Pain during pregnancy, like literally ANY type of pain can be very daunting to experience, when you’re pregnant. It’s usually nothing ever to seriously worry about and all comes with the whole pregnancy package really. Unless ofcourse, it is associated with pre-eclampsia or pre-term labour. I’ve compiled a list of the 8 most common pregnancy pains many women feel and why.
Many women experience aches and pains in all sorts of places in their body when pregnant. Some are lucky to not even feel any.
These body aches and pains are usually just to do with how your body is changing and growing into it’s new way of life for the next 9 months of pregnancy.
Let’s take a look at the most common types of pains pregnant women feel and whether or not you should be worried.
1. Abdominal Pain (Also known as Cramps)
In most occasions, this kind of pregnancy pain symptom is absolutely normal. It’s usually the area where you feel cramps when menstruating. This is also the area where your newborn baby is settling to grow in for the next 9 months of his life inside of you.
Common reasons for abdominal pains are usually related to growth pains. As the uterus area grows and stretches to accommodate the new human, you are most likely to experience some discomfort or even pain during this process. It’s absolutely normal and is not considered dangerous.
If you suddenly feel a sharp pain which is attached to other symptoms such as dizziness, nausea or even vaginal bleeding etc. It’s best to get this checked immediately as this could relate to further underlying issues such as ovarian cysts.
Other reasons you could be feeling abdominal pain could be due to gas, constipation or implantation cramping when in the first trimester of pregnancy.
As the months go by, the cramping may remain or may disappear. Around the 8th month of pregnancy (could be earlier for some women) you may experience Braxton-Hicks contractions, in the abdominal area too. These are false contractions which kind of prepare your body for labour. During true labour is where the abdominal pain gets severe as you feel the most pain due to pushing your baby out into this world, but of course, that’s the whole labour process right!.
Abdominal pain during pregnancy if due to minor issues as discussed above can be reduced by avoiding quick waist movements, heat pack or hot water bottle, drinking as much water as possible, stretching/bending a little or by doing light exercise. The best is just to rest as much as possible if you can.
If pain persists for a long time and interferes with your daily chores etc. it’s best to consult your nurse/doctor just to make sure everything is fine.
2. Vaginal Pain – Common pregnancy pains
Vaginal pain (ouch). Having experienced this type of pain in my early pregnancy, I can safely say I’m glad it ended in a few days.
Vaginal pain can be caused by the amount of pressure that’s being put on the vaginal area itself. It is one of the few early pregnancy pains and can occur due to the expanding of your uterus and the increase in the volume of blood in the pelvic region.
If you are taking supplements such as pregnancy prescribed vitamins, these can cause constipation which can also be a reason behind the pain.
This pain shouldn’t last the whole pregnancy, in fact it does only last a very short time, usually in the very early pregnancy weeks. If however, you feel constipation is a concern for you during pregnancy, try to include more of fiber-rich foods in your daily diet and also drink as much water as you can.
Practising few pelvic exercises can help you to ease the pain and so can a nice soothing warm bath.
You can also try out a pregnancy support belt which supports the belly thereby taking away the pressure from the pelvic region, hips and lower back area. This is good, if the pain still exists during your second and third trimester.
3. Back Pain
Back pain is probably the most common type of pain experience atleast somewhere along your pregnancy journey. It’s not a type of pain to worry about either.
There are two types of back pain that can occur during pregnancy. Lower back pain and Posterior pelvic pain.
Backaches during pregnancy can be for a number of reasons, such as weight gain, bad posture, hormonal changes, separation of the muscles due to the expansion of the uterus and even stress too.
If you can diagnose the reason for your back pain, it’s usually easier to find the solution for it. Lower back pain or Posterior back pain can be managed with proper posture while sitting and standing. You may wish to also go light on the exercise if your regularly do back related exercises, depending on which stage your at in your pregnancy, you can cater the exercises to suit you.
Sleeping on your left side with a pillow in between the two legs can also help relieve the pain of a backache.
Acupuncture or even applying hot and cold compress on the affected area can also go a long way in curing the pain.
Do consult your doctor if you feel your backache is severe and is getting in the way of your everyday life. A backache that makes it difficult for you to even sit and urinate should be discussed with your doctor right away.
4. Headaches – Common pregnancy pains
Another common pain which you would think had nothing to do with pregnancy – Headaches.
It is actually very common to suffer from headaches during the early pregnancy phase. However, these should reduce as you enter your second and third trimester.
First rule is to avoid dehydration in general, especially in pregnancy. Drinking lots of water, getting good amounts of sleep, going for short walks to freshen the mind and relaxing are some of the best ways to cure a headache during pregnancy.
If the pain is severe, you may also take some painkillers but only after consulting your doctor. Headaches associated with other symptoms such as dizziness, body swelling and nausea could mean signs of serious underlying problems. It’s best to consult with your doctor if any of these come in the way.
5. Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
Ever thought your hands could be affected by your pregnancy? YES.
Many women suffer Carpal tunnel syndrome which is pain in the wrist, finger joints along with numbness in the fingers with a tingling sensation.
This does usually occur during the second or third trimester of pregnancy and can be painful enough to make it impossible to even hold your baby.
A massage by a trained therapist could help in healing the pain. Cold and hot compresses on the affected area, rotating and shaking the wrists time to time so it’s doesn’t stiffen up can all help heal the pain.
In most cases this can last till a few months after birth too. It’s best to consult your doctor If you find the pain worsening even after post-partum.
6. Sciatica – Common pregnancy pains
This pain is pretty common with the general public, however can also take it’s form when a women is pregnant. Sciatica can occur in pregnancy as the hormone relaxin starts preparing the pelvis for childbirth. As a result, the ligaments loosen, and the sciatic nerve gets squeezed in between. This causes shooting pain down the buttocks and the back of the legs. It’s very common for women to experience this type of pain and unfortunately doesn’t hold a solid treatment for it either.
The main way to treat this type of pain is to let it pass. Let it run it’s course. Not the ideal solution ofcourse however many pregnant women tend to just let the pain have it’s moment. Homoeopathy can also give relief from sciatica pain. Other than that, you can take a bath with warm water or apply heating pads on the affected area, this can help reduce the feeling of the pain so it doesn’t feel as sharp.
Another common pain which is popular in pregnancy and is mainly due to having a constipation problem due to hormonal changes. If you experience this type of pain, it’s best to find away to cure the constipation first.
Drinking lots of water and including lots of fibre-rich food in the diet is the first way you can reduce constipation. Taking warm baths with baking soda can increase blood circulation in the area and also provide relief from haemorrhoids.
In severe cases haemorrhoids can cause swelling, itching and sometimes even bleeding when you go to the toilet. There are many non surgical ways to cure haemorrhoids as well as surgical. Surgery may be required when bleeding from the haemorrhoids cannot be controlled, or there are multiple haemorrhoids, both internal as well as external.
8. Breast Pain
Breast tenderness can occur any were from day of conception up till the very end of your pregnancy, and in most cases even after. It’s one of the most popular signs of detecting pregnancy early on.
Breasts begin to prepare with milk as soon as conception occurs. This can often be painful and causes swelling, numbness, stinginess, sharp pain and an itchy burning tenderness feeling. Some hardly feel the pain whereas for some it can cause a huge distraction day to day.
This is basically due to the hormonal changes that take place during pregnancy. The pain during the third trimester will be the glands preparing themselves to make colostrum, which is released as soon as the baby is born.
Breast tenderness is pretty common during pregnancy, and there is no permanent way to relieve the pain.
Here are some ways you can use to temporarily reduce the pain:
– Use a nipple/breast soothing cream- I recommend Lansinoh Lanolin Cream
– Wear a supportive bra or avoid it completely. Less friction towards the area tends to keep it calm.
– Use an ice pack to relieve the pain. A bag of frozen peas does the trick too. Alternatively if you find cold packs too sensitive, you can try a heat pack or small hot water bottle instead.
– Gently wash around the tenderness area instead of vigorously scrubbing during baths.
Overall if you are experiencing any of these symptoms which tend to worsen day by day or even become hard to cope with, it’s best to double check with your doctor just to rule out any further issues.
If you’re reading this whilst pregnant, I wish you a safe and blessed pregnancy journey ahead. xx
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