Drooling, skin quirks, and breast changes
"I'm drooling like a baby"
Symptoms: Some pregnant women produce excess saliva -- up to three or four quarts a day! Bleeding gums are also common, especially after brushing, and you may even notice nodules called "pregnancy tumors" on your gums. Relax -- they're harmless and will disappear postpartum.
Cause: Hormones are behind the bleeding gums, but no one's quite sure what prompts the excessive saliva.
How to deal: Keep brushing -- but switch to a soft toothbrush. As for the saliva, spitting it out may be the only option, but you can try limiting starch in your diet or drinking water with lemon juice.
"Stuff is growing on my skin!"
Symptoms: Dark patches on your face; a dark line on your belly; spider veins on your arms, chest, neck, and face; bits of skin hanging from your breasts, armpits, or neck.
Cause: Your body is producing extra melanin, causing the dark spots; increased blood production is to blame for the spider veins; and the skin tags are due to friction, as well as hormones.
How to deal: The splotches and spider veins usually fade postpartum, though they may not disappear entirely. Slather on sunblock to minimize darkening, and cover the veins with makeup. A dermatologist can remove the skin tags if they're uncomfortable.
"My nipples are the size of dinner plates"
Symptoms: The areola grows darker and begins to overtake your breasts. Meanwhile, tiny little bumps sprout around the nipple itself, and may even excrete fluid.
Cause: The darkening is another example of hyperpigmentation from hormones, and some say this is nature's way of helping your newborn find your breast. The little bumps are glands that can help keep the stretched-out skin around your nipple lubricated.
How to deal: Refrain from topless sunbathing: Exposure to the sun can make the hyperpigmentation permanent. And while your areolas will probably always be slightly darker than they once were, they will shrink in size when you're finished nursing.
"My legs look like a road map"
Symptoms: Enlarged, bulging purple or black veins, most commonly in the legs but also occurring in the labia. And hemorrhoids are actually varicose veins of the anus.
Cause: An accumulation of blood in the veins, usually due to pressure from the uterus.
How to deal: Don't stand for extended periods, prop your legs up when you can, and avoid crossing them. Swap regular hose for support hose. Regular sitz baths can help soothe hemorrhoids.