Women with child are described in a variety of beautiful terms: glowing, radiant, expectant. These words are accurate, but any woman who's been expectant will say other words also apply. For instance, sore, sensitive, and uncomfortable describe the pregnancy experience of most moms correctly.
Mom's body undergoes a major transformation during the nine month gestation period. Her baby grows from a tiny embryo to a baby while inside of her body, and that takes a toll on mom. While it's a joy to have the privilege of pregnancy, mom should be ready for almost every part of her body to be affected by carrying another human being.
Certain pregnancy pains are universal while others only a affect a select group of women, but there aren't many ladies who will claim to make it through pregnancy without noticing extra sensitivity in the body. From first trimester morning sickness to sciatic nerve pain at the end of pregnancy, moms have stories about how they weathered the more painful times.
As is true with most pregnancy-related issues, the pain mom feels is usually not a reason for concern. It's simply a sign that her baby is growing and her body is accommodating. However, it's good for mom to know all the places that might mysteriously become super sensitive so she won't be surprised. In many cases, there are ways to help relieve the pain and sensitivity so mom can survive to the end without feeling constant discomfort.
15 Chest Pain
The sensitivity in mom's chest may be her first sign that she is expecting. Due to hormone changes, mom's breast will likely be sensitive and swollen with many moms reporting they couldn't even bear them being touched. Extra blood flow is partly to blame, and so is a change in breast tissue that prepares mom's breasts to make milk when the time is right.
The breast changes aren't just for the first trimester either. Mom may notice the sensitivity subsides during the first trimester, but her breasts will probably still be more buoyant. Forget the wonder bra because mom will have plenty of perkiness all on her own.
Towards the third trimester it's possible that mom will notice her breasts already trying to leak fluid, baby's first food called colostrum, even though she may be weeks from giving birth. At this point it is usually easier to put on the nursing bra, grab the nursing pads, and wait to see what breast changes await after mom gives birth.
14 Back Aches
For moms who struggle with back pain during their menstrual cycles, the back pain of pregnancy may not feel much different at first. However, most women report that as their belly grows, their back pain increases.
The good news is most back pain doesn't come until the second half of pregnancy, and it's usually a sign the baby is growing as he or she should. The bad news is as mom gains more weight, the back is responsible for carrying it.
The hormone, relaxin, the same one responsible for making mom feel like she drops everything during pregnancy, allows ligaments to loosen to prepare for birth. However, when this happens ligaments around the spine loosen up, and that makes pain and balance problems more likely.
If mom is having back pain, she should talk to her doctor about seeing a chiropractor. Chiropractors are safe for most moms right up until they deliver, and a chiropractor can help mom gain stability and reduce pain to waddle to the end of pregnancy as comfortably as possible.
13 Gross Gum Problems
Not many people think about oral health when they imagine pregnancy pain, but mom's gums will likely grow sensitive and may even bleed when she attempts to brush or floss. Pregnancy gingivitis affects about half of moms, and it is blamed on hormones.
The bacteria in plaque, which is always present, suddenly becomes something mom's body is super sensitive to, and this can cause gum pain throughout pregnancy.
Though usually not a serious problem, if mild gum disease becomes severe, there is a bit of evidence that connects the condition with preeclampsia and preterm labor. These findings are not definitive, but treating even minor gum problems during pregnancy is wise to avoid potential problems.
Mom still needs to brush and floss, even if it's painful, and she needs to keep all of her dentist appointments. Dentists work to remove plaque from the gums, and since it's the bacteria in plaque that the body is reacting to, keeping teeth free of it can help mom with this problem.
12 The Lady Bits
Moms expect the lady bits to hurt when in labor. It's only natural since a baby is exiting from the southern route! Most are surprised to find out that vaginal pain can start much sooner than labor.
In early pregnancy, the likely cause for vaginal pain is not usually the baby. Constipation due to the iron in prenatal vitamins can cause a full feeling in the lower abdominal region, and this can feel like lower pelvic pain. The uterus is also expanding, and mom may feel this way far down in her pelvis.
Later in pregnancy, mom can blame the baby. Due to the child growing, moving lower, and settling to prepare for birth, mom will feel pressure and sometimes downright pain in the vaginal area that won't go away until the little one comes out. That fun hormone, relaxin, will also loosen mom's ligaments, so the baby can descend and cause mom pain that she feels in her pelvic bone and beyond.
As long as none of this pain is accompanied by bleeding, it's perfectly normal. If pain increases or feels especially sharp, mom should call her doctor. Cervical dilation is also a major cause of vaginal pain!
11 Bladder Control
The obvious, most common cause of bladder pain or discomfort is fullness. Mom will spend her pregnancy peeing so much that she'll wonder if she's going to have time to accomplish anything else. The uterus is on top of the bladder, so as the uterus expands to make room for the baby, the bladder deals with the increased weight and pressure bearing down on it.
The urge to urinate, even if mom just went, can grow so strong that it actually feels like sensitivity or pain.
Another cause of bladder pain is a urinary tract infection, an ailment that is more common during pregnancy. The weight of the uterus can sit on the bladder in the wrong way and cause a blockage. That means all the urine mom needs to release can't get out, so mom starts to feel sensitivity that eventually turns into pain.
If a bladder infection is the suspect, mom needs to see her doctor to be treated. If it's just plain bladder sensitivity due to all that baby weight sitting on the poor bladder, mom will have to stick it out until the baby arrives. Oh, the joys of pregnancy!
10 Pregnancy Brain
Moms-to-be hear about pregnancy brain early on. While researchers say the brain is unaltered long-term by pregnancy, the hormones surging through mom's body during pregnancy actually do affect her at the time, making her feel forgetful and changing her priorities.
Progesterone and estrogen, two hormones that increase in the body during pregnancy, affect neurons and rewire our priorities. That means we may suddenly not be able to remember certain things we previously knew because our brain has shifted around the information. Lack of sleep, which is common during pregnancy, also messes with memory, as does stress.
Spatial memory is affected by pregnancy, and that means not being able to remember where we put things is a science-backed issue we can blame on pregnancy. So while our IQ doesn't go down, our brains will be fogged up and sensitive due to pregnancy. Though it can make mom feel crazy, it's worth it in the end.
9 Skin Issues
Most women think of glowing when they imagine pregnancy, their skin shimmering from the happiness they feel. That is a common occurrence for moms-to-be, but so are a couple of less welcome issues with the skin.
Acne is very common during pregnancy, and if a woman suffered with breakouts before expecting, she can pretty much bet on having more during pregnancy. Even women who don't usually have issues with pimples will probably notice that the increase in oil on the skin makes them have problems. Blame hormones for this.
Though preventing acne completely during pregnancy is difficult, mom should make sure to keep her face clean and not use any products that aren't safe for the baby.
Stretch marks are also common as mom grows, and while no mom really likes to see them pop up, they are a sign the baby is growing. If mom's stretch marks start to itch, she should apply lotions or creams to help her deal with this discomfort.
8 Digestive Problems
All mom usually hears about expecting and her stomach is that she gets to eat for two. That sounds fabulous until mom realizes she reacts negatively to many foods due to aversions.
The first trimester is especially hard where food is concerned due to morning sickness. Foods that once sounded so good now cause mom to either vomit or just feel queasy, so she will likely spend at least a portion of the trimester eating the blandest foods possible.
When mom finally can eat again, she may find she has heartburn, a condition that causes burning in the chest after eating. Though some moms report only having this with certain foods, like spicy meals, others have it no matter what they eat until the baby arrives.
This is a normal reaction, but if mom gets to a point where she can't eat because her stomach is so sensitive, she needs to talk to her doctor. The baby receives sustenance from mom, so she needs to be able to eat enough to make sure they both get the nutrients they need.
7 Bowel Pains
Moms usually don't start worrying about poop until they get closer to labor at which point they live in fear of passing stool while trying to deliver their child(which totally does happen!). But sensitive bowels can strike anytime during pregnancy and cause everything from diarrhea to constipation.
Again, hormones may play a role, but it's also possible that anxiety or excitement about pregnancy may cause mom's bathroom habits to change. Food aversions during the first trimester can lead to constipation because mom isn't eating enough to pass stool. Diarrhea can also occur for no particular reason, making mom feel like she is in the bathroom all of the time.
Bowel sensitivity and changes aren't generally cause for concern. Mom should call her doctor if she is passing so much loose stool that she fears she's dehydrating or if her constipation has gone on for days. Other than that, this will pass, so to speak.
6 Nose Drama
It's unlikely that mom thought about her nose being affected by pregnancy, but it is. Due to the increased amount of blood running through mom's body during pregnancy, her blood vessels expand, and the ones in her nose rupture much more easily causing nosebleeds.
Mom will also likely feel like she is producing much more mucus than usual, resulting in a stuffed up nose. Due to hormones, mom may even experience rhinitis of pregnancy, a condition where inflammation in the nose causes it to be blocked. It's uncomfortable and will likely have mom grabbing for Kleenex and wishing she could breathe through her nostrils.
To help with these situations, mom should try to keep the air around her from getting dry, and she should stay hydrated, something that will help with both nosebleeds and congestion. Since options for treating runny or blocked noses are limited during pregnancy, mom should check with her doctor if she needs further help with this issue.
5 Restless Legs Syndrome
Legs, essentially the tree trunks of our bodies, have a lot of work to do while we're expecting. They hold all the extra weight we put on and help us maintain balance during this time of transition. Because of all this hard work, they may ache or develop issues we've never had before.
Around a fifth of women will develop varicose veins during pregnancy. These unsightly blue veins that look like knots rolling up and down the legs are caused from so much extra blood running through the body. They may cause legs to ache, and mom may notice extra pressure when she has them, but they should go away after pregnancy. However, they tend to come back with each pregnancy, sometimes with a vengeance.
Mom's legs may also just feel fatigued at the end of the day. While it's good for mom to stay active, it's also important for her to know when to sit down and let her body rest. Taking off the pressure for a bit may help her body recover.
4 Incredibly Sore Feet
Swollen feet are a common side effect of expecting. They are usually sensitive and make it uncomfortable to walk. Water retained during pregnancy is the culprit, and that is caused by hormone changes, just like almost everything else.
Swelling is not comfortable, but it's not cause for concern as long as it is confined to the feet. If swelling moves to other parts of the body and mom starts to experience blurry vision, she needs to see her doctor. Preeclampsia may be the reason, and that is not something mom wants to let go for too long.
If swelling is just normal pregnancy water retention, mom should keep her feet elevated to help the swelling go down. She should also consume plenty of fluids. Though it sounds counterproductive when dealing with water retention, being dehydrated can actually make swelling worse.
3 The Bottom
Yes, even mom's butt suffers when she's with child. Hemorrhoids, blood vessels in the anus that become inflamed, are a common issue for expectant women. They can itch or be painful, and for some lucky moms they are both!
Mom may notice that when she goes number two, she sees blood on the toilet paper. She should always contact a doctor when this happens, but she will likely find out hemorrhoids are the cause, especially if she has been suffering from constipation, another common pregnancy issue.
Hormones play a role in this problem, specifically progesterone. It relaxes the walls of veins, so they can swell much easier. All of the pressure resting on the lower half of the body also makes hemorrhoids more common for moms-to-be. That pressure makes the increased amount of blood move slower, and that allows swelling in the anus and other parts of the body.
Mom should talk to her doctor about treating hemorrhoids during pregnancy. For the mom who dodges these during pregnancy, she may still experience them after the baby is born. Hemorrhoids are the gift that keeps on giving.
2 Weird Hands
Those same hands that hold the baby when it finally arrives may struggle a bit until the baby actually gets here. Mom may notice that her hands get that tingly feeling we've all experienced when they fall asleep, but without actually being asleep. Swelling in the body can push on nerves and cause numbness, and that happens a lot in the wrists.
Carpal tunnel syndrome is also more common during pregnancy. The buildup of fluid in the wrist connected to carpal tunnel syndrome usually affects the dominant hand the most, though both hands can suffer. Some fingers may experience more pain or sensitivity than others, and it's likely that if mom suffers with carpal tunnel syndrome during one pregnancy she will have to deal with it in her next ones as well.
These symptoms are inconvenient but normal, though it's a good idea for mom to let her doctor know so he can offer options for relieving the discomfort.
1 Vision Problems
Women who think they are experiencing vision changes during pregnancy are not crazy. The eyes are sensitive to the changes going on in the body, so mom may notice vision problems she's never had before.
Pregnancy hormones are to blame. The hormones that make mom's feet and hands swell also may cause fluid to increase around the eyes. Mom may actually have to see her eye doctor to deal with the vision changes this causes during her pregnancy. Hormones also rob mom of tear production, though she can still cry, which makes her eyes dry and sensitive.
When mom notices blurred vision, she shouldn't panic. In most cases it's normal as long as she doesn't experience floaters that last for hours or her vision going dark or dim. If those symptoms occur, a call to the doctor is warranted. Otherwise mom's vision problems should correct themselves when the baby arrives.