As you get ready with a multitude of plans to welcome your baby, your body is going through myriad changes. Not all of them are comfortable. While some women may breeze through a pregnancy with little problem, it is more common to experience a number of discomforts even in case of many healthy pregnancies. Nausea, vomiting, back ache, fatigue, swelling of hands and feet, headache, dizziness and constipation are some of the most common problems. In most cases, you will have to take help of rest and basic prevention techniques because your medication will be restricted. However, these discomforts are just the part of pregnancy and there is nothing to be alarmed about.

It takes 40 weeks before a baby is ready to be born. This period of 40 weeks is special for you and your baby. In fact, according to many psychologists, the baby rests just under your heart and she grows accustomed to the sound of your heartbeat. This is the time when a special bond is formed between the mother and the child.

However, your body is undergoing considerable changes during this time. Many of them cause discomfort. There are often simple ways to lessen the impacts of these discomforts as much as possible. However, you should know that they cannot be eliminated altogether.

  1. Fatigue
    This is the most common problem during pregnancy. You feel tired and exhausted all the time. The feeling of fatigue increases as your term advances. Fatigue may be caused due to different reasons. In the early stages, hormonal changes in your body are the most important cause. Moreover, at this time, much of the iron and blood supply is diverted to the fetus. Iron deficiency anemia is common during pregnancy. Lack of adequate iron means your body cells are not getting adequate supply of oxygen, leading to fatigue.
    As your term advances, your body will be tired from constantly carrying the extra weight of the baby. It is also your body’s way of telling you that you need rest.
    Here are some ways in which you can deal with fatigue.
    • Consult your doctor. You may have to take iron supplements.
    • Rest. Pregnancy is not the time to test the limits of your body.
    • Take short naps. Put your feet up.
    • Do not take extra work and responsibilities.
    • Eat well balanced meals and perform moderate exercise under medical supervision as they may increase your energy levels.
  2. Nausea and vomiting
    The so called morning sickness is one of the most common and most difficult discomforts of pregnancy. But in most cases it disappears in second trimester. The remedies are:
    • Eat dry crackers and saltines if you begin to feel nauseous.
    • Avoid smells which upset you. Instead, ginger has been found to be helpful in preventing nausea.
    • Eat small meals at two or three hour interval. Eat slowly and chew well.
    • Do not eat foods high in fats and grease.
    • Keep a smell that you like handy. Smell of a cut lemon may help.
    • Drink adequate fluids. You can try peppermint tea, ginger teas or light soups, but you should eat fluids in between meals and not with the meals.
    • If your vomiting becomes so severe that you cannot keep down anything, consult your doctor immediately because this can lead to dehydration which is dangerous for you and the baby.
  3. Frequent urge to urinate
    This is regarded by most women as one of the embarrassing discomfort. In the third trimester when you are carrying the extra weight of an almost full grown baby, you are likely to experience the urge to urinate even more frequently. The reason is that the baby moves downward in preparation of delivery creating pressure on your bladder. There is no way to avoid it but you should not wear tight fitting underwear.
  4. Constipation
    This is another common problem during pregnancy. Constipation is infrequent passage of stool. This may occur due to the vitamin and iron supplements that you take during pregnancy. Also, the growing fetus may exert pressure on your rectum and intestines leading to constipation. Stress, lack of exercise and inadequate fluid intakes are other problems. The remedies are as follows:
    • Be sure to incorporate plenty of fiber in your diet like whole grains, fresh fruits and veggies.
    • Drink a minimum of 8 glasses of water per day. Also include fluids like tea and soups in your daily diet.
    • Get some exercise.
    • Do not overstrain during passing stool.
    • Do not take any laxative without consulting the doctor.
  5. Dizziness
    The sensation of feeling faint is common, especially in late pregnancy. Low iron can be the cause of this. Again, low sugar may also occur during pregnancy which causes faintness. Blood supply is diverted to your uterus. The hormone progesterone dilates the blood vessels. All these lead to dizziness. The remedies are as follows:
    • Avoid sudden movements or changes in position as they increase dizziness.
    • Turn left when you are lying down. This improves blood circulation in your body and reduces dizziness.
    • Eat meals at regular intervals to make sure that your glucose levels do not fall.
  6. Difficulty in sleeping
    Many women find it difficult to sleep during pregnancy. Finding a comfortable position may be difficult. The movement of the baby or the pressure on your bladder can keep you up.
    • Do not take any sedative without consulting the doctor.
    • Try to find a comfortable position. You can experiment with long pregnancy pillows which are designed to offer maximum support.
    • Drink warm milk before going to bed.
    • Let a hot bath relax you before bed.
    • Relaxation techniques should be utilized before sleep.
    • Avoid coffee and products that contain caffeine.
    • Prenatal massage may be helpful, but check the credentials of the masseuse and confirm with your doctor.
  7. Heartburn and indigestion
    As your baby grows, the digestive organs are displaced. There is a tendency for the content of your stomach to be forced upwards. This leads to heartburn. Here are some things that you can try:
    • Avoid spicy, greasy and highly seasoned foods which are difficult to digest.
    • Eat small meals at short intervals instead of three heavy meals.
    • Foods like coffee, tobacco and mint teas irritate the stomach and increase the risk of heartburn.
    • Drink plenty of fluids, but not with your meal. You can drink warm liquids to reduce heartburn.
    • Do not lie down immediately after eating. Raise the upper part of your body higher than the legs to prevent the stomach acids from flowing back to the mouth.
  8. Cramping in the leg
    Cramps may develop in your legs if your growing uterus creates pressure on a blood vessel or a nerve. It can be very painful. Here are some things to tackle cramping:
    • Eat calcium rich foods like milk, cheese and broccoli. Ask your doctor if you should be taking calcium supplements.
    • Do not wear tight clothing, though you should try a support hose.
    • Perform mild exercise. Stretch and lift your legs but avoid crossing them.
    • If you experience cramping, stretch your leg and try to pull the toes towards you to relieve the cramp. Applying hot water bottle on the affected area sometimes help.
  9. Swelling
    Swelling of feet and hands are another common occurrence during pregnancy. This is called edema and is caused by compression of the blood vessels that carry blood to your lower body. Mild swelling is normal, but excessive swelling should be treated as a danger sign.
    • Do not stand for long period of time.
    • Avoid excess salt.
    • Drink 8 to 10 glasses of water every day.
    • You should eat protein rich foods like tofu, beans, poultry, fish and meat.
    • Dissolve freshly squeezed juice of lemon in a cup of warm water and drink it. This helps to get rid of excess fluids.
    • Avoid tight clothes and shoes as they hamper circulation and increase swelling.
    • Do moderate exercise every day like walking and swimming.
  10. Headaches
    Headaches are common in pregnancy. They may be caused by tension, lack of sleep, hormonal changes or fatigue. They are more common during first trimester. Here are some ways to deal with headaches:
    • Avoid physical or mental strain.
    • If you feel a headache coming on, lie down quietly in a dark or dimly lit room. Try some deep breathing and relaxation techniques. If you can get your partner to massage your head, neck and shoulder, it may give you relief.
    • Put an ice pack on your neck.
    • Identify the triggers. Most common are loud noise, strain of the eye, caffeine and tobacco. Avoid these triggers.
    • Get some fresh air.
    • Try to get adequate sleep, food and rest.
    • You should not take painkillers, especially aspirin in pregnancy. If headache is accompanied by blurred vision, spots of light or flashing, you should contact your doctor at once.
  11. Bleeding and swollen gums
    Your gums may become spongy and begin to bleed easily during pregnancy. Hormonal changes and change in the blood flow is the reason. You can deal with this in following ways:
    • Get dental checkup at the outset and repeat if the problem persists.
    • Brush and floss regularly.
    • Eat foods rich in vitamin C but do not take supplements.
  12. Backache
    One of the most persistent problems of pregnancy is backache. It will only grow as your baby grows in size. If your baby happens to rest against a major nerve or blood vessel, the backache will be worse. The increase in your weight also interferes with your balance and increases the ache.
    • Practice good posture.
    • Do not lift heavy objects. If you are lifting light objects, use the muscles of your legs instead of your back. This means you should not bend from the waist, but rather you should bend the knees and then straighten them as you get up.
    • Take help of maternity support belts to relieve the pressure.
    • Join prenatal classes to learn posture and exercise like pelvic tilt exercise to relieve the ache.
    • Lie on firm beds and sit on chair with adequate back support.
    • Apply heat by a hot water bottle or a heating pad.
  13. Problems related to changes in breast
    Hormonal changes bring about marked change in the breasts. Swelling and soreness is common. In some cases, leakage may occur from the nipples.
    • Wear maternity support bra made of cotton and avoid tight lingerie.
    • Use absorbent pads in case of leakage.
    • Try on to use soap around your nipples. Soap dries them up and increases the possibility of cracked and bleeding nipples.

In fact, the list of discomforts during pregnancy goes on to include a number of other conditions. Here is a brief summary:

Condition Causes Remedies
Mood swings Though not a physical discomfort, mood swings may cause several problems. It is generally the result of hormonal changes. Talk over your feelings with someone.
Indulge in activities you enjoy.
Pamper yourself.
Exercise regularly.
Get enough food and sleep and avoid fatigue.
Varicose veins These are bluish and purplish veins in legs and around vagina caused due to pressure on blood vessels. Exercise regularly
Wear support hose
Elevate legs when you lie down
Stretch marks These are scar tissues formed as the skin is stretched to accommodate your growing uterus. They fade with time.
Keep the area moist with lotions designed to reduce stretch marks.
Hemorrhoids Painful swelling of veins around the anus caused by increased blood circulation and weight of the baby. Avoid constipation.
Do not overstrain during bowel movement.
Apply ice packs or packs of witch hazel to the affected area.

It is best to keep your doctor abreast of your symptoms. Never take any supplements or medication during pregnancy without clearing it with your doctor.