​Pregnancy week 17:  Symptoms you may face in the coming weeks

We didn't want to put you off initially by giving you a long list of pregnancy symptoms to read! Here are three more symptoms to look out for in the next few weeks (pregnancy weeks 17-24).

  1. Aches and pains
  2. Heartburn
  3. Skin changes (linea nigra, stretch marks)

1. Aches and pains

Aches and pains (especially in the pelvic area) may affect you as your ligaments stretch to prepare for a natural delivery. A dull backache can occur throughout pregnancy and get worse in the 3rd trimester as your growing baby's weight puts additional strain on your back.

Coping tips:

  • In these situations, you may put a warm towel on your back (hot compress) or
  • Ask your partner to gently massage your back and legs.
  • If you need to, paracetamol is safe to take.

If you experience odd sensations of burning pain shooting down your leg, or inexplicable numbness, please consult your specialist. You may need a referral.

2. Heartburn

Coping tips:

  • To overcome heartburn, take small frequent meals throughout the day, and  avoid eating close to bedtime or lying flat right after a meal.
  • Also, avoid foods that aggravate heartburn such as oily and spicy foods.
  • Wear loose comfortable clothes.
  • If this feeling persists despite the above measures, consult your doctor for a pregnancy-safe antacid.

3. Skin changes (linea nigra, stretch marks)

Linea nigra

You may notice a vertical line from your belly button to pubic bone darken. We call this the linea nigra. The cause is not often known and it will lighten after pregnancy.

Stretch marks

Stretch marks may occur as your belly bump grows. They are usually purplish or red in colour but eventually fade into a pale white after delivery. To prevent them, you may start massaging your belly gently with pregnancy-safe belly oil.

Stretch marks are permanent; there is no miracle cream or drug to make it go away permanently once you have them.

Coping tips:

Abdominal exercises three or six months after delivery, depending on whether you eventually do a normal or cesarean delivery, may help tone up the tummy and reduce the appearance of stretch marks.

Ref: M19