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22 Out-Of-This-World-Type Of Bizarre Facts About Pregnancy

There’s no greater evidence for the changes our bodies go through during pregnancy than our stomachs. But how much do you know about the weird and the wonderful changes that occur outside of the size of growing bellies? We’ve put together a list of things to possibly expect when you’re expecting, for those of you who think you know it all.

1. Fetal stem cells start to repair your body.

Instagram / @xlmedica

Even though stem cells have been traditionally associated with keeping the baby healthy through the umbilical cord, scientists have discovered more recently that it’s common for stem cells to travel all around the body. They can even go so far as the brain!

2. Your hair starts to get thicker and shinier.

Instagram / @cgsthestylist

Hair growth speeds up during pregnancy, so don’t be surprised if you find that your hair suddenly turns into bombshell babe-like tresses. You also don’t shed hair as much as what you normally would. You can thank estrogen for this.

3. Hair also starts to grow on other parts of your body.

Instagram / @lespapierssontpolitiques

It isn’t just the hair on your scalp that gets affected by pregnancy – so does the rest of your body hair! Testosterone levels increase during pregnancy, which can also make the body grow thick hair in places you may not have been expecting. Think: on your abdomen, face, chest, and back!

4. Cravings are a thing.

Instagram / @onegs_com

The reason why cravings happen is because all the pregnancy hormones can disrupt taste and smell receptors. That’s why it’s completely legit that your friend’s mom snacked on ice cream and ketchup when she was pregnant. Sometimes it’s worth paying attention to cravings though because they might indicate a nutrient deficiency.

5. You’ve got to start managing bad breath.

Instagram / @daisylife.in

Yep. You’ve gotta keep an eye out for pregnancy gingivitis! Pregnancy hormones can make the gums more susceptible to plaque, which then leads to inflammation and bleeding. It might be worth considering a dental checkup if you get pregnant.

6. You produce more estrogen in a day than you normally would in a year.

Instagram / @macarenapaz_xo

That’s right! You start to produce way more estrogen. Like, a lot. When you’re almost at full term, you can produce more estrogen in a day than what you would normally do over the course of three years. No wonder pregnant people get so affected by their hormone levels!

7. Heartburn becomes more common.

Instagram / @wellnessafrica

Since pregnant bodies produce more estrogen and progesterone, this relaxes the esophagus. It’s because of this relaxation that you can then experience acid reflux or heartburn. Oddly enough, it’s been found that people who suffer from heartburn during pregnancy are more likely to have given birth to babies with lots of hair!

8. You gain the ability to lactate.

Instagram / @lacta8

You don’t need to have had your baby to start lactating. To be honest, all you need is a bun in the oven, and to hear a baby start to cry. It’s that easy.

9. The vagina changes color.

Instagram / @hhadiio

And, in some cases, it’s a really dramatic change, too. While some people report it just simply turning a darker color, others have found theirs to turn purple, or even bluish. The medical term for this is known as the Chadwick Sign. Thankfully, this isn’t a permanent change – usually, everything goes back to normal after delivery.

10. Your sense of smell becomes stronger.

Instagram / @fonsecagarcia

In the first trimester, it’s pretty common for pregnant people to gain the superpower of a heightened sense of smell. And while that might be great if you’re surrounded by flowers, it might be less fabulous if, say, you’re stuck on a small bus with a bunch of sweaty, smelly bodies.

11. A chemical called relaxin softens your ligaments.

Instagram / @yinyang_gyal

Don’t worry, this is all 100 percent natural. It’s a special hormone that the body releases to make your pelvis more flexible during childbirth. Chances are, this is when you’ll find your yoga game is top notch. Just be careful not to break any bones!

12. Your sugar levels may go out of whack.

Instagram / @sugar_uykka

Granted, pregnant people are basically feeding and watering a tiny little body inside their own body. So for some people, they may find that their pancreas can’t keep up with providing the needed insulin for digestion. These people then have to manage gestational diabetes. Don’t worry, though, it’s usually not permanent and will disappear after giving birth.

13. It’s completely normal for your voice to change.

Instagram / @muresanozana

Considering that you’ve got all of this estrogen and progesterone whizzing around your body, it’s unsurprising that your voice might change! These hormones can cause swelling in your vocal cords, which is why you might lose some of your higher pitches, but find that you can hit lower ones.

14. Your heart grows bigger.

Instagram / @_igec

No, it’s not because you’ve got so much more love in your life now that you’re expecting a little bundle of joy. The heart has a lot more work to do, now that you’ve essentially become a life support system! So to compensate for that, the heart increases in size.

15. Your blood volume can increase by 40-50 percent.

Instagram / @aroundimages

Not only do you need a bigger heart for an impending baby, but you also need more blood to keep the little one satisfied! This is so that the fetus has enough oxygenated blood coming to it while it’s still developing.

16. Your uterus also expands.

Instagram / @fabulously_glam_event_decor

Or, basically, everything just seems to get bigger. The coolest thing, though, is your uterus goes from being around the size of a peach, to the equivalent of a watermelon.

17. Pregnancy is a good excuse to go shoe shopping.

Instagram / @cassyfremont

Yeah, even your feet aren’t exempt from the whole swelling process. Some people find that their feet can grow a full shoe size when they’re pregnant!

18. You’ll develop another organ.

Instagram / @rachelleskillingart

Science-fiction has absolutely nothing on actual real-life pregnancy. Believe it or not, the placenta is classified as an organ.

19. Melasma appears.

Instagram / @livethelime

What on earth is melasma, you ask? It’s also known as the “mask of pregnancy”, which causes dark splotches to appear on your face. Basically, it’s really common for people to see their skin darken when they’re pregnant: those extra pregnancy hormones can cause an increase in pigmentation.

20. You’ll become particularly orgasmic.

Instagram / @lavish__interiors

All the extra blood flow around the body means that you’ll get a real boost in your libido, and all you’ll wanna do is stay in bed. But you know what else? Chances are you’ll find that’ll change at the drop of a hat, and you’ll be ready to strike anyone who dares to even touch you. Why? Hormones, of course.

How many of these facts surprised you? Or, better yet, how many of these have you experienced when being pregnant? Tell us about it on our Facebook page – you can find it by clicking on the logo at the top of the page.

How To Normalize Mental Health Conversations In Traditional Latinx Families

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How To Normalize Mental Health Conversations In Traditional Latinx Families

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In an ideal world, we would all play active roles in breaking down the mental health stigma. Dinner talks would be filled with

 “¿Mijo, cómo te has sentido?” 

“¿Cómo vas con tu medicina?” or

“¿Sigues yendo a yoga?” 

Showing emotion would be encouraged and vulnerability would be praised. 

But you and I both know, this isn’t the case when it comes to the world we live in. Growing up in the Central Valley, surrounded by what seemed like endless tomato fields, with two farm-working parents, I will be the first to admit that conversations about mental health were non-existent. Up until my last year of undergrad, I believed that anxiety attacks were an over-exaggeration of weak, pitiful people who couldn’t handle a little stress. Until of course, it happened to me. I suffered my first anxiety attack one night during my last semester at Fresno State. It was one of the scariest things I’ve ever experienced, and it changed my life forever. 

During the years that followed, I fought against cultural norms. For me, nothing else had worked, so I said ‘yes’ to therapy and anxiety medication, even when my family opposed it or didn’t quite understand it. It was hard. I felt misunderstood and out of place. I was conflicted about how people would judge me and my family if they found out that I sought outside help. 

But I am happy to report that things did get better. Therapy and medication helped tremendously, and my parents eventually came around to supporting my decision to seek help, primarily because they began to see the progress I was making. 

So yes, even though these conversations are tough, I believe they are absolutely necessary to ensure the wellbeing of our families and our future generations. Mental health conversations have to become an integral part of our families, especially within the cultural context.

There’s no doubt about it, the Latinx culture is beautiful! Its richness is felt in the music, food and strong family values. However, many aspects of the culture are not conducive for growth. Not being able to comfortably talk about our mental health because of the ensuing stigma is definitely one of them. Truth is, if we want to move our Latinx families forward, we must find ways to play a role in normalizing mental health conversations within our traditional families. There is no room for inaction. 

The good news is, you don’t have to be a hardcore mental health advocate to help! 

Empowered Bystanders Matter

We can choose to either be an empowered bystander or play an active role in this. Both can be equally important in normalizing these conversations. First, we must acknowledge that not everyone wants to be outspoken and actively pushing change forward. Regardless, empowered bystanders can still make a difference with what may seem like small insignificant acts. 

Here is how you can help as an empowered bystander: 

Withdraw from toxic dialogue.

Oftentimes within traditional family dynamics, we witness ideologies that are toxic for people experiencing mental health issues. Conversations in family reunions can sometimes be offensive and discouraging. As an empowered bystander, you have a choice to partake in this dialogue or completely withdraw from it. By simply choosing not to laugh at an offensive joke, for example, you take a subtle yet firm stance that you are not here for this, you do not agree with this behavior. 

Compare apples to apples.

You may not suffer from a mental health issue, but you can still observe and pinpoint opportunities for conversation. Hypothetically speaking, let’s say one of your siblings is contemplating taking medication for their mental health but is discouraged by your parent who says things like: 

“¡You don’t need that, you are not crazy,” or

“¡Que locuras! Mejor ponte a limpiar tu cuarto, es lo que debes de hacer!” 

As an empowered bystander, you have the power to respectfully interject and propose an idea like:

“Pa, how is that different from you taking your daily blood pressure medicine, you take that every day for you to function.”

In doing so, you suddenly propose a new thought, a new perspective. You don’t force change; you simply ask questions and initiate thoughtful conversations.  

For those of us who are personally impacted by mental health issues, and feel strongly about creating change, here is how you can help as an active participant: 

Embody and embrace the rebel persona. 

Within the cultural family context, we must acknowledge that taking an active role in breaking the mental health stigma often comes with feeling isolated. We will not always fit in. Understanding this upfront will make it easier to cope. We have to understand that our immediate family will not always be our frontline cheerleaders. This is 100% okay. Whether we receive support within our family or not, it is vital that we seek some type of support, through friendships or support groups. 

Be the example.

Do you suffer from a mental health issue? Do you take medication? Do you go to therapy? Living without shame and using your experiences to offer insight and a different perspective in conversations with folks is key to normalizing this subject within our families. Own your experiences, so they become the shining light for others struggling to find their voice. Showing them that you can thrive with your condition is the best type of education we can provide to our families.

To check out Your Story to Tell Academy’s Instagram go here.

Camila Mendes Shared That She Was Sexually Assaulted And Spoke About The Tattoo That Has Helped Her Heal

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Camila Mendes Shared That She Was Sexually Assaulted And Spoke About The Tattoo That Has Helped Her Heal

@camimendes / Instagram

Camila Mendes recently revealed she is a sexual assault survivor. The 25-year-old “Riverdale” star opened up about her assault while attending college in the October issue of Women’s Health. Mendes, who covers the issue, has been an outspoken advocate of women’s issues. The Latin American actress has previously talked about her experience with disordered eating and body image issues. 

Unfortunately, Mendes isn’t the only “Riverdale” cast member who has dealt with abusive behavior. In 2017, Mendes’ co-star Lili Reinhart revealed that when she was a teenager when a man in a position of power attempted to force himself on her. At the time, Reinhart chose to remain silent in fear of retribution, losing her livelihood and ruining her reputation in Hollywood. 

While the #MeToo movement has unearthed dozens of accusations of abuses of power in Hollywood, for most women these abuses of power are commonplace at work, home, and school. 

According to RAINN, in the United States, about 23.1% of undergraduate females experience rape or sexual assault, while 5.4% of undergraduate males experience rape or sexual assault. Moreover, 11.2% of all college students experience rape or sexual assault. Consider that in 2017, there were roughly 19 million people enrolled in colleges in the United States— these numbers are alarming and illuminate the prevalence of sexual assault on campus. 

Camila Mendes covers Women’s Health

“This cover means so much to me. it took me a while to view self-confidence as a product of physical & mental health, instead of appearance and thinness. I’m grateful for the opportunity to spread that message; I could have used it way earlier in my life,” Mendes wrote on Instagram.  

Camila Mendes tells her story. 

While attending New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts, Mendes was slipped the common date rape drug colloquially known as a “roofie.” 

“I got the tattoo after my freshman year,” she says, of a tattoo above her rib that reads: to build a home. “I had a very, very bad experience; I was roofied by someone who sexually assaulted me.”

Mendes vowed from then on to only allow things that made her feel safe and comfortable into her life. She didn’t reveal much more about the experience, but she doesn’t have to. That’s the entire principle behind the #MeToo movement founded by Tarana Burke. All you have to do is say “me too” to a survivor, and it is the revelation, not the personal details, that provides comfort. 

“On one side, it’s a bold, declarative statement that, ‘I’m not ashamed,’ and ‘I’m not alone,'” Burke said. “On the other side, it’s a statement from survivor to survivor that says, ‘I see you, I hear you, I understand you and I’m here for you or I get it.'”

Sexual assault can be isolating and lonely, yet we are surrounded by survivors every day. 

On body positivity:

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link in bio ♥️

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In 2018, the Brazilian American actress opened up about her struggles with disordered eating and bulimia. 

“They feel like watching somebody else who has gone through it gives them hope that they can recover on their own and come to terms with their own problems,” Mendes said of the warm reception she received in sharing her struggles. 

“It’s something that’s still a curse to me. It’s not like that ever goes away. Whenever I do feel insecure, I go back to health. What can I do that’s healthy? Health is what’s important, not appearance. That mentality is what takes me out of the insecure, anxious thoughts.”

Latinxs and sexual assault:

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women supporting women

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According to the 2004 National Crime Victimization Survey, 1 in 6 Latinx females ages 13 and older are victims of sexual assault. 

The Office For Victims of Crime revealed that Latinx girls are more likely to stop attending school activities to avoid sexual harassment than other girls, that Latinx married women were less likely to identify forced sexual acts by their spouses as assault, and that 77 percent of Latinx women, surveyed by a 2009 Southern Poverty Law Center study, claimed sexual harassment was an issue at their workplace. 

And finally that, “For the increasing numbers of women who make the journey across the Mexico-U.S. border, rape has become so prevalent that many women take birth control pills or get shots before setting out to ensure that they won’t get pregnant.” 

When sexual assault survivors become more visible, no one can deny the collective trauma. Sexual violence affects men and women all over their world, it is only when survivors speak their truth that actionable change can happen. Yet, survivors are so often revictimized when they share their stories. Kudos to Mendes for sharing hers.