Pregnancy: 5 unpleasant symptoms that are totally normal

Every woman can experience pregnancy symptoms differently. An expert tells you about 5 common and unpleasant symptoms in expecting mothers.
Pregnancy side effects
Pregnancy can cause physical discomfort and prenatal yoga can be helpful. Image courtesy: Adobe Stock
Dr. Nagaveni. R Updated: 18 Oct 2023, 10:55 am IST
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Pregnancy is an extremely crucial and life-changing experience for a woman and her family members. A pregnant woman may feel various mixed emotions at one time. One minute you may be overwhelmed with happiness, the other minute you may be overwhelmed with sadness. A would-be mother may experience signs of stress or anxiety due to unpleasant pregnancy symptoms she experiences. Being aware of the underlying symptoms is as important as taking precautions during pregnancy. That’s because the journey of being a mother facilitates physical and emotional changes that can affect the quality of life of both the mother and the baby. You may also experience a few symptoms of discomfort which may vary from woman to woman.

Here are 5 common pregnancy symptoms

1. Backache

Backache occurs from the first trimester itself due to several factors such as an increase in hormone levels, and progesterone, which leads to the expansion and contraction of ligaments during pregnancy. During the second and third trimesters, a woman’s body experiences hormonal and postural changes. Weight gain, muscle separation, and lower back and joint pains can be experienced during the later stage of pregnancy.

Backaches may seem inevitable during pregnancy. However, there are precautionary measures to manage pregnancy backache. Here are some tips to manage backache during pregnancy:

* Get a good amount of sleep
* Use warm compression methods to reduce inflammation and relax tight muscles
* Practice mindfulness techniques such as yoga and meditation to reduce stress
* Use a lumbar pillow while sitting for additional back support
* Maintain a healthy diet
* Practice pregnancy-friendly exercises to strengthen back muscles and try to maintain a good posture

headache during pregnancy
Headache may be common during pregnancy. Image courtesy: Shutterstock

2. Dizziness

Dizziness is another common pregnancy symptom that takes place during early pregnancy stages due to the change in hormone levels to facilitate an increase in the blood flow of the body. The increase in blood flow ensures the growth of the fetus in the uterus. However, an increase in blood flow results in hypotension or low blood pressure. This leads to dizziness and fatigue, and low blood sugar and low iron can also result in dizziness during pregnancy.

Dizziness can be managed or reduced during pregnancy by the following methods:

* By maintaining a healthy diet to avoid deficiency in iron and sugar levels
* By staying hydrated throughout the day
* By increasing day-to-day movements to keep up with the blood circulation
* By being regular with the supplements and medications prescribed by the doctor

3. Hair loss

Women often undergo hair thinning or hair loss during pregnancy due to stress. This condition is medically termed telogen effluvium, which can affect a few women during pregnancy. You may also experience hair loss due to thyroid disorders, like hyperthyroidism (too much thyroid hormone) or hypothyroidism (too little thyroid hormone) which may be difficult to spot during pregnancy. Iron deficiency is also one of the reasons you may experience hair loss due to insufficient red blood cells that facilitate oxygen to different tissues in the body.

Certain preventive measures can be practiced while experiencing hair loss during pregnancy:

* Maintain a healthy and balanced diet by emphasising food rich in protein, iron, and other important nutrients
* Wash hair gently. Use a wide-toothed comb to avoid pulling hair too hard while de-tangling
* Give your hair a break from harsh chemical or heat treatments

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hair loss and pregnancy
Hair loss may be common during and after pregnancy. Image courtesy: Shutterstock

4. Bleeding gums

Pregnant women are likely to experience symptoms of Gingivitis (a common and mild form of gum disease) due to the fluctuating change in hormones, along with a decrease in saliva production as well as morning sickness. Bleeding gums as well as symptoms of gingivitis may occur during the second trimester which may progress till the third trimester. Effective measures to ensure a decrease in bleeding gums are:

* Maintain good oral hygiene by brushing twice a day as well as practicing flossing
* Consuming prenatal vitamins that are rich in Vitamin C as well as calcium
* Practicing home remedies such as rinsing the mouth with salt water

5. Wrist pain

Medically known as Carpal tunnel syndrome, it is a condition that takes place due to swelling of nerves resulting in numbness, tingling, or pain in one or both of your hands. This is experienced mostly during the third trimester of pregnancy. A few measures can be undertaken to prevent or reduce wrist pain during pregnancy:

* Practice a range of motion exercises to stretch the wrist
* Apply ice to reduce pain
* Wear a wrist splint to prevent curling as it aggravates the pain

Carpal Tunnel Syndrome during pregnancy
Carpal Tunnel Syndrome can occur during pregnancy. Image courtesy: Shutterstock

The last word

Pregnancy is a journey that delivers changes in the lives of both the mother and the baby. It is extremely pivotal for a mother to navigate her pregnancy process closely to identify the symptoms and take precautionary measures to ensure a smooth and enriching experience. You are advised to visit your nearest doctor for any unusual symptoms during pregnancy.

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About the Author

Dr Nagaveni R is a Consultant - Obstetrician and Gynaecologist at Motherhood Hospitals, HRBR Layout, Bengaluru. She has experience of 11 years of in these fields. She completed MBBS from Kasturba Medical College in 2007, DGO from Bangalore Medical College and Research Institute, Bangalore in 2010, and DNB - Obstetrics and Gynaecology from the National Board of Examination in 2014. ...Read More

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