Watching Markai carry around a cup to spit into throughout her pregnancy is one of the stranger things we’ve seen so far on “16 and Pregnant.” Her strong craving to eat soap might have also struck you as odd. But like her doctor said, these actually aren’t uncommon side effects for someone who is expecting.
Soap cravings are usually a symptom of an eating disorder called “pica,” which is when someone wants to eat things that aren’t actually food, yet some pregnant women also feel an urge to eat soap, clay, dirt, chalk or baking soda. It’s not abnormal, but ingesting certain things can naturally be harmful to the baby. Sometimes certain supplements (like iron) can help, which is another reason why it’s important for expectant mothers to talk to their doctors about what they’re experiencing.
Cravings aren’t the only weird things that can happen during pregnancy. Here are more symptoms and side effects that people rarely tell you about:
— heightened sense of smell
— hair grows a lot faster and a lot thicker, and often in places you wouldn’t expect (like around the nipples, or on the chin and/or back)
— uncontrollable gas
— face, back and/or chest acne
— back pain
— nasal congestion
— breast pain
— terrible heartburn that doesn’t go away
— swollen feet and ankles (so much so that it can be painful to wear shoes at times)
— vaginal discharge
— blotchy skin
— peeing a little bit when you laugh or sneeze
— weird taste in your mouth
— nipples get bigger and darker
— stretch marks
Many of these things happen because of the change in hormones during pregnancy, and some are simply caused by the physical changes that result from getting larger as the pregnancy progresses. Luckily, most of these go away in the months after giving birth.
–Written by Amy Kramer of The National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy