A woman’s body undergoes several physical and emotional changes during pregnancy, a transformational period. Morning sickness or nausea is a typical experience, especially during the first trimester. Other common changes during pregnancy include back pain, breast tenderness, constipation, fatigue, frequent urination, heartburn and leg cramps. These changes can be present in one or two trimesters of pregnancy, in all three trimesters or not at all.

Most pregnant women claim their memory worsens during pregnancy. However, the so-called “pregnancy brain” has not been proven to exist. “Memory problems may be attributed to lack of sleep, fatigue or simply thinking too much. Motherhood is, after all, a very life-changing process,” says Dr Wee Wei-Wei, Consultant, Minimally Invasive Surgery Centre, KK Women’s and Children’s Hospital (KKH), a member of the SingHealth group.

Dr Wee explains how you can cope with ten of the common physical and emotional changes during pregnancy:

1. Back pain

Back pain usually occurs during the second and third trimesters. It is usually worse in the third trimester due to the distending uterus and the weight of the pregnancy.

What you can do: Have plenty of rest and wear proper walking shoes. If you can’t bear the back pain, simple analgesia such as paracetamol may suffice.

2. Breast tenderness

Hormonal changes can cause the breasts to feel heavier and tender.

What you can do: Usually, breast tenderness is mild and tolerable, and paracetamol and cold cabbage compress will provide relief.

3. Constipation

What you can do: Have plenty of water, fruits and vegetables. If you are still constipated, your doctor may prescribe laxatives.

4. Fatigue

What you can do: Have plenty of rest, good sleep hygiene and a balanced diet.

5. Mood swings

What you can do: Good sleep hygiene, a well-balanced diet and a safe exercise regimen may improve mood swings.

More tips to deal with morning sickness, leg cramps and more on page 2!

Ref: R14