Every woman and her pregnancy are different. Although, there are some similarities, with the discomforts that women experience during pregnancy. Several of these discomforts and changes are due to hormones. Below I am going to talk about the discomforts of pregnancy and how to relieve them.
Discomforts of Pregnancy
Nausea and Vomiting
When it comes to pregnancy, this is probably the number one discomfort that pops into your head immediately. This may also be one of the first symptoms of pregnancy that you experience.
Nausea and vomiting is very common for women to have during pregnancy. Better known as “morning sickness.” Although, it can happen at any time of the day. Nausea and vomiting are due to increased production of pregnancy hormones. These symptoms usually subside by week 16, although some women continue to have them all throughout their pregnancy.
Things To Consider To Help With Nausea and Vomiting
- Eat small, more frequent meals.
- Eat crackers or dry toast, especially before getting out of bed.
- Do not lie down right after eating.
- Rest when you need it!
- Drink small amounts frequently throughout the day, although try to avoid it at meal times.
- Get out of bed slowly.
- Try these tummydrops, that help to relieve stomach discomfort. I ADORED these!
Shortness Of Breath
During pregnancy, the uterus, puts a large amount of pressure on the internal organs, especially the diaphragm. This also results in the lungs not having as much room to expand as they did before pregnancy. Once the baby drops, breathing will become more comfortable. Although, this usually doesn’t occur until the last few weeks of pregnancy.
If Shortness Of Breath Is A Problem
- Avoid sleeping on your back. Sleeping on your side tends to be more comfortable.
- Use pillows, between your legs and behind your back. A pregnancy pillow works wonders for this!
- Prop yourself up at night, instead of laying flat. Sleep in a recliner if need be.
- Take things easy and slow down when walking and climbing flights of stairs.
Towards the end of pregnancy, you may experience swelling of the feet and legs. Due to the added weight, your circulation is slower at returning the fluid to your heart. Especially, from all the way down at your feet. If excessive amount of swelling of the legs, hands, face occur be sure to contact your healthcare provider. As this may be a sign of high blood pressure and preeclampsia.
Preeclampsia is a disorder occurring only during pregnancy. Preeclampsia is characterized by the presence of protein in the urine and high blood pressure. At least 5-8% of pregnancies experience preeclampsia, along with this condition being able to affect both the mother and baby. This is why proper prenatal care is so important!
The Following Can Be Tried To Relieve Swelling
- Lie on your side when sleeping or resting.
- Elevate your legs when possible.
- Try not to cross your legs when sitting.
- Drink plenty of fluids.
- Place pillows between your legs when lying down.
- Take part in daily physical activities such as walking and swimming.
- Wear compression socks to relieve swelling.
Nasal congestion is probably a discomfort that you don’t think much about when it comes to pregnancy, although it is a very common problem for many women. Stuffy and bloody noses may be a common problem throughout pregnancy. During pregnancy, your blood volume increases by 45%, which causes the membranes inside your nose to swell. The membranes, may also feel dry at times, causing the nose bleeds.
Tips To Reduce Nasal Congestion
- Increase your fluids.
- Ask your healthcare provider what you can use to ease nasal dryness.
- Run a cool mist humidifier in order to increase moisture in your home.
A common discomfort during pregnancy, although, thankfully I did not have it with my first born! Your stomach, due to your growing uterus, does not have the capacity to hold as much food as before your pregnancy. Acid from your stomach may rise up and into your esophagus, which causes this burning sensation. This can then result in sleeping becoming uncomfortable, due to acid reflux.
Ways To Relieve Heartburn
- Drink fluids between meals, instead of during.
- Eat slowly and chew your food well.
- Eat small, frequent meals.
- Wear loose clothing.
- Avoid spicy and fatty foods.
- Avoid coffee, carbonated drinks, and chocolate.
- Sit up after eating.
- Use pillows to prop yourself up at night if acid reflux is a problem. Sleep in a recliner if need be.
- Try lighthearted tea for a natural remedy for pregnancy heartburn.
Backache, ugh the most dreaded backache. Probably the most common discomfort that comes to your mind during pregnancy, alongside nausea. This is a discomfort that most likely worsens as your pregnancy progresses as well. Pregnancy will affect your posture and how you walk. And the waddle, known as the “pregnancy waddle,” is caused by compensating for the extra weight you are carrying out front by arching and curving your back inward.
Suggestions For Back Discomfort
- I know it may be difficult, but try and remind yourself to walk with your back straight.
- Wear low, rubber soled shoes.
- Avoid lifting anything heavy! Bend at your knees, in order to keep your back straight. Do not bend at the waist to lift!
- Place a small pillow or rolled towel in the lower crook of your back when sitting. This can also be essential when driving long distances.
- When getting out of bed in the morning, roll onto your side and push yourself up to a sitting position first. Don’t sit straight up from a back-lying position.
- Simple back exercises may also relieve discomfort. Such as the dog/cat (arching back up, then down while on all fours) back exercise.
- Try wearing a maternity belt for back, hip, and pelvic discomfort.
This may be a discomfort that comes and goes throughout pregnancy. This is known as tingling, numbness, and pain in the butt and hips area. The enlarging of the uterus and growing baby puts pressure on the sciatic nerves, which branches from the lower back down to the butt and legs. Sometimes a change in the position of the baby will help alleviate the discomforts that come with sciatica.
Round Ligament Pain
There a few different ligaments that hold the uterus in place. One on each side of the abdomen and one across the pelvic floor. As the uterus begins to grow, the ligaments begin to stretch. Any sudden movements or change in positions can cause these ligaments to spasm. It may feel like a sharp pain on one or both sides of your abdomen or groin. As quickly as round ligament pain arrives, is usually how fast it goes away. You may experience similar spasms in the rectum and/or vagina as well.
NOTE: If you experience abdominal pain and it continues or intensifies, make sure to call your healthcare provider immediately!
Loose and Aching Joints
Several women throughout pregnancy feel as if their joints are loose and achy. The hormones that are released towards the end of your pregnancy softens the cartilage joining the pubic bone in front of the pelvis. Cartilage is also found in your back, spine, ankles, and toes. This is why some women have a sense of achiness throughout their entire bodies.
Hemorrhoids and Constipation
Hemorrhoids are swollen and inflamed veins in the rectum and anus that cause discomfort, itching, and bleeding.
Try These Tips For Relief
- Eat a high fiber diet (fruit, raw veggies, whole-grain cereal)
- Drink plenty of fluids.
- Get regular exercise.
- Apply an over the counter hemorrhoid cream.
- Sitz Baths
- Use Tucks medicated cooling pads (hemorrhoidal pads with witch hazel).
If the pain and discomfort worsens and does not subside within a few days, consider seeing your doctor, as they may need to be removed.
Yes, you may have thought you peed frequently in the beginning of your pregnancy, now it comes on full force in the last trimester. As the uterus grows it places a tremendous amount of pressure on your bladder. Coughing, sneezing, or laughing too hard may even cause you to pass a little urine, or should I say pee your pants a little. It may help to do kegel exercises.
Kegel exercises help you to learn how to relax the pubococcygeal muscle. These exercises may also help in controlling urine leakage.
These exercises involve contracting the muscles around the vagina (as if you were stopping the flow of urine midstream) by squeezing the muscles tightly for a few seconds and then relaxing them. Repeat the squeezing and relaxing 10 times at least 5 times a day. You can also practice this exercise by slowly tightening and then relaxing the muscles (as if going up an elevator, 1st through 5th floor, and then back down). These exercises will also help you be more effective during the second stage of labor. Kegel exercises are also beneficial, postpartum, when regaining the loss of muscle tone around the vagina and urethra.
Most women notice that their breasts enlarge throughout pregnancy and are somewhat tender. The nipple and the areola, also enlarge and become darker in color. As the blood vessels begin to prepare for milk, you may notice that they can now be seen at the surface of the skin. And they may also tingle with touch or temperature change. Colostrum may also begin leaking from your breasts. Although, if your breasts are not leaking, do not worry. This DOES NOT mean that you are unable to produce milk. Some women's breasts leak and some do not.
- Wear a bra that provides support. I wore these all throughout pregnancy and nursing!
- Buy a bra that fits without pressing, rubbing, or binding. A larger bra may need to be bought around the third or fourth month of pregnancy.
- Wearing a bra at night may be more comfortable if your breasts are large.
- Your nipples may begin leaking clear or yellowish fluid, known as colostrum. This is a sign that your body is preparing for breastfeeding.
- Clean colostrum from your breasts with warm water.
- If colostrum leaking is a problem, wear absorbent breast pads. Change them when they become wet to avoid irritation and infection.
You may notice that you now have a dark line running up the middle of your abdomen. This is known as linea nigra and is caused by hormone changes that in turn affect the skin's pigmentation. Some women may also notice darkening around their nose or face, which is known as chloasma. Don't worry, both of these will fade postpartum, as your hormone levels begin returning back to normal.
You may also experience dry, itchy skin during pregnancy. Hormone changes cause your skin to lose elasticity and moisture as it stretches to accommodate a growing belly. I also noticed extreme dryness in my face when pregnant.
Try These Tips For Dry Skin
- Try petroleum jelly or A&D ointment on problem areas (elbows, knees, heels).
- Treat skin to a hydrating facial mask once a week to give your skin a boost of moisture.
Fatigue and Insomnia
Fatigue and insomnia are very common in the last trimester. Rest as much as you can! And listen to your body! When it is giving you sings that you are tired, REST!
Insomnia is most likely caused due to the fact you cannot get comfortable. Another reason may be due to anxiety. Worrying about the baby, birth, pain of labor, and so on.
Some Tips That May Help With Insomnia
- Do not take any over the counter medications without talking to your doctor before hand!
- Take a warm shower or bath before bed, this may help you relax.
- Read a good book before bed.
- Try removing yourself from the bedroom where you are having difficulty sleeping. Sometimes a change of room can help. If you are experiencing heartburn and acid reflux you may try sleeping in a recliner.
- Make yourself as comfortable as possible with pillows. A pregnancy pillow works wonders, I am telling you!
- Avoid caffeinated beverages.
- Avoid exercise immediately before bedtime.
This, this may be one of the worst discomforts I experienced throughout pregnancy. There is nothing worse than a leg cramp or "charlie horse" waking you up in the middle of the night.
Relieving Leg Cramps
- Straighten your leg and point your toes toward your head.
- Massage your calves and feet.
- Rest with your legs elevated.
- Wear supportive stockings.
- Exercise regularly and do stretching exercises 2-3 times a day, especially before bedtime.
- Have your partner relieve a cramp by straightening your leg and pushing your toes towards your head.
- Apply heat to the area.
- Some say walking it out is not as effective as pointing your toes toward your head, although I found walking it out to be most effective for me.
Thank you for stopping by! I hope you found some remedies to help relieve those annoying pregnancy discomforts! And congrats on your little bundle of joy and good luck with the rest of your pregnancy!
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Such a great post filled with useful tips for us women during pregnancy. My biggest problem during pregnancy was with eating any meat or fish at all! I would always be sick. But I notice that just eating starches with or without gravy, did the trick.
As you say, each woman is different so we have to seek out what works best for us.
Mine was definitely with eating red meat! I love steak and hamburger, and just the smell of it during pregnancy would instantly make me sick! So I turned to chicken and nuts in order to get my protein in!