Top 10 common pregnancy pains

If you're pregnant, no doubt you've been told countless times what a wonderful period those nine golden months are. Your skin glows, your new baby's kicking playfully away in your tummy and everyone is dying to make a fuss of you.

Pregnancy pains

But what they often forgets to mention is all the other uncomfortable and embarrassing stuff that is also might happen to you.

Unfortunately, your hormones decide to go completely mental and your body can feel like it's playing a joke on you as you start to suffer a whole manner of ailments, irritations and discomforts.

In reality, your body is just adapting to the enormous changes going on inside, but it might not be pretty to live with - the constipation alone can bring tears to your eyes!

But try and remember that these are minor problems that will pass, and are usually nothing to worry about.

Of course, you might be one of the lucky ones who sail through your pregnancy in the picture of health. For the majority of us mere mortals, however, the chances are that you will succumb in some way, and so we've decided to compile the top 10 most common pregnancy pains you might experience...

10. Fatigue

You're going to feel knackered - a lot - but what do you expect?

Your body is having to work harder to adapt to the demands of your pregnancy, so everyday tasks will naturally seem more exhausting.

The first 12-15 weeks can be the hardest as your body is under extra strain. Don't feel guilty about trying to take naps whenever possible - but try to avoid doing it at work!

9. Backache and leg pains

As your womb and breasts get bigger and pregnancy hormones soften the muscles that support your spine, your back is going to give you plenty of gip. Your leg joints are also likely to cop it too, thanks to the extra stress and strain on your body.

Plenty of warm baths and massages should help, although painkillers like paracetamol are also are safe to take when you're pregnant.

8. Mood swings

Warn your partner now - they are likely to be on the receiving end of your moodiness! Thanks to changes in your hormonal balance, you'll probably get upset much more than usual, and perhaps become teary or angry over trivial situations.

You might experience some mixed feelings about your imminent parenthood too, as well as the fact that you're becoming as big as a house. But give yourself a break. It happens to the best of us and often, all you need is a nice big cuddle.

7. Going to the toilet

In the first three and last three months of your pregnany, you are going to need to go to the toilet a lot more than usual as your growing baby starts to squash your bladder and create more waste for your body to get rid of.

Things can sometimes start to get a bit urgent and you may find yourself sprinting (well, jogging speedily) to the loo. You may even be unable to prevent the odd sudden spurt when you cough, sneeze or laugh. Don’t be mortified! It’s just because your pelvic floor muscles are bit more relaxed than usual in preparation for your baby’s arrival.

Try and remember to do your pelvic floor exercises every day before and after the birth of your baby to prevent future accidents.

6. Varicose veins

It doesn’t matter how young or sprightly you are, hormone changes mean varicose veins in your legs are a possibility. Try to make sure you get regular gentle exercise, don't cross your legs when sitting, put your feet up as often as possible, and put on support tights or stockings before getting out of bed in the morning (attractive eh?!).

But don’t despair completely - varicose veins often improve or disappear completely after the baby is born.

5. Heartburn

Yet another thing that gets a bit saggy during pregnancy is the valve at the entrance to your stomach, meaning stomach acids can cause that burning sensation we know as heartburn.

Pressure from your growing baby on the stomach can also aggravate it. If you do end up getting heartburn, it will probably happen when you’re lying down, coughing, straining when going to the toilet or if you lift anything heavy.

To alleviate heartburn, try and keep your meals small to stop your stomach from becoming too full.

4. Fluid retention

Fluid retention when you're pregnant on the whole means swollen ankles – although it can also affect feet and hands!

There are a number of causes, ranging from your enlarged womb pressing on the veins that come up from the legs, to high blood pressure and hormones causing retention of salt in the kidneys, causing the body to retain fluid.

You can usually relieve these symptoms by elevating your ankles when resting, wearing waist-high support tights and exercising. If the swelling persists, or occurs in the face, then you should mention it to your doctor or midwife.

3. Sleeping problems

While all this is going on, there’s a good chance you’ll be having problems sleeping too.

There are lots of things you can try and do to rectify this: staying up later than you normally would, doing gentle exercise such as swimming and walking, having a warm bath and milky drink before bed, or reading a book until you're sleepy.

2. Constipation and haemorrhoids

Unluckily for you, both these conditions are really common during pregnancy.

Hormone changes slow the passage of food through your gut while your ever-increasing womb can put pressure on the rectum. Unless advised by your GP, do not use laxatives!

Instead, try to drink lots of water and make sure you get plenty of fibre in your diet through eating wholemeal bread, wholegrain cereals, fruit, vegetables and pulses such as beans and lentils. Things should soon get moving. And because of the strain of the constipation, piles (haemorrhoids) can also occur, so high fibre food and drinking lots of water are essential prevention measures!

1. Morning sickness

And finally, in at number one, it’s that universal favourite – morning sickness. This can happen at any time of the day, is extremely common and can vary from mild nausea to frequent vomiting.

Some women find that eating dry crackers before getting out of bed in the morning can be effective, while other evidence suggests that ginger tea and biscuits can also help. Try to eat little and often, and of course, drink plenty of fluids. Of course, if the sickness becomes severe, you should really seek medical advice.

So the nine month journey of carrying your baby might seem like a lot of hard work, but as any mum will tell you, it is all worth it once you have your newborn safely in your arms. Good luck!