Two things are certain in a person's life -birth and death. But even though pregnancies are so frequent that literally every person alive has been through one, there's still a lot of things many people don't know about them. Here are ten strange facts you might not know about pregnancy.
Image Via Stacy Rackley [Flickr]
1. It's Possible To Get Pregnant While Pregnant
Though it's very rare, some women have actually gotten pregnant with a second child while already carrying one. The technical term for this occurrence is superfetation and while it happens in some animals, it's almost impossible in humans as a pregnant woman's hormones are supposed to serve as a natural birth control against additional pregnancies. Of course, the word "almost" means that it does happen. Generally it occurs when the pregnant woman has released an egg a few weeks into the pregnancy, but before the first embryo has implanted and the hormones haven't completely kicked in to stop additional fertilization and implantation.
2. Vaginas Can Turn Blue or Purple During Pregnancy
One of the earliest signs of pregnancy can be the change of a vagina's color from pink to blue or purple. The increased blood flow to the cervix and labia can happen as early as six weeks in.
3. It Is Possible To Be Pregnant For A Full Year
4. Babies Can Be Born With Teeth
You expect your child to have baby teeth before they grow in their adult teeth, but some babies actually come out of the womb with teeth. In fact, 1 in 2,500 babies are born with these natal teeth. Doctors often remove the teeth at birth because they don't have strong roots and can be problematic for the child and mother. When the teeth aren't removed, they can cut the child's tongue, hurt the mother during nursing hazards and present a choking hazard when they are loose; so if they aren't removed immediately, it's important to bring him or her to a dentist so they can be removed as soon as they start to become loose. These babes will still get their regular baby teeth and adult teeth, so don't worry about having the natal teeth come out early.
5. Pregnancy Can Cause Varicose Veins in the Nether Regions
It's not pretty, but due to increased blood flow and an enlarged uterus that can compress veins in the pelvis, vaginas can develop varicose veins during pregnancy. The risk of these painful, bulging veins increases with every pregnancy and 10% of second-time mothers will get them during the fifth month of their pregnancy -but you can even get them during your first pregnancy. The good news is that they will almost always go away after delivery, but in the meanwhile, warm baths, exercise, lying on the left side and elevating your feet can help relieve them.
6. The Heart of Pregnant Mothers Actually Grow
I don't mean that in a figurative, emotional way (although you probably will become more emotional as well). I mean your heart literally will grow up to 12% so it can work harder to circulate extra blood for the baby. This increased blood flow can also lead to frequent nose bleeds and bleeding gums, which can seem scary, but relax, both are totally normal.
7. Babies Will Pee Inside the Womb -And Drink it
It's not all too surprising that babies have to pee even while in the womb. What is surprising is how much they pee -up to a liter a day near the end of the pregnancy. Since all that urine stays inside the amniotic sac, the baby also ends up drinking it. While it sounds gross, it's actually not that bad as fetuses don't have the same stinky, yellow pee the rest of us do -besides, we've all been there when we were in the womb.
For those wondering, babies can also poop in the womb although it's much rarer. Again, it is sterile and quite different than what you produce, but it is actually dangerous for that 12% of fetuses that do it. The problem isn't with the gross concept, but with the fact that fetuses take amniotic fluid into their lungs and it can cause a series of respiratory problems after the baby is born. Fortunately, the treatments for this condition are improving as is induced labor, which reduces the risk of the baby going #2 inside the womb.
8. A Pregnant Woman's Feminine Odor Will Change (As Will Its Taste)
It shouldn't be surprising that the pH of a vagina will change as a result of all the hormones from pregnancy, and that is precisely what causes the vagina to turn a bit more acidic during pregnancy. The taste will become a bit more metallic or salty as a result. The good news is this is completely healthy and normal. The bad news is that it might take some time to get used to.
9. A Pregnant Woman's Belly Isn't the Only Thing That Grows
Most people know that a woman's breasts will get bigger as she starts to produce milk, but that's not the only thing that gets bigger -their feet also expand. As a woman's pregnancy hormones kick in, her ligaments relax, which when combined with the extra weight of a pregnancy, her feet can grow a full shoe size. Strangely, while most women's feet will return to their previous size eventually, some of women's feet stay bigger for the rest of their lives.
10. Fetal Reabsorption of a Dead Twin is Surprisingly Common
By now, most people have heard of one fetus absorbing a second one while still in the womb. What you might not know is that because this generally occurs very early in pregnancy, it happens while many women don't even know they're pregnant, let alone pregnant with twins at the time. As a result, experts think it happens way more often than we can scientifically confirm. The good news is that while this might happen to a lot of women, most won't know about it or suffer any ill effects.
Now undoubtedly many of you have actually have had kids of your own, so what weird things did you learn while you or your partner went through pregnancy?