Common Pregnancy Discomforts

by Patricia Hughes

Pregnancy is a happy and exciting time. However, there are some common discomforts that can take away some of the joy. Each trimester comes with its own set of problems. Here’s the common discomforts of each trimester and what you can do to combat them.

Discomfort in the First Trimester
Morning sickness is a common discomfort in the first trimester. For some women, it ends by the twelfth week, but others have problems into the second trimester. Morning sickness often happens in the morning, but can happen at any time of the day. Try eating smaller, more frequent meals to combat nausea. An empty stomach can make it worse. Try eating lighter meals, crackers and ginger ale to settle your stomach. Some women find relief by wearing wrist bands made for sea sickness. Others find that a high protein snack before bed helps. 

Fatigue is common in early pregnancy due to changing hormones. You may feel very tired during the day. Take a nap in the afternoon if possible. If you are working and can’t nap, put your feet up and rest during your lunch hour. Take a nap after work if you can. If you are home with a toddler, take a nap with your child. The laundry can wait. 
Sore breasts are the result of hormone changes and your breasts growing. Your breasts are going through changes to prepare for making milk for your baby. Choose a good, supportive maternity bra. Some women skip the maternity bra and buy a good nursing bra instead. I find this saves money later because you don’t have to purchase both maternity and nursing bras. 
You may find you are visiting the bathroom more frequently. This is due to changing hormone levels. It generally eases up after the first trimester. Later in pregnancy, the need to urinate often returns. At that point, it is due to your growing baby putting pressure on your bladder.

Discomfort in the Second Trimester
Most women find the second trimester is the most comfortable of all three trimesters of pregnancy. The nausea and fatigue of early pregnancy have passed. Your baby is still small, so you will feel comfortable until the third trimester. Some women continue to experience some of the first trimester discomforts.  

Some discomforts of the second trimester include:
  • Bleeding gums due to hormonal changes. This can cause your gum tissue to swell and bleed during brushing. Some doctors recommend a trip to the dentist for a cleaning in the second trimester.
  • With the increased energy level, you may experience insomnia at this time. Try a warm bath or relaxation exercises before bed.
  • Backache may start later in this trimester, as the baby is growing larger.  
Discomfort in the Third Trimester
Heartburn is a common problem in the third trimester. As the baby grows, she pushes up on your stomach causing reflux. Try eating smaller meals and avoiding spicy foods to help prevent heartburn. If it gets really bad, ask the doctor about over the counter antacids. Some are safe to use during pregnancy. 
Constipation is a common problem in later pregnancy. If you are on iron supplements, this problem can get worse. Eat a diet rich in fiber, fresh fruits and vegetables to prevent constipation. Drink plenty of water to help keep you regular. Exercise and a warm bath can also help with digestion and prevent you becoming constipated. 
Constipation leads to another discomfort of the third trimester, hemorrhoids. The pressure of the baby can also lead to this problem. Try to avoid becoming constipated. Ask your doctor about safe, over the counter remedies for hemorrhoids. Some women find relief from a cold pack or warm compress. Alternating heat and cold may help, as will soaking in a warm bath. 
You may experience leg cramps, especially at night. Don’t stretch your legs and point your toes. This can cause cramping. Sometimes leg cramps are the result of a lack of potassium or calcium. Eat calcium rich foods and bananas for potassium. If you get a leg cramp, stand up on the leg with your foot flat on the floor to help the cramp pass. 
Swelling of the hands, feet and ankles is a common problem in later pregnancy. If you notice your hands beginning to swell, take off your rings. Don’t try to force them on, they may get stuck and need to be cut off. Drink plenty of water. This may seem like it will add fluid, but it will actually help swelling. Put your feet up as much as possible when you are sitting.
Patricia Hughes is a freelance writer and mother of four. Patricia has a Bachelor’s Degree in Elementary Education from Florida Atlantic University. She has written extensively on pregnancy, childbirth, parenting and breastfeeding. In addition, she has written about home décor and travel.

No part of this article may be copied or reproduced in any form without the express permission of More4Kids Inc © 2006

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