Sorry ladies, pregnancy is not all “peaches and cream,” but we can help!
What you need to know, what no one tells you before you get pregnant, is “Pregnancy is amazing, except when it’s not!” There are many strange things that happen to you during this miraculous time- come on, you’re growing a human being inside of you for goodness sake-especially because your hormones are all over the place.
These hormonal changes can cause different [and often annoying] pregnancy symptoms all throughout your body. Here are 7 common discomforts of pregnancy and how you can navigate through them:
1. Morning Sickness
Tell nausea to take a hike!
More than 60% of women will experience morning (and all day and night) sickness. The feeling of wanting to throw up (nausea) is not uncommon. Each woman is different; some will only feel the urge to vomit, and some will actually vomit. Remarkably, researchers still cannot reliably pinpoint what actually causes morning sickness.
Most women will experience this charmer for only the first trimester, while others will have the feeling they’re riding a 5-star rollercoaster throughout their entire pregnancy. The good news is that some research shows that women who experience morning sickness have children with higher IQs…feeling better about it already?
If you have severe morning sickness, aka hyperemesis gravidarum, speak with your doctor about your options as you don’t want to get dehydrated or malnourished as this can cause more serious issues. Your doctor may suggest an over-the-counter remedy, an anti-nausea medication, and/or a strict nutritional guide (LOTS of bland, easy to digest foods).
2. Lack Of Energy/Lethargy/Fatigue
Another common symptom of pregnancy is how tired you feel, especially during your first and third trimesters (the second trimester is usually the “honeymoon” so enjoy it!). More than half of pregnant mamas experience this symptom. Most women feel like finding a hiding spot to curl up and take a nap.
Let’s not forget, your body is producing new hormones and making a lot of changes to prepare for human creation, it takes a lot of work! You’re also producing more blood to carry nutrients to the baby causing increased effort for your heart and other organs. Mental and emotional stress are also reasons you may be feeling exhausted.
You may have difficulty sleeping later in your pregnancy due to multiple bathroom trips, leg cramps, and heartburn.
The only burn you should feel is from the Extended Triangle Pose position during prenatal yoga! It can help relieve indigestion by the way.
Heartburn during pregnancy is a doozy with more than 50% of women experiencing this symptom, especially during the second and third trimesters. It is not usually a sign of a serious problem, but it can be quite uncomfortable and even painful. Gastroesophageal reflux is often called “acid reflux” or “heartburn.”
Indigestion is also common during pregnancy and can occur with heartburn. Also known as “dyspepsia,” indigestion is just another name for an upset stomach. If you feel full, gassy, or bloated, you have indigestion!
Heartburn occurs when gastric acid from your stomach is pushed up toward your esophagus (the pipe between your mouth and your stomach). This causes a burning sensation behind your breastbone or one that starts in your stomach and seems to rise up. You may also have a sour taste in your mouth or a feeling that vomit is rising in your throat (as we said, pregnancy is amazing, except when it’s not!). It’s important to treat heartburn, as many times it will cause you not to eat properly due to the pain, and if you’re not eating, your baby is not getting the proper nutrition.
Save the pushing for labor!
Don’t worry, you’re not alone- over 70% of women experience this discomfort at some point or another during their pregnancy. There are a few different things that cause constipation during pregnancy:
Thanks to your hormonal “free-for-all,” your digestive tract slows down (relaxes) to help you absorb all the vitamins and minerals that your new houseguest requires.
The expanding uterus puts pressure on the intestines around it, causing further delays.
The increased iron found in your prenatal vitamins could be causing a major backup too! Talk to your healthcare provider about other options (such as taking smaller doses throughout the day).
You’re not alone! According to the National Sleep Foundation’s 1998 Women and Sleep poll,
78% of women report more disturbed sleep during pregnancy than at other times.
The term insomnia includes having a hard time falling asleep and/or staying asleep.
Hormonal changes are one of the biggest reasons for fatigue and sleep issues during pregnancy. These changes may have an inhibitory effect on muscles, which may result in snoring, and in heavier women increases the risk of developing sleep apnea. In addition, your new level of hormones may be partly responsible for the frequent trips to the little girls’ room during the night. These interruptions, as well as those caused by nausea, heartburn, and other pregnancy-related pains, can result in loss of sleep. Emotional turmoil and stress about delivering a 7-9 lb human being are also to blame for insomnia.
Some of the common sleep issues that occur or are made worse during pregnancy are:
Restless legs syndrome (RLS)
Nocturnal gastroesophageal reflux (nighttime GERD)/heartburn
Don’t be afraid to talk to your healthcare provider about sleep issues. It may be an alert to a nutritional deficiency or a respiratory issue (sleep apnea) that your doctor will want to check for. They may also have helpful suggestions!
6. Bleeding Gums & Tooth Pain
Issues with oral health during pregnancy are overshadowed by some of the more obvious symptoms, but this is not one to ignore! A recent survey by Cigna Insurance Company found that 75% of pregnant mamas experience some type of oral health issue during their pregnancy. The symptoms included bleeding gums, toothache, and increased tooth sensitivity. Only 57% of the women actually visited a dentist during their pregnancy. It’s important to visit your dentist during pregnancy because any infection in the oral cavity can have a negative effect on the health of your baby.
The most common oral discomfort pregnant women encountered were bleeding gums. This is primarily due to the hormonal changes during pregnancy which make the gums sensitive to the presence of plaque. Bleeding gums, if left untreated, can lead to periodontal disease (gingivitis). Many studies state that periodontal disease can be a potential risk for low birth weight babies. Bleeding gums can also lead to a gingival recession which can cause sensitivity to hot and cold temperatures and make teeth more susceptible to decay at the gum line. Your dentist can give you suggestions on treatment and gentle tooth care.
7. Headaches And Migraines
Headaches during pregnancy can be a result of hormonal changes, tension, congestion, constipation, lack of sleep, dehydration, low blood pressure, low blood sugar, and even caffeine withdrawal. In some cases, it is caused by preeclampsia.
Preeclampsia (also called Toxemia)
A strong headache in the second or third trimester may be a sign of preeclampsia or high blood pressure during pregnancy. Preeclampsia is an uncommon condition affecting about five to ten percent of pregnancies. Headaches that are a result of preeclampsia are consistent, persistent, and throbbing. Mamas with preeclampsia may also have complaints of blurry vision or seeing spots, weight gain (more than one pound per day), pain in the upper right abdomen, and hands and face getting swollen. If you get a headache that is out of the norm or you’re experiencing any of these symptoms, you should call your doctor or midwife right away.