Common Pregnancy Discomforts And How To Treat Them

Common Pregnancy Discomforts and How to Deal with Them.png

Written by: Co-Founder Maria Davi

Medically Reviewed by Dr. Nicole Palmer, DO

Pregnancy is one of the most exciting times of your life.  At first, you’re thrilled and joyful to be growing your family, but as the days go by, the changes in your body may cause a variety of discomforts.  Most soon-to-be moms experience issues like morning sickness, bladder problems to name the least.  

Many of these discomforts are not harmful to you and your growing baby.  They might need some attention and can easily be relieved with some small changes. 

You can always contact your doctor if you have any concerns about the discomforts you may be experiencing during your pregnancy. Techniques like stretching, deep breathing, yoga, and massage are excellent choices to help relax and combat stress.

  1. SWOLLEN HANDS, ANKLES, & FEET

  2. BACKACHE

  3. STUFFY NOSE

  4. HEARTBURN

  5. CONSTIPATION

  6. INSOMNIA 

  7. CRAMPS 

  8. BLADDER PROBLEMS

  9. FATIGUE & TIREDNESS

  10. NAUSEA & VOMITING

1. Swollen Hands, Ankles & Feet

During pregnancy, the production of additional blood and fluid to support your growing baby can cause swollen hands, ankles, and feet. Which isn't harmful to you or your baby, but can be extremely uncomfortable for you.  For most expectant moms, swelling usually occurs about the fifth month and can last till childbirth. 

HERE ARE SOME SOLUTIONS TO HELP YOU WITH SWOLLEN HANDS, ANKLES, AND FEET:

  • Drinking plenty of water can help your body flush out excess fluid in your body.

  • Try to avoid sitting or standing for long periods of time.  Set an alarm every hour to stretch and move around a little. 

  • Exercising like walking can help reduce and control swelling. 

  • Try to elevate your feet whenever possible.  Using an extra pillow while resting/sleeping to raise your feet higher than your heart can help reduce and control swelling.

  • Cut down your sodium intake. Sodium is known to cause fluid retention.

  • Consume foods high in potassium like bananas. Potassium decreases sodium levels and increases urine production, helping reduce water retention. 

2. Backache

A common discomfort during pregnancy is backaches, especially in the lower back.  For many expectant moms, this problem usually happens during the end of the second trimester and continues to occur until childbirth.  This can be painful and uncomfortable due to weight gain, your posture changing, and simply because you’re growing a tiny human inside you. 

HERE ARE SOME SOLUTIONS TO HELP YOU WITH BACKACHES:

  • Light exercises like straight leg raise and pelvic tilts can beneficially strengthen your back and help with aches. Try to stretch daily to maintain flexibility and range of motion.  

  • Try to avoid slouching by always keeping your spine upright while sitting, standing, or walking.

  • If possible, sit on chairs with good lumbar support, or place a little pillow behind your back while sitting

  • Try not to sit or stand for a long period of time. Ideally changing positions and stretching every hour helps reduce backaches.

  • Avoid wearing shoes with no support like high heels.  Opt for those comfy flat shoes or sneakers. 

  • Say no to lifting heavy objects. If necessary remember to bend with your knees, not your back.  Try to keep your back straight when lifting or picking up something. 

  • During sleep, try to keep a pillow tucked in between your legs for good back support and aligning your spine while laying on your side.

3. Stuffy Nose

Your body changes a lot during pregnancy, causing common pregnancy discomforts. Who would’ve thought growing a baby can cause a stuffy nose, making it difficult to get a well-rested night’s sleep. 

During pregnancy, your body produces more estrogen and progesterone.  Higher levels of these hormones increase blood flow to all of your body’s mucous membranes, like your nose. This causes mucous membranes to soften and swell leading to a stuffy nose. It can start to occur in your first trimester and last until childbirth. 

HERE ARE SOME SOLUTIONS TO HELP YOU WITH A STUFFY NOSE:

  • Try using a Saline spray to help clear a blocked nose. 

  • Sleep with a humidifier in your room. Adding moisture in the air will help with your stuffy/blocked nose.

  • Try Steam inhalation. Breathing in the moisture from the steam can help with your stuffy/blocked nose.

  • Applying a warm compress over your nose and breathing through it can also help.

  • Use a pillow or try to elevate your head on your bed while sleeping.

  • Drink hot herbal teas to help clear your nose.

  • Try to avoid blowing your nose too hard, as this can cause nosebleeds.

4. Heartburn

Heartburn is a common discomfort for many during pregnancy but especially more during your third trimester.  Your growing uterus can apply pressure on the intestines and the stomach causing stomach acid to back up into the esophagus tube that carries food from your mouth to your stomach. Hormonal changes also contribute to heartburn.

HERE ARE SOME SOLUTIONS TO HELP YOU WITH HEARTBURN:

  • Frequently eating small meals and chewing your food well can help with Heartburn.

  • Try to stay away from greasy or fried foods.

  • Try not to lie down after meals for at least 30 minutes to help with digestion.

  • Drinking water with apple cider vinegar twice a day can help ease heartburn. (Mix 1 tablespoon of raw unfiltered apple cider vinegar with a cup of warm water.)

  • Drink warm ginger tea to help with heartburn. 

5. Constipation

There are many factors that can lead to constipation during pregnancy.  The increasing level of progesterone in your body slows down bowel movements, making it difficult to go.  Also, iron in your prenatal vitamin and the lack of water intake can make you constipated.  

 Constipation is a common problem for many pregnant and nonpregnant women.  Almost all expectant moms get constipated during any time in their pregnancy, even during their first couple of weeks of bearing a child. 

HERE ARE SOME SOLUTIONS TO HELP YOU WITH CONSTIPATION:

  • Eat foods high in fiber.

  • Consuming foods like soup and quinoa can help relieve constipation. 

  • Drink plenty of water throughout the day. The ACOG recommends drinking throughout the day, not just when you are thirsty. Aim for 8 to 12 cups of water a day during pregnancy. 

  • Exercising regularly can help aid digestion and relieve constipation symptoms.

Check out our blog on Top 15 Foods to Help Naturally Relieve Pregnancy Constipation.

6. Insomnia 

At a time when your body is working around the clock growing the most precious healthy baby possible, getting decently enough sleep is crucial for your health.  Falling or staying asleep can just seem impractical.

When you need sleep the most, it might seem like it's impossible with the frequent bathroom trips or those weird pregnancy dreams or your precious baby leaning on your ribs.  Insomnia can start at any time but hits especially hard in the third trimester. 

HERE ARE SOME SOLUTIONS TO HELP YOU WITH INSOMNIA:

  • Using pillows can help keep you comfortable throughout the night.

  • Try to avoid distractions like your phone or tv before bed. 

  • Practice meditation and diaphragmatic breathing before going to bed.

  • Try to develop a calm bedtime routine.

  • Keep a consistent sleep schedule.

  • Daily exercising and stretching could improve symptoms of insomnia. (1)

  • Drinking a warm glass of milk may help bring you to sleep.

  • Eating a healthy well-balanced diet may help you with nighttime heartburn, which keeps you tossing and turning.

  • Drinking most of your water requirements during the day and early evening will help cut down the number of bathroom trips during the night.

7. Leg Cramps 

Leg cramps or spasms might seem inevitable during pregnancy. They may be caused by the compression of the blood vessels or the extra bodyweight your body isn’t used to. 

These cramps mainly occur during the second and third trimester and tend to happen more often at night. 

HERE ARE SOME SOLUTIONS TO HELP YOU WITH CRAMPS:

  • Stay hydrated.

  • Foods rich in potassium, sodium, calcium, and magnesium may help with muscle cramps

  • Apply heat to the area that is cramping. 

  • Stretching your legs, especially your calf muscle can help prevent cramps. 

  • Doing regular light exercise that involves movement of the legs and ankles helps improve circulation and may help prevent cramping. 

  • Try massaging the area gently with warm oil. 

  • Sleeping with pillows under your legs can help with nighttime leg cramps. 

 8. Bladder problems

During pregnancy, it may feel like the more your belly grows, the smaller your bladder gets.  Don’t worry, you're not alone. You are more likely to have bladder problems due to the hormonal, and changes your body is experiencing, and the added pressure from your growing uterus on your bladder.  

Many also experience incontinence problems during and after pregnancy.  Incontinence is when you aren’t able to prevent a small leak when you cough, sneeze, laugh or move suddenly. 

As you enter your third trimester, urinating frequently happens more often from your baby resting on your bladder, which can make emptying out your bladder completely difficult. 

HERE ARE SOME SOLUTIONS TO HELP YOU WITH BLADDER PROBLEMS:

  • Doing pelvic floor exercises or Kegels can help prevent incontinence.

  • Drink plenty of water to help dilute urine and prevent UTIs. 

  • Go to the bathroom as soon as you get the urge.

  • Try not to drink a lot of fluids before bedtime to help you sleep better.

  • To help you empty your bladder a little more while urinating, try rocking forwards and backward. 

9. Fatigue & Tiredness

Becoming fatigued and tired is a common problem during your first and third trimester.  As soon as you conceive, your body starts to go through a lot of changes. Your body starts to produce more progesterone which makes you tired more easily. Also, lower blood pressure plays a role in tiredness. 

Don’t forget your body is working hard, using lots of your energy to create the placenta, and nourishing your growing baby.

HERE ARE SOME SOLUTIONS TO HELP YOU WITH FATIGUE & TIREDNESS:

  • Try to get plenty of rest every day.

  • Always listen to your body when you’re tired. Forget everything and take some rest, everything will still be there once you’re well-rested.

  • Take your prenatal vitamins.  Most are packed with B vitamins for energy. 

  • Regularly exercising is known to boost energy when pregnant. 

  • Don’t be afraid to ask for help, whenever you need it.

10. Nausea & Vomiting

Nausea and vomiting are commonly known as morning sickness during pregnancy. What exactly causes morning sickness is unknown, but most experts believe it’s triggered by the increased levels of both estrogen and hCG (human chorionic gonadotrophin). They also believe that gastric problems and nutrient deficiencies may also contribute to feeling nauseous and vomiting. 

Morning sickness is common during the first trimester and usually goes away by the second trimester. Unfortunately for some, it may come and go throughout the pregnancy.

HERE ARE SOME SOLUTIONS TO HELP YOU WITH FATIGUE & TIREDNESS:

  • Eat more frequent smaller meals and do not skip meals.

  • Try eating crackers or dry carbohydrates before getting out of bed in the morning.

  • Drinking ginger or peppermint tea can help soothe nausea.

  • An empty stomach can worsen your nausea.  

  • Avoid strong smells and foods that make you feel queasy.

  • Eat a healthy snack before you go to bed at night.

  • Avoid foods if their taste, smell, or appearance makes you feel sick.