Complaints during pregnancy are common. Carrying a pregnancy to full term of about 40 weeks does not come without any complaints from the woman who is carrying the pregnancy. From the onset of pregnancy, down till the final week, there are several issues that may make the expectant mother see her doctor during pregnancy apart from her usual antenatal visits. These complaints usually are as a result of her physiological response to the pregnancy and they may be of variable severity.
Among the very many complaints women have during pregnancy, there are some common ones that affects majority of expectant mothers although it is not all women who have such complaints. Here are some of the pregnancy related complaints to look out for :
The Most Common Complaints Pregnant Women Have
Fatigue, sleeping too much (somnolence), headache and blackouts are often noticed in the early months of pregnancy and their cause is unknown. Low blood pressure due to dilation of the blood vessels may be responsible for feelings of faintness.
Most pregnant women will complain of nausea and vomiting. This is usually due to the effects of large amounts of circulatory estrogen or human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG) levels. They nausea and vomiting occur especially in the morning, and are aggravated by cooking and fatigue. Nausea and vomiting however, does not usually continue after the 16th week of the pregnancy. Mild cases can be resolved by taking light carbohydrate meals in the morning like biscuits and milk. Severe cases will require drugs and treatment at the hospital.
Complaints of constipation is due to the relaxing effects of progesterone on the smooth muscle. The intestines are comprised of smooth muscles and it needs to contract for you to have a bowel movement. In addition, as the pregnancy increases, the growing uterus tends to obstruct bowel movements leading to constipation.
However, it is important to note that a bowel movement every 2 or 3 days is perfectly normal and consistent with good health during pregnancy.
It is common for pregnant women to complain about heart burns. The reason is that the enlarging uterus encourages esophageal reflux of gastric acid by pressing against the stomach. Sleeping in a semi-recumbent position (on the side) usually helps to relieve the heart burns.
Hemorrhoids and Varicose Veins
As pregnancy progresses, pressure from the enlarged uterus gradually obstructs venous return. Because of this, pregnant women may develop haemorrhoids and varicose veins in the legs and vulva.
Wearing skin tights can be helpful to resolve leg varicosities and suppositories can be used to treat the haemorrhoids. But there is nothing that can be done for the varicosity of the vulva unless to relax and wait for the pregnancy to be over.
Pelvic Joint Pain
This can occur because the ligaments of the pelvic joints are softened and relaxed during pregnancy by steroid induced fluid retention and increased vascularity which occurs in all soft tissue. Back ache and sacro-iliac strain are a very common complaint among pregnant women because the softening ligaments are aggravated by the postural change that pregnancy causes.
Most pregnant women will notice an increase in the amount of saliva they produce especially during the early pregnancy. This causes the woman to spit out her saliva very frequently and not swallowing it. Hence, quite a number of pregnant women live in an aura of wet handkerchiefs and spit bottles.
Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
Pregnant women often complain of tingling pain and numbness in the fingers of one or both hands which is symptomatic of carpal tunnel syndrome. This pain and numbness gets worse when walking, as the fingers tend to feel lifeless and pin-prick sensation is usually reduced in the affected area. All these are due to the compression of the median nerve in the carpal tunnel which lies under the flexor retinaculum muscle.
Women can also complain of increased vaginal discharge during pregnancy. Increased secretion of cervical mucus and the increased vascularity of the vagina is what combine to produce a fairly copious discharge in pregnancy. This discharge is not offensive or itchy and normal pregnancy hygiene is the only treatment required.
When there is itchy and offensive vaginal discharge, it is usually from candidiasis or trachomonas infection and must be treated at the hospital properly in other to prevent mother to child transmission of such infection during the process of child birth.
- Kelvin P. Hanretty : Antenatal care common complaints” Obstetrics Illustrated (6th edition).
- Health.gov – ccommon complains during pregnancy