You will be visited with various kinds of discomforts during pregnancy — some fleeting, some more permanent. Some may occur in the early weeks, while others emerge closer to the time of delivery. Others may appear early and then go away, only to return later.
Every woman’s pregnancy is unique, so you may not experience all of the changes described in this article. As always, if you notice any changes that concern you, mention them to your health care provider. The pains listed below are considered a normal part of pregnancy.
Pregnancy Breast Changes
Most pregnant women will feel some changes in their breasts. Your breasts will increase in size as your milk glands enlarge and the fat tissue enlarges, causing breast firmness and tenderness typically during pregnancy’s first and last few months. Bluish veins may also appear as your blood supply increases. Your nipples can also darken, and sometimes a thick fluid called colostrum may leak from your breasts. All of these changes are normal.
Feeling tired? That might be because your growing baby requires extra energy. Sometimes, it’s a sign of anemia (low iron in the blood), which is common during pregnancy.
Pregnancy Nausea or Vomiting
It’s very common — and normal — to have an upset stomach when you’re pregnant.
Chalk it up to pregnancy’s hormonal changes. It usually happens early in pregnancy, while your body is adjusting to the higher hormone levels.
Good news: Nausea usually disappears by the fourth month of pregnancy (although in some cases it can persist throughout the pregnancy). It can happen at any time of the day but may be worse in the morning, when your stomach is empty (that why it’s called “morning sickness”) or if you aren’t eating enough.
Pregnancy Frequent Urination
Your growing uterus and baby press against your bladder, causing a frequent need to urinate during the first trimester. This will happen again in the third trimester, when the baby’s head drops into the pelvis before birth.
Headaches can happen anytime during pregnancy. They can be caused by tension, congestion, constipation, or in some cases, preeclampsia (detected after 20 weeks).
Pregnancy Bleeding and Swollen Gums
You may not have expected pregnancy to affect your mouth. But your blood circulation and hormone levels can make your gums tender and swollen, and you may notice they bleed more easily. You may also develop nose bleeds.
Constipated? It can happen during pregnancy for a couple of reasons.
Your hormones, as well as vitamins and iron supplements, may cause constipation (difficulty passing stool or incomplete or infrequent passage of hard stools). Pressure on your rectum from your uterus may also cause constipation.
Pregnancy Dizziness (Feeling Faint)
Dizziness can occur anytime during middle to late pregnancy. Here’s why it happens:
Difficulty Sleeping During Pregnancy
Finding a comfortable resting position can become difficult later in pregnancy.
Pregnancy Heartburn or Indigestion
Heartburn is a burning feeling that starts in the stomach and seems to rise up to the throat. During pregnancy, changing hormone levels slow down your digestive system, weaken the stomach sphincter, and your uterus can crowd your stomach, pushing stomach acids upward.
Hemorrhoids are swollen veins that appear as painful lumps on the anus. During pregnancy, they may form as a result of increased circulation and pressure on the rectum and vagina from your growing baby.
Pregnancy Varicose Veins
Pregnancy may affect your circulation, which can enlarge or swell your legs’ veins.
Although varicose veins are usually hereditary, here are some preventive tips:
Pregnancy Leg Cramps
Pressure from your growing uterus can cause leg cramps or sharp pains down your legs.
Pregnancy Nasal Congestion
You may have a stuffy nose or feel like you have a cold. Pregnancy hormones sometimes dry out the nose’s lining, making it inflamed and swollen.
Shortness of Breath During Pregnancy
Shortness of breath can happen due to increased upward pressure from the uterus and changes in physiologic lung function.
Pregnancy Stretch Marks
Stretch marks are a type of scar tissue that forms when the skin’s normal elasticity is not enough for the stretching that occurs during pregnancy. They usually appear on the abdomen and can also appear on the breasts, buttocks or thighs.
Though they won’t disappear completely, stretch marks will fade after delivery. Stretch marks affect the surface under the skin and are not preventable.
Swelling in the Feet and Legs During Pregnancy
Pressure from your growing uterus on the blood vessels carrying blood from the lower body causes fluid retention. The result is swelling (edema) in the legs and feet.
Vaginal Discharge During Pregnancy
Normal vaginal secretions increase during pregnancy due to greater blood supply and hormones. Normal vaginal discharge is white or clear, isn’t irritating, is odorless, and may look yellow when dry on your underwear or panty liners.
Backaches are usually caused by the strain put on the back muscles, changing hormone levels, and changes in your posture.
Abdominal Pain or Discomfort
Sharp, shooting pains on either side of your stomach may result from the stretching tissue supporting your growing uterus. These pains may also travel down your thigh and into your leg.
The uterine muscles will contract (tighten) starting as early as the second trimester of pregnancy on. Irregular, infrequent contractions are called Braxton–Hicks contractions (also known as “false labor pains”). These are normal during pregnancy.