Pregnancy changes

You've got a weird taste in your mouth

Does your mouth taste like you've been sucking on paper clips? This is a condition called dysgeusia. It's sometimes one of the first signs of being pregnant and is due to hormonal changes or your heightened sense of smell. It usually improves or disappears in the second trimester.

TIP: Try eating or drinking sour things like citrus juices or pickled foods to break through the metallic taste.

You have a brown line running down your middle

From the second trimester onwards (week 13), you may discover that a thin dark line known as the linea negra has appeared down your bump. It's caused by higher levels of the hormone melatonin, which is in turn due to higher levels of the female hormone oestrogen.

TIP: You'll probably find the line fades or disappears soon after birth.

Your feet have grown

Sometimes, it's not just your waistline that gets bigger – your feet can grow, too, thanks to fluid retention. This is usually nothing to worry about, so long as the swelling is not accompanied by high blood pressure – in which case your midwife will need to check you out for pre-eclampsia.

TIP: Avoid standing for long periods, make sure you put your feet up at the end of the day and stick to wearing comfortable flats.

Your breasts leak

Finding a wet patch on your bra might be expected if you're breastfeeding, but if you're still only seven months pregnant, it can be a bit of a shock to discover your boobs are leaking. It's more common than you might think and is due to your breasts preparing for birth.

TIP: Buy a box of breastpads and keep some in your bag.

You're having strange dreams

Just dreamed you gave birth to a fish or were being chased down the street by a giant baby? Weird dreams are more common in pregnancy, thanks to pregnancy hormones – plus, even if you haven't realised it, you're more anxious than usual, with a lot of things for your brain to process. Your sleep is also interrupted and you wake up more during the night so you remember your dreams more.

Your mouth is full of saliva

Don't be too concerned if you wake up and find a pool of dribble on your pillow: one unusual symptom of pregnancy is excess saliva production, known as pytalism. It's more common in the early months of pregnancy, especially if you're experiencing nausea and vomiting, and you may find you produce so much you need to keep spitting it out (nice!). It usually settles down in the second trimester.

TIP: Try drinking water with a slice of lemon and sucking on sweets to help you swallow.

You can't remember anything

Keep losing your car keys and can't recall your best friend's name? You may be experiencing gestational memory impairment – memory problems specific to pregnancy. Some experts say it doesn't exist, but others believe up to 80 percent of pregnant women are affected.

The biological cause isn't proven, but one theory is that pregnancy hormones affect the area of your brain that governs memory, spatial learning and awareness and navigation. The effects disappear after birth when hormone levels revert to normal.

TIP: Make lists, write appointments in your diary and put things you need on an everyday basis in one easy-to-remember place, so you're not constantly hunting for some lost object. Enjoy the fact that can blame baby brain for forgetfullness!

Your eyesight changes

If you experience fluid retention in pregnancy, the shape of your eyeball might alter as a result. If you wear contact lenses this might cause them to feel painful or even stop fitting properly. This is usually temporary but you may need to limit the time you wear lenses or go back to wearing glasses for a while.

TIP: See your optometrist – she may suggest switching to disposable lenses so you can change your prescription.

You have more discharge than usual

One bonus of pregnancy is not having periods for nine months, but you may notice more vaginal discharge than usual, particularly in the second trimester. One theory is that it's your body's way of protecting your vagina from infection – the discharge is acidic and acts as a barrier to infection. Don't worry unless it's itchy, painful or has a slightly fishy smell – in which case, check with your midwife or GP as it's possible you have an infection such as thrush or bacterial vaginosis.

TIP: Wear a pantyliner, stick to cotton underwear and avoid scented bath products and tight trousers to minimise your risk of developing thrush.

You're a little hairier than usual

While pregnancy can take your hair from ordinary to a gorgeous, it can also affect hair growth on other, less desirable, parts of your body – you know where we're talking about! Any excess hairiness is thanks to androgens – hormones essential for the development of male characteristics in baby boys.

TIP: Don't worry, things should get back to normal once you give birth.

Your gums bleed

'Pregnancy gingivitis', as it's known, affects about half of all pregnant women. The cause of the bleeding is higher progesterone levels, which make your gums react more to the bacteria in plaque, and an increased blood supply to your mouth.

TIP: Brush thoroughly but gently at least twice a day and floss daily. And don't skip your dental check-ups!

You have a constantly blocked nose

Have you noticed you seem to be blowing your nose more than usual, or speaking with a nasally tone? During pregnancy the soft tissues lining your nose swell up, while extra fluid in your body means increased mucus production, causing a stuffy or runny nose.

TIP: There's not much you can do about this one except keep a box of tissues on stand-by!

Watch our Bounty Vision video below for more tips on having a healthy pregnancy…