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Pregnancy / Smartmum / Trimester 1 / Trimester 2 / Trimester 3

6 Uncomfortable Body Changes To Expect In Pregnancy

6 Uncomfortable Body Changes To Expect In Pregnancy

6 Uncomfortable Body Changes To Expect In Pregnancy

Pregnancy affects your body in intense ways — from expected changes such as an expanding waistline and morning sickness, to others that may come as a surprise to you!

Dizziness

You may start to experience giddiness in the first 20 weeks of pregnancy as your blood vessels dilate, which lowers your blood pressure. Factors that may worsen this symptom include excess vomiting and heat. Throughout your pregnancy, you may feel more dizzy as your growing womb exerts pressure on your blood vessels.

To reduce the effects of this symptom, avoid standing up for long periods or lying flat on your back once you’re past the middle of Trimester 2. Ensure that you get up slowly from sitting or lying down, and eat regularly.

Constipation

During pregnancy, constipation is common as food moves through your intestines slower than it used to. It’s a symptom that may be made worse by the increased pressure your womb puts on your bowels, as well the increased iron in your diet if you are taking prenatal vitamins.

Ways that you can keep your bowel movements running smoothly include increasing the amount of fibre, fruit and vegetables in your diet, staying hydrated and exercising regularly. However, do consult your doctor if it becomes a serious problem.

Breathlessness

Don’t worry if you feel breathless — this is a normal and common complaint among pregnant women, as your body requires more oxygen in pregnancy. This breathlessness may increase as pregnancy advances and your growing baby pushes against your diaphragm.

While this is typically harmless, seek medical attention if your breathlessness is associated with warning signs such as chest pains, palpitations, faintness, fever, and cough and phlegm. These symptoms could indicate that there is an underlying medical condition causing your breathlessness.

To breathe easier, practise good posture, relax and be sure not to overstrain your body.

Frequent Urination

You may find yourself making more trips to the toilet in the early and late trimesters of your pregnancy as your body’s fluid levels increase. Frequent urination may intensify as your growing womb exerts extra pressure on your bladder. If you experience pain during urination, consult your doctor as this could indicate a urinary tract infection.

If you’re thinking of cutting back on fluids to reduce your urination frequency, don’t! This could leave you dehydrated. However, you may want to reduce your intake of caffeine, which stimulates your bladder.

Breast Tenderness

This is one of the earliest symptoms of pregnancy. Hormonal changes in your body may cause your breasts to become swollen and painful as your body prepares for breastfeeding. You may also notice the darkening of the areola (the area around the nipple).

Wearing bras that are a size bigger or more may make you feel more comfortable — you may even want to consider nursing bras as they tend to be softer.

Heartburn

Another common symptom that you may experience during pregnancy is heartburn — a burning discomfort in the chest often experienced after meals, which is caused by the slowing and relaxing of the muscles at the opening of your stomach.

Tips to relieve this discomfort include eating small frequent meals, avoiding food and drinks that cause heartburn, not eating close to bedtime, wearing loose clothing and not lying flat on your bed.

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A/Prof Tan Thiam Chye
MBBS (S'pore), M.Med(O&G) (S'pore) Head & Senior Consultant Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology KK Women's and Children's Hospital Director (Clinical), Office of Patient Experience Deputy Director (Education), KKH Campus Associate Professor Duke - NUS Graduate Medical School Singapore

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