Question Answer
0 View
Peringkat Artikel
1 звезда2 звезды3 звезды4 звезды5 звезд

What pains should I worry about in pregnancy?


In early pregnancy, women may feel some breast tenderness, and mild period-like cramps. (See ‘Symptoms and feelings in early weeks’). Although it is normal to feel some abdominal cramps, women should consult their doctor if worried or if the cramps are severe or accompanied by bleeding. (See ‘Bleeding and miscarriage’). One woman’s pain was so strong that she was admitted to hospital in case she had an ectopic pregnancy or an ovarian cyst. However, this degree of pain is unusual. Eventually all was well and her GP suggested it might be something like irritable bowel syndrome; changes to her diet helped.

The hospital could not explain her severe abdominal pain. Her GP suggested it could be irritable.

Text only

Read below

The hospital could not explain her severe abdominal pain. Her GP suggested it could be irritable.

View full profile
Age at interview: 31
Sex: Female

When did the pain go away?

It didn’t actually [laugh]. I was back in hospital about four weeks later because it had — I went back to work in, the beginning of January and about two weeks later I was getting lots of pain walking. I went back to my GP who referred me straight back to the hospital and then they admitted me for three days and ran lots more tests. And by this stage I was 8 or 9 weeks pregnant so then they did a scan and it was all fine. But they couldn’t do any more kind of invasive tests because I was pregnant. So then I went back to my GP. So they didn’t really help me [laugh]. So I went back to my GP who decided that it might be something like bowel-related and gave me some anti, some stuff for irritable bowel syndrome which he decided that it might be, which helped. So then I just cut wheat and dairy out of my diet because one of my colleagues had said her daughter suffered from something similar and she’d done that. And that actually helped. But for the whole of my pregnancy I just ate no wheat and no dairy and — because every time I ate something like that and then it flared up again. So I really don’t know what caused it to be quite honest [laugh].

As the baby grows bigger during the second and third trimester of pregnancy, it can press on the joints and internal organs such as the stomach, bladder and lungs, and cause discomfort. This explains why some women feel breathless and get backache or aching legs, especially when standing for a long time. One woman had had helpful advice at an antenatal physiotherapy class about managing a tingly feeling in her legs. Another was surprised to start feeling breathless quite early in pregnancy, at 13 weeks.

She went to a physiotherapy exercise group. The physiotherapist gave her advice about painful.

She went to a physiotherapy exercise group. The physiotherapist gave her advice about painful.

View full profile
Age at interview: 24
Sex: Female

I went to two different sorts of antenatal classes. I went to one organised by the midwife that she, that you learnt about labour, the processes, process of labour and pain relief and breastfeeding. And I went to a physiotherapy one which was based in our local hospital, maternity hospital. And it was the same group of people at both, so I suppose it was one but split into two different places. Both of them I found really useful.

What did you learn at the physiotherapy one?

At the physiotherapy one you learnt about how you, what pains you had in pregnancy. I had really tingly legs and it was because I was standing in a bad position and other people had really bad back pain. And we did some massage and we did breathing techniques for during labour and we did exercises to do after the birth like pelvic floor exercises and ones to try and get your stomach back in shape.

How’s that going?

Slowly [laughs] yeah, yeah. No, it’s, it was a chance to ask a physiotherapist about any problems that you might be having, and actually at the end of one of our sessions she asked me to stay behind at the end because I’d been complaining of some symptoms that no-one else had and so she asked me if I wanted private sessions which I didn’t have in the end, but that was, that was helpful.

What were the symptoms that you were having?

I had this tingling sensation in my legs that I’d [laugh], it’s funny because I didn’t feel very confident in the classes and I plucked up the courage to say, “Oooh, and this symptom” and then no-one else had it [laughs] so my confidence just went right back down again. But she’d asked me to stay behind and I talked about it, and she showed me some exercises where if I stood with my legs in a different position — I can hardly remember now — then it stopped the pain. But it also, it meant that I couldn’t walk very far and I couldn’t stand to do a whole basin of, a whole load of washing up because it got too painful. But, it’s funny, it’s just all gone now. I’ve forgotten about all the pains and the, everything now.

Some women experienced quite strong pain resulting from a condition called symphysis pubis disorder or dysfunction (SPD). This is caused by the separation of the small joint at the front of the pelvis. This needs to stretch or open a little to allow for birth, but in a few women it opens too much, making walking painful and difficult. Physiotherapy or a support bandage or brace can help. Most people who had this condition felt staff provided helpful information and treatment, but one woman thought her midwife did not really recognise how much pain she was in.

She developed symphysis pubis disorder (pelvic joint pain). She went to physiotherapy and wore a.

She developed symphysis pubis disorder (pelvic joint pain). She went to physiotherapy and wore a.

View full profile
Age at interview: 35
Sex: Female

My midwife has been really good, really friendly, I’ve had a pelvic condition, which means that one of the joints in my pelvis has been very achy and painful, and that started at about four months of pregnancy, but I was able to be referred to a physiotherapist up at the hospital, to get some advice. Though actually that was — I did have to sort of be slightly assertive in order to do that. They refer you initially to a group session, so there’s about ten or twelve women with a similar condition, and they sort of sit you down and talk to you for an hour, which was useful to know why you’re getting the pain, but it doesn’t actually help to solve it [laughs].

And what did they do to help solve it in the end? Has it been solved?

Well, it’s not the sort of thing that can be solved. It’s more a question of managing it so it doesn’t get, it doesn’t get worse. Actually at the group session they were handing out crutches to the most severely affected. They were handing out Tubi-grip to pretty much everybody, the idea being that you sort of wear this piece of Tubi-grip to keep all your sort of bits in place. And then they were handing out special support belts to people in the intermediate category, and to be honest I don’t think I fitted into the intermediate category, but I — for me — was very assertive in saying that I would like a belt because I was still quite early in my pregnancy. And I have worn this belt a lot, when sort of walking, and that does really help a lot. But I do, I do think, looking back on it, if I hadn’t actually pushed I wouldn’t have been given the belt. So then after the group session, if you’re very bad, you can go and have an individual appointment with the physiotherapist. And again, I didn’t feel I was as bad as some of the women there, and I wasn’t going to bother. But I spoke to the local support group for the condition I’ve got, and they said, ‘No, you know, it’s every woman for themselves, really’ [laughs].

How did you find out about the support group?

There was a leaflet about the condition, actually, in my maternity pack that I got on my first visit from the midwife. I think in [name of city] they are quite aware of, of the condition. And the leaflet was very good for me recognising that I had a problem, that it wasn’t a question of just normal aches and pains in pregnancy. So it was an excellent leaflet, and it had the local support group number on the back.

She had very painful symphysis pubis disorder (pelvic joint pain) and used a back brace and.

She had very painful symphysis pubis disorder (pelvic joint pain) and used a back brace and.

View full profile
Age at interview: 20
Sex: Female

Why did you need a back brace?

My SPD, which is symphysis pubic disorder. It’s your pubic bone, it’s where they crack, mine cracked. The baby’s bum was actually leaning on my pubic bone and cracked it. And I went into hospital with it, and I ended up on crutches and having to go to see a physio.

And the physio give me a back brace and it went, well, I suppose it’d have to go round my back and then go under my bump and push my bump up to push the baby up, so that the baby was away from my pubic bone so that it could stop the pain on the pubic bone and so the pubic bone could like mend easier. But I had that on for a while, and I was taking loads of painkillers for it because it was dead painful. I was on crutches, but then I stopped using the crutches because the crutches were causing me damage. I, it was raining one day and I nearly slipped with the crutches, so I said to my mum, ‘I’m not using them no more, I’d rather just walk’. And, and I took off one day at a time and walked and walked, and now I, I feel fine. I feel as fit as a fiddle, as if nothing had happened.

How long did that go on for?

I went to hospital with that when I was 32 weeks pregnant. They said to me as well if the baby didn’t turn within a week I’d have to have a Caesarean and have the baby out, because my bone would be too delicate to give birth. But I had that. I was using the crutches, and I used the crutches for all four weeks, five weeks at the most. And then I just give up. But they said it can take up to twelve months after your having the baby that your, your bone actually goes back to, back to normal, the way it should be. But they’ve already advised me that if I do get pregnant again it’s likely it will crack again. Because it’s already cracked once it’ll crack again with the pressure of the baby pushing down and everything. So I’m never getting pregnant again with that one anyway.

The midwife did not recognise how much pain she was in from symphysis pubis disorder (pelvic.

The midwife did not recognise how much pain she was in from symphysis pubis disorder (pelvic.

View full profile
Age at interview: 33
Sex: Female

And I remember walking around for my thirty-eight week check, walking around to the surgery, which was literally normally a less than a five-minute walk up the hill, and down the hill — slight hill, slight slope, not a huge hill — and it taking me a huge length of time, taking me fifteen minutes. I had to keep stopping and resting, and it was causing me huge pain. I’d just given up the car because I’d felt, it was financial, partly financial — I just put it off the road rather than actually deserting it entirely — partly financial and partly — and my husband couldn’t drive — and partly to do with the fact that I really didn’t feel safe because my bump was now actually literally touching the steering wheel.

So I just didn’t feel it was safe for me to drive, so there was no point keeping the car on the road. But if I had still had the car and felt safe to drive, I definitely would’ve driven round. I was almost on the point of, you know, going home and calling a taxi or something, or getting them to come round to me. It was, it was excruciating pain. I had to keep stopping. And I went to this appointment, and now it was the different midwife, and I told her about this pain. And she just, she just sat there and she went, ‘Mm, yeah, mm. Oh well, yeah, mm. Oh, everything seems fine.’ And I said ‘Well, what about this pain?’ and she’s like, ‘Well, it’s late pregnancy.’ You know, and so consequently — ‘mm’ — and I thought, «Oh well, obviously» — it’s the first time I’d been pregnant — «obviously this is just another one of those aches and grinds of pregnancy about which I knew nothing, and I’ve just got to put up with it till I have the baby’, you know. And that’s what she’d indicated to me.

And I had a good look through my sort of text book, couldn’t find any reference to it. I wasn’t quite sure what I was looking for, mind. And just decided to put up with it and, and carried on, and was in quite a lot of pain at times. You know, I had to keep sitting down. They kept saying, ‘Well, exercise is good for you,’ and I’m, you know, walking was excruciating, and I just wanted to sleep all the time and not put any weight on my feet. It caused quite a few problems as home as well, which is not really of relevance to the pregnancy, but I did find that, you know, I didn’t want to do, stand up and do washing up because it hurt. I was leaning over at an angle and it was hurting my bones as well, and a distinct lack of support about all of this.

Heartburn can be very uncomfortable, especially at night, and several people had been advised by their doctor or midwife to take an antacid. (See also ‘Sickness and hyperemesis’). One woman described a combination of backache, heartburn, changes in sleeping patterns and needing frequent trips to the loo. Some people develop varicose veins or haemorrhoids during pregnancy, and some get cramp in their legs or feet, especially at night. Several people said at times they could not sleep, either because they were uncomfortable or because they felt anxious thinking about the approaching birth and motherhood. One mother just did something else till she felt sleepy again.

Body changes and discomforts

Everyone expects pregnancy to bring an expanding waistline. But many women are surprised by the other body changes that pop up. Get the low-down on stretch marks, weight gain, heartburn and other «joys» of pregnancy. Find out what you can do to feel better.

Body aches

As your uterus expands, you may feel aches and pains in the back, abdomen, groin area, and thighs. Many women also have backaches and aching near the pelvic bone due the pressure of the baby’s head, increased weight, and loosening joints. Some pregnant women complain of pain that runs from the lower back, down the back of one leg, to the knee or foot. This is called sciatica. (SYE-AT-ick-uh) It is thought to occur when the uterus puts pressure on the sciatic nerve.

What might help:

Call the doctor if pain does not get better.

Breast changes

A woman’s breasts increase in size and fullness during pregnancy. As the due date approaches, hormone changes will cause your breasts to get even bigger to prepare for breastfeeding. Your breasts may feel full, heavy, or tender.

In the third trimester, some pregnant women begin to leak colostrum (coh-LOSS-truhm) from their breasts. Colostrum is the first milk that your breasts produce for the baby. It is a thick, yellowish fluid containing antibodies that protect newborns from infection.

What might help:

  • Wear a maternity bra with good support.
  • Put pads in bra to absorb leakage.

Tell your doctor if you feel a lump or have nipple changes or discharge (that is not colostrum) or skin changes.


Many pregnant women complain of constipation. Signs of constipation include having hard, dry stools; fewer than three bowel movements per week; and painful bowel movements.

Higher levels of hormones due to pregnancy slow down digestion and relax muscles in the bowels leaving many women constipated. Plus, the pressure of the expanding uterus on the bowels can contribute to constipation.

What might help:

  • Drink eight to 10 glasses of water daily.
  • Don’t drink caffeine.
  • Eat fiber-rich foods, such as fresh or dried fruit, raw vegetables, and whole-grain cereals and breads.
  • Try mild physical activity.

Tell your doctor if constipation does not go away.


Many pregnant women complain of dizziness and lightheadedness throughout their pregnancies. Fainting is rare but does happen even in some healthy pregnant women. There are many reasons for these symptoms. The growth of more blood vessels in early pregnancy, the pressure of the expanding uterus on blood vessels, and the body’s increased need for food all can make a pregnant woman feel lightheaded and dizzy.

What might help:

  • Stand up slowly.
  • Avoid standing for too long.
  • Don’t skip meals.
  • Lie on your left side.
  • Wear loose clothing.

Call your doctor if you feel faint and have vaginal bleeding or abdominal pain.

Fatigue, sleep problems

During your pregnancy, you might feel tired even after you’ve had a lot of sleep. Many women find they’re exhausted in the first trimester. Don’t worry, this is normal! This is your body’s way of telling you that you need more rest. In the second trimester, tiredness is usually replaced with a feeling of well being and energy. But in the third trimester, exhaustion often sets in again. As you get larger, sleeping may become more difficult. The baby’s movements, bathroom runs, and an increase in the body’s metabolism might interrupt or disturb your sleep. Leg cramping can also interfere with a good night’s sleep.

What might help:

  • Lie on your left side.
  • Use pillows for support, such as behind your back, tucked between your knees, and under your tummy.
  • Practice good sleep habits, such as going to bed and getting up at the same time each day and using your bed only for sleep and sex.
  • Go to bed a little earlier.
  • Nap if you are not able to get enough sleep at night.
  • Drink needed fluids earlier in the day, so you can drink less in the hours before bed.

Heartburn and indigestion

Hormones and the pressure of the growing uterus cause indigestion and heartburn. Pregnancy hormones slow down the muscles of the digestive tract. So food tends to move more slowly and digestion is sluggish. This causes many pregnant women to feel bloated.

Hormones also relax the valve that separates the esophagus from the stomach. This allows food and acids to come back up from the stomach to the esophagus. The food and acid causes the burning feeling of heartburn. As your baby gets bigger, the uterus pushes on the stomach making heartburn more common in later pregnancy.

What might help:

  • Eat several small meals instead of three large meals — eat slowly.
  • Drink fluids between meals — not with meals.
  • Don’t eat greasy and fried foods.
  • Avoid citrus fruits or juices and spicy foods.
  • Do not eat or drink within a few hours of bedtime.
  • Do not lie down right after meals.

Call your doctor if symptoms don’t improve after trying these suggestions. Ask your doctor about using an antacid.


Hemorrhoids (HEM-roidz) are swollen and bulging veins in the rectum. They can cause itching, pain, and bleeding. Up to 50 percent of pregnant women get hemorrhoids. Hemorrhoids are common during pregnancy for many reasons. During pregnancy blood volume increases greatly, which can cause veins to enlarge. The expanding uterus also puts pressure on the veins in the rectum. Plus, constipation can worsen hemorrhoids. Hemorrhoids usually improve after delivery.

What might help:

  • Drink lots of fluids.
  • Eat fiber-rich foods, like whole grains, raw or cooked leafy green vegetables, and fruits.
  • Try not to strain with bowel movements.
  • Talk to your doctor about using products such as witch hazel to soothe hemorrhoids.


About 20 percent of pregnant women feel itchy during pregnancy. Usually women feel itchy in the abdomen. But red, itchy palms and soles of the feet are also common complaints. Pregnancy hormones and stretching skin are probably to blame for most of your discomfort. Usually the itchy feeling goes away after delivery.

What might help:

  • Use gentle soaps and moisturizing creams.
  • Avoid hot showers and baths.
  • Avoid itchy fabrics.

Call your doctor if symptoms don’t improve after a week of self-care.

Leg cramps

At different times during your pregnancy, you might have sudden muscle spasms in your legs or feet. They usually occur at night. This is due to a change in the way your body processes calcium.

What might help:

  • Gently stretch muscles.
  • Get mild exercise.
  • For sudden cramps, flex your foot forward.
  • Eat calcium-rich foods.
  • Ask your doctor about calcium supplements.

Morning sickness

In the first trimester hormone changes can cause nausea and vomiting. This is called «morning sickness,» although it can occur at any time of day. Morning sickness usually tapers off by the second trimester.

What might help:

  • Eat several small meals instead of three large meals to keep your stomach from being empty.
  • Don’t lie down after meals.
  • Eat dry toast, saltines, or dry cereals before getting out of bed in the morning.
  • Eat bland foods that are low in fat and easy to digest, such as cereal, rice, and bananas.
  • Sip on water, weak tea, or clear soft drinks. Or eat ice chips.
  • Avoid smells that upset your stomach.

Call your doctor if you have flu-like symptoms, which may signal a more serious condition.

Call your doctor if you have severe, constant nausea and/or vomiting several times every day.

Nasal problems

Nosebleeds and nasal stuffiness are common during pregnancy. They are caused by the increased amount of blood in your body and hormones acting on the tissues of your nose.

What might help:

  • Blow your nose gently.
  • Drink fluids and use a cool mist humidifier.
  • To stop a nosebleed, squeeze your nose between your thumb and forefinger for a few minutes.

Call your doctor if nosebleeds are frequent and do not stop after a few minutes.

Numb or tingling hands

Feelings of swelling, tingling, and numbness in fingers and hands, called carpal tunnel syndrome, can occur during pregnancy. These symptoms are due to swelling of tissues in the narrow passages in your wrists, and they should disappear after delivery.

What might help:

  • Take frequent breaks to rest hands.
  • Ask your doctor about fitting you for a splint to keep wrists straight.

Stretch marks, skin changes

Stretch marks are red, pink, or brown streaks on the skin. Most often they appear on the thighs, buttocks, abdomen, and breasts. These scars are caused by the stretching of the skin, and usually appear in the second half of pregnancy.

Some women notice other skin changes during pregnancy. For many women, the nipples become darker and browner during pregnancy. Many pregnant women also develop a dark line (called the linea nigra) on the skin that runs from the belly button down to the pubic hairline. Patches of darker skin usually over the cheeks, forehead, nose, or upper lip also are common. Patches often match on both sides of the face. These spots are called melasma or chloasma and are more common in darker-skinned women.

What might help:

  • Be patient — stretch marks and other changes usually fade after delivery.


Many women develop mild swelling in the face, hands, or ankles at some point in their pregnancies. As the due date approaches, swelling often becomes more noticeable.

What might help:

  • Drink eight to 10 glasses of fluids daily.
  • Don’t drink caffeine or eat salty foods.
  • Rest and elevate your feet.
  • Ask your doctor about support hose.

Call your doctor if your hands or feet swell suddenly or you rapidly gain weight — it may be preeclampsia.

Urinary frequency and leaking

Temporary bladder control problems are common in pregnancy. Your unborn baby pushes down on the bladder, urethra, and pelvic floor muscles. This pressure can lead to more frequent need to urinate, as well as leaking of urine when sneezing, coughing, or laughing.

What might help:

  • Take frequent bathroom breaks.
  • Drink plenty of fluids to avoid dehydration.
  • Do Kegel exercises to tone pelvic muscles.

Call your doctor if you experience burning along with frequency of urination — it may be an infection.

Varicose veins

During pregnancy, blood volume increases greatly. This can cause veins to enlarge. Plus, pressure on the large veins behind the uterus causes the blood to slow in its return to the heart. For these reasons, varicose veins in the legs and anus (hemorrhoids) are more common in pregnancy.

Varicose veins look like swollen veins raised above the surface of the skin. They can be twisted or bulging and are dark purple or blue in color. They are found most often on the backs of the calves or on the inside of the leg.

What might help:

  • Avoid tight knee-highs.
  • Sit with your legs and feet raised.

More information on body changes and discomforts

Explore other publications and websites

  • First Trimester Pregnancy: What to Expect (Copyright © Mayo Foundation) — This fact sheet discusses the physical changes and symptoms experienced in the first three months of pregnancy.
  • Second Trimester Pregnancy: What to Expect (Copyright © Mayo Foundation) — This fact sheet discusses how the changes that began in the first weeks of pregnancy increase and accelerate during the second trimester. Of these, your growing uterus is probably the most obvious. But many other, unseen events are also taking place.

Connect with other organizations

  • American Academy of Family Physicians
  • American College of Nurse-Midwives
  • American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists
  • Center for Research on Reproduction and Women’s Health, University of Pennsylvania Medical Center
  • Hyperemesis Education and Research Foundation
  • March of Dimes

All material contained on these pages are free of copyright restrictions and maybe copied, reproduced, or duplicated without permission of the Office on Women’s Health in the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Citation of the source is appreciated.

Is it normal to have headaches, spotting or cramps in pregnancy?


Some pregnancy symptoms are more of a concern than others. Here’s a rundown of which bothersome symptoms are actually normal and which might be a concern.

In this article:

  1. Abdominal or stomach pain in pregnancy
  2. Bleeding in pregnancy
  3. Headaches during pregnancy
  4. Leg discomfort in pregnancy
  5. Breathlessness and shortness of breath in pregnancy
  6. Leg cramps and pain in pregnancy
  7. Further information

If there’s one thing you can count on in pregnancy, it’s that you’ll have a few symptoms you weren’t expecting. While the nausea, cravings and tendency to cry as you watch Emmerdale are standard, some symptoms ring a few alarm bells. Here’s what you should keep an eye on.

Is it normal to have abdominal or stomach pain in pregnancy?

Abdominal pain, aches and cramps are common for pregnant women and usually nothing to worry about. The main cause of abdominal pain is ligaments stretching with the pregnancy.

Pain can be eased by lying down on the side opposite to the pain, having a warm bath, using a hot water bottle and moving more slowly (Aguilera, 2015) .

When might stomach pain be a concern?

Contact your midwife or GP immediately if your pain doesn’t go away after a few minutes rest or if you also have:

  • blood in your wee
  • pain or a burning sensation when you wee
  • vaginal discharge that seems out of the ordinary
  • bleeding
  • vomiting
  • fever
  • chills. (Kilpatrick, 2018)

Painful stomach cramps could be a sign of miscarriage if accompanied by bleeding or ectopic pregnancy. They could also be something unrelated to pregnancy.

Is it normal to have bleeding or spotting in pregnancy?

First, don’t panic. Vaginal bleeding in the early stages of pregnancy is common and doesn’t always indicate to problem. (RCOG, 2016; NHS, 2018a)

Early pregnancy bleeding can be down to spotting, cervical changes, miscarriage or ectopic pregnancy. (NHS, 2018a) In later pregnancy, vaginal bleeding may be due to cervical changes, vaginal infections, a ‘show’, placental abruption or a low-lying placenta (placenta praevia) (NHS, 2018a) .

When might bleeding be a concern?

While bleeding is common, bleeding and/or pain can be a warning sign of a miscarriage or other complications so it is important that you immediately contact your GP or midwife, your local Early Pregnancy Assessment Service, NHS 111 or A&E it’s severe. (RCOG, 2016; NHS, 2018a)

It’s important to find out the cause of bleeding so your doctor or midwife will ask about other symptoms like cramping, pain and dizziness. You may also need to undergo a vaginal or pelvic examination, an ultrasound scan or blood tests to check your hormone levels. (NHS, 2018a)

Is it normal to have headaches during pregnancy?

Headaches are common during pregnancy but they usually improve or stop in the second and third trimester. You can take paracetamol if you need to but get advice from a pharmacist, midwife or GP about how much to take and for how long (NHS, 2018a) .

To help prevent more headaches:

  • drink plenty of fluids
  • get enough sleep
  • rest and relax. (NHS, 2018a)

Although most pregnancy headaches are innocent, they can be more serious or indicate an underlying heath condition like pre-eclampsia (RCOG, 2014) .

When might headaches be a concern?

Call your midwife, GP or NHS 111 immediately if you get any of the following symptoms as they could be symptoms of pre-eclampsia:

  • a very severe headache
  • a problem with vision such as blurring or flashing lights in your eyes
  • severe pain just below ribs
  • vomiting
  • sudden swelling in your face, hands or feet. (NHS, 2018a)

Is it normal to have swelling in pregnancy?

Gradual swelling in the legs, ankles, feet and fingers (oedema) is normal during pregnancy and isn’t harmful (though it can be uncomfortable). Swelling is usually caused by more water staying in your body than usual. Swelling tends to get worse further into your pregnancy and at the end of the day, when water has gathered in the lowest parts of the body.

Here are some tips to avoid swelling.

  • Avoid standing for long stretches of time.
  • Choose comfortable footwear.
  • Put your feet up.
  • Drink plenty of water.
  • Do foot exercises. Sitting or standing, bend up then point down your foot 30 times, and circle each foot eight times in each direction. (NHS, 2018c)

Is it normal to have shortness of breath in pregnancy?

Breathlessness is a common problem in pregnancy that may start in the first or second trimester. You are more likely to feel breathless if you have gained a lot of weight or are expecting more than one baby. Breathlessness can last until you are nearly ready to give birth. It won’t harm your baby but can be annoying for you. Try these tips to help ease your breathlessness:

  • Keep in an upright position.
  • Do light exercise such as walking or swimming.

When might shortness or breath be a concern?

If you’re suffering from tiredness and palpitations as well as breathlessness, it can be a sign of low iron levels in your blood. Make sure you discuss these symptoms with your midwife.

Is it normal to have leg cramps in pregnancy?

You’ll know you’re suffering from leg cramps if you get a sudden, sharp pain, usually in your calf muscles or feet. It will often happen at night and in the later stages of pregnancy but no-one quite knows why (NHS, 2017; NHS, 2018d) .

Usually, cramps go away on their own but stretching and massaging the muscle might help the pain to lessen (NHS, 2017) . You could also try pulling your toes hard up towards the ankle or rubbing the muscle hard (NHS, 2018d) .

Regular gentle exercises in pregnancy involving ankle and leg movements will help with circulation and might prevent cramp. See the foot exercises above (in the swelling section) and repeat on both feet (NHS, 2018d) .

This page was last reviewed in March 2018

Further information

Our support line offers practical and emotional support with feeding your baby and general enquiries for parents, members and volunteers: 0300 330 0700.

We also offer antenatal courses which are a great way to find out more about birth, labour and life with a new baby.

Make friends with other parents-to-be and new parents in your local area for support and friendship by seeing what NCT activities are happening nearby.


Aguilera PA. (2015) Pregnancy, round ligament pain. Available from: [Accessed 1st March 2018].

Kilpatrick CC. (2018) Approach to acute abdominal pain in pregnant and postpartum women. UpToDate. Available from:… [Accessed 1st March 2018].

RCOG (Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists). (2014) Information for you: premature labour. Available from: [Accessed 1st March 2018].

NHS. (2017) Leg cramps. Available from: [Accessed 1st March 2018].

NHS. (2018a) Vaginal bleeding in pregnancy. Available from: [Accessed 1st March 2018].

NHS. (2018b) Headaches in pregnancy. Available from: [Accessed 1st March 2018].

NHS. (2018c) Swollen ankles, feet and fingers in pregnancy. Available from: [Accessed 1st March 2018].

NHS. (2018d) Common health problems in pregnancy. Available from: [Accessed 1st March 2018].

RCOG. (2014) Healthcare professionals must be aware of the signs, symptoms and appropriate response to rarer causes of headaches. Available from: [Accessed 1st March 2018].

Share this

Information you can trust from NCT

When it comes to content, our aim is simple: every parent should have access to information they can trust.

All of our articles have been thoroughly researched and are based on the latest evidence from reputable and robust sources. We create our articles with NCT antenatal teachers, postnatal leaders and breastfeeding counsellors, as well as academics and representatives from relevant organisations and charities.

Ссылка на основную публикацию