Pregnancy contributes to a lot of changes to your body, from uncomfortable physical changes accompanied by fatigue, back pain, heartburn and swollen legs to mild-to-severe discomfort that can be managed by shifting your position, lifestyle and diet.
Based on a 2008 study published in Current Reviews by Musculoskeletal Medicine, 50 to 80 percent of pregnant women are experiencing back pain during pregnancy, while approximately 50 percent of pregnant women suffer from pelvic pain, according to a 2004 analysis in Journal Spine.
Pregnant women are prone to mood changes, which results from a combination of fatigue and hormonal changes. Although some of these pregnancy pain and discomforts occur in the early stage of pregnancy, others experience it only as soon as they are about to labor. Some might encounter pregnancy pain that would only last for some time and then go away, only to recur again later.
Pregnancy in every woman is unique; others might experience the same level of pain or not. But some of these discomforts aren’t that serious and can quickly be relieved by incorporating these few ways below.
What Are Some of the Pregnancy Pain and Discomforts?
The muscles located inside your uterus will usually tighten in the fourth month of pregnancy. During the pregnancy progress, it can be a sign of a possible miscarriage, impending labor, or premature labor if you’re not due yet. It could also be a normal contraction that doesn’t progress to delivery.
If you’re feeling severe pregnancy pain, contact your health care provider if you’re less than 36 weeks pregnant and experiencing signs of pre-term labor.
Back pain is commonly caused by strains placed on the back muscles which changes the hormone levels and normal posture.
- Maintain proper posture and try standing up straight to ease the back pain;
- Avoid lifting heavy objects to prevent putting a lot of pressure on your spine;
- Sleep comfortably, whether on your right or left side with a pillow between your legs. It can add extra support to your legs while sleeping;
- Opt for excellent back support behind your lower back by placing a pillow or lumbar support tool, to keep your spine’s natural curvature while seated;
- Apply a heating pad, take a warm bath, or go for a massage;
- Wear low-heeled footwear;
- Contact your healthcare provider if you’re having pain around your stomach that doesn’t lift away within one hour after you changing your position. It may be a sign of premature labor.
The breasts are preparing to produce milk, which is why its size increases as the milk glands enlarge, and the fatty tissue increases. You’ll also notice some bluish veins as your blood supply also increases. The nipples can appear darker, and colostrum (thick fluid) may leak from the breasts. Though, there’s nothing to worry about since these are all normal as part of pregnancy.
- Opt for bras made of cotton or natural fibers;
- Adjust your bra size as your breasts tend to become larger. It should fit well without causing irritation to your nipples. Maternity bras can be a good option to provide more support to your breast and can be reusable even after pregnancy;
- Avoid using soap or other products to clean your breasts, instead use warm water.
While on pregnancy, your hormones, even the supplements and vitamin you take, causes constipation or trouble passing stool. It causes pressure on your rectum.
- Drink at least 10-12 glasses of water and 1-2 glasses of fruit or prune juice daily;
- Drink warm liquids in the morning;
- Incorporate more fiber to your diet, such as whole grain foods, leafy vegetables and fresh fruits;
- Do some exercise daily;
- Create a routine for your bowel movements.
Feeling unsteady and lightheaded is quite normal during pregnancy, which can happen while standing or lying down. It can disrupt your sense of balance and may cause you to collapse.
- Avoid any sudden movements and try to move slowly when you stand from a lying or sitting position;
- Try moving around when standing for an extended period;
- Switch on your side before standing up from a lying down position.
The baby inside you requires more energy which drains you sometime, making you feel tired. In some cases, feeling tired can be a sign of anemia or iron-deficiency in the blood, which is common while pregnant.
- Get plenty of rest, sleep early at night and take short naps during the day;
- Do some stretches/exercises to keep you energize throughout the day;
- Ask for your healthcare provider if you’re having concerns about your anemia to get you tested.
The pressure coming from your uterus causes leg cramps down your legs.
- Drink fluids with electrolytes (like Gatorade) but be sure to drink in moderation, as this contains high calories due to sugar content.
- Stretch your legs before you sleep.
- Eat more foods rich in calcium to your diet (such as broccoli, cheese and milk).
- Try alleviating the cramp by massaging and apply heat packs on the sore area.
- Avoid sleeping or lying on your back as it causes cramps due to the weight of your body and the tension on your enlarged uterus being circulated into your legs.
- Avoid crossing your legs. Try elevating your legs by inserting a pillow under your knees, that way it supports the legs better.
It can be pretty difficult finding a comfortable position during pregnancy.
- Avoid taking sleep medications.
- Go for a warm shower or bath before going to bed.
- Drink warm milk at bedtime.
- Use comfortable and extra pillows while sleeping. You can place a memory foam head pillow under your head, abdomen, behind your back or even a pillow between your knees to prevent strains while lying on your side. It improves the blood circulation throughout your body.
Although few people can make it through nine months of pregnancy feeling no bit of pain, some of these pains and discomforts were already present before you got pregnant, without you even realizing it.
Pregnancy pain is common, and there’s no reason for you to suffer. Your body works around the clock for nine months, so you should always feel the need to get professional help if you think that the pain is gradually developing. Finally, the pain you’re experiencing during pregnancy could be a sign that requires attention, so always listen to your body.
Leslie Lidot is a Content Writer at ComfyCentre who aims to provide life-changing solutions for people with body pain, giving them more comfort and relief through a selected range of ergonomic and orthopedic products. Check out more of her pain relieving blogs for more information.