pregnant woman in overalls
profile picture of Elena Donovan Mauer
Elena Donovan Mauer
Contributing Writer

Moms Get Real About the Changes Their Bodies Went Through During Pregnancy

Growing a human is seriously wild stuff.

While there are some common symptoms you’ll likely experience during pregnancy (like needing to pee, oh, every five minutes), there’s no way to predict exactly what’ll happen to your body during these exciting and at times, strange, nine months. You may get lucky and coast through with hardly any side effects, or you might be thrown for a loop with a whole host of symptoms, from nausea to acne.

The good news is that many of these bodily changes aren’t necessarily permanent—they’re just part of what it takes to, you know, grow a human. And Honest Mama™, The Honest Company’s new line of self-care products, can help you deal with many of them, both now and after your little one arrives. Here, women share some of the most surprising body issues they dealt with during pregnancy. Read on for a glimpse of the symptoms that may (or may not) be in store for you, along with tips on how to deal.

1. Bigger Feet

Ligaments up and down your body loosen up and expand during pregnancy, and the ones in your feet are no exception. “It’s funny but true: Pregnancy gave me bigger feet!” says Laura* in Brooklyn, New York. “I wear a full shoe size larger now.” Bad news for your shoe closet: that foot growth is often permanent. But if you’re just experiencing swelling (also common), your feet should go back to normal postbirth. In the meantime, wearing supportive shoes or insoles can help.

2. Belly Changes

Your expanding belly is the culprit behind a number of potential symptoms. For one, you could have the not-so-fun discomfort called round ligament pain. Some women also get diastasis recti, a separation of the abdominal muscles that can cause back aches. “I had the ab splitting thing!” says Jenny in Rotterdam, New York. “And to this day, when I do crunches I get terrible spasms.” If this happens to you, it doesn’t mean it’s time to mourn your abs (or lose out hopes of ever getting them)— postpartum exercises can help you close the separation and strengthen your midsection.

You may also notice stretch marks, thanks to a combo of all that skin stretching and good ol’ genes. (Some people are just more susceptible to them than others.) Keeping your belly hydrated with a rich moisturizer can help encourage skin’s natural elasticity. Try Honest Rock the Bump Body Butter‚ which is hypoallergenic and uses shea butter, avocado oil and vitamin E to nourish stretch-mark-prone skin.

3. Strange Sensations

Did you know that pregnancy can wreak havoc on the senses, changing the way you experience smell and taste? “I remember eating turkey, and it tasted like bananas. It was driving me crazy,” says Tanya in Leetsdale, Pennsylvania. “And I could smell everything. I was like a bloodhound.” If your nose has been uber-sensitive, strongly scented products can seem overpowering or even make you nauseous. That’s why we love Honest Me Moment Soaking Salts: They’ll turn your bath into a soothing soak that’ll help relax your body and mind, without any stomach-turning scents.

4. Hair Changes

You’ve probably heard that hair can get thicker, shinier and grow faster during pregnancy (put Rapunzel-like tresses on that list of “pregnancy pros”). But some women experience other, um, interesting hair changes. “A weird curly patch of hair grew on the underside of my normally very straight hair!” says Shannon in Santa Clarita, California. And that’s not all. Krista in Glenolden, Pennsylvania, says, “My leg hair stopped growing. It was the greatest thrill of my life—I couldn’t believe it!” Whether your hair gets curlier, straighter, thicker or thinner, you can likely chalk it up to all the wacky hormonal shifts going on in your body.

5. Dry, Uncomfortable Skin

While the idea of baby “stealing your beauty” isn’t a real thing, they can actually steal the moisture from your skin. That’s because babies need a lot of fluids in order to develop. “In my first pregnancy, I was so itchy, I had to lotion multiple times daily to feel relief,” says Carrie in Las Vegas, Nevada. Your best defense against dry, itchy skin is to keep it moisturized. Try smoothing on a hypoallergenic lotion, like Honest Sweet Curves Body Lotion, which gives 24-hour hydration without leaving a greasy residue. Important: Always notify your doctor if you have exceptional itchiness or a rash, since those can be a sign of cholestasis of pregnancy, a rare but scary pregnancy complication.

6. Lightning Crotch

No one’s really sure what causes lightning crotch (an unfortunate name, we know) as you head into your last weeks of pregnancy. It could be the cervix dilating or your baby’s sharp kicks (ouch!), but it’s real and can be a total shock—literally. “I often had lightning-like shooting pains in my groin and down my legs that would stop me dead in my tracks,” says Libby in State College, Pennsylvania. There’s nothing you can really do, except think of it as a reminder you’re in the homestretch!

7. Lack of Sleep

Between the aches and pains, inability to get comfy, stress and worry, it’s no wonder many pregnant women have trouble sleeping. “I never had a problem sleeping in my life—until the third trimester!” says Leanne in Denver, Colorado. “Then, I became an insomniac, watching reality shows and writing thank-you notes at 3 a.m.” To stay zen and rest easier, try to get some exercise during the day, drink plenty of water and give yourself lots of self-care. For an extra pick-me-up, use Honest Glow On Body Oil, a plant-based formula that’ll give your tired skin a few drops of sunshine.

The Honest Mama™ collection is available exclusively at Honest.com and Target.

*Some names have been changed to encourage full disclosure.

Please note: The Bump and the materials and information it contains are not intended to, and do not constitute, medical or other health advice or diagnosis and should not be used as such. You should always consult with a qualified physician or health professional about your specific circumstances.