Growing a baby is hard work. Your body will go through a lot of changes as your baby grows and your hormones change. Along with the aches and pains of pregnancy, you will feel other new or changing symptoms.
Even so, many pregnant women say that they feel healthier than ever before.
Being tired is common during pregnancy. Most women feel tired the first few months, then again towards the end. Exercise, rest, and proper diet can make you feel less tired. It may also help to take an hour-long nap every day.
Early on in the pregnancy, you will likely be making more trips to the bathroom.
If you have pain when you urinate or a change in urine odor or color, call your health care provider. These could be signs of a bladder infection.
Some pregnant women also leak urine when they cough or sneeze. For most women, this goes away after the baby is born. If this happens to you, start doing Kegel exercises to strengthen the muscles of your pelvic floor.
You may see more vaginal discharge while pregnant. Call your doctor if the discharge:
Having a hard time moving the bowels is normal during pregnancy.
You can ease constipation by:
Ask your doctor about a stool softener. Avoid laxatives during pregnancy.
While you are pregnant, food stays in the stomach and bowels longer. This may cause heartburn (stomach acid moving back up into the esophagus). You can reduce heartburn by:
If you continue to have heartburn, talk to your health care provider about medicines that can help.
Some women have nose and gum bleeding while they are pregnant. This is because the tissues in their nose and gums get dry, and the blood vessels dilate and are closer to the surface. You can avoid or reduce this bleeding by:
Swelling in your legs is common. You may see more swelling as you get closer to giving birth. The swelling is caused by your uterus pressing on the veins.
To reduce swelling:
Some women feel short of breath at times while they are pregnant. It happens more often in the early part of the pregnancy, and again toward the end.
At first, pregnancy hormones can make you breathe more deeply. This might make you feel like you're working harder to get air.
You may get short of breath again in the later weeks of pregnancy. This is because the uterus takes up so much room that the lungs do not have as much room to expand as before.
It’s also easy to hyperventilate (breathe too fast) when you’re pregnant. If you notice your lips and fingers feel tingly, try to slow down your breathing and relax.
A week or two before delivery, the baby drops lower as it is getting ready to move through the birth canal. At that point, the shortness of breath may go away. Other things that may help include:
If you have suddenly have a hard time breathing that is unusual for you, you should see your doctor right away or go to the emergency room.
Hark L, Catalano PM. Nutritional management during pregnancy. In: Gabbe SG, Niebyl JR, Simpson JL, et al, eds. Obstetrics: Normal and Problem Pregnancies. 6th ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Saunders Elsevier; 2012:chap 7.
Updated by: Susan Storck, MD, FACOG, Chief, Eastside Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Group Health Cooperative of Puget Sound, Bellevue, Washington; Clinical Teaching Faculty, Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, University of Washington School of Medicine. Also reviewed by Susan Storck, MD, FACOG, Chief, Eastside Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Group Health Cooperative of Puget Sound, Bellevue, Washington; Clinical Teaching Faculty, Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, University of Washington School of Medicine.
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