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9 strange but true facts about pregnancy Doctors rarely talk about

There are a lot of things that everyone knows about pregnancy. Morning sickness, unusual food cravings, a growing girth, back pain. But did you know that newborns actually don’t have kneecaps? Or that an unborn baby can actually cry?

What do you NOT know about your pregnancy?

There are a ton of things that doctors make well known about pregnancy, but there might be even more things that are left in the unknown. Here are 9 somewhat odd but incredibly true things about pregnancy that doctors don’t really broadcast.

1. Pregnancy isn’t actually a 9-month science.

In a normal pregnancy, from the moment of conception to the moment of childbirth, it tends to last for about 266 days–or 38 weeks (1). However, this number can be dramatically bigger or smaller. Premature babies can be born much earlier than 38 weeks, and fetuses that grow slower can actually take over a year to be born. Beulah Hunter, a patient of Dr. Daniel Beltz, was pregnant for 375 days before her baby was born, which is currently the longest pregnancy on record (2). Hunter topped the previous world-record pregnancy by an amazing 58 days (2). Hunter’s baby girl was born in perfect health.

2. Babies pee in utero.

During the second half of a pregnancy, the baby urinates up to a quarter of a gallon of liquid every day (1). And the grosser thing about this is that the baby partially drinks it afterward (1). Amniotic fluid is the clear, yellow fluid found within the first twelve days after conception inside the amniotic sac, which surrounds the growing baby (3). At the beginning of the pregnancy, this fluid consists of water from the mother’s body, but after a while, a large portion of it is made up of baby urine (3).

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3. From a pear to a watermelon

A uterus grows up to 500 times bigger than normal during a pregnancy but returns to its normal size two months after childbirth (4).

4. Estrogen City!

In the third trimester of pregnancy, a woman will produce more estrogen than in 3 non-pregnant years (5). In one entire pregnancy, she will produce more estrogen than in the entire rest of her unpregnant life (5).

5. Why do my shoes not fit anymore? 

While it’s commonly known that a woman’s waist and breasts grow during pregnancy, an often forgotten fact is that her feet grow as well due to the excess of liquid accumulation in her body (1).

6. Babies cry long before birth

As mentioned above, babies can actually cry while inside their mother’s womb (6). The ability to cry is developed in the third trimester and usually happens as a reaction to low-decibel noises played at the mother’s stomach (1). There is actually video-recorded ultrasound images of babies displaying crying motions: open mouths, depressed tongues, and many irregular breaths before exhaling.

7. Is my skin changing color? 

Did you know that 90% of expecting mothers encounter the issue of pigmentation (1)? Splotchy spots appear on their faces, especially common in the forehead area, nose, chin, cheekbones, and eyes in response to their pregnancy (1). The color of this pigmentation differs depending on their skin color, where fair skin becomes darker in spots and dark skin becomes lighter (1).

8. Babies have fingerprints

Yes, babies have fingerprints. These develop on average somewhere between the 10th and 19th week of conception (1). Once a fingerprint is formed, it will not change all throughout a person’s life.

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9. Your baby knows what you eat

A baby inside the woman can taste, smell, and feel the food that their mother eats (1). This can actually form a person’s future food preferences, as the baby absorbs all the senses through the amniotic fluid in the womb.

Conclusion

Pregnancy is a beautiful and ever-fascinating event. The amazing transitions the woman body goes through in such a short period of time is almost impossible to imagine, and yet it does so masterfully time and time again. Who knows what amazing fact we’ll learn about it next?

By Abbey Ryan-Elder

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