17 Weird Pregnancy Symptoms That Real Moms Want You to Know About

These weird early pregnancy symptoms didn't come in the brochure! Learn some of the things you might experience, plus tips on how to deal with them.

Published September 20, 2023
Pregnancy woman visiting her doctor

When pregnancy begins, there's usually an expectation of morning sickness, breast tenderness, and exhaustion, but what is not advertised is an array of weird pregnancy symptoms that are actually quite common.

Want to know what to expect when you are expecting, as well as some uncommon signs of pregnancy? These are some of the top weird pregnancy symptoms that could likely happen to you!

Weird Pregnancy Symptoms That No One Tells You About

Weird pregnancy symptoms happen to every mom, but no two experiences are alike. That's why we talked to real-life mothers about their specific journeys into motherhood. These were some of the top unexpected signs of early pregnancy and the symptoms that many were surprised to experience. 

Changes in Taste & Smell

Pregnancy hormones bring a lot of unwanted changes — the most obvious being changes in your sense of smell and the flavors that you prefer. Some women note a heightened sense of smell, while others complain that dishes they love suddenly taste rancid. Additional moms find that things they used to hate are now all they want to eat!

Hyperosmia, otherwise known as a supreme sense of smell, was the weird early pregnancy symptom that tipped me off that I was pregnant with my first son. My husband was making breakfast while I slept, and as soon as he added his favorite spice to the skillet, I shot out of bed. It felt like he had poured it directly into my nose. The most notable part of this story? My period was not late, making this a very weird early pregnancy symptom.  

Fast Fact

Other than surrounding yourself with pleasant smells, the only way to find relief from these sensory changes is for you to give birth and your hormone levels to go back to normal. Some women may notice that the changes in taste they experience during pregnancy become permanent. 

Bleeding Gums

Who knew flossing could be so traumatic? This was another weird pregnancy symptom of mine that required an alteration in my diet and dental habits. Not only did I have to cut out popcorn from my snack regimen, but I also had to be extra cautious while flossing. Otherwise, my gums would literally slice open.

Officially termed pregnancy gingivitis, this is the inflammation of the gums due to the hormone fluctuations that occur during gestation. The Cleveland Clinic notes that this likely happens because of the "decreased ability of your body to respond to plaque bacteria [and] increased blood flow to the gum tissue." 

Need to Know

Cutting sugar (which was my top pregnancy craving), avoiding hard and sharp foods, and brushing my teeth more often throughout the day brought me relief. It's important to manage pregnancy gingivitis, otherwise it could potentially lead to bone loss in the jaw and possibly the need for tooth extractions. 

Carpal Tunnel

Most women expect to put on weight while they are pregnant, but what you may not know is that your blood volume almost doubles during this time! This can apply extra pressure in your blood vessels, which can cause swelling. This, in turn, can lead to pinched nerves in smaller spaces like in your wrists.

Many of the moms I spoke to complained of waking up with swollen and painful hands on a daily basis during their pregnancies. Most of the time, stretching and taking small breaks from repetitive activities (like typing on the computer) made the pain go away, but for some, steroid injections were the only thing to bring pain relief.

Woman with carpal tunnel syndrome

Restless Leg Syndrome

This is another weird pregnancy symptom that is actually quite common. In fact, up to a third of moms report dealing with restless leg syndrome (RLS) at some point in their pregnancy. This is a condition where you experience an uncontrollable urge to move your legs, which can make sleep very difficult. 

The best way to find relief from this unfortunate symptom is to move throughout the day! Moderate exercise and stretching are both great remedies that can keep you healthy throughout your pregnancy and help you to sleep better. The Mayo Clinic also notes that avoiding caffeine and localized heat can bring relief as well. 

Charlie Horses

Similarly, Charlie horses (leg cramps) are an annoying and unusual pregnancy symptom that can inhibit sleep. However, unlike RLS, these occur because you are not getting enough water and electrolytes. It's important to remember that your body will always prioritize your baby during pregnancy, so you need to increase your water intake and be vigilant about popping those prenatal vitamins to make sure that you are both taken care of!

Eating foods filled with calcium, potassium, and magnesium can also diminish symptoms. Stretching and exercising regularly can help as well. And, of course, when these painful cramps do occur, don't hesitate to ask your significant other to help massage your calves to work away the pain!

Vivid Dreams

Pregnancy hormones bring on a lot of emotions that you have to work through. This can be hard during the hustle and bustle of the day, which is why your dreams suddenly seem to become so real at night. These fantasies can just seem exceedingly realistic or they can be nightmares that make sleep difficult.

Vivid dreams can occur throughout your entire pregnancy, but they typically vanish as soon as you give birth. It also helps that once your baby arrives, you won't have the time to dream anyway! 

Skin Discolorations

Most pregnant women expect to see stretch marks in their future, but did you ever anticipate having random dark marks form on your face? Melasma, otherwise known as the mask of pregnancy, affects up to half of pregnant women, and many times, these markings are permanent. Melasma marks can form anywhere on your face and they can impact women with any skin tone. 

Pregnant woman with some skin discoloration

Another marking that many pregnant women notice is linea nigra, which is a long vertical line that appears down the center of your pregnant belly. This hyperpigmentation occurs over collagen connective tissue that is always there, but it becomes more pronounced thanks to those pesky pregnancy hormones.

Helpful Hack

While some skin discolorations are inevitable, applying sunscreen daily and making sure that you are getting ample folic acid can help to diminish these skin issues.  

Skin Itchiness

Another symptom involving the skin during pregnancy is itchiness. Why would your skin suddenly become so irritated? One of the most common causes is because your skin is stretching as your tummy expands. This is more prominent in women who experience a great amount of weight gain in a short amount of time. 

Need to Know

Eating a healthy diet to limit weight gain and moisturizing daily can greatly diminish the urge and need to itch. This can also limit the number of stretch marks that appear during and after pregnancy. 


Just when you thought that your teenage problems were over, you become pregnant and acne can become an issue all over again. Worst of all, it won't just form on your face. You might also find it on your chest, neck and back, and "during pregnancy, you’re likely to see nodular acne. These zits run deep and are usually red and painful."

If you typically have perfectly clear skin and suddenly notice a bunch of blemishes, this may be a weird early pregnancy symptom. The treatment for pregnancy acne is similar to regular breakouts. Shower and wash your face daily, use water-based skin products, and don't pick at the blemishes.


Constipation is a challenge during pregnancy. The increase in progesterone that occurs with the onset of pregnancy relaxes your intestines and slows digestion down. Those prenatal vitamins are also filled with iron, with causes stool to harden in the gut. Then, add in the need to drink way more water than normal, which doesn't always happen, and suddenly you can say deuces to your digestion!

If you want this alleviate constipation in pregnancy, drink water like your life depends on it (aim for 12 cups a day), eat lots of fiber-filled foods, get moving often, and talk to your doctor about a different prenatal vitamin. Even if you feel like you need to go, don't strain. It's not worth the hemorrhoids.

Pregnant woman looking uncomfortable in bathroom

Lightning Crotch

Yes, you read that right. This weird pregnancy symptom is literally what it sounds like — the sensation of lightning striking your vagina. And yes, it is as jarring as it sounds. Lightning crotch typically happens later in pregnancy when your little one has become bigger and dropped lower in your pelvis.

When this happens, nerves can get pinched, and this causes this unsettling sensation. Thankfully, these strikes are normally pretty quick, but you can expect them to occur up until you give birth. Belly bands are a great solution for taking some of the pressure off of this sensitive area.


Remember how we mentioned that progesterone relaxes your intestines? Unfortunately, this loosening is not specific to your lower abdomen. It can also occur in your esophagus, specifically at the lower valve that leads to your stomach. This, along with your growing baby who is pushing everything upward, can cause stomach acid to sneak into your throat.

Stomach acid is what causes that burning sensation we call heartburn. Like many other weird pregnancy symptoms, heartburn during pregnancy will also go away after you give birth.

Ways to diminish acid reflux during pregnancy include:

  • Eating smaller, more frequent meals
  • Staying upright immediately after eating
  • Avoiding trigger foods like fried and spicy dishes
  • Drinking water in between meals
  • Choosing alkaline foods to munch on
  • Eating fruits and veggies with a high water content


Just like with the bleeding gums, the tissues in your nasal passages are thin and just a little inflammation can do a lot of damage. If you live in a drier climate, this increases your chances for nosebleeds in pregnancy even more. For some, this is an uncommon sign or pregnancy, and for others like myself, it is something that won't appear until later on in your nine-month sentence. 

Pregnant woman holding tissue to nose
Need to Know

Two of the easiest ways to prevent nosebleeds in pregnancy are drinking lots of water and investing in a humidifier. You should also blow your nose gently or use Q-Tips to clear out your stuffy sinuses to prevent adding extra pressure to the region. 


When you have inflammation in the nose, bleeding is not the only issue. You may also notice more congestion. Spring pregnancies can make this even worse, thanks to the pollen in the air. Other environmental irritants like pets and pollution don't help much either. The remedy for this is similar to the nosebleeds — more humidity and liquids throughout the day.

You can also change your air filters in your home more frequently, invest in a HEPA filter to limit irritants in the air, get your pets groomed regularly, and vacuum weekly. Also, steam showers are a fantastic way to open up tiny nasal passages (which is why they are a good remedy to colds for babies)!

Canker Sores

Turns out that there are many mouth-related problems that occur in pregnancy! Canker sores are ulcers that form in your mouth. These can be triggered by those pesky pregnancy hormones, stress, and a deficiency in folic acid! This makes prenatal vitamins a must. Salt water rinses can also help. 


Pregnancy cravings are a common part of pregnancy, but weird pregnancy cravings that involve non-food items are another unusual pregnancy symptom called pica. These can be as basic as wanting to chomp on ice or as eccentric as the need to smell or even eat dirt, cigarette ashes, chalk, and cleaning products. These happen because you are not getting enough of certain vitamins and minerals in your daily diet.

If you start showing signs of pica, talk to your doctor immediately to determine a course of treatment. This can be as simple as taking supplements for certain nutrients that you are lacking. 

Watch Out for This Final Weird Pregnancy Symptom

This weird pregnancy symptom caught me off guard and got me a visit to the emergency room, a concussion, and a contusion on my elbow. The ER doc told me: "pregnant women pass out." He acted like this was common knowledge.

To be clear — I had eaten a hearty breakfast, and I had been hydrating all morning, I was not locking my knees, and I was not wearing anything constricting. I also did not feel lightheaded or dizzy. I was simply standing in line at the bank, for a whole five minutes. Right before I hit the ground, I felt a sudden hot flash come on and I started seeing black spots.

If and when these symptoms happen, SIT DOWN. While it sounds ridiculous, and slightly embarrassing, to sit on the floor in the middle of a bank while waiting in line, passing out and slamming your head into the floor is much worse. It is important to note that this random drop in blood pressure is caused by those lovely pregnancy hormones. That means watching out for signs is key and your methods for prevention are limited.


Talk to Your Doctor About Your Pregnancy Symptoms

Weird pregnancy symptoms happen to all of us, and while they can be stressful, and sometimes scary, they will get better. However, if you ever have any concern or something seems off, always talk to your OBGYN about potential solutions. It is better to be safe than sorry!

It's also important to note that even though there are many common pregnancy symptoms, every woman is unique, and it's important to make sure there aren't other underlying causes for what you're experiencing. Now that you have the inside scoop on odd pregnancy signs, see these weird things that happen before labor to help you prepare! 

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17 Weird Pregnancy Symptoms That Real Moms Want You to Know About