Pregnancy Symptoms and Discomforts
Spotting or cramping may be a result of the fertilized egg (embryo) implanting in your uterine lining. This is often referred to as “implantation bleeding” and may occur between 6 to 12 days after conception.
Breast tenderness can be an early sign of pregnancy. The increase in hormones can cause swelling, tenderness and darkening of the areola (the area around the nipple).
Vaginal discharge is common throughout pregnancy and is due to the increase in estrogen and other hormones which stimulate secretions from the cervical glands. These secretions can be yellow, clear or pearly grey and usually don’t have an odor.
Nausea and vomiting or “morning sickness” is most common during the first trimester but can affect some women the entire pregnancy. Even though it is commonly known as “morning sickness,” nausea and vomiting may be worse in the late afternoon and early evening. There are a few things you can do to help reduce nausea:
Fatigue is common, especially during the first trimester. It takes a lot of energy for your body to prepare the perfect environment for your growing baby. Make sure you are resting when you feel tired and eating a well balanced diet.
Heartburn is a common discomfort during pregnancy. When stomach acids bubble back into the esophagus it’s both unpleasant and uncomfortable. Try the following suggestions before taking an antacid:
Constipation is likely to occur as your pregnancy progresses because hormones cause the digestive tract to relax and function more slowly. Try the following to help relieve discomfort:
Hemorrhoids are dilated, twisted blood vessels in and around the rectum. They can cause itching, burning, pain and even bleeding during a bowel movement. Unfortunately they are common, especially in the last months of pregnancy when the uterus is constantly pushing on the rectal veins. Hemorrhoids usually improve without treatment shortly after birth. Some tips to help:
Increased urination is often ignored during pregnancy as a normal discomfort. However, if you experience any pain it could be a sign of a bladder infection. If you have chills or a fever accompanied by a low backache contact your practitioner immediately.
Round ligament pain occurs when your ligaments stretch to support your growing uterus. They can feel dull or sharp and extend across or on either side of your abdomen. They commonly occur hen rolling over in bed, walking quickly, or with sneezing and coughing. Remember to:
Stretch marks can’t be stopped but there are a few things you can do to help ease itchiness that occurs from your expanding belly. Try using an oil or cream after you shower or bathe. Drink plenty of fluids and consider adding essential fatty acids to your diet. These occur naturally in oily fish such as salmon and in flax seeds and walnuts. You can also add a supplement to your diet. Stretch marks fade after birth.
Linea nigra appears as a narrow dark line from your belly button to your pubic bone. Caused by pregnancy hormones it usually fades or disappears completely after birth.
Chloasma is often referred to ask “pregnancy mask” and is a result of pregnancy hormones causing the skin to form brown patches on your nose, forehead, cheeks and neck. Be sure to wear sunscreen to avoid the patches getting darker. They usually lighten or disappear after birth.
Red spots on your face, neck, upper chest or arms are tiny blood vessels caused by pregnancy hormones. The redness should disappear after birth.
Difficulty sleeping increases as your pregnancy moves further along. Try the following suggestions:
Leg cramps are common in late pregnancy. They commonly occur at night and may wake you up. The pressure your uterus puts on nerves or blood vessels in your legs is usually the culprit. Lack of calcium or too much phosphorous in your diet can also be to blame. To prevent and relieve leg cramps try the following:
If you are suffering from a leg cramp:
Leaking from your nipples is common for many women during the second or third trimester. Some women don’t experience this until after the birth of their baby. The fluid is whitish or yellowish and is called colostrum. This is the first food for your newborn and contains antibodies to help protect your baby. If you notice you are leaking use breast pads and keep your breasts clean and dry.
Varicose veins are enlarged blood vessels in your legs. Your calves may ache or throb. Most varicose veins will shrink after birth. In the meantime:
Shortness of breath is a result of your uterus pressing up on your diaphragm and crowding your lungs. To alleviate some of the pressure try:
Hip and low back pain are results of your pelvic ligaments softening and stretching in preparation for birth. To relieve these common discomforts try: