You are most likely happy and proud to be pregnant but are perhaps also sometimes feeling lousy and wishing you could just return to your “normal state”. You do not need to feel guilty about his, as many pregnant women feel the same, particularly during the first trimester of pregnancy.
The physical and psychological changes are immense and various symptoms and complaints are part of the course. They may be severe or barely noticeable ‒ the range is considerable.
Over 80 % of pregnant women suffer from nausea during the first trimester of pregnancy; this nausea can also lead to vomiting. Some women experience these complaints far into their pregnancy.
Here you can find out more about the causes of pregnancy-related nausea and sickness as well as about how to handle and alleviate the symptoms.
It is possible that you will experience tension in your breasts and notice that they are more sensitive and larger even before you realise that you are pregnant. These changes may be the first sign of pregnancy.
It is important that you wear a bra which fits well and does not cut into you. If the discomfort becomes too great, you can cool your breasts with cottage cheese compresses or cold compresses.
For some women, heat works better. In this case, you can gently massage your breasts with warm oils, for example. Try out what suits you best.
Many pregnant women suffer from back pain. Often this is due to the weight of the growing belly at the front, which causes the body to adopt a posture which pulls in the opposite direction to usual. Due to hormonal changes, the connective tissue is more elastic and offers less support to the ligament structure.
It can help to strengthen the back muscles and to avoid making a hollow back. Swimming and gymnastics as well as our special Pregnancy Pilates are ideal for you.
It is also possible that your baby is lying directly on a nerve. Unfortunately, the only thing you can do here is to wait until the baby moves into a different position. Heat loosens up the cramped muscles and helps to relieve the symptoms somewhat.
Particularly at the beginning of pregnancy women suffer from immense weariness. This is due to progesterone, which causes pregnant women to take things slower.
You should not drink double the amount of coffee as usual (a maximum of 2-3 cups a day is reasonable). Instead, try to ensure your day is less hectic and take time for a brief nap in between.
Particularly women with weak connective tissue are prone to stretch marks during pregnancy. These are fine tears in the subcutaneous tissue. This may occur on the belly or also on the breasts, bottom or upper thighs. There is no remedy for reliably preventing stretch marks.
However, as a precautionary measure, you can try and keep the skin supple using creams and massages as well as promoting blood circulation with scrubbing and by taking a shower with alternating hot and cold water.
Besides stretch marks, some women also develop a vertical dark line between their naval and pubic bone. This is known as Linea nigra.
Other pigment disorders may also occur. For instance, freckles, birthmarks and areolae may become darker; in the case of dark-skinned women, light marks may form.
This is all nothing to worry about, as such disorders usually disappear again a few weeks after birth. You should be cautious about exposure to direct sunlight, however, as pregnant women become brown faster but more unevenly. Do not spend too long sunbathing and use sun cream with a high protection factor.
At the start of pregnancy, the hormonal changes cause the muscles to relax ‒ and unfortunately also the bowels. In the later stages of pregnancy, problems may be triggered by the baby lying on the bowels.
The bolus (a mass of food that has been chewed at the point of swallowing) remains in the bowels for longer and the passing of stool is more sluggish. Although this is inconvenient, it is also completely harmless.
- Get your bowels going again with sport and walks in the fresh air.
- Drink a lot! Still water, diluted juice and fennel, caraway seed or aniseed tea are all suitable.
- Eat several small meals a day, chew thoroughly and avoid foods which cause flatulence, such as beans, pulses, cabbage, onions or garlic.
- Heat is good in easing cramps. Place a cherry pit cushion or hot-water bottle on your belly.
- Ensure that your clothes are not too tight. Even if you do not yet have a baby belly, open up the button of your trousers.
- Tablets with the active ingredient Simethicone work purely physically by decreasing the surface tension of gas bubbles, allowing for easier passing of wind. You do not need to worry ‒ the active ingredient does not reach your baby.
If the growing baby pushes from below against your stomach, the sphincters of the stomach give way and some of the acidic stomach contents pass into the oesophagus. This causes an unpleasant burning sensation behind the breastbone and in the oesophagus. These complaints can be relieved with a few tricks:
- Be cautious about drinking coffee, black tea, peppermint and fruit tea.
- Avoid sweets as well s spicy, heavily seasoned and fatty foods.
- Chew dry oat flakes, hazelnuts or almonds. These bind some of the stomach acid.
- Sleep with your upper body slightly elevated to counter gravity.
Due to the hormonal changes at the start of pregnancy, the bladder muscles are particularly relaxed and kidney activity is increased. That means you will need to go to the toilet more often.
Once the baby is bigger and starts kicking against the bladder, you may sometimes pass a little urine.
By undertaking targeted pelvic floor exercises as part of Pregnancy Pilates, you can get this complaint under control.
Leg cramps and also cramps in the feet mostly occur at night and are pretty unpleasant. Here it helps to stretch the muscles (in the case of a leg cramp, this means pulling the heel forward), massage them or walk around.
Food rich in magnesium and calcium (such as bananas, nuts, spinach, milk and dairy products) can ease the tendency to develop cramps.
At the start of pregnancy, hormonal changes loosen the connective tissue. This causes an increase in the amount and pressure of blood in the veins of your legs.
If there is also a hereditary predisposition, varicose veins can form which, in the worse case, lead to vein inflammations and thromboses. Compression stockings or tights would then need to be worn.
Tip: Put your feet up as often as you can; do not cross your legs when sitting. Besides this, you can prevent the formation of varicose veins with plenty of exercise, such as swimming, gymnastics or walking.
Haemorrhoids are actually nothing but varicose veins in the anal area. They often occur in pregnant women. They are associated with itching, pain and bleeding when passing stools. You can relieve these symptoms with a lukewarm chamomile hip bath, eating a high-fibre diet, drinking plenty of fluids and getting sufficient exercise.
Particularly in the last trimester of pregnancy many women suffer from swollen ankles caused by water retention in the tissue (oedemas).
Harmless oedemas disappear after taking a warm bath or by putting your feet up.
If they do not go away after taking these measures, you should visit your doctor to rule out gestosis of pregnancy, which is associated with high blood pressure, oedemas and increased proteinuria (protein in the urine).
Tip: You can “pump the veins” by bending and stretching your feet ‒ ideally, while sitting with your feet up. This greatly stimulates the blood flow.
During pregnancy, the vaginal area is more relaxed and has better circulation. Increased discharge caused by this is therefore completely normal.
If the discharge is odourless, colourless or whitish and if no pain occurs after sexual intercourse, then everything is as it should be.
If the discharge is thin or slightly bloody and has an unpleasant smell, you should go your doctor. It is possible that you have an infection.
As the mucous membranes have much better circulation during pregnancy, nosebleeds and bleeding of the gums can occur more frequently. You should therefore brush your teeth carefully using a soft bristle toothbrush. With nose oil, you can protect your nasal mucous membranes from drying out. Humid air is also good.