Common Discomforts of Pregnancy

pregnancy discomfort Pregnancy is a time of both physical and emotional changes. Aside from the obvious changes in your body shape and the size of your uterus, shifts in hormonal levels and metabolism can contribute to various physical and emotional discomforts.

Although the pregnancy discomforts mentioned below are common, they are not experienced by all pregnant women and may not be a part of your pregnancy. It is important to remember:

• You may need to try more than one remedy before you find one that works for you.
• Good nutrition is especially important for a comfortable and healthy pregnancy. Eating well can minimize discomforts and help your body cope with the stress of daily life.
• If you have a physical discomfort that is severe or does not go away, contact your health care provider.
• If you have a chronic health condition, such as diabetes or asthma, it is very important that you see your health care provider throughout your pregnancy.



Ankle Edema

Rest with your feet elevated. Avoid standing for long periods. Avoid restrictive garments on the lower half of your body.


Apply local heat. Avoid long periods of standing. Stoop to pick up objects. Tylenol in usual adult dose may help. Wear low-heeled shoes.

Breast Tenderness

Wear a supportive bra. Decrease the amount of caffeine and carbonated beverages ingested.


Increase fiber in your diet. Drink additional fluids. Have a regular time for bowel movements.

Difficulty Sleeping

Drink a warm, caffeine-free drink before bed and practice relaxation techniques.


Schedule a rest period daily. Have a regular bedtime routine. Use extra pillows for comfort.


Move slowly. Avoid crowds. Remain in a cool environment. Lie on your left side when at rest.


Avoid eye strain. Visit your eye doctor. Rest with a cool cloth on your forehead. Take Tylenol in regular adult dose, as needed. Report frequent or persistent headaches to your primary care provider.


Eat small, frequent meals each day. Avoid overeating, as well as spicy, fatty, and fried foods.


Avoid constipation and straining with a bowel movement. Take a sitz bath. Apply a witch hazel compress.

Leg cramps

Avoid pointing your toes. Straighten your leg and dorsiflex your ankle.


Eat six small meals per day rather than three. Eat a piece of dry toast or some crackers before getting out of bed. Avoid foods or situations that worsen the nausea. If it persists, report this problem to your primary care provider.

Nasal stuffiness

Use cool air vaporizer or humidifier, increase fluid intake, place moist towel on the sinuses, and massage the sinuses.


Use mouthwash as needed. Chew gum or suck on hard candy.

Round ligament pain

Avoid twisting motions. Rise to standing position slowly and use your hands to support the abdomen. Bend forward to relieve discomfort.

Shortness of breath

Use proper posture. Use pillows behind head and shoulders at night.

Urinary frequency

Void as necessary, at least every 2 hours. Increase fluid intake. Avoid caffeine. Practice Kegel exercise.

Vaginal discharge

Wear cotton underwear. Bathe daily. Avoid tight pantyhose.

Varicose veins

Walk regularly. Rest with feet elevated. Avoid long periods of standing. Rest with feet elevated. Avoid long periods of standing. Do not cross your legs when sitting. Avoid knee-high stockings. Wear support hosiery.


California Pacific Medical Center

Maternal and Child Health Nursing by Adele Pillitteri 3rd Ed

What Do You Think?