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Pain And Discomfort In Pregnancy

Pregnancy has a huge impact on your body for a whole 9 months, and it's only natural during this time to feel the odd aches and pains. But how do you know what is normal pregnancy pain and what may be something more serious?

Some discomfort is to be expected when pregnant after all, your body is adjusting to carrying and accommodating a new life and things are bound to change.

So, let’s take a look at what’s considered normal pregnancy pain and discomfort, and when you may need to get checked out by your doctor or midwife for something more serious.

So, What Is Normal Pregnancy Pain?

Understanding the different types of pain and how to proactively manage them, can help ensure a healthy and safe pregnancy for both you and your baby.

Back Pregnancy Pain 

Aching or soreness in the lower back is one of the most common areas of pain throughout pregnancy, especially in the later stages or third trimester and can be really uncomfortable both day and night. It’s generally caused by an increase in weight, changes in posture, and hormonal changes that loosen ligaments

How To Treat - You can gain some relief from this discomfort by maintaining good posture, but that’s easier said than done when you are carrying around another little human. We suggest trying some low impact exercises, such as swimming or yoga, or even a pregnancy support belt, and when at home heat or cold packs are great for when you want to relax.

Pelvic Pregnancy Pain

It’s only natural that you will experience some discomfort in the pelvic area during your pregnancy, after all, this is where your reproductive organs sit, and at times the pressure and pain in the pelvis can make sitting and walking very difficult. Pain in the pelvis can be noticed throughout your pregnancy, from start to finish and occurs when the hormone ‘Relaxin’ is produced, this hormone is responsible for loosening joints, muscles and ligaments in the pelvic area in preparation for childbirth.

How To Treat - Avoid heavy lifting and leave this to others, practice pelvic floor exercises, and using supportive pillows when sleeping will help immensely.

Stomach Pain In Pregnancy

Abdominal pain when pregnant is sometimes called ‘round ligament’ pain. At times it can feel like a dull ache or even a sharp jabbing pain in the lower abdomen or groin. Generally starting in the second trimester and continuing until labour starts, it’s triggered as the ligaments that support the uterus stretch.

How To Treat – Sometimes the only way to ease this discomfort is to rest, avoid sudden movements, and when you do have to move about, change position slowly, take your time. Gentle stretching can help too!

Sciatica In Pregnancy

Pain that radiates down the leg is caused by pressure from the growing uterus on the sciatic nerve and occurs due to hormonal changes to the body during pregnancy, often with tension and stress aggravating the situation. It’s never pleasant and can occur at any time during pregnancy.

How To Treat – A prenatal massage can offer great relief is you suffer with this condition; you should also avoid prolonged periods of sitting in one position. And again a few stretching exercises can be super beneficial.

Headaches In Pregnancy

Mild to moderate headaches are not always associated with pregnancy but they can be quite common and frequent for many mums. The pain often includes the neck area as tension builds-up. Stress, fatigue and dehydration can also lead to headaches during pregnancy, and for many pain medication is not an option.

How To Treat – It’s best to treat headaches in pregnancy by using as many natural routes as possible. Staying hydrated may seem like a quick fix, but you’ll be surprised how often pregnant mums forget to hydrate throughout the day, especially if this means extra trips to the loo! If the headache is severe, you may find resting in a darkened room helps, as will a cold compress to the forehead, lots of sleep, and if you feel inclined relaxation techniques are a great way to ease this pain.


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When Should I Worry About Pain In Pregnancy And Seek Medical Attention

Whist some discomfort is normal during pregnancy due to the many changes your body undergoes; it is crucial to distinguish between common pains and more serious symptoms.

Normal pregnancy pain is usually mild to moderate, and relieved by resting, or position changes, and is often related to the growing uterus.

However, sharp, severe pain in the abdomen, chest, or pelvic region should be brought to the attention of your doctor or midwife, if this pain is accompanied by bleeding, fever, chills, dizziness, or severe swelling you should seek immediate medical attention.

Severe Abdominal Pain

Never ignore intense pain in the upper or lower abdomen, it could be a sign of an ectopic pregnancy, early labour, placental abruption, or preeclampsia and you should contact your doctor or midwife immediately.

Severe Headaches

Persistent, severe headaches that refuse to go away with rest or hydration can also be a sign of preeclampsia and requires prompt medical attention.

Heavy Bleeding

Your normal menstrual cycle will now have been suspended during your pregnancy and as such you should not be experiencing a period every month. So, if you notice any bright red bleeding that soaks through a pad in an hour or less, you should contact of visit your local emergency care facility straight away, as this may be a sign you are experiencing a miscarriage, placenta previa, or placental abruption.

Swelling And Pain In The Legs

Redness or swelling in one of both legs, can be a sign of deep vein thrombosis (DVT), and again you should seek immediate medical attention.


Navigating Pregnancy Discomfort

Pregnancy is a time of significant changes that require major adjustments, and it's natural to feel some discomfort along the way. Here’s a guide to help you manage and navigate this special time in your life.

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Pay Attention to Your Body

  • Listen to your body’s signals.
  • Take note of what feels good and what causes discomfort.


  • Prioritise activities that promote relaxation and well-being.
  • Make time for gentle exercise, prenatal yoga, and adequate rest.

Identify What Your Body Needs

  • Drink plenty of water throughout the day to stay hydrated.
  • Eat a balanced diet rich in essential nutrients, including folic acid, iron, calcium, and protein.
  • Ensure you get enough sleep and take naps if needed.

Seek Comfort Measures

  • Wear loose-fitting, comfortable clothes that accommodate your growing belly.
  • Choose shoes that provide good support to prevent foot and back pain.
  • Use pregnancy pillows to support your body and alleviate pressure points while sleeping.

Communicate with Your Doctor or Midwife

  • Attend all prenatal appointments to monitor your health and your baby’s development.
  • Share any new or worsening symptoms with your healthcare provider to receive appropriate advice and care.
  • Don’t hesitate to ask questions about what you’re experiencing. Your provider can offer guidance and reassurance.

Lean on Your Support System

  • Keep your partner informed about how you’re feeling and what you need. They can provide emotional support and help with daily tasks.
  • Rely on close family members and friends for additional support, whether it’s running errands, preparing meals, or just offering a listening ear.
  • Join pregnancy support groups, either in-person or online, to connect with other expectant parents and share experiences.

You’re probably going to be more aware of your body during pregnancy than at any other time in your life. Listen to what it is telling you, and what it needs, including what makes you feel more comfortable. Remember your journey is unique to you and you will have your own set of experiences and yes even challenges, so be mindful of all the changes that are to come and do what works best for you.

This will often mean being open to making adjustments to your usual routine and lifestyle, we encourage you to embrace these changes, be proactive to make the journey more manageable and enjoyable.


Unexpected Body Changes During Pregnancy

Frequently Asked Questions

Is it normal to have pain during pregnancy?

Yes, experiencing some pain and discomfort is common during pregnancy due to the numerous physical and hormonal changes your body undergoes. However, the type and severity of pain can vary and should always be monitored.

When should I be concerned about abdominal pain?

While mild abdominal pain can be normal, you should contact your healthcare provider if you experience severe pain, cramping, or bleeding. These could be signs of serious conditions like preterm labour, placental abruption, or ectopic pregnancy.

Is joint pain common during pregnancy?

Yes, joint pain, especially in the hips and knees, is common due to the additional weight and the hormone relaxin, which loosens joints and ligaments.

How can I distinguish between normal pregnancy pain and something more serious?

Normal pregnancy pain is typically mild to moderate and can be relieved with rest, hydration, or gentle exercise. Severe pain, persistent pain, or pain accompanied by other symptoms (such as bleeding, fever, or changes in foetal movement) should be evaluated by a medical professional.

What are Braxton Hicks contractions?

Braxton Hicks contractions are irregular, usually painless contractions that can occur throughout pregnancy, often starting in the second trimester. They are sometimes called "practice contractions" as they help prepare the uterus for labour.


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