Common Pregnancy Problems

By Susan Tanner

Most pregnant women will agree that the first few months of pregnancy can be unpleasant; at times, seemingly intolerable. You may experience morning sickness, swelling in the legs and ankles, abdominal pains, and cramps, heartburn, constipation, fatigue, bladder problems, mood swings, and more. Following are some tips to help you manage some of these symptoms.

Morning Sickness

Morning sickness is probably the most common symptom of pregnancy. "Morning sickness" is somewhat of a misnomer, since the nausea can occur at any time of the day. To help prevent nausea in the morning, get out of bed slowly. Try eating some plain crackers or dry cereal before getting out of bed. Avoid warm temperatures as heat can increase feelings of nausea. Keep fresh air flowing by opening windows, or by turning on exhaust fans.

Odors can also stimulate nausea. Cooking in the microwave will emit fewer odors than cooking in the oven or on the stovetop. Try eating something salty before meals; avoid greasy or spicy foods, and try not to drink fluids with your meals. Also, spread your meals out throughout the day, into about six smaller meals. Try taking your prenatals later in the day, and ask your doctor about vitamin B6 and ginger supplements. Sipping fizzy water with lemon, or non-caffeinated teas like peppermint and ginger, may help calm nausea.

Abdominal Pain or Cramps

Pregnancy exerts considerable stress on your abdominal muscles, which can cause sharp pains and cramps. To relieve these pains, try using a warm heating pad. Strengthening your abdominal muscles may help prevent this pain, but first talk to your doctor about which type of exercise is best for you.


Throughout your pregnancy, you may experience some swelling. Wearing support hose can help control weight gain in your legs and ankles. Avoid standing for long periods of time. Wear well-fitting shoes, or buy inserts designed especially for pregnant women. Avoid diuretics, as these will lead to increased swelling. Stay off your feet as much as possible, and elevate your legs when sitting. Lying down is usually better than sitting.


To combat constipation, you should exercise regularly, drink plenty of water, and eat lots of fibrous foods such as fruits, vegetables and whole grain cereals and breads.


Fatigue can come from sleepless nights due to aches and pains, restless sleeping, or simply too much stress. The most effective method for dealing with fatigue is to get plenty of rest. Take several naps during the day. Eat a well balanced diet, including at least 300 extra calories per day. Iron deficiency is a leading cause of fatigue, so be sure to get enough (talk to your doctor). Although it may seem counter-productive, fatigue
can often be relieved by exercising. Exercise will be refreshing and will leave you feeling energized.


Many of the remedies associated with nausea will also help you deal with heartburn. Also, avoid wearing tight clothing.

Bladder Problems

Bladder problems can be among the most bothersome of pregnancy related issues. First and foremost, drink plenty of water. Avoid junk food, refined starches, coffee, sugar, tea, and foods high in acidic content. Avoid using harsh soaps on your genitals. Be sure to empty your bladder and wash after intercourse. Wipe from front to back after using the bathroom. Try to include cabbage, leeks, and garlic in your diet. Drink cranberry juice every day, and take a vitamin C supplement.

Some women experience more symptoms than others, but they usually lessen during the second trimester. In general, be sure to get plenty of rest, drink lots of water, exercise regularly after consulting with your doctor, eat a well balanced diet, and try to maintain an optimistic atttiude.

Susan Tanner is a wife and mother of three. She is also the editor of Pregnancy-Guide is an online community for mothers to find support and valuable information. Please visit Pregnancy-Guide for valuable pregnancy information:

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