10 common pregnancy complaints

You may have heard about morning sickness and extreme tiredness, but what about these other common but less talked about pregnancy symptoms.

Bleeding gums in pregnancy

Have you noticed your gums bleeding when you brush your teeth? Bleeding gums in pregnancy could be gingivitis. Hormones can make your teeth more vulnerable to plaque, leaving you with swollen, bleeding gums. You need to take extra care of your smile when you’re pregnant:

  • Book yourself a dentist appointment (it’s free through the NHS during pregnancy and for 12 months afterwards).
  • Brush your teeth twice a day for two minutes.
  • Ask your dentist about getting a professional clean.
  • Avoid sugary and acidic drinks and foods (particularly in between meal times).
  • Quit smoking.
  • If you have morning sickness, rinse your mouth with water after being sick. Try and wait an hour before you brush your teeth (they’ll be softened by the acid in your tummy).

Leg cramps in pregnancy

If you’re one of the unlucky ones rudely awoken by a sudden sharp pain in your leg, try gently exercising your legs, ankles and feet during the day - and see if that prevents it:

  • Point your toes and flex your foot up and down vigorously 30 times. Repeat on the other side.
  • Rotate your foot to make a circle, eight times on each foot.

Feeling faint in pregnancy

Been feeling slightly dizzy or faint? There are a number of reasons that you can feel faint in pregnancy; these can be hormonal changes, low blood pressure, you may become overheated or have low iron levels. Some useful tips to help are:

  • Get up slowly after sitting or lying down.
  • As soon as you feel faint, find a seat quickly - if the faintness doesn’t pass, lie down on your side.
  • If you feel faint while lying on your back, turn on your side.
  • Stay hydrated by drinking plenty of water.

If you experience feeling faint or dizzy then please contact your GP or midwife.

Feeling hot in pregnancy

Your body pumps more blood in pregnancy - that and hormones can make you feel unbearably hot:

  • Invest in a desk fan for work and your bedroom.
  • Carry a small, battery-operated fan around with you.
  • Wear loose, breathable fabrics.
  • Stay hydrated and always have a bottle of water handy.
  • Take a dip in a refreshing bath, or, better still, go for a swim.

Headaches in pregnancy

Yep you guessed it - those hormones are probably to blame again.

  • Try to rest when you can.
  • Keep hydrated.
  • Find ways to relax, like pregnancy yoga.
  • If you need painkillers, make sure you take the recommended dose. Not all pain relief is safe to take in pregnancy. Have a chat with your midwife or GP about what medication to avoid.

If you have a severe headache that does not go away it is important you are checked out by your GP or midwife. 

Indigestion and heartburn in pregnancy

Hormones and, later in pregnancy, your womb pressing on your stomach can sometimes leave you bloated, burpy, sick or with a nasty heart burning sensation. There are some things you can do that may help relieve your symptoms:

  • make a note of what sets it off. Try to avoid these foods (spicy foods, chocolate and fruit juice are often to blame), especially in the evenings
  • try eating smaller meals more frequently
  • sit up straight when you’re eating to take the pressure of your stomach
  • finish eating about three hours before bedtime
  • try drinking milk when you get heartburn (and keep a glass handy in the night)
  • prop yourself up with pillows in bed
  • ask your midwife or GP about antacids and algates.

Speak to your midwife or GP if your heartburn is severe and the above treatments don't help.

Swollen ankles, hands and feet in pregnancy

Your body holds more water in pregnancy, which can move towards the lowest parts of your body making your ankles, hands and feet swell. 

  • Take a load off: Avoid standing for long periods of time
  • Prop your feet up so they’re higher than your heart for about an hour each day
  • Do some stretches: Point your toes down and release upwards, 30 times. Then circle your ankles eight times - both feet.

If your swelling is severe or comes on suddenly, or particularly in your face as well as hands and feet, and comes with a headache or problems with your vision, you may have pre-eclampsia. If you are experiencing these symptoms, you should call your midwife, hospital or doctor immediately.

Constipation in pregnancy

As soon as you fall pregnant, hormones can play havoc with your digestive system, leaving you constipated.

  • Make sure you’re getting enough fibre - eat lots of fruit and veg, pulses, wholemeal breads and cereals.
  • Drink plenty of water.
  • Keep active.
  • If you’re taking iron supplements (which can make you constipated), chat to your GP about your options.

Get more advice about constipation and suitable laxatives from NHS Choices.

For some women, hormones can also cause the opposite to constipation – diarrhoea. If this is the case for you, drink plenty of fluids and see your GP if it does not go away after 48 hours. Check with a midwife, doctor or pharmacist before taking any medication to stop diarrhoea.

You should be seen as soon as possible if you also have a fever, stomach pain, very dark urine or blood in your stool.

Pelvic pain in pregnancy

Symptoms differ from one woman to the next and some suffer more than others but pelvic pain - also known as pregnancy-related pelvic girdle pain (PPGP) or symphysis pubis dysfunction (SPD) - can be debilitating. Make these simple adjustments to ease the discomfort:

  • Sit down to get dressed, rather than standing on one leg to put knickers and trousers on.
  • Keep your knees together when you get in and out of the car.
  • Avoid carrying heavy things in one hand - use a backpack instead.
  • Don’t do breast stroke when swimming.
  • Stop exercises that might make your symptoms worse.

Speak to your midwife about getting a referral to a physiotherapist sooner rather than later.

See more information on SPD/PGP.

Anaemia in pregnancy

Your body needs extra iron for your baby, which means you can miss out. Lack of iron can leave you feeling tired and breathless. Other symptoms can include looking paler than normal and, in some cases, noticeable heart beats (heart palpitations).

The trick is to eat plenty of iron-rich foods, combined with vitamin C (such as a glass of orange juice) to help your body absorb it. Avoid caffeinated drinks at mealtime, as they can interfere with iron absorption. Try:

  • dark-green leafy veg like broccoli
  • eggs
  • dried fruit like apricots
  • iron-fortified cereals and bread
  • pulses and beans
  • nuts and seeds.

If your red blood cell count is low, your GP may prescribe an iron supplement.

Ask your midwife if you have any questions. Find out more about anaemia in pregnancy.

More about early pregnancy

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    Dos and don'ts for a safer pregnancy

    Congratulations on your pregnancy! This page covers the evidence-based recommendations from midwives of things to do and not do in pregnancy

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    Find out how healthy you are with our simple calculator tools and see what changes you can make to help you have a healthier pregnancy.

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    First trimester worries

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    First trimester trials

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  1. NHS Choices ‘Common health problems in pregnancy’http://www.nhs.uk/conditions/pregnancy-and-baby/pages/common-pregnancy-problems.aspx (accessed 23/03/2018)
  2. NHS Choices ‘Headaches in pregnancy’http://www.nhs.uk/Conditions/pregnancy-and-baby/pages/headaches-pregnant.aspx (accessed 23/03/2018)
  3. NHS Choices ‘Can I take paracetamol when I’m pregnant?’http://www.nhs.uk/chq/Pages/2397.aspx#close (accessed 23/03/2018)
  4. NHS Choices ‘Indigestion and heartburn in pregnancy’http://www.nhs.uk/Conditions/pregnancy-and-baby/pages/indigestion-heartburn-pregnant.aspx#close (accessed 23/03/2018)
  5. NHS Choices ‘Treating constipation’http://www.nhs.uk/Conditions/Constipation/Pages/Treatment.aspx(accessed 23/03/2018)
  6. NHS Choices ‘Pelvic pain in pregnancy’ http://www.nhs.uk/Conditions/pregnancy-and-baby/Pages/pelvic-pain-pregna... (accessed 23/03/2018)
  7. NHS Choices ‘Iron deficiency anaemia’http://www.nhs.uk/conditions/Anaemia-iron-deficiency-/Pages/Introduction.aspx (accessed 23/03/2018)
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    Last reviewed on April 10th, 2018. Next review date April 10th, 2021.

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    Please note that these comments are monitored but not answered by Tommy’s. Please call your GP or maternity unit if you have concerns about your health or your baby’s health.
    • By Nancy (not verified) on 15 Jul 2020 - 15:16

      I don't have regular periods sometimes it's skip for four months but these particular one is confusing. I finished my period on 28 of May and had sex all through the first week of June. On 12 I had vodka with my family and the next day I had a very short bleeding to which lasted for 1 minute than I started peeing frequently for some days, after that I had a diarrhea for a week plus which stopped on it own, later I started feeling hot on my outer body especially my tummy and I always feel stuck on my left abdomen sometimes it hurts especially when I eat yet negative results why please. I need help

    • By Jolly munda (not verified) on 9 Jul 2020 - 22:09

      I had sex two weeks before my period...but its one month now since i had my period,i didnt have sex after my last period but i have been weeing frequently,more saliva in my mouth.abdominal pain,headache.feeling cold even when am in the sun.could that be pregnancy

    • By Maxwell (not verified) on 7 Jul 2020 - 11:21

      My wife is 9 weeks plus pregnant, already seen a midwife who scheduled her next visit in August but wish to find out the appropriate time to run an RH test to determine the blood group of the mother and child

    • By Rickies (not verified) on 15 Jun 2020 - 09:32

      Am 23 weeks, but my belly hurts after a meal for two days now what could be the problem

    • By Sarah (not verified) on 11 Jun 2020 - 03:50

      Hi I just wanted to know how old you have to be to become pregnant? And say if like your above 35-40 and not married, no partner and not having sexual relations or intercourse does this means I have no chance of baby?

      Does this mean I'm too old or infertile to have baby?

    • By nozy (not verified) on 9 Jun 2020 - 18:34

      Hi everyone am seven months pregnant,im suffering with breathing,standing,walking and my stomach is also paining and is too much tight since from five months what is the problem,please i need help am suffering

    • By Jenny (not verified) on 4 Jun 2020 - 17:47

      Hi I am almost 39 weeks pregnant and I've been experiencing loose bowel movements now for four days. My baby is moving fine and I was seen by my GP and she said all was ok and that baby's head wasn't fully engaged yet. Does the bowel motions indicated I might go into labour soon? Or could this symptom go on for weeks?

    • By Rachael (not verified) on 11 May 2020 - 19:39

      I noticed very light , dark brown discharge today for the first time. I have not had any bleeding in the 10 weeks of pregnancy. Could this be a late implantation bleeding or should I be concerned. It hasn’t been enough to fill a pad upto now it’s only been a finger nail amount of dark blood. Not getting any other symptoms apart from the usual light cramping which I have had everyday since I found out I was pregnant. Please help me

    • By Sarah Darkaw (not verified) on 11 May 2020 - 10:37

      Am 27 weeks pregnant but whatever I eat cause me a lot of pain at the back of my neck and vomiting

    • By mrs pastor (not verified) on 6 May 2020 - 20:59

      i am three month pregnant. since the time i got pregnant if i ate something i will vomit it and after i vomit all what i ate something dark like blood will follows what's it

    • By Sarah (not verified) on 1 May 2020 - 23:05

      I am 7 weeks pregnant (for what I have estimated from my last period) and have been bleeding for 8 days not enough to fill a pad but enough to wear one. I haven't had any pain just the usual slight cramp now and again. I already went and had a scan the nurse advised me everything was ok although she had not picked up a baby just a sac and yolk sac I've had loads of miscarriages before and they have never been like this. Due to covid 19 I can't see my midwife and just really need answers as it's causing me to have nightmares

    • By Kelly (not verified) on 7 Apr 2020 - 00:09

      Hi was suppose to go on the 9tb went on the 15 last month have pregnancy symptoms. Went and do urine and blood test came back nagative but all the symptoms are there and not going away. Wat makes me so worried is that I had preeclampsia 3years back and my bby died. I'm scared ill go through that again if I find out late. I'm sure I fill pregnant, can pre eclampsia course negative test.

    • By Loritta (not verified) on 3 May 2020 - 08:35

      Can someone be early pregnant like a day or two days but will not be seeing any thing like mucus please I need answer for my question

    • By Molewane (not verified) on 21 Mar 2020 - 15:14

      Hi I have been experiencing jelly like discharge is it normal

    • By SENAMILE (not verified) on 22 Jun 2020 - 07:05

      Hi its very common especially in the last three months of ur pregnancy and those are known as hormonal changes during pregnant and its nothing to worry about your baby is safe

    • By Mrs Gift (not verified) on 20 Mar 2020 - 16:01

      Am 12 weeks and 3day pregnant, I woke up n piie at night and I saw blood And I went to the doctor today I was injected with progesterone injection but I still see blood when I pie , what would be the cause
      Am scared hope my baby is safe or it normal?

    • By Sihle (not verified) on 10 Jan 2020 - 17:16

      Am 29 week but I can't work my right leg is so painful I can't even stand what can I do please help I need to go to work

    • By Kate (not verified) on 27 Feb 2020 - 10:33

      It sounds like sciatica.. mention it to your midwife.. I'd say take regular breaks or if so, go on maternity leave

    • By Clocia (not verified) on 9 Jan 2020 - 18:10

      I having 2month pregnat but I still see period everymonth it is normal pls help me

    • By Anonymous (not verified) on 9 Jan 2020 - 18:06

      I having 2month pregnant but I still see mi period pls help me

    • By maimunat (not verified) on 6 Jan 2020 - 15:13

      i gave birth to my baby through CS and now my baby is 1 years old and am one month pregnant. what should i do now

    • By Anonymous (not verified) on 6 Jan 2020 - 15:11

      i gave birth to my baby through CS and now my baby is 1 years old and am one month pregnant. what should i do now

    • By Anonymous (not verified) on 16 Dec 2019 - 14:59

      I experience pains in my belly and i saw white thick mucus coming out of my virgina and i somedays feel tired like i need some rest , and my legs and breasts are sore
      Could i be pregnant ? I hv heart burn weird cravings and feel like vomiting when i eat , i had sex last week monday
      Could i be pregnant ?

    • By Brittany (not verified) on 11 Nov 2019 - 06:58

      I'm at 17 weeks and I'm still retching in the morning and at night. It's usually stomach acid but I'm still can't make it stop.

    • By Sabrina (not verified) on 17 Jan 2020 - 13:31

      I added a protein shake to my morning meal and it stopped my morning sickness

    • By Kim (not verified) on 12 Apr 2020 - 00:33

      Try eating ginger biscuits or crackers when this happens..really helps to settle stomach. .good luck hope this helps

    • By Fir Abdullahi (not verified) on 5 Nov 2019 - 09:19

      Hi, last week when I was 10 weeks +3 my nausea and exhaustion disappeared. I feel like this is to early and with my previous pregnancies my nausea only disappeared after I finally managed to vomit. This time I haven't vomited it just disappeared on its own.

    • By beauty (not verified) on 18 Oct 2019 - 11:15

      l am 4month pregnant nd l need to remove help me

    • By Blessing (not verified) on 27 Sep 2019 - 12:55

      Hello. I remove the implant on my left hand 3month after implantating it and I got pregnant immediately and after 7weeks of getting pregnant am seeing blood after I pee and am 17 weeks gone now and am still seeing the brownish blood o... What should I do

    • By Midwife @Tommys on 30 Sep 2019 - 12:26

      Hi Blessing.
      If you are 17 weeks pregnant and bleeding, you need to be seen by a Dr or Midwife urgently today if you have so far not been seen. Take care, Tommy's Midwife

    • By Anonymous (not verified) on 4 Sep 2019 - 13:21


    • By Monica Williams (not verified) on 15 Aug 2019 - 14:38

      I had my period last saturday but had intercourse Monday night and then Tuesday I had light pink bleeding with white clear stretchy cervical mucus and today my ovaries on both sides hurt when I sit and feeling dizzy whether i am standing or sitting down but not sure what it could be

    • By Leticia (not verified) on 14 Aug 2019 - 10:32

      I am 23 weeks now and have a very bad yeast infection thats turning green now...I experienced a lot of pain around my tummy on Monday night and since then have not felt my baby moving

    • By Midwife @Tommys on 14 Aug 2019 - 15:33

      Hi Leticia, you need to go into your nearest maternity unit right away to get treatment for your infection and have some monitoring done of your baby. Please do this urgently if you have not yet done so.
      All the best
      Tommy's Midwife

    • By Baby (not verified) on 13 Aug 2019 - 23:38

      I ovulated in August 3rd , had sex on August 4th ... since den I’ve been feeling something in my stomach, feeling vomiting atimes, high temperature and my breast are heavy and my lower stomach hurts a lot.... I can’t bend down to pick something

    • By Osneyda (not verified) on 8 Aug 2019 - 15:09

      I am 32 weeks pregnant I am feeling lower pains my back hurts and mybarms are hurting real bad no I don't sleep on my sides my hands be feeling real weird what can I do

    • By Alicia (not verified) on 2 Sep 2019 - 18:44

      Am having pains in my nipples

    • By Fatima (not verified) on 28 Jul 2019 - 11:48

      Hello everyone, I'm 11 weeks pregnant and yesterday I started bleeding, it's pinkish blood and I have backpains.
      Dr did an ultrasound, the baby is there but heartbeat is faint.
      Anyone who has experienced the same case? Should I be worried?

    • By Chantal sealey (not verified) on 31 Jul 2019 - 19:37

      Yes if the baby heart is fainting and you getting back pain that can be a sign contraction and you passing pinkish blood that is leading to miscarrige see a doctor for more advice on that.

    • By Cranny (not verified) on 15 Jul 2019 - 19:07

      I am 17 weeks pregnant n m experiencing pains in my left side under my stomach what can I do

    • By Faith (not verified) on 11 Sep 2019 - 10:27

      Am having apain in my left side under my stomach what can I do

    • By tamara (not verified) on 28 Jun 2019 - 19:59

      i had my last periods on 30 may ad since that day ihad not experienced another and on 5june i had anal sex .am i pregnant .and the doctor told me that i having ovarian cyst .can it affect.

    • By Olawunmi (not verified) on 27 Jun 2019 - 03:29

      I am 4months pregnant. I woke up feeling pains in my stomach n I decided to use the toilet. Till doing that I felt like vomiting as well, n I vomited while pooing. All of a sudden I felt something very sharp in my throat ,which makes it very hard to even swallow my spit. It really paining me. Every spit I swallow goes with pains. What do I do?

    • By A (not verified) on 27 Jun 2019 - 03:28

      I am 4months pregnant. I woke up feeling pains in my stomach n I decided to use the toilet. Till doing that I felt like vomiting as well, n I vomited while pooing. All of a sudden I felt something very sharp in my throat ,which makes it very hard to even swallow my spit. It really paining me. Every spit I swallow goes with pains. What do I do?

    • By magret (not verified) on 26 Jun 2019 - 06:53

      I have d and c abortion five years ago and now am doing my period hardly two days instead of three days later it became a day and now am having breast pain something kicking in my tommy every day pls wat is it and I need a baby badly

    • By Z4 (not verified) on 28 Jun 2019 - 04:04

      My dear you could be pregnant go to the hospital and run some tests

    • By abida (not verified) on 24 Jun 2019 - 18:23

      Good day, my menses comes only two days and stopped sometimes one day and stopped. and it came in a brownish colour.what could it be?

    • By Anonymous (not verified) on 23 Jun 2019 - 16:36

      Is it hard being pregnant.

    • By Benedicta (not verified) on 22 Jun 2019 - 21:02

      Kindly assist advice.

    • By Flo (not verified) on 26 Aug 2019 - 23:23

      Possibly High prolactin - seek medical advice.

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