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Common pregnancy complaints

Nausea and/or vomiting

Nausea and/or vomiting is very common, particularly in the first 12-16 weeks of pregnancy. Often known as ‘morning sickness’, this can be misleading, as it can occur at any time of day. It can help to have a snack before getting out of bed and eating small, regular meals throughout the day. There are plenty of other things you can try. Sometimes nausea and vomiting can be severe and debilitating, this is known as hyperemesis gravidarum, and may require treatment with antisickness medications and/or admission to hospital for treatment. It is advised not to brush your teeth immediately after vomiting, but rather to use a mouthwash containing fluoride (0.05%) no more than oncea day. If vomiting is occurring regularly in the day, rinsing immediately with water is advised. This will help prevent tooth wear caused by acidic products from the stomach entering the mouth.

Urinary tract infections

Urinary tract infections are more common in pregnancy. You should look out for the signs and symptoms, and contact your GP or midwife urgently if you think you could have an infection. Symptoms include painon passing urine, passing small amounts of urine more often than usual, or urine that is cloudy and strange smelling.


Incontinence can affect women during and immediately after pregnancy, due to the effect of hormones on the pelvic floor, and the pressure from the growing baby. Women may leak a small amount ofurine when coughing, laughing, sneezing or moving suddenly, and this is usually nothing to worry about. If symptoms persist for a long period after birth, or are severe, ask your GP to refer you for specialist support. It is recommended that all women strengthen their pelvic floor during pregnancy. Download the ‘squeezy app’ to help you with pelvic floor exercises.

Feeling faint

Feeling faint is common and often caused by standing up too quickly or lying flat on your back. Always stand up gently and when lying down try to stay on your side, particularly after 28 weeks gestation.


Headaches may increase due to hormonal changes. Drink plenty of water, rest and take paracetamol if required. Contact your midwife/doctor if you experience a sudden severe headache (with/without problems with vision).


Indigestion/heartburn is caused by hormonal changes, and the womb pressing on your stomach as your baby grows. There are plenty of home remedies you can try. Milk and/or antacids can help ease symptoms.

Swollen hands, ankles and feet

This often occurs as the body holds morewater whilst pregnant. Avoid standing for long periods, rotate your ankles regularly and elevate your feet when seated if possible. Sudden and severe swelling isn’t normal and you should call your maternity unit if you notice this.


Constipation can occur from quite early on in pregnancy. Drink plentyof water and ensure you’re getting lots of fruit, vegetables and fibre in your diet.

Pelvic girdle pain

Thia can affect one in five women during pregnancy. It can cause mild discomfort for some, and be very debilitating for others. Try to keep your knees together and avoid putting excess strain on oneside of the body during daily activities. Examples include getting dressed whilst sitting down, taking stairs one step at a time and using a backpack instead of a handbag. Ask your midwife about seeing a specialist physiotherapist if you’re experiencing problems with pelvic pain.

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