Common symptoms during pregnancy
Growing a baby is not a walk in the park. It involves a lot of hard work. Your hormones change and your body will start making adjustments to accommodate the baby. As your baby grows, your body will undergo a lot of changes. Due to this, you will experience several symptoms. The following are some of them:
Feeling weak and fatigued is common during pregnancy. Most pregnant women feel fatigued in the initial months, then again toward the final weeks. Easting a healthy diet, exercise, and rest can help you feel less tired. Taking rest breaks or napping every day will help you feel better.
In the early period of pregnancy, you are likely to feel the urge to urinate frequently. The problem will lessen as your uterus grows and rises higher in your belly. But, you will continue to urinate frequently throughout pregnancy. Frequent urination will make you thirstier than before you were pregnant. You may need to drink more water. As you approach the delivery date, you may urinate much more frequently. This is because your baby descends into your pelvis as the delivery date nears and put some pressure on the bladder.
If you experience pain during urination or notice a change in urine odor or color, it could be a sign of bladder infection. In that case, call your OB/GYN for treatment.
Some pregnant women experience urinary incontinence. They leak urine when they cough or sneeze. This problem is not worrisome, as it goes away after the baby is born. If you experience urinary incontinence, doing Kegel exercises will help. These exercises strengthen the pelvic floor muscles.
You may experience more vaginal discharge during pregnancy. This is normal if it is white, clear, and not smelly. Call your OB/GYN if the discharge:
- Has a greenish color
- Has a foul odor
- Makes you feel itchy
- Causes pain or soreness
Constipation is normal during pregnancy. You may have difficulty moving your bowels during pregnancy because:
- Your digestive system slows down during pregnancy due to hormonal changes.
- Constipation may worsen later in your pregnancy due to pressure from the uterus on your rectum.
Doing the following can help:
- Eating raw fruits and vegetables, such as prunes to get extra fiber.
- Eating whole grain or bran cereals for more fiber.
- Using a fiber supplement regularly.
- Drinking plenty of water.
Your OB/GYN will recommend a stool softener or a laxative if necessary.
Nosebleeds and Bleeding Gums
Some pregnant women have bleeding from the nose and gums. This happens because the tissues in the nose and gums get dry, and the blood vessels dilate and are closer to the surface. You can prevent or reduce this bleeding by:
- Drinking lots of fluids
- Getting lots of vitamin C from orange juice or other fruits and juices
- Installing a humidifier to decrease dryness of the nose or sinuses
- Brushing your teeth with a soft toothbrush to decrease gum bleeding
- Maintaining good dental hygiene and using floss every day to keep your gums healthy
You may experience heartburn while pregnant because food stays longer in your stomach. If food stays longer in the stomach, stomach acid moves back up into the esophagus and causes heartburn. You can prevent or reduce heartburn by:
- Not lying down flat right after a meal
- Eating small meals
- Avoiding spicy and greasy foods
- Not drinking large amounts of liquid before bedtime
- Not exercising for at least 2 hours after you eat
If you continue to have heartburn after trying the above things, talk to your OB/GYN for medicines that can help.
Shortness Of Breath
You may feel short of breath in the early part of the pregnancy. This happens due to the changes in your hormones. You may also feel short of breath again toward the end of your pregnancy. This happens due to pressure from the baby, especially if the baby is large. During later stages of pregnancy, the uterus expands and takes up more room leaving little space for the lungs to expand.
Mild shortness of breath due to physical activity and exercise that quickly gets better is not serious. If you get severe chest pain along with shortness of breath that does not go away, it can be a sign of a serious medical problem. If these symptoms happen to you, go to an emergency room right away.
Doing the following things can help with shortness of breath:
- Resting when you feel short of breath
- Sitting up straight
- Sleeping propped up on a pillow
- Moving at a slower pace
Leg Swelling, Varicose Veins, and Hemorrhoids
Swelling in your legs during pregnancy is common. The swelling is caused by your uterus pressing on the veins. You may see increased swelling as you get closer to delivery.
Veins in your lower body can also twist and swell in later stages of pregnancy. As a result, you may notice that the veins in your legs are becoming larger. This condition is called varicose veins. You may also notice swollen veins close to your vulva and vagina.
You may also notice swelling of veins in the lower part of your rectum and anus. This condition is called hemorrhoids. Sometimes, these can bleed.
Doing the following can reduce the swelling:
- Wear compression stockings or pantyhose.
- Elevate your legs above the level of your heart and rest them on something.
- Lying on your side will help. Lying on the left side is better if you can do it comfortably.
- Avoid or reduce salty foods. Saltworks like a sponge and makes your body hold more water.
- Do not strain during bowel movements. Straining can worsen the hemorrhoids.
If leg swelling is accompanied by headaches or high blood pressure, it can be a sign of preeclampsia. It is a serious medical complication of pregnancy. Call your OB/GYN immediately if it happens to you.