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Dr Wee Wei-Wei, Consultant, Minimally Invasive Surgery Centre, KK Women’s and Children’s Hospital (KKH), a member of the SingHealth group, shares tips to deal with ten common pregnancy pains, and when you should consult your doctor.

6. Frequent urination

This usually occurs because the uterus compresses the bladder. In rare cases, this may be due to a urinary tract infection and may be accompanied by painful urination.

What you can do: Consult your doctor if you experience pain when urinating.

7. Heartburn

The hormone progesterone relaxes the oesophageal sphincter and delays the emptying of the stomach, causing heartburn during pregnancy. In the first trimester, frequent nausea and vomiting may worsen the heartburn. In the second and third trimesters, the distending uterus may make matters worse.

What you can do: Have frequent small meals and avoid trigger foods. Your doctor may prescribe medication to relieve the heartburn during pregnancy.

8. Leg cramps

Leg cramps usually occur in the second and third trimesters, especially at night. The growing uterus puts pressure on the main vein of the mother’s legs, which when combined with the effects of the hormone progesterone, affects the leg muscle tone. Leg cramps may also be due to the shortage of calcium and magnesium which the baby is absorbing from the mother.

What you can do: It is not clear whether taking calcium or magnesium salts can help to prevent leg cramps.

9. Morning sickness

Morning sickness is nausea that can occur at any time of the day, not just in the morning. It usually improves after the first trimester though some women may have it throughout the pregnancy.

What you can do: Avoid trigger foods. Have small but frequent meals and keep well hydrated.

10. White vaginal discharge

It’s normal to have an increase in vaginal discharge during pregnancy.

What you can do: If the discharge is itchy, foul-smelling or copious, consult your doctor, as it could be a sign of a lower genital tract infection, e.g. fungal infection, which pregnant women are prone to.

When should you seek help from the doctor?

Vaginal bleeding and abdominal pain are not common changes during pregnancy and usually are signs of a problem. “Patients who experience vaginal bleeding or abdominal pain should consult their obstetrician and gynaecologist immediately,” says Dr Wee.

Ref: R14