10 Common Pregnancy Discomforts and How to Deal with Them

There is no bigger news than finding out that you are expecting a child. The joy and happiness have no boundaries. But as your pregnancy progresses, the hormonal and other changes in your body may cause a variety of discomforts.

While a few lucky women sail through their pregnancies without any complaints, most expectant moms have to deal with issues ranging from morning sickness to swollen feet.

These discomforts are not dangerous but may need some attention. With some small changes, you can easily relieve the discomforts.

At the same time, you can always your doctor if you have any concerns about the discomforts you may be experiencing during your pregnancy.

Here are 10 common pregnancy discomforts and how to deal with them.

1. Nausea and Vomiting

Nausea and vomiting during pregnancy is commonly known as morning sickness. It is common during the first trimester and usually goes away by the fourth month of pregnancy.

The exact cause of morning sickness is unknown, but experts believe it is due to increased estrogen levels, increased levels of human chorionic gonadotrophin (the reproductive hormone known as hCG), gastric problems and nutritional deficiencies.

Morning sickness does not usually cause any problems for the unborn baby.

In fact, morning sickness can actually be a positive sign. A 2016 study published in JAMA Internal Medicine reports that nausea and vomiting during pregnancy is associated with a lower risk of miscarriage.


2. Heartburn

Heartburn is caused by stomach acid flowing back up into the esophagus, the tube that connects the stomach to the throat.

The problem is very common during pregnancy because of hormonal changes and pressure on the stomach from the growing womb.

While you might otherwise take some type of heartburn medicine, it is not recommended during pregnancy because it can have lasting effects on the unborn baby.

A 2017 study published in the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology reports that children born to mothers who take heartburn medication during pregnancy may have a greater risk of developing asthma.


3. Fatigue and Tiredness

Particularly in the first and third trimesters, fatigue and tiredness is another common problem for pregnant women.

A 1999 study published in the American Journal of Perinatology reports that women in the first trimester of pregnancy experience significantly greater fatigue than a similar group of non-pregnant women.

Soon after conceiving, your body goes through a lot of changes. The rising level of progesterone makes pregnant women tire more easily. Plus, lower blood pressure and blood sugar levels during pregnancy contribute more to the tiredness.

In addition, don’t forget that as the body is creating the placenta; it takes up all of your energy and causes you to feel tired.

There’s good reason to take steps to deal with your fatigue. A 2004 study published in the Journal of Advanced Nursing reports that fatigue during pregnancy predicts caesarean deliveries. In fact, managing fatigue can help reduce the number of caesarean cases.


4. Constipation

Bowel movements slow down during pregnancy, due to an increased level of progesterone in the body. Also, if you’re taking iron supplements during pregnancy, it can lead to constipation.

A 2007 study published in Obstetrics & Gynecology reports that constipation affects up to one-fourth of women throughout pregnancy and at three months postpartum.

If not treated or controlled early, constipation can lead to hemorrhoids (piles), which are swollen veins around your anus that can be very uncomfortable or even painful.


A 2012 study published in Canadian Family Physician reports that the first line of therapy for constipation during pregnancy includes increasing dietary fiber and water intake, along with moderate amounts of daily exercise. If these are ineffective, laxatives are the second line of therapy.

5. Blocked Nose

A stuffy nose is a classic discomfort associated with pregnancy.

A blocked and stuffy nose can be a real nuisance, as it can make it difficult for expectant mothers to get much-needed sleep.

A blocked nose happens due to higher levels of estrogen and other hormones made by the placenta, which in turn affect the mucous membranes that line the inside of your nose.

This problem can also be due to higher blood volume associated with pregnancy. It can start in the first few months and last until your baby is born.


6. Backache

A backache, especially lower back pain, is another common discomfort during pregnancy. This problem usually occurs at the end of the second trimester and throughout the third trimester.

Your lower back hurts during pregnancy due to weight gain, posture changes and relaxed muscles.

A 2008 study published in Current Reviews in Musculoskeletal Medicine reports that there is an increased incidence of back pain associated with pregnancy. Low back pain can be the normal result of a multitude of mechanical, hormonal and vascular changes associated with pregnancy.


Home exercise is the most frequently used and most effective treatment for managing pregnancy-related lower back pain, according to a 2016 study published in Physiotherapy.

Do some light exercises to strengthen your back. For example, straight leg raises and pelvic tilts are safe and beneficial.

7. Swollen Hands and Feet

Ankles, feet and hands often swell a little during pregnancy. Additional production of blood and fluid in the body to support the unborn baby can cause the extremities to swell.

This type of swelling isn’t harmful to you or your baby, but it can be uncomfortable and your shoes can feel tight. Swelling usually occurs around the fifth month and lasts through the third trimester.


8. Cramps

Leg cramps or painful spasms are a common problem during pregnancy. These cramps, especially in the calves, occur mainly during the second and third trimesters and usually at night.

The painful cramps may be caused by increased body weight or compression of the blood vessels. It also may be due to low calcium and magnesium levels during pregnancy.


9. Insomnia

The hormonal changes and physical discomforts associated with pregnancy can affect your quality of sleep.

Especially during late pregnancy, your may have trouble falling or staying asleep during the night. This can be due to discomfort associated with your growing belly, heartburn, leg cramps or sinus congestion. Also, frequent nighttime urination affects sleep quality.

A 2012 study published in the Scientific World Journal found that more than half of the 486 pregnant participants reported having insomnia. Although the sleep duration of the pregnant women was within normal standards, it was found to decrease with the increasing gestational trimester. This study identified age, depression symptoms and gestational trimester as risk factors for insomnia.

Pregnancy-related insomnia should not be taken lightly. A 2014 study published in PLOS ONE reports that insomnia during pregnancy may be a marker for postpartum depression among women with previous depression.


A 2005 study published in Acupuncture in Medicine suggests acupuncture alleviates insomnia during pregnancy.

10. Bladder Problems

Both frequent urination and incontinence are common bladder problems faced by pregnant women.

As the pregnancy enters the last trimester, you may feel the need to urinate at frequent intervals. This happens as the baby’s head presses or rests on your bladder. Also, you may have difficulty emptying your bladder completely when urinating.

Incontinence is another common problem that can affect you during and after pregnancy. Incontinence means you are not able to prevent a sudden spurt of urine or a small leak when you cough, laugh, sneeze or move suddenly. This may be due to relaxed pelvic floor muscles.



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