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Dealing With Discomforts of Pregnancy: 10 Must-Know Tips

Medically Approved by Dr. Edward Salko

Table of Contents

pregnant woman at home uncomfortable with a worrisome look on her face

Common Discomforts of Pregnancy

Nevertheless, most women experience pregnancy discomforts during the first trimester. Some even do so before taking a pregnancy test. After which, the symptoms gradually subside. Others may continue to notice them at varying intensities throughout the entire pregnancy. 

The following are some of the most common discomforts of pregnancy:

  • Nausea and vomiting: Eight out of ten pregnant women(1) experience morning sickness, which technically isn’t exclusive during the early hours of the day. It is a direct consequence of changes in estrogen and progesterone levels. 
  • Fatigue: You might experience feeling extremely tired and sleepy throughout the day. Fatigue is a typical early pregnancy symptom since your energy gets depleted faster to accommodate the growing fetus.  
  • Backaches: As the pregnancy progresses, you will likely experience back pains as your center of gravity shifts to accommodate the additional weight. Posture changes also contribute to this discomfort, especially as the fetus starts to take up more space. 
  • Breast tenderness: Your breasts may become swollen, tender, and itchy as they increase in size and prepare to produce milk. 
  • Frequent urination: With the growing fetus pressing the urinary bladder, you may constantly feel the urge to urinate or even incontinence. 
  • Heartburn: The hormonal changes may impact gastrointestinal activities, including the likelihood of acid backflowing from the stomach to the esophagus, which causes heartburn and indigestion. 
  • Constipation: As digestion is slowed, you may struggle to pass stool regularly. 
  • Hemorrhoids: The increased pressure from the uterus, constipation, hormone changes, and higher blood volume can encourage swelling in the anus, causing hemorrhoids(2).  
  • Irritability: It’s no secret that hormone changes can lead to mood swings. As a result, you may become more irritable than usual.  
  • Dizziness and headaches: Pregnancy can also alter your blood pressure and blood flow to the brain, leaving you lightheaded. In addition to these, low blood sugar, dehydration, and stress can cause headaches.  
  • Skin changes: Hormone changes during pregnancy are not exclusive to estrogen and progesterone; your melanocyte-stimulating hormone (MSH), which stimulates melanin, the hormone responsible for skin pigmentation, can darken certain areas of the skin. These include your nipples, freckles, the horizontal line on your abdomen(3) (linea nigra) and some skin patches.  

These pregnancy discomforts can be inevitable. However, they shouldn’t be too severe to obstruct your daily routine completely. If this is the case, it’s best to inform your obstetrician immediately to get a more tailored plan in addressing the pregnancy symptoms. 

Check out our pregnancy tests that you can order online. 

How to Deal with Pregnancy Discomforts

Handling pregnancy discomforts requires an understanding of factors that can exacerbate the condition. For example, if you develop aversion to certain foods or smell that prompt nausea and vomiting, be mindful not to come near or reduce exposure to such triggers. 

The following tips explore some of the most practical ways you can reduce discomforts during pregnancy:

  1. Eat small frequent meals
Top view pregnant woman using nursing pillow

To combat morning sickness, indigestion, and heartburn, consider eating small meals within closer windows of time. Avoid overeating to help manage your weight. Make sure to adhere to foods recommended by your doctor, to ensure you’re getting sufficient nutrients for you and your growing fetus. 

  1. Get plenty of rest
Top view pregnant woman using nursing pillow

Fatigue may be inevitable during pregnancy, but you don’t have to fight it off the bat. Instead, listen to your body and rest if you feel tired. Consider taking naps during the day and follow a strict bedtime schedule. 

  1. Drink water regularly
Close up on young pregnant woman drinking water

Dehydration(4) triggers multiple discomforts of pregnancy, such as dizziness, headache, and constipation. Keep track of your daily water intake, especially during the day. You can limit it at night to prevent frequent urination. 

  1. Add more fiber to your diet
Various fruits, Eating Health care and Healthy concept

Constipation is another major struggle during pregnancy. You can reduce this discomfort by ensuring you have enough fiber in your diet. Add fruits, vegetables, and grains to your meals, not just for the added fiber but to manage your nutritional requirement as well. 

  1. Avoid straining activities

Preserving your energy can help greatly with avoiding fatigue. Keep away from tasks that require you to lift, push, or pull heavy items. Not only does it prevent you from feeling exhausted, it also protects your growing fetus from any unintentional physical damage. 

  1. Use supportive bras

Breast tenderness can be hard to ignore. Hence, it’s crucial to use the right garment for better support. As your breasts grow, make sure your brassieres do as well in terms of cup size. Likewise, consider gently massaging your breasts to alleviate the pain and swelling. 

  1. Stay in areas with a restroom nearby 

During pregnancy, you’ll urinate more frequent than usual and it’s a bad idea to ignore it. If you have the urge to urinate, hit the restroom immediately. Otherwise, you’ll increase your risk of developing urinary tract infection, which is pretty common among pregnant women. To do this, situate yourself in areas that allow easy access to a restroom. 

  1. Use a pregnancy pillow
Full shot pregnant woman laying in bed with pregnancy pillow

They say diamonds are a girl’s best friend. But when you’re pregnant, that role goes to pillow. A pregnancy pillow(5) is designed to provide flexibility when you’re sitting or lying down on the bed. It helps alleviate back pains, improve circulation, and support your belly, hips, back, and legs.

  1. Avoid staying in one position for a long time

Unless you’re on bed rest, make sure to shift positions throughout the day. Doing so prevents musculoskeletal strains and even hemorrhoids. If your day mostly involves sitting, allocate a few but frequent minutes to stand and alter your blood circulation.

  1. Don’t ignore sun protection

Too much sun exposure can worsen pigmentation. Limit going outdoors, especially during times when sunlight is extreme. Consult your doctor regarding using products for sun protection. Sunscreens are usually safe, however, it’s still best to ask your obstetrician. 

Also Read: Healthy Pregnancy 101: The Dos and Don’ts During Your First Trimester

Frequently Asked Questions

What week does pregnancy discomfort start?

Most women feel common pregnancy discomfort in the fourth week. At this time period, the primary reproductive hormones, estrogen and progesterone, increase dramatically. These hormonal changes prepare the woman’s body to accommodate the growing fetus, which causes discomfort. It is important to note, however, that all women may experience similar degrees of pregnancy discomfort. Even the week when these happen may vary.   

What pregnancy discomforts happen after 35 weeks? 

Pregnant women may experience sore ribs, back pains, pelvic pressure, heartburn, diarrhea, shortness of breath, and swelling in the ankles from weeks 35 to 40, better known as the third trimester. These discomforts become less bad as you approach the end of the trimester. 

A condition called Braxton Hicks contractions can also be experienced and may become more frequent after 35 weeks. Braxton Hicks contractions happen when the belly feels tight. Many women mistakenly associate it with labor pains. In reality, however, they are similar to menstrual cramps. The pain bears no pattern, unlike during labor. It’s also milder and does not intensify.      

What foods can you not eat during pregnancy?

Foods that are prohibited for a pregnant woman are typically those that harbor bacteria and microbes that could harm you and your fetus. These include raw or undercooked fish, meat, seafood, sprouts, and unwashed fruits and vegetables, as well as deli meat, soft cheeses, and unpasteurized dairy. By extension, these foods also worsen discomfort during pregnancy, often causing digestive distress and inflammation. 

The Bottom Line

Handling pregnancy discomforts comes with understanding why the uneasiness or pain occurs. It’s also crucial to identify which symptoms are common in pregnancy and which ones could be isolated cases requiring immediate medical attention. Work closely with your obstetrician to develop a more tailored plan to address the discomforts of pregnancy, especially unique ones.  


1 Dean E. Morning sickness. Nurs Stand. 2016 Aug 10;30(50):15. doi: 10.7748/ns.30.50.15.s16. PMID: 27507366.

2 Bužinskienė D, Sabonytė-Balšaitienė Ž, Poškus T. Perianal Diseases in Pregnancy and After Childbirth: Frequency, Risk Factors, Impact on Women’s Quality of Life and Treatment Methods. Front Surg. 2022 Feb 18;9:788823. doi: 10.3389/fsurg.2022.788823. PMID: 35252326; PMCID: PMC8894587.

3 Cohen PR. Linea Nigra: Case Report of a Woman With a Pregnancy-Associated Linear Streak of Cutaneous Hyperpigmentation on Her Abdomen From the Umbilicus to the Pubic Symphysis. Cureus. 2023 Nov 6;15(11):e48408. doi: 10.7759/cureus.48408. PMID: 38074022; PMCID: PMC10701200.

4 Zhang N, Zhang F, Chen S, Han F, Lin G, Zhai Y, He H, Zhang J, Ma G. Associations between hydration state and pregnancy complications, maternal-infant outcomes: protocol of a prospective observational cohort study. BMC Pregnancy Childbirth. 2020 Feb 7;20(1):82. doi: 10.1186/s12884-020-2765-x. PMID: 32033597; PMCID: PMC7006388.

5 Young G, Jewell D. Interventions for preventing and treating pelvic and back pain in pregnancy. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2002;(1):CD001139. doi: 10.1002/14651858.CD001139. Update in: Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2007;(2):CD001139. PMID: 11869592.

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