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Common Pregnancy Pains and Their Causes

You will be visited with various kinds of discomforts during pregnancy -- some fleeting, some more permanent. Some may occur in the early weeks, while others emerge closer to the time of delivery. Others may appear early and then go away, only to return later. They are all a normal part of pregnancy.

Every woman's pregnancy is unique, so you may not experience all of the changes described in this article. As always, if you notice any changes that concern you, mention them to your health care provider.

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Pregnancy Breast Changes

Most pregnant women will feel some changes in their breasts. Your breasts will increase in size as your milk glands enlarge and the fat tissue enlarges, causing breast firmness and tenderness typically during  pregnancy’s first and last few months. Bluish veins may also appear as your blood supply increases. Your nipples can also darken, and sometimes a thick fluid called colostrum may leak from your breasts. All of these changes are normal.

Recommendations:

  • Wear a bra that provides firm support.
  • Choose cotton bras or those made from natural fibers.
  • Get a bigger bra as your breasts become larger and fuller. Your bra should fit well without irritating your nipples. Try maternity or nursing bras, which provide more support and can be used after pregnancy if you choose to breastfeed.
  • Try wearing a bra during the night.
  • Tuck a cotton handkerchief or gauze pad into each bra cup to absorb leaking fluid. You can also buy nursing pads in the drugstore that fit into your bra. Make sure to change these pads as needed so your skin doesn't get irritated.
  • Wash your breasts with warm water only. Don't use soap or other products that can cause dryness.

Pregnancy Fatigue

Feeling tired? That might be because your growing baby requires extra energy. Sometimes, it's a  sign of anemia (low iron in the blood), which is common during pregnancy.

Recommendations:

  • Get plenty of rest; go to bed earlier and take naps.
  • Keep a regular schedule when possible.
  • Pace yourself. Balance activity with rest.
  • Moderate exercise daily boosts your energy level.
  • If you think you may have anemia, ask your health care provider to test your blood.

Pregnancy Nausea or Vomiting

It's very common -- and normal -- to have an upset stomach when you're pregnant. 

Chalk it up to  pregnancy's hormonal changes. It usually happens early in pregnancy, while your body is adjusting to the higher hormone levels.

Good news: Nausea usually disappears by the fourth month of pregnancy. It can happen at any time of the day but may be worse in the morning, when your stomach is empty (that why it's called "morning sickness") or if you aren't eating enough.

Recommendations:

  • If nausea is a problem in the morning, eat dry foods like cereal, toast or crackers before getting out of bed. Try eating a high-protein snack such as lean meat or cheese before going to bed (protein takes longer to digest).
  • If you are hungry but extremely nauseated, try the BRAT (bananas, rice and tea) diet.
  • Seabands offer some pregnant women comfort.
  • Ginger may combat nausea.
  • Eat small meals or snacks every two to three hours rather than three large meals. Eat slowly and chew your food completely.
  • Sip on fluids throughout the day. Avoid large amounts of fluids at one time. Try cool, clear fruit juices, such as apple or grape juice.
  • Avoid spicy, fried, or greasy foods.
  • If you are bothered by strong smells, eat foods cold or at room temperature to minimize or avoid odors that bother you.
  • Talk to your doctor about taking vitamin B6. Other  natural treatments and prescription medications can provide relief.
  • Contact your health care provider if your vomiting is constant or so severe that you can't keep fluids or foods down. This can cause dehydration and should be treated right away.

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