Your body has a great deal to do during pregnancy. Sometimes the changes taking place will cause irritation or discomfort, and on occasions, they may seem quite alarming. There is rarely any need for alarm but you should mention anything that is worrying you to your maternity team. Below you will find some common discomforts that women can have at various stages of their pregnancy including cramps, headaches, stretch marks, swollen ankles, and varicose veins. Common Discomforts During Pregnancy. About half of all pregnant women experience nausea and sometimes vomiting in the first trimester–also called morning sickness because symptoms are most severe in the morning. Some women may have nausea and vomiting throughout the pregnancy.
Morning sickness is a common symptom of early pregnancy that usually goes away by the end of the first three months. Morning sickness or nausea (with or without vomiting) can happen at any time of the day and is caused by changes in hormones during pregnancy. Some food and eating suggestions that may help manage symptoms of morning sickness or nausea. Some food and eating suggestions that may help manage symptoms of morning sickness or nausea. Eat smaller meals more often. Missing meals can make nausea worse. If vomiting, it is important to drink enough fluids. It may be easier to have lots of small drinks than to try and drink a large amount in one go. Try a variety of fluids such as water, fruit juice, lemonade, and clear soups. Sometimes it can be helpful to try crushed ice, slushies, ice blocks, or even suck on frozen fruit such as grapes or orange segments. If you are unable to take in fluids or feel weak, dizzy or unwell, you may be suffering from dehydration and you should seek medical attention urgently.
During pregnancy, the ligaments in your body naturally become softer and stretch to prepare you for labour. This can put a strain on the joints of your lower back and pelvis, which can cause backache. The extra weight of your uterus and the increasing size of the hollow in your lower back can also add to the problem. A firm mattress can also help to prevent and relieve backache. If your mattress is too soft, put a piece of cardboard under it to make it firmer.
Bladder and bowel problems during pregnancy
During pregnancy, many women experience some rather unpleasant conditions like constipation, needing to urinate more frequently, incontinence and hemorrhoids (piles). Maintaining a healthy diet (nutrition) and doing regular exercise (movement) can help make your pregnancy a bit less uncomfortable. You may become constipated very early in pregnancy because of the hormonal changes in your body. Constipation can mean that you are not passing stools (feces) as often as you normally do, you have to strain more than usual or you are unable to completely empty your bowels. Constipation can also cause your stools to be unusually hard, lumpy, large or small.
The need to frequently urinate (pass water or pee) often starts from early in your pregnancy. Sometimes it continues right through pregnancy. In later pregnancy the need to frequently urinate results from the baby’s head pressing or resting on your bladder.
If you find that you need to get up in the night to urinate, try cutting out drinks in the late evening. But make sure you drink plenty of non-alcoholic, caffeine-free drinks during the day. Later in pregnancy, some women find it helps to rock backward and forwards while they are on the toilet. This lessens the pressure of the womb on the bladder so that you can empty it properly. Then you may not need to pass water again quite so soon.
If you have any burning or stinging while passing urine or you pass any blood in your urine, you may have a urinary tract infection, which will need treatment. Drink plenty of water to dilute your urine and reduce pain.
Dealing with cramps, swelling and varicose veins
Cramps, swelling, and varicose veins are some of the most common issues women experience during pregnancy. Maintaining a healthy lifestyle, doing regular exercise and getting plenty of rest should help to alleviate the symptoms. Cramps are sudden, sharp pain, usually in your calf muscles or feet. It is most common at night. Regular, gentle exercise in pregnancy, particularly ankle and leg movements, may improve your circulation and may help to prevent cramp occurring. Ankles, feet, and hands often swell a little in pregnancy because your body is holding more fluid than usual. Towards the end of the day, especially if the weather is hot or if you have been standing a lot, the extra fluid tends to gather in the lowest parts of the body. The gradual swelling isn’t harmful to you or your baby, but it can be uncomfortable and your shoes can feel tight.
Dealing with fatigue during your pregnancy
Feeling tired and hotter than usual is quite common during pregnancy. Many pregnant women also feel faint and this is due to hormonal changes. Pregnant women often feel faint. This is because of hormonal changes occurring in your body during pregnancy. Fainting happens if your brain is not getting enough blood and therefore not enough oxygen. If your oxygen levels get too low, it may cause you to faint. You are most likely to feel faint if you stand too quickly from a chair, off the toilet or out of a bath, but it can also happen when you are lying on your back.
It’s common to feel tired, or even exhausted, during pregnancy, especially in the first 12 weeks or so. Hormonal changes taking place in your body at this time can make you feel tired, nauseous and emotional. The only answer is to try to rest as much as possible. Make time to sit with your feet up during the day, and accept any offers of help from colleagues and family. Being tired and run-down can make you feel low. Try to look after your physical health by eating a healthy diet and get plenty of rest and sleep. Later on, in pregnancy, you may feel tired because of the extra weight you are carrying. Make sure you get plenty of rest. As your baby gets bigger, it can be difficult to get a good night’s sleep. You might find it uncomfortable lying down or, just when you get comfortable, you have to get up to go to the toilet.
Feeling tired won’t harm you or your baby, but it can make life feel more difficult, especially in the early days before you’ve told people about your pregnancy. Make sure you get as much rest as you can.
Vaginal discharge during pregnancy
During pregnancy, almost all women have more vaginal discharge. This happens because the cervix (neck of the womb) and vaginal walls get softer during pregnancy and discharge increases to help prevent any infections traveling up from the vagina to the womb.
All women, whether they’re pregnant or not, have some vaginal discharge starting a year or two before puberty and ending after the menopause. How much discharge you have changed from time to time and it usually gets heavier just before your period. Almost all women have more vaginal discharge in pregnancy. This is quite normal and happens for a few reasons. During pregnancy, the cervix (neck of the womb) and vaginal walls get softer and discharge increases to help prevent any infections traveling up from the vagina to the womb.
Towards the end of pregnancy, the number of discharge increases and can be confused with urine. In the last week or so of pregnancy, your discharge may contain streaks of thick mucus and some blood. This is called a ‘show’ and happens when the mucus that has been present in your cervix during pregnancy comes away. It’s a sign that the body is starting to prepare for birth, and you may have a few small ‘shows’ in the days before you go into labour. If you have any vaginal bleeding in pregnancy, you should contact your midwife or doctor, as it can sometimes be a sign of a more serious problem such as a miscarriage or a problem with the placenta.
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