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A - Z of Common Pregnancy Niggles

A-Z of pregnancy nigglesCongratulations!! You are pregnant and your body is about to embark on the most amazing changes over the next nine months.

You will probably be told of the more common niggles that can occur when you are pregnant such as the morning sickness in the early days as well as backache as your pregnancy develops but there are also many more common complaints that may occur whilst your baby is growing inside you.


  • Due to iron deficiency and the reduction of haemoglobin in red blood cells
  • May feel drained and tired


  • Ligaments and cartilage have been loosened by pregnancy hormones
  • Results in a deeply curved lower back

Bleeding gums 

  • Hormones cause swollen, soft gums which bleed more easily

Braxton Hicks

  • Uterus “practising” for the real thing
  • Contractions are generally painless but may be uncomfortable


  • As your uterus grows, pressure is exerted on your diaphragm making it difficult for your lungs to fully expand

Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

  • Opening in your wrist through which a nerve runs
  • The tunnel can swell putting pressure on the nerve causing pain and tingling in your hand and arm


  • Intestinal muscles have relaxed due to the effect of progesterone thus slowing down bowel movements


  • Main cause is due to a deficiency of calcium, phosphorous and magnesium
  • May also be attributed to poor circulation


  • Maybe due to a deficiency in diet
  • Cannot be scientifically explained


  • Could be as a result of decreased oxygen flow to the brain; low blood sugar or pressure of the uterus on the major blood vessels

Frequent toilet stops

  • In early pregnancy it is usually due to the increase in volume of body fluids
  • In late pregnancy it is due to the pressure of the uterus on the bladder


  • Can be caused by fatigue, tension, heat, emotional and physical stress


  • Stomach acids pass from the stomach back up into the oesophagus due to the pressure of the growing uterus on the stomach


  • Common in later months
  • Frequent toilet trips
  • Vivid dreams
  • Can’t get comfortable

Morning Sickness

  • Can attack morning, noon and night
  • Usually tapers by week 12


  • Insatiable need to clean up or tie up loose ends
  • Body’s way of getting you and your home ready for the new arrival

Porridge Brain

  • Unexplainable
  • Can start within the first weeks of pregnancy and tends to last long after the baby is born

Stretch Marks

  • Reddish, brownish or purplish streaks on abdomen, breasts  and or thighs
  • Much to do with collagen and elastin content of your skin

Tender Breasts

  • Swollen, tender breasts are caused by increased amounts of progesterone and oestrogen


  • Exhaustion is common in the first and third trimester
  • Due to extra weight, nerves and lethargy at the end of the pregnancy

Varicose Veins

  • Due to relaxation of smooth muscle walls of veins as a result of pregnancy hormones
  • Swelling and pain in legs is common

Although there seem to be many pregnancy complaints, most women only experience a few and some very lucky ones escape completely! If you are worried about something that has happened to your body since falling pregnant it is advisable to check – chat to your gynae at your next visit or if you are doing ante natal classes, your clinic sister will be able to reassure you.

Good luck with the rest of the journey and here’s hoping that you are one of the lucky ones that does not experience any of the niggles mentioned.

contributed by Arlaine Oxenham from Babies on Beachway