When you share the news of your pregnancy to family and friends, they will jump in to congratulate you on the good news. Some of them will tell you about all the wonderful things you are going to experience during pregnancy. And it’s going to make you feel good. Yes, it’s an amazing thing to be pregnant and bring a new life to this world. But you would be naive to think that pregnancy is a bed of roses. Like everything, even pregnancy has a downside to it. The aches, pains and certain complications of pregnancy is something every pregnant woman should be on the lookout for. Just note that you may not experience everything listed below as every pregnancy is different. Just thank your stars if you haven’t experienced any of these till date.
1. Pregnancy Cramps
One of the perks about being pregnant is that you won’t have to deal with the menstrual cramps every month. But some women may not be able to escape cramps even during their pregnancy because there is something called as pregnancy cramps. Cramping during pregnancy can occur in the first trimester and is completely normal. The growing baby, expanding uterus, and the usual changes during pregnancy can cause cramping. It isn’t a cause for concern unless it’s accompanied by the following symptoms (1):
- Constant severe pain
- Shoulder or neck pain along with cramping
- Pain in the lower abdomen with contractions
- Vaginal bleeding, discharge or dizziness
2. Back Pain
Back pain can be experienced by pregnant women any time during their pregnancy (2). While some women experience back pain at the onset of pregnancy, others have back pain when they are in the third trimester. Women who are overweight or previously had back pain are more at risk during their pregnancy. Stress, hormonal changes affecting the ligaments in the pelvic area, poor posture, and weight gain can all contribute to back pain during pregnancy. However, consult your doctor if you have severe back pain and rhythmic cramping pains as it can be due to preterm labor.
3. Round Ligament Pain
Round ligament pain is a deep sharp pain that is triggered by movement (3). This pain may move up or down from the groin to the hips. The ligaments may stretch and contract rapidly during pregnancy causing to pull on nerve endings. Movements such as rolling over in bed, laughing, sneezing, coughing, or any other rapid movements can trigger round ligament pain in pregnant women. Doing prenatal yoga, taking a warm bath, using a maternity support belt, and avoiding any sudden movements can help with the pain.
Heartburn can make any pregnant woman really uncomfortable and frustrated during their pregnancy (4). Heartburn causes a burning sensation in the chest. It is most commonly seen in women during their third trimester due to the pressure of the growing baby on the stomach and intestines. Though it’s nothing to worry about, it’s a common complaint among pregnant women. Changing eating habits and lifestyle can help prevent heartburn during pregnancy. Eating smaller meals throughout the day, waiting for an hour after eating before going to bed, and avoiding spicy, fatty, and greasy foods can help deal with it to an extent.
5. Braxton Hicks Contractions
They are commonly experienced during the third trimester, though it can occur in the second trimester as well (5). Some women misinterpret Braxton Hicks contractions to labor contractions because they are most commonly felt towards the end of their pregnancy. It occurs when the muscles of the uterus tighten for 1 to 2 minutes. They are irregular, infrequent contractions that are non-rhythmic. These contractions do not intensify over time unlike labor contractions and are more uncomfortable rather than painful.
6. Lightning Crotch
The lightning crotch is a less familiar symptom of pregnancy unlike the Braxton Hicks contractions or back pain (6). Lightning crotch refers to a sharp pain that occurs in the rectum, vagina, or pelvis. It gets its name because it feels like an electric bolt on the inside when it happens. Not everyone would experience this, but it’s commonly seen toward the end of pregnancy. Some potential causes of lightning crotch could be round ligament pain, movement of the baby or baby dropping. Changing positions, taking a warm bath, or getting a prenatal massage may help relieve the pain.
Though these are the common pains experienced during pregnancy and are completely normal, check with your doctor if you have constant or severe pain that doesn’t seem to go away even after an hour.