether the baby has been born yet). Also, the medicines that support the pregnancy, previous births after the term, child immaturity, the age and weight of the mother, the fear and genes have a big impact on the day when the baby is born.

10. You can crave chalk, clay, toothpaste or ice cubes

Pregnancy cravings can be bizarre and surprising. Women who are expecting a baby experience tremendous changes in appetite. They often crave food they didn't like before. But that's nothing compared to peculiar food cravings. Expectant mothers crave really strange things. Some of them are chalk, clay, toothpaste or the soil. Obviously, it is not safe to eat them and pregnant or non-pregnant people shouldn't do it. Since my third trimester, I've been obsessed with a mint chewing gum and brushing my teeth. Every time I pass the bathroom, I think about it! I even looked for the information that let me brush my teeth more than 3 times per day. Obviously, I didn't find it. However, I can crunch the ice cubes that is my second obsession. Believe me or not, but it's better than a meal in the top Michelin-star restaurant!

11. Baby brain

Very often mental skills deteriorate during pregnancy - my husband can confirm! Pregnant women most often complain about the worsen memory, distraction and the problems with concentration. Sometimes pregnant women lack words and make spelling mistakes more often, even if they had no problem with it before pregnancy. Pregnancy hormones that cause brain disorders are responsible for everything. Fortunately, mental performance returns right after giving birth! I experienced a lot of situations when my brain just didn't work haha. For instance, I made a tea, went upstairs and looked at my husband, who started laughing. I had no idea what this is about for 10ish seconds. Then I found out I brought the kettle instead of the cup of tea! 

12. Babies have a hiccups in the womb and you can feel it

Probably every expectant mother knows about it, sensing specific vibrations in her belly. Hiccups can appear as early as the end of the first trimester, although most women do not notice it until the second half of pregnancy. Hiccups are a natural reflex of the baby. It allows them to exercise the diaphragm that is gaining maturity. Hiccups usually result from the baby swallowing amniotic fluid.

13. You can induce labor naturally / soften the cervix

You can do it by eating dates, pineapple, linseeds and drink evening primrose oil and raspberry leaf tea (from 37 weeks). Also, having sex (from 40 weeks) can speed up the labour because the semen contains prostaglandins - hormones that accelerate the maturation of the cervix, make it smooth and open. Additionally, when a woman has an orgasm, oxytocin is released in her body - the hormone responsible for causing contractions. Please bear in mind that natural induction methods may only work when your body is almost ready for delivery and they must be discussed with your midwife. Also, it may not work in all cases. However, they will definitely not cause a premature baby to be born! Natural methods of induction are not very often the subject of scientific research, so the effectiveness of a given method is most often proved by the experienced midwives and women's reports. Nevertheless, it's worth a try!

14. You can add placenta to your smoothie

More and more women choose to eat their placenta after giving birth. Do you know that humans are the only mammals that not routinely ingest their placenta after birth? Women who decide to do it hope they will not be exposed to the risk of postpartum depression, gain more energy and return to their pre-pregnancy form faster. However, the beneficial effects of eating the placenta are only included in the stories of women who have experienced it. There is no scientific evidence. However, it makes physiological sense. The placenta is rich in nutrients and hormones depleted after birth, and this may explain why young mothers suffer from depression so often or are low in energy.

What can I do with my placenta after birth?

  • Plant it under a tree

  • Pamper your skin by adding it to your homemade cream

  • Turn it into artwork

  • Wear it as jewellery (some companies create the rings, bands, pendants and beads out of it)

  • Encapsulate it and eat it

  • Serve it like a meal (placenta tacos anyone?), make icy poles, add it to your smoothie

  • Freeze it

  • Let the hospital handle it

  • Donate it

15. 1 in 3 women give birth via Cesarean section

This number has tripled in the last 10 years!

A caesarean section is a major abdominal operation that should, at least theoretically, only be performed when there are justified medical indications. Although nowadays it is a routine operation. Main reason is the age at which women choose to have their first child. As a result, the number of higher-risk pregnancies is increasing. Also, a sedentary lifestyle, bad eating habits and environmental pollution contribute to the development of diseases that often prevent women from giving birth naturally. At the same time, caesarean section during the first birth increases the risk of surgical delivery in the case of subsequent pregnancies. So it is, in a way, a self-propelling wheel.

16. In the first trimester you can feel like you keep coins in your mouth

At the beginning of your pregnancy, you may feel you have coins in your mouth. A metallic taste in the mouth is a pregnancy symptom that is rarely mentioned. The hormones that control the sense of taste and the effect of the taste buds are to blame. Most often, this symptom disappears in the second trimester as the body adjusts to the different state. How can you help yourself? Eat citrus fruits, drink lemonade and eat pickled products.

17. Erotic dreams and nightmares in the first trimester are very common

There is no clear explanation here, but there are several rational causes. The American Pregnancy Association explains that a woman's body undergoes many physical, mental, and emotional changes during pregnancy. It affects women's dreams. Also, irregular sleep and frequent waking up during the night affect the REM sleep phase when those dreams occur. When the frequency or length of the REM phase is frequently disturbed and inconsistent, it can affect your dreams. And since you get up frequently during the night, you are more likely to remember your dreams. Another rational explanation is, of course, the hormones that have a huge impact on the dreams.

18. Postpartum depression vs. Baby blues

The birth of a baby can trigger a jumble of powerful emotions, from joy and excitement to anxiety and fear. Also, it can result in something you might not expect - postpartum depression. It is often confused with baby blues, which is much less distressing. Although the mother feels anxious about the baby, she is sad and tearful, but she doesn't lose contact with the baby as in the case of postpartum depression. Baby blues affects 50 to 80 per cent of young mothers, and postnatal depression affects only 10-20 per cent. The most common symptoms of postpartum depression include sleep and appetite disorders, lack of joy in contact with the baby and a sense of incompetence, which do not pass within several days after childbirth. Besides, symptoms of depression may appear even several months after birth.

19. Flu is the symptom of the pregnancy

Yes, flu is the symptom of the pregnancy. Most of the women complain that not only they are tired and their muscles and joints hurt but also they are dizzy and weak. As if that was not enough, they have an elevated temperature. Most of them think it's the flu. Not necessarily, it can be a sign of the pregnancy! Women find the first few weeks of pregnancy as a difficult period. Sometimes the signs of pregnancy are slightly different than they all seem - they can be confusingly similar to symptoms of poisoning, flu or a cold. So don't be surprised if your GP recommends doing a pregnancy test.

20. You can have the restless legs

Restless leg syndrome is a sensation of needles and pins in the legs, which makes you move them around. It has been confirmed by scientists that nearly a third of pregnant women experience it. They describe it as an overwhelming urge to move their legs, mainly during the night. Scientists don't know exactly what it is resulted from however, some of them believe that imbalance of the brain chemical dopamine can cause it. Another part of scientists thinks it may be triggered by a lack of iron or folic acid. Also, there is evidence that increasing estrogen level during pregnancy may contribute to RLS.

21. Babies calm down to the music that they've been listening to in the bump

Every pregnant mother knows the baby reacts to sounds. Baby moves when she hears her mother's voice, a specific song or a sudden noise. Research has shown that babies who constantly listened to one song in the womb, calmed down after birth when they heard this melody, or on the contrary - started to swing and dance! The reaction of children to the music they know from fetal life is clearly different from the reaction to other songs. The baby in the abdomen also hears the sounds coming from the mother's body - the noise of blood, the sounds of digestion and the heartbeat. When the baby is born, it is so important to hug her to the breast so she calms down and feels safe - she hears the sound that is the most pleasable to her - the mother's heartbeat.

22. Nesting is a thing

Nesting syndrome during the pregnancy is the need to renovate, clean and buy baby clothes before childbirth.

Most often, the nesting syndrome manifests itself in:

  • the hectic preparation of things for the child, collecting clothes, washing, ironing, and putting them in cabinets so that they are ready and at hand.

  • some expectant mothers begin to be pedantic about hygiene at the end of their pregnancy.

  • sometimes, despite a large belly, out of nowhere there is an enthusiasm for painting, wallpapering, moving furniture, replacing it with new ones - all so that the child can live in a beautiful house, specially renovated for his birth.

The nesting syndrome caught me by the beginning of the third trimester when I literally was thinking about cleaning all the time. You should have seen my face when I got new cleaning products! I even sometimes got up from my bed around 10ish pm and cleaned all floors in the house! As you can see the urge was really huge! At the end of third trimester I was too tired to clean but I definitely began to be very pedantic about my hygiene, evening routine, dry brushing, peelings, aromatherapy and self care in general.

23. Every three seconds, somewhere in the world, a baby is born

It's crazy, isn't it?!

24. The main cause of stretch marks is genetics

Women whose mothers or sisters also struggle with this problem are particularly vulnerable to the formation of stretch marks during pregnancy. It is believed that genetic conditions play a large role in certain predispositions of our body, and the tendency to appear stretch marks may be hereditary. Other factors can cause them as well - hormones, improper diet, rapid weight gain and stretching of the skin. I don't have the stretch marks, but I am not sure if the reason is my mother lacks of them or I've been using oils and creams on the daily basis.

25. Baby dreams in the womb

In the final stages of pregnancy, babies sleep around 90% of their time. When they're asleep, it's hard to wake them up. One of the things that the 4D ultrasound reveals is the fact that the babies enter into REM phase, which is where dreams come about. This can be proved by, for example, rapid eyeballs movements. Scientists from the Schiller University in Jena became interested in this phenomenon. They confirmed that dreaming behavior can be observed in the 7 months old baby, but no one is completely sure if they actually dream because their brainwaves cannot yet be monitored.

I hope you like this post! Please let me know what surprised you the most and if there are any more unusual facts you didn't expect before being pregnant!

© 2021 Natalia Snopkowska