Pregnancy is often described as a time when women feel healthier and more beautiful. The much-touted glow of pregnancy is often mentioned as an indication of the enhanced physical attractiveness experienced by expectant mothers. In reality, however, pregnancy is a mixed bag of physical changes and hormonal surges that can leave many women feeling exhausted, uncomfortable and anything but glowing. Fortunately, these symptoms are generally harmless and indicate that the pregnancy is progressing normally. Here are a few of the most common ailments experienced by expectant mothers.
The most common and best-known symptom of pregnancy is morning sickness. These bouts of nausea can occur at any time during the day or night and can often be triggered by strong odors, especially of cooking food or perfume. Most cases of morning sickness lessen in severity after the first three months, but can occur normally at any stage of pregnancy. Constipation is another common side effect and is usually the result of hormonal changes; a healthy diet including fruits, vegetables and high-fiber cereals and grain products can reduce the severity of constipation for many expectant mothers. Indigestion and heartburn are also common in pregnancy and can usually be treated with over-the-counter products safely.
Hormonal changes can cause sudden feelings of heat that may resemble a fever, either localized or throughout the body. These hot flashes may occur episodically or may be experienced as an increase in body temperature during most of the pregnancy. Sweating and weakness may also be symptoms of these hormonal surges and are normal parts of the reproductive process.
The physical changes caused by pregnancy can manifest themselves in a number of uncomfortable and even painful ways. Backaches are often the result of carrying additional weight and a shift in the center of gravity that can cause women to walk and sit differently, putting strain on muscles unaccustomed to the added work. Cramps are commonplace as well, especially during sleep. These cramps may be the result of vitamin or mineral deficiencies or simply a response to additional weight and added workload during the day. As pelvic joints expand, they too can create pain and pressure during the middle and late stages of pregnancy.
Changes In Hair And Skin
Stretch marks are often the most obvious change in the skin during pregnancy; however, a number of other symptoms may occur due to the hormonal surges experienced throughout the gestational period. Patches of darker skin may develop; in some cases, women experience an overall darkening of their skin tone during pregnancy. Melasma is also known as the mask of pregnancy and can cause significant darkening of the cheeks and nose during this period as well; skin tone changes usually fade within a few months after delivery. Hormonal changes may cause increased hair growth as well.
Some women experience a frequent need to urinate during pregnancy, especially in the later months when the expanding uterus begins to press directly on the bladder; incontinence or leaking can also result during this time period. While these symptoms can be embarrassing, they are not indicative of a serious problem and usually go away after the delivery.
In most cases, these symptoms are nothing to worry about. Expectant mothers should consult their physicians in order to be sure that the pregnancy is progressing normally and to help control these symptoms using healthy, natural methods.