Symptoms of pregnancy

During pregnancy you may experience all kinds of ailments and discomforts. Below you will find a list of the most common ones. Aches and pains are part of being pregnant. If you experience a great deal of discomfort, please mention this to us during the checks, and we can discuss possible methods of relief.



Many women feel nausea during the first three months of pregnancy. Sometimes the nausea lasts longer than this. It helps to eat small amounts spread out over the day. It may also be beneficial to eat a dry cracker or biscuit before getting out of bed.

Sometimes the nausea is accompanied by vomiting. It is important that you keep hydrated. If you are struggling to to eat and drink enough without vomiting or the nausea affects carrying out daily tasks, please contact us or your GP. The doctor can sometimes prescribe medicines against the nausea.

The nausea usually stops by itself between week 12 and 16 of the pregnancy.



During the first three months of pregnancy you may feel very tired. This is due to all the changes in your body. It will be a futile exercise to fight this fatigue. A lot of sleep is often the only remedy. After the first three months, your energy levels usually restore themselves.

The last two months of your pregnancy are the most physically demanding so you will experience fatigue quicker again. Try to take afternoon naps during your maternity leave.



You may experience heartburn during pregnancy. This is because the barrier between your stomach and oesophagus loses elasticity caused by pregnancy hormones. Also the uterus grows also and pushes against your stomach. If you suffer a lot of heartburn, you can ask your pharmacy for something against heartburn which is suitable for pregnant women.


Abdominal pain (round ligament pain, bladder infection)

Round ligament pain is a nagging or stabbing pain in your lower abdomen. It’s caused by your uterus growing and stretching. This causes more strain on the ligaments which hold your uterus in place. This can result in pain, sometimes pain is also experienced in your groin or back. A hot water bottle, a warm bath or hot shower often helps.

When you have pain in your lower abdomen it is important to check for anything unusual when urinating. Such as passing small amounts of urine or just more often than normal. A bladder infection might be the case, in pregnancy this does not necessarily mean pain when urinating. Sometimes you might not feel very good and have a slightly higher temperature (>37.5 celsius). Do not hesitate to have your doctor test your urine. In case of a bladder infection while pregnant, it is important to treat this with antibiotics.


Braxton hicks contractions

Braxton hicks contractions occur because the muscles of your uterus occasionally contract. During these ‘practice contractions’ your belly feels hard and tight. This can occur in the second half of pregnancy. They usually occur near the end of the day. Sometimes a bladder infection can also cause braxton hicks contractions. It is important that when you are less than 37 weeks pregnant, the contractions do not become regular and are not painful. If you have questions, please feel free to contact us.


Pelvic and back problems

Pelvic and back pain is common in pregnancy. Because of pregnancy hormones the ligaments in your back become weaker and also soften your pelvis. If you suffer from back and/or pelvic pains please refer to the brochure ‘Tips for back and pelvic pains durng pregnancy’ In which you will find advice on postures you may find helpful in performing daily tasks. Should your symptoms continue, ask a physiotherapist or a mensendieck therapist for advice. You can make an appointment without a referral.



The growing uterus causes your intestines to be pushed to the side. This can sometimes cause a stinging ache in your abdomen. The pregnancy hormones cause your digestive system to be less efficient and can ultimately cause constipation. It is important to eat foods with high fibre content (whole grains, green vegetables and fruit) and to drink enough water.



Haemorrhoids are common among pregnant women. The hormones often cause your stool to harden, with haemorrhoids as a result, which can sometimes bleed. Also the growing uterus will press on your intestines. Keep up your fibre intake, drink plenty of fluids and exercise regularly.  This will help with your bowel movements. Should you have a lot of problems with constipation, the practice can offer a remedy which helps to relieve haemorrhoids ask your midwife about solutions.


Edema (swollen hands/feets)

Retaining water near the end of your pregnancy is very normal. Your hands and feet can sometimes swell as a result. Place a book under your mattress so that your feet are elevated. The fluid will drain away much easier.


Incontinence/pelvic floor issues

It’s not unusual if your bladder control is during pregnancy. Your pelvic floor muscles become weaker by the hormones and the uterus pushes on your bladder also. You can exercise your pelvic floor muscles, please read the brochure ‘Pelvic Floor‘, in which you can find how to perform these exercises. It is important that you exercise your pelvic floor muscles after the birth, even when there has been no incontinence. If your incontinence issues remain, then seek advice from a physical pelvic therapist that specializes in pelvic floor symptoms.


Vaginal discharge 

During pregnancy, it is normal that you have an increased vaginal discharge. This is due to the hormones. Contracting a yeast infection is also more likely. This causes itching and /or a swollen vulva. The discharge is then somewhat grainy in texture and smells different. It is important for this to be treated by GPs.



During pregnancy you can experience itching, just on your belly or all over your body. The hormones cause certain substances to be released into your bloodstream, substances which can cause itching. Menthol powder or metholgel helps to alleviate the itching. It is import that the itching does not affect the soles of your feet or the palms of your hands. If it does, please contact us!!


Psychological problems

Not all women find pregnancy a pleasant experience. Pregnancy can cause many ailments and discomforts. You can feel like you are not yourself. Some women become very irritable during pregnancy; to some extent this is normal. Many changes are taking place in your body, but also in your daily life (especially with a first child). Sometimes other factors can influence your general wellbeing, such as relationships, work, etc. If you, or people around believe you are experiencing these symptoms more than normal, please ask us for advice, we can then discuss options.


Loss or increase of sex drive/libido 

Some pregnant women have an increased sex drive, others have a decreased sex drive. It’s also possible that your partner  has an increased of decreased sex drive. Intercourse during pregnancy is not harmful. But do not have sex when there is bloodloss or loss of amniotic fluid.