7 Unusual Pregnancy Symptoms

Your body can respond to pregnancy in some surprising ways

strange pregnancy symptoms graphic

Verywell / Nusha Ashjaee 

Pregnancy is a unique experience to live through. Most people expect certain pregnancy symptoms to come with the territory. Common early pregnancy symptoms include nausea, vomiting, and even backaches. These are typically anticipated by many soon-to-be parents.

However, pregnancy can bring with it some normal but unexpected (to the pregnant person), strange, or seemingly unrelated symptoms that you may not be aware of. These physical effects are not often discussed by doctors or friends and family, leaving many pregnant people who experience them needlessly surprised or worried. Here is a list of seven unusual pregnancy symptoms you may never have considered—but are actually totally normal.

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Nose Bleeds and Nasal Stuffiness

Your nose is so far away from your uterus; how could it be involved? But nose bleeds and stuffiness are very common throughout pregnancy due to an increase in the blood flow through your nose during pregnancy. In fact, the prevalence of nosebleeds is 20.3% in pregnancy compared with 6.2% in non-pregnant people.

You can treat the symptoms with natural remedies like using a humidifier or using a Neti pot to rinse your nasal passage with salt water. If that doesn't help, talk to a doctor or midwife for other options. Rest assured that aside from being inconvenient, nosebleeds and stuffiness during pregnancy are rarely severe.

Vaginal Discharge

When you're pregnant, you expect your periods to stop because you're no longer ovulating. However, you may not expect an increase in vaginal discharge (also known as leukorrhea).

This discharge is typically colorless or white, non-irritating, and odorless. It is very similar to what you experience when you ovulate. If it bothers you, try wearing a panty liner, but do not use a tampon as that could increase the risk of a vaginal infection.

Vaginal discharge will probably increase in amount until the birth of your baby. If there is ever a change in color or an odor, be sure to report it to a doctor or midwife.


You are probably familiar with the fact that pregnancy zaps your energy, at least during the first and third trimesters. With or without fatigue, though, some people also experience pregnancy insomnia.

Insomnia is common and can even be an early sign that you're pregnant, however it can occur throughout gestation and the postpartum periods. It can manifest in the form of difficulty falling asleep or the inability to fall back to sleep after being awakened (such as by all those nighttime trips to the bathroom).

Exercise, decreasing caffeine, and relaxation are the mainstays of non-medicinal relief for insomnia.

Keep in mind that insomnia is usually something that comes and goes. You might experience it more in the first and third trimesters, or you may not see it at all. Both extremes are normal.

Gastrointestinal Distress

Is burping and gas a sign of pregnancy? The hormones of pregnancy can definitely send your gastrointestinal tract into a spin, making symptoms like belching, burping, and gas fairly common throughout pregnancy, but especially in the first and third trimesters. Limit your symptoms by avoiding gas-producing food and drink, which include the following:

  • Carbonated drinks
  • Cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli, cauliflower, brussels sprouts, and cabbage
  • Dairy
  • Spicy foods
  • Whole grains

Holding gas in can cause a lot of pain. That said, you may feel embarrassed if you have to deal with burping or gas often.

It's a good idea to have a plan. Some people go to the bathroom for a while, and others learn what foods make it worse and try to not eat or drink them.

Belly Button Pain

Abdominal pain, which is also called pelvic girdle or pelvic cavity pain, is very common in pregnancy. It occurs due to the growing of the uterus and stretching of muscles, skin, tendons, nerves, and other tissue as the fetus increases in size.

This discomfort is sometimes centered on the abdominal skin and belly button area, causing soreness or pain, which may be referred to as belly button pain. This feeling may be achy or experienced as acute pain when the area is touched. It may come and go but it is most often experienced later in pregnancy as the belly gets bigger and bigger. Additionally, some people experience a whitening of the skin around the belly button, with or without pain in the area.

Discuss any pain you are feeling with your medical provider who can rule out any other issues, as research shows that between .5% and 2% of pregnant people have non-pregnancy-related causes of their abdominal pain that require surgery. Your doctor or midwife can also offer suggestions for pain relief. A belly support band can help, as can switching positions, light massage with lotion (or you may want to avoid direct touch), or taking a bath.

Pregnancy Constipation

Constipation is yet another effect that pregnancy can have on your body. In fact, between 11% and 38% of pregnant people experience constipation.

When you're pregnant, a rise in progesterone causes your intestines to slow down and become sluggish. This creates a backup of sorts, meaning you can have trouble passing bowel movements.

Exercise, drinking plenty of water, and eating high-fiber foods can be helpful. If none of those provide relief, talk to a midwife or doctor for additional measures such as medication.

Bleeding Gums

Pregnant people tend to experience more tender gums. This is due to hormonal changes and increased blood flow to the mouth, which can cause swelling, increased sensitivity, and bleeding throughout pregnancy. It's also common for pregnant people to experience a metallic taste in their mouths, a symptom that may be bothersome but is typically harmless.

If dental problems, such as gingivitis, already exist, they may be exacerbated during pregnancy. Twice daily brushing and flossing and regular dental cleanings can help keep symptoms in check.

A Word From Verywell

It can throw you for a loop when you experience a pregnancy symptom you weren't anticipating. Know that you're not alone; many people have these symptoms in pregnancy, even if they don't talk about them.

This lack of open communication can cause worry for some parents-to-be, and being worried and pregnant is not a great combination. Try talking to others who have dealt with these issues for advice on how to combat them. And of course, talk to a doctor or midwife if any type of stress is affecting your daily life while you're pregnant.

9 Sources
Verywell Family uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
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By Robin Elise Weiss, PhD, MPH
Robin Elise Weiss, PhD, MPH is a professor, author, childbirth and postpartum educator, certified doula, and lactation counselor.