Being pregnant, while a happy time for women, can also be an uncomfortable time. As women go through their pregnancy there are a variety of physical changes that may occur. Not all women will experience all of the changes and the severity of the changes varies. Knowing what the common physical changes during pregnancy are will help women as they progress through their pregnancy. If any of the changes are specifically bothersome it is important to talk to your doctor.
Some women experience a runny nose and congestion. This is due to having a higher blood volume when you are pregnant. Clearing out the mucus with a saline spray or neti pot is often beneficial for women.
The volume of your blood will increase when you are pregnant and this results in additional pressure being placed on your kidneys. As you get into the later stages of your pregnancy, the weight of your baby can put additional weight on your bladder. Both of these can cause you to have to urinate more frequently.
Changes with Your Breasts
During the early stages of your pregnancy, your breasts may be larger than they normally are and feel tender. Your breasts will be working to prepare themselves for breastfeeding as you progress through your pregnancy. This may cause them to leak colostrum, or an early form of milk, and they may also increase in size.
Changes in Your Teeth and Mouth
When you are pregnant your body will use more calcium for your baby. If you are not getting enough calcium each day, your body will take it from your teeth and bones. Pregnancy hormones may also cause your gums to bleed. When you are pregnant, specifically early in your pregnancy, it is important to see your dentist and practice good dental hygiene, making sure to floss and brush regularly.
Shortness of Breath
Towards the end of your pregnancy, your baby will be pressing up against your diaphragm. This can result in you feeling as though you cannot get enough air. If you experience this, it means that you should slow down a bit. When you are feeling uncomfortable, you should find a comfortable position in which you feel you can breathe more deeply. Many women notice that lying on their side helps them to breathe more deeply.
Gas and Heartburn
During the third trimester, most pregnant women experience gas and heartburn. Your abdominal area is crowded during your third trimester, therefore, possibly causing these two symptoms. Stomach acid may back up into your throat due to the uterus pressing on the stomach in combination with the valve between the esophagus and stomach relaxing. Most over-the-counter heartburn medications are safe during pregnancy, but be sure to ask your doctor before taking one to ensure safety.
Aches and Pains
The allow the baby to be born when you are in labor and to accommodate your baby as he or she grows, the tendons and ligaments throughout your body stretch during pregnancy. This can result in pain and achiness, specifically in your lower abdominal area. In one or both of your hands, there is also the chance or carpal tunnel syndrome, due to the nerves responsible for sending signals to your fingers and hands becoming compressed. Exercise and acetaminophen are generally helpful, but talk to your doctor before taking acetaminophen.
Pregnancy hormones may cause you to experience constipation. Hemorrhoids may result from straining so it is important to avoid straining. To avoid becoming constipated, make sure to drink plenty of water, get adequate exercise, and increase your fiber intake. If these methods fail to help you talk to your doctor about medications that are safe for you.
Low potassium or low iron may cause leg cramps. They may also cause you to feel your legs are restless or that something is crawling on them. These issues tend to happen at night most often. Getting regular exercise, stretching your legs prior to going to be, and adding foods rich in potassium, such as bananas, to your diet, can be beneficial. If you think your iron levels are low, have your doctor test them, and recommend a good iron supplement.