10 totally normal things to experience in pregnancy
During your pregnancy you will most likely experience something and think ‘Is this normal?’ ‘Has anyone else experienced this before?’ Well the answer is most likely yes! When you become pregnant, your hormones and body change a lot, and this affects your body in different ways.
Here are 10 things you may experience in pregnancy that are totally normal!
As pregnancy progresses and your baby grows, the skin on your abdomen is stretched and this can cause it to feel itchy. Your body also increases its blood supply to the skin, which causes an itchy feeling. Mild itching is not usually anything to worry about, but if it becomes worse seek assistance from your doctor.
Wearing loose clothing may help with the itchiness, as your clothes won’t rub up against your skin and irritate it. Having a cool bath or applying moisturiser may also help to soothe the itching.
Shortness of breath
60 to 70 percent of pregnant women who say they have never felt breathless before also say that they feel short of breath in pregnancy. So don’t worry - this is common! Feeling breathless can feel a bit scary, but this type of breathlessness in pregnancy is harmless and nothing to worry about.
There are a couple things you can try to help ease your breathlessness.
Keeping an upright posture may help (also may help with any backache). Standing upright and putting your hands above your head while taking deep breaths may also give your lungs a bit more space. Doing a bit of light exercise (yoga, walking, swimming) will help you to feel less breathless overall (even though in the moment you may feel puffed!)
If you are finding you feel really breathless often, then visit your doctor or midwife for a check up.
Vaginal discharge in pregnancy is completely normal and can happen for a few reasons. One main reason is that the cervix and vaginal walls get softer and discharge increases to help prevent any infections that may travel up from the vagina to the womb. The hormone progesterone will increase once pregnant, this also causes more fluid to be produced.
Even though it is totally normal to have vaginal discharge during pregnancy it is a good idea to keep an eye on it for any changes. Discharge should be clear and white, and not smell bad. However, each women’s may vary, so it’s good to keep a mental note (or a diary) on what yours looks like from the start of pregnancy. Discharge shouldn’t; be coloured, have blood in it or smell. If you notice any of these things or are unsure if the discharge is normal, let your midwife or doctor know.
Towards the end of your pregnancy, you may have so much vaginal discharge that you get in confused with your urine - and yes this is completely normal!
Leaking breasts during pregnancy? No worries - it’s normal and nothing to worry about! Your body produces something called ‘colostrum’ (thick, creamy milk) before producing breastmilk, and this is most likely what’s leaking. Some women leak quite a lot of colostrum, whilst others don’t leak at all! It can be very annoying to have leaking breasts, so you could wear breasts pads inside your bra, which will absorb the milk and stop it from showing through to your clothes.
Faster heart beat
Your heart will be working extra hard during your pregnancy, as it has an increase in blood volume and needs to circulate this extra blood. So your resting heart rate will be faster than normal. This can lead to having heart palpitations during pregnancy. It is always better to check with your doctor or midwife if you are unsure about your heart rate, or if something doesn’t feel quite right.
’All day sickness’
‘Morning sickness’ is what people call the vomiting and nauseous feeling that pregnant women get when they’re in their early months of pregnancy. However, many women I have come across have commented saying they would like it to be named ‘All day sickness’! The exact cause of morning sickness is unknown, however it is said that the change in hormones play a big part. Majority of pregnant women (2 out of 3) have morning sickness! It is very normal. However each individual’s body will have and deal with it differently. It is not uncommon for some pregnant women to have morning sickness up until 20 weeks pregnant or for the entirety of their pregnancy.
Heartburn and Indigestion
Have you experienced heartburn or indigestion before? If you have you know how uncomfortable and painful it can be! During pregnancy, experiencing these can be quite normal, so it is helpful to know a few things you could try to help avoid or treat it. It is important to note that sometimes the feeling of heartburn can be confused with pre-eclampsia, which is a more serious condition. If you aren’t sure if it is heartburn or not, you could have a check up with your doctor to confirm.
Up to 1 in every 4 pregnant women experience haemorrhoids. This may come as a shock to you as it’s not spoken about very often - but it’s normal! Haemorrhoids (can also be known as ‘piles’) are small swollen veins around the anus. They may itch, burn or bleed a little. If you aren’t sure if you have haemorrhoids, consult with your GP, so that they can confirm and they may direct you to a pharmacist who could give you something to help. It’s important to tell the pharmacist that you are pregnant, so they can give you pregnancy safe medication.
Body aches & back pain
Your body is creating a tiny human, so you are probably aware that you are going to feel uncomfortable at some points in your pregnancy. Pains, aches and cramps in your belly and body are normal. Throughout pregnancy, the tough tissue that connect your bones stretch to support the growing uterus, which can cause pain and discomfort.
If you are unsure if your aches and pains in your abdomen are normal, then speak to your care provider.
Your body is preparing itself for labour by stretching and softening the ligaments. This can cause the joints of your lower back and pelvis to strain, and cause your back to ache. If your backache seems abnormal, seek help from your care provider. To help relieve back pain you could try to work on having better posture, try gentle exercises in water, acupuncture, a massage, hot packs and the list goes on.
You may be well aware that being pregnant can have a big impact on your day to day. Feeling hot, faint or tired is common for most women during pregnancy. Your hormones are changing and you have an increase of blood supply to the skin, which causes these things. It is important to rest as much as you can, drink plenty of water and eat a nutritious diet to help keep your energy levels up.
All of these things are completely normal to experience during pregnancy! I recommend keeping a little diary so that you can keep track of these things. You will then be able to see if anything changes and you could share these things with your doctor or midwife if you need.
If you are ever unsure about the things you are experiencing in your pregnancy, it is a good idea to see your doctor or midwife and ask them to check. Doing this will also help to ease your mind.
If you would like to chat more about what is normal in pregnancy or if you have any questions please reach out! I would love to chat :)