10 challenges of pregnancy that we don’t talk about enough
For some expecting moms, pregnancy is truly all about looking glowing while decorating the nursery and shopping for cute baby clothes.
But the reality is that many pregnant women struggle during this transformative period in their lives, especially when dealing with uncomfortable pregnancy symptoms. And the perfect pregnancies you might see all around you, especially on social media, can make you feel isolated or like you’re doing something wrong if you’re having a less-than-perfect experience.
We believe that understanding your body and the changes it’s going through during pregnancy can help you navigate these challenges and ease at least some of your worries. So, here are 10 common symptoms of pregnancy as well as some valuable tips that will make it easier for you to enjoy all the beautiful parts to the fullest!
1. Morning sickness
Ah, the infamous ‘morning sickness’. Surprise! – despite its name, it can actually strike at any time of the day and can last all day long. It can be brought on by all sorts of smells, even those you once found pleasant, like coffee or your favourite perfume.
If it’s something you struggle with, you’re definitely not alone, as it’s one of the most frequent symptoms of pregnancy.
The good news? Nausea often eases by the 4th month. Until then, opt for small, frequent meals throughout the day. Foods that fight nausea during pregnancy include easy-to-digest foods like bananas, rice, toast, crackers, peanut butter, broth, herbal teas, and ginger.
2. Pregnancy spotting
Experiencing bleeding in early pregnancy can understandably be a huge source of worry for you, but light pregnancy spotting is actually very common in early pregnancy.
Remember to monitor the colour, amount, and duration of the bleeding and discuss the changes with your doctor. They will typically recommend rest and staying off your feet a little more. So, relax and let your partner and other loved ones pamper you a bit more.
3. Bladder problems
The further along you are in your pregnancy, the more frequent the pee breaks. An unexpected sneeze or cough can even result in a little bit of leaking, so it’s good to be prepared with a pad or an extra pair of underwear.
Kegel exercises to strengthen your pelvic floor muscles are always a good idea. These exercises can improve your bladder control and may reduce the risk of incontinence. It can be a big adjustment, but skip drinks like coffee and soda that tend to make you pee more often and go for water and herbal teas instead.
4. Digestive problems and acid reflux
Your little one might start pressing against your stomach more as it grows, and you might find yourself struggling with frequent heartburn or diarrhoea in pregnancy.
Indigestion and heartburn in pregnancy are super common, and many mums-to-be find it helpful to eat smaller, more frequent meals that are easier to digest. As tempting as it is, avoid lying down immediately after eating to avoid stomach problems.
Reach for natural probiotics like yoghurt more often and up your fibre intake to prevent constipation in pregnancy. Digestive problems and prolonged periods of sitting can also cause pregnancy haemorrhoids. Ice packs, cold compresses, or warm baths a few times a day can help you manage the pain.
5. Back discomfort during pregnancy
As your baby grows, so does the strain on your back. It’s no wonder – your belly is getting bigger and bigger, and to compensate for it, you’re likely leaning back more.
Show your back some extra love with a warm bath or a heating pad and gentle movement, like pelvic tilts and cat-cow pose. And if you like wearing heels, put them away for a while and choose shoes with good arch support instead. Place a small pillow behind your back when you’re sitting for extra support. You might also want to consider a maternity support belt, designed to support the lower back and abdomen during pregnancy.
6. Swelling in hands and feet
As your beautiful bump grows, it can put pressure on your blood vessels and cause fluid buildup, especially in the 3rd trimester. You might experience some puffiness in the hands, face, and especially your feet and ankles.
This is just another reminder that pregnancy is hard, and you need to rest more! Keep your legs up whenever possible, and avoid crossing them to promote better circulation. Press pause on overly salty food for a little bit, and avoid long periods of sitting or standing in place.
7. Fatigue and insomnia
Feeling like you could sleep for days but still find it hard to actually fall asleep? Your body is working overtime to support your growing baby, so it’s natural to feel more tired than usual. But the hormonal changes, stress, and back pain can make it difficult for you to get a good night’s rest.
Rest when you can, but keep naps short so they don’t interfere with your nighttime sleep. To combat those sleepless nights, establish a bedtime routine. Avoid screens at least an hour before bed, take a warm bath, and have a cup of caffeine-free herbal tea to help you wind down. If you find yourself tossing and turning, don’t hesitate to get up and do something relaxing until you feel sleepy.
8. Blood pressure and blood sugar
One thing you need to keep an eye on is fluctuations in your blood sugar and blood pressure. While some changes are to be expected, keeping these levels in check is essential to ensure both your health and your baby’s well-being, so talk to your doctor if you have any concerns.
For both, regular exercise and maintaining a balanced diet is vital. Pregnancy can be a stressful time – worrying about your health, your little one, about giving birth – and stress can have a big impact on blood pressure. Try some stress management techniques like deep breathing and meditation.
9. Varicose veins
While varicose veins are usually harmless, they’re not exactly the nicest to look at, plus they can be very uncomfortable.
Elevate your legs whenever you can to improve blood flow and avoid crossing them when sitting. Compression stockings can help maintain blood flow and reduce discomfort. And don’t forget about exercise – even a short walk can stimulate blood circulation.
10. Itchy skin and stretchmarks
As your skin stretches to accommodate your little one, it can get dry and itchy. Avoid overly hot showers and baths, and try eliminating drying soap and skin products with alcohol from your routine. And, it’s finally time to use up those body lotions you usually use once and then forget about – moisturised skin is happy skin. Pro tip: keep the lotion in the fridge for extra cooling action.
Stretchmarks are another frequent companion of late pregnancy. These slightly indented pink, red, or white streaks are most common on the belly but can also develop on the breasts and thighs. You can’t completely prevent them, but a vitamin-rich, skin-supporting diet (hello, vitamins C and E!) can help.
How to thrive during pregnancy
As you navigate the twists and turns of pregnancy, focusing on your health helps give your baby the best start.
Go on short walks frequently, do some gentle stretches, and fuel your body and your baby’s growth with a rich diet of fruits and vegetables, including foods that fight nausea during pregnancy. Aim for at least 2 litres of water daily.
Don’t forget about your emotional well-being as well. Pregnancy represents a big change in your life, and it’s understandably accompanied by a lot of worries, especially if it’s your first time.
So, talk about your strugglesopenly with your friends and loved ones and ask for help when you need it. Connect with other future moms or moms around you; you might realise that you’re not as alone as you might’ve thought.
Top-quality supplements that support you and your baby every step of the way
Knowing that you’re taking the best possible care of your body can give you some much-needed peace of mind – and supplements that support your nutritional needs and your baby’s healthy development are an important piece of that puzzle.
Our Getting Ready and Baby Bump capsules offer a natural and healthy way to provide essential nutrients for you and your baby throughout the pregnancy.
Getting Ready is a pre-pregnancy multivitamin designed for women who are thinking of having a baby or are in the 1st trimester of pregnancy. This powerful formula with 21 essential nutrients supports your womb health, hormonal balance, and connective tissue formation. It also reduces the risk of neural tube defects in babies and supports early development.
On top of that, it will help keep you energised in the first few months of pregnancy, when fatigue is usually the worst. It also supports your immune system and blood and bone health, helping to set the scene for a healthy pregnancy.
In the 2nd and 3rd trimesters, your nutritional needs grow. Baby Bump helps provide the best environment for your baby to thrive during these important stages of development.
This top-quality prenatal supplement with 23 essential nutrients (bioactive vitamins, minerals, and DHA omega-3) reduces tiredness and fatigue, promotes normal tissue growth, and aids the baby’s brain and eye development.