Pregnancy Discomforts: What to Expect

Pregnancy Discomforts: What to Expect - PNSG

Pregnancy for many women involves all sorts of physical challenges. This is because their bodies are going through the many changes it needs to carry a baby to full term. Some of these discomforts are caused by the presence of the baby itself, as the mother accommodates the extra weight and nutritional requirements of her child.

Generally, mothers will begin to feel physical discomforts as early as 8 to 9 weeks after conception. Nausea, vomiting, and fatigue are often some of the early discomforts that women face during their first trimester.

As the month progress, there are also other discomforts that a woman faces that will affect her whole body. Let’s look at some of the more common ones, and how you can do to manage them:

1. Lower Back Pain

As your baby grows and your weight increases, your centre of gravity changes. This will put a strain on your back, as well as your pelvic bone. In some women, their growing uterus puts pressure on a nerve called the Sciatic nerve, causing the pain to radiate down their legs. This is known as sciatica. 

How to manage it: 

  • Practise proper posture when sitting and standing
  • Don’t bend while lifting anything
  • Apply heat to the affected area
  • Get bed rest to alleviate the pressure 

2. Constipation

Firstly, constipation is when one’s stool gets hard and dry, making the process of passing them painful and difficult. There are several things that happen to a pregnant woman’s body that can cause constipation. 

Firstly, elevated hormone levels tend to cause the digestion process to slow down, and therefore more water from your stool gets reabsorbed into your body. Secondly, the pressure of the womb on your rectum also interferes with your digestive tract’s function. 

How to manage it:

  • Drink a lot of water, at least 10 cups daily
  • Eat lots of fibre-rich foods like fruits, grains and vegetables
  • Avoid alcohol and caffeine as these can be dehydrating
  • Light exercise can alleviate your symptoms

3. Abdominal Pain and Bloating

As mentioned in the previous section, changing hormone levels can cause your digestive tract to be affected. Apart from constipation, many women also suffer from heartburn and bloating. 

Heartburn is a condition whereby the acid from the stomach goes back up your oesophagus causing a burning and painful sensation around your chest and abdomen. This will get worse as your womb expands and presses onto your stomach. 

Bloating, on the other hand, is caused by a relaxation of the intestines which makes digestion sluggish. This causes you to feel gassy, with increased burping and flatulence. 

How to manage it:

  • Avoid highly acidic and oily foods as these are harder on your digestive system
  • Eat lighter meals more regularly, rather than big meals a few times a day
  • Avoid lying down after a meal
  • Avoid eating a meal just before bedtime

4. Sleep Problems and Fatigue

As your hormones change in the first trimester, your body will feel sleepier than usual. This is often the case even if you’ve had a good night’s sleep. Feeling sluggish and fatigued throughout the day is normal and will usually go away during the second trimester. 

The third trimester will see you feeling fatigued again, but this time it will most probably be caused by difficulty sleeping due to your growing belly, baby’s movement and leg cramps. 

How to manage it:

  • Napping is completely fine should you be able to
  • Avoid drinking water before bedtime so you don’t have to get up to go to the toilet
  • Sleep longer if you need to
  • In the third trimester, use pillows on your back, between your knees and under your abdomen to support your body
  • Maintain good sleep hygiene by sleeping at the same time and getting up at the same time too

5. Swollen Legs and Varicose Veins

Towards the end of your pregnancy, your body will produce more blood and this will lead to the development of enlarged veins. These veins will be more visible, especially around your calves and on the inside of your leg. 

Another thing that will happen as your pregnancy reaches full term is swelling, which is often most noticeable on your legs. However, it can also occur on your ankles, hands and face. 

How to manage it:

  • Rest, sleep and sit with your feet elevated up.
  • Avoid salty foods and caffeine
  • Wear loose leggings
  • Consider having the best prenatal massage Singapore mothers find effective

6. Headaches

There are many reasons why you can develop a headache or migraine. In the first trimester, your body will produce a higher volume of blood, as well as experience rapid changes in hormone levels. 

Headaches are also common in the third trimester, and can be brought on by lack of sleep, stress, dehydration and poor posture due to the weight of the baby. 

How to manage it:

  • Use a cold pack or a heat pack at the back of your neck
  • Taking adequate rest
  • Practising good posture
  • Practise yoga or any other relaxing exercises
  • Going for neck and shoulder massages

7. Leg Cramps

During pregnancy, mothers often report having leg cramps at different times throughout their term. Leg cramps are due to muscle constrictions that happen involuntarily. The science behind this is that your body’s calcium levels are going through changes, as well as the way that calcium is processed by the body. 

Calcium is a key signaling ion in muscle movement, and therefore its fluctuations can trigger involuntary muscle constriction. However, these spasms should go away in a matter of minutes. 

How to manage it:

  • Flex and stretch your legs when the cramps start
  • Speak to your doctor about getting Calcium supplements
  • Eat more calcium rich foods like cheese, milk and leafy greens.

In Conclusion: Prenatal Care for Your Body

Prenatal Care for Body - PNSG

It’s important to look out for yourself as you’re expecting, as this will benefit your baby too. The best prenatal massage Singapore is able to relieve back pain, hip pain, soreness and cramps at any time during your pregnancy. 
Apart from this, you can also enjoy PNSG’s postnatal care Singapore and our confinement package which provides complete care for you and your baby after birth. Find out more about what we can do to help you stay healthy and have a wonderful pregnancy here.