The symptoms and side effects of pregnancy vary from woman to woman. This article provides information regarding the same.
Pregnancy is the most fulfilling time of a woman’s life when everybody, right from her spouse and relatives to her friends, gives her undivided attention and care. However, despite these perks of pregnancy, there are many side effects and complications which can be experienced by some women, making them quite miserable in the process. Following are some of the side effects, which many pregnant women may encounter:
One of the common side effects experienced by a large number of women is morning sickness. Many pregnant women experience nausea and vomiting, especially in the mornings. Morning sickness, in most cases, is restricted to early pregnancy; however, it may last till childbirth.
Fatigue and Dizziness
A pregnant woman often feels very tired and fatigued. This is especially experienced in the first trimester. The woman might also feel dizzy since there might be lesser supply of blood to the brain, considering the fact that most of the body’s blood flow is directed towards the uterus.
During pregnancy, there is excess production of a hormone called ‘progesterone’. This hormone relaxes the intestinal muscles, thereby decreasing the number of contractions that are necessary to move food, fluids, and wastes through the bowel. When there are fewer contractions, the pregnant woman automatically gets constipated as the feces become hard and dry, and thus difficult to eliminate.
Another side effect is cramping in the feet, calves, and thighs. The cramps mostly occur in the third trimester, and many pregnant women complain of cramps during the night. In most cases, the cramps occur due to lack of calcium in their diet.
Certain pregnancy hormones may cause sodium retention by the kidneys, resulting in fluid retention by the body. An increased amount of fluids in the body tissues can cause fluid retention too. Due to fluid retention, a pregnant woman experiences swelling in her legs, face, hands, and feet. Swelling or edema, as it is normally referred to in medical terms, is one of the most common side effects.
Due to the presence of high levels of progesterone in the body of a pregnant woman, the ligaments around her pelvic area as well as the spine get stretched and become soft to prepare for the childbirth. This strains the back and hips of a pregnant woman, causing backache in the process.
This is a rare side effect which may occur during pregnancy. A pregnant woman’s blood pressure can elevate to abnormal levels. The symptoms of hypertension include headaches, vomiting, pain near the breastbone, and disturbed vision. Hypertension is more common in pregnant women who are over the age of 35.
Just like in PMS, i.e. premenstrual syndrome, there are many hormonal changes that take place in a mother-to-be. These hormonal changes affect the serotonin levels of the brain, which regulates the moods in a person, thus causing mood swings.
Besides these, some of the other side effects are preeclampsia, anemia, hemorrhoids, insomnia, thrush, tender breasts, stretch marks, varicose veins, loss of bone and dental calcium, gastroesophageal reflux disease, abdominal and vaginal muscle weakness, and loose skin.
Mood swings, morning sickness, and backache are considered normal, and therefore there is nothing to worry about them. However, the side effects such as anemia, hemorrhoids, thrush, and hypertension can have very serious consequences, and hence they require immediate medical intervention.
Disclaimer: This HerHaleness article is for informative purposes only, and should not be used as a replacement for expert medical advice.