My Little Masterpiece

Common Pregnancy Symptoms And How To Cope

Pregnancy means that your body is going to be very busy, and that it will be going through some changes. These changes can cause some discomfort, or concern, especially if this is your first pregnancy. To put your mind at ease, we’ve put together a list of the most common pregnancy symptoms, and how to cope with them.

Common pregnancy symptoms

 

Cramp

Cramp usually affects your calf muscles or feet. It can be a sudden, sharp pain, and it more commonly happens at night-time. It’s usually harmless and tends to be more common in the second and third trimesters. It’s not really understood why your muscles are more prone to cramp in pregnancy, but some doctors think it could be due to the way your body changes during pregnancy.

 

How To Cope

Regular, gentle exercise during your pregnancy can help prevent severe cramp. If you do feel a cramp in your leg or foot, you need to massage it hard, and then try some gentle stretches. Stretch your heel down, and gently stretch your toes upwards.

 

Feeling Faint

It’s common for some women to feel faint, or to actually faint during pregnancy. It’s because of all the hormonal changes you experience in pregnancy. Feeling faint is more likely to happen when you stand up too quickly or get out of the bath too fast. Some women can feel faint if the temperature of the bath is too hot. It can also happen while you’re lying down, or if you’ve just woken up.

 

How To Cope

There are a few things you can do to avoid fainting, or feeling faint:

 

  • Get up slowly after lying down or sitting.
  • Sit down if you begin to feel faint. If the feeling continues, lie down on your side.
  • Take your time when you wake up. Rest for a few minutes before trying to get up.
  • Try to avoid lying on your back in the later stages of pregnancy.

 

Feeling Hot

It’s very common for pregnant women to feel a lot warmer than usual. It’s because the hormone changes increase the blood supply to the skin. This makes you feel much hotter and can make you sweat more than you usually would.

 

How To Cope

Wearing loose clothing, especially ones made from natural fibres can help keep you a little bit cooler. You can also try using an electric fan, or a facial spritzing bottle. You may also want to try having frequent showers or baths to help you feel fresher and less sticky.

 

Constipation

Constipation can be a very common side effect in pregnancy. It can be caused by the changes in the hormones of your body.

 

How To Cope

Some over the counter constipation remedies are suitable during pregnancy but be sure that you tell your pharmacist that you are pregnant so they can advise which remedies are suitable.

 

You can also try to prevent constipation by:

  • Eating high fibre foods such as cereals, fruits, vegetables, beans, lentils and wholemeal breads.
  • Regular exercise, even if it’s a ten minute walk every day.
  • Avoiding iron supplements as they can be constipating. If you need supplements, ask your doctor to recommend a type of supplement that may be less constipating.
  • Drink plenty of water.

 

Incontinence

Another common side effect of pregnancy is incontinence. You might notice that you feel a little urine when you cough, laugh, sneeze, or sometimes even if you move, or get up from your seat. In many cases, this is a temporary side effect, and it’s caused by the muscles of the pelvic floor relaxing to allow room for your baby.

 

How To Cope

Doing pelvic floor exercises can help treat pregnancy incontinence. These are also known as Kegel exercises. They can help strengthen your pelvic floor. You could also wear a lightweight pad which can help some women feel more confident if they’re suffering from pregnancy incontinence.

 

Peeing a Lot

Many women feel the urge to pee a lot during pregnancy. It may start in the early stages and can continue until the birth. In the later stages, it can be caused by the baby pushing on the bladder.

 

How To Cope

There are a few things that can relieve the pressure on your bladder. First, if you’re getting up a lot during the night, reduce the amount you drink in the late evening, whilst still drinking plenty of water during the day. You can also try to rock backwards and forwards on the toilet. This can relieve the pressure from the baby on your bladder, and lets you fully empty it.

 

Skin And Hair

Your skin and hair can change significantly during pregnancy. Some women experience thick, luscious hair and glowing skin. Others can find that their skin darkens, either all over or in patches. Some women have darker birthmarks, freckles, and moles during pregnancy. You may also find that your skin burns more easily than it used to.

 

How To Cope

In most cases, your skin and hair will return to normal after you give birth. However, during your pregnancy you should be sure to use a high factor SPF to protect your skin from the sun. You might also want to look at your skin care routine. The products you use may not be suitable for your skin’s needs during the pregnancy.

 

Varicose Veins

Varicose veins can be a side effect of pregnancy, but they’re not usually harmful. They’re veins that have become swollen and can be a little uncomfortable. It’s more common in the veins in the leg, but it can affect other veins as well.

 

How To Cope

There are some things that you can do to ease any discomfort you feel from varicose veins, and to prevent varicose veins from getting worse.

 

  • Avoid standing or sitting for long periods of time.
  • Elevate your legs as much as possible.
  • Exercise regularly. Try walking or swimming.
  • Sleep with your legs slightly elevated. Try putting pillows under your ankles.
  • Try foot exercises to help increase the circulation.
  • Compression tights can help ease symptoms of varicose veins. You can buy these at most pharmacies.