Pains in pregnancy: causes and remedies

Pains during pregnancy

During a pregnancy, a woman’s body undergoes significant changes, partly due to the baby growing in her belly, partly due to her hormonal changes.

Some of these changes cause pain. So let’s go and see what are the most common pains that are “typical” of this condition.


There are many women who had frequent headaches before becoming pregnant and who do not suffer from them throughout their pregnancy.

More than a quarter of them, on the other hand, complain of frequent headaches during pregnancy: mainly migraine. This happens especially in the  first trimester  of pregnancy.

As a rule, these headaches are not related to specific diseases.

But they could (for example) also be a symptom of preeclampsia (high blood pressure during pregnancy). To find out, just measure your blood pressure: a pregnant woman is considered hypertensive when her maximum blood pressure is equal to or greater than 140mmHg and her minimum is equal to or greater than 90mmHg (1 ) .

Before taking medicines, it is advisable in all cases to consult the family doctor to find out which ones are good during pregnancy and which ones are not.

Sometimes even a “simple”  chamomile tea is enough.  Certain relaxation techniques may also help, including the following:

  • massage therapy  which helps with headaches as it helps loosen up the muscles;
  • acupuncture  which can also be very effective for the purpose;

Or simply trying to slow down and deepen the breathing rhythm, as this fact causes an increase in blood oxygenation.

abdominal and inguinal pain

Lower abdominal pain is normal during pregnancy because the uterus expands and the abdomen stretches.

To limit these pains, both a support belt and a special bandage could be beneficial in order to reduce the pressure of the child on the belly muscles.

Most often this type of pain is felt between the  18th  and  24th  week of pregnancy.

However, when these tensions or pains occur, it can be useful to try to move slowly or to change position.

Mild pains, and those that last for short periods are normal, are usually nothing to worry about.

If, on the other hand, the pains are constant, intense, accompanied by strong contractions or fever, it is preferable to consult your doctor, because they could be an indication of more serious problems, such as:

  • a detachment of the placenta;
  • a premature birth;
  • a gallbladder;
  • appendicitis.

Numbness and tingling

Especially starting from the second trimester of pregnancy , the rapid development of the uterus can lead to compression of some nerve endings.

This compression can cause numbness. Numbness and tingling in the fingers may occur especially in the morning.

These are phenomena that are known, which do not involve any risk, which will disappear a few weeks after delivery.

Back pain

Back pain is one of the typical ailments of pregnancy and affects more than half of women. Those who already suffered from it before are more predisposed to it.

To avoid it or to benefit without having to resort to drugs that could harm the fetus, some precautions can be useful. In particular,

  • keep physically fit, walk, and stretch your muscles;
  • wear low-heeled shoes;
  • sleeping on your side with a pillow between your legs (see also  pregnancy pillows
  • sit on chairs (or other) that are able to adequately support the back;
  • avoid standing too long;
  • avoid lifting heavy objects:
  • do not force your back when you need to lift light objects (see photo below);
  • avoid gaining too much weight;
  • massage or rub the painful part of the back: the woman must inform the person massaging her that she is pregnant;
  • ask your doctor/gynecologist what are the specific exercises for the back to do at different times of pregnancy.

The pains in the legs

When she stands upright, all the weight that a woman “gains” when pregnant inevitably goes to her legs. For this reason, she should not stand for long periods.

Distortions.  During pregnancy, the woman’s body produces the peptide hormone relaxin which, in addition to making the muscles soft, also loosens the ligaments, thus increasing the risk of sprains.

If the woman starts already during the first weeks of pregnancy to do exercises aimed at strengthening the muscles of the legs, these exercises could also be useful in the second and third trimester.

Swellings.  Some swelling in the legs is a condition that is normal anyway. To alleviate it is recommended to women,

  • to raise the legs, perhaps with the help of a simple pillow, when they are stretched out,
  • to wear support stockings,
  • to lie down on the bed reclining on the left side.

Cramps.  Leg cramps are also common, particularly during the  third trimester of pregnancy . Gentle stretching can help prevent these cramps.

An unexplained pain in one leg could be indicative of a small blood clot, and therefore in this case it is preferable to inform the treating doctor.

Katherine Johnson, M.D., is a board-certified obstetrician-gynecologist with clinical expertise in general obstetrics and gynecology, family planning, women’s health, and gynecology.

She is affiliated with the Obstetrics and Gynecology division at an undisclosed healthcare institution and the online platform,

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