Pregnancy is a heady time, full of so many changes, some of which are completely unexpected. Here are some notable ones and what you can do about them.

Your Eyes

I have worn glasses or contacts my whole life; little did I know that pregnancy would change my eyes even more. Apparently, all the extra fluid in your body puts pressure on the interior of your eyes, causing changes to the shape of the lens. I went from having simple nearsightedness o having a double astigmatism—each eye with a different prescription—over the course of three pregnancies. I was unable to wear my contacts during any of them, too; many women report the same thing. Some women report they revert to their old eyesight afterward (lucky ones!), but others, like myself, are never the same.

Your Feet

As expected, once again, that lovely extra fluid you retain during pregnancy will bloat everything, including your ankles and feet. Many women report that their feet actually got bigger during pregnancy…and stayed that way. I, again, am an example of this unusual manifestation: I went from an 8.5 shoe size to a 9.5 over the course of my pregnancies. This is a little unusual, but it’s not unheard of.

Your Mouth

Lots of women report problems with excess drooling during pregnancy. This is owed to hormonal changes, and, yes, of course, fluid retention.

Your Dreams

You will often find you dream vividly during pregnancy; doctors and psychologists believe it’s a combination of the chemical changes in your body coupled with your mind’s tumultuous state due to the upheaval in your brain and body. Some are just weird, some are prosaic but detailed (I remember dreaming about eating a lot), and some…well, they’re erotic! Take advantage of them!

Your Reflexes

Pregnancy causes your body to secrete more of a certain substance that loosens your joints, allowing your hips and pelvis to accommodate the baby better…and it means you turn into a total klutz. You’ll be dropping things all the time, and be careful about walking, especially farther along, as you can’t see your feet!

Your Skin

Some women, especially women of color, experience blotchy skin, even a masklike darkening around their eyes dubbed melasma. It’s especially typical in women who tan or who have lighter brown (think café au lait) skin and who live in regions with a lot of direct sunlight. It’s not painful but it’s distressing cosmetically, so wear sunblock!