Usually caused by strain placed on your back from the growing uterus and by your changing posture to compensate. They following suggestions may help:

  • Change positions often
  • Wear low-heeled shoes
  • Avoid lifting heavy items or children
  • Don’t bend from the waist to pick items up. Instead, squat down, bend your knees, and slowly rise up straightening your legs while maintaining a straight back.
  • Sleep on your side with one leg bent and a pillow between your legs.
  • Apply heat, cold, and/or pressure to your back.
  • Do pelvic rock exercises daily
  • Reference the “Chiropractor” section in the handbook.
  • Massage may also be a good idea! Make sure that they are familiar with pregnant folk.

*If you are having a backache that is coming in waves or is accompanied with other symptoms of preterm labor, please let the midwives know (see “Reminders about Preterm Labor”).


Breast Changes

Your body is beginning to prepare for breastfeeding your baby. You may notice your areola darkening and your breasts becoming firmer and more tender. Be sure to wear a bra that is supportive and fits you well.


Breathing Problems

Feeling short of breath can be normal related to the hormones and your uterus occupying more space in your abdominal cavity leading to less room for your lungs to expand. Sometimes, when your baby’s head becomes more engaged in your pelvis, you may notice that it is suddenly easier to breathe a little bit better.

*If you are experiencing chest pain/pressure and/or feeling lightheaded/faint, please let the midwives know.



Most women experience some constipation during pregnancy related to the hormone’s influence on slowing down the passage of food as well as your uterus putting pressure on your intestines and rectum. You can try:

  • Increasing your water intake. Warm prune juice also may help.
  • Increasing your fiber–fruits, vegetables, whole grains.
  • Exercising
  • Taking a magnesium supplement may help.¬†Try 250 mg 1-2 times a day. Calm is a fizzy drink that may be an easy way to increase your magnesium.
  • Try taking some probiotics. The refrigerated ones are usually best. Aim for one in the billions.


Leg Cramps

Here are some things to try:

  • Stretch your legs before going to bed but avoid pointing your toes.
  • Eat a banana
  • Try elevating your legs up a wall for 10 minutes but be sure to place a pillow underneath one side to displace your uterus so that there is still good blood flow to baby
  • Taking a magnesium supplement may help. Try 250 mg 1-2 times a day. Calm is a fizzy drink that may be an easy way to increase your magnesium.
  • A calcium supplement may also be helpful. Try 500 mg 1-2 times a day.


Frequent Urination

Occurs most frequently in the beginning and at the end of pregnancy. If you are experiencing pain, change in the color or odor, or have a fever, please let your midwife know.



Straining with a bowel movement or frequent constipation can create or make this problem worse (reference constipation section above for ways to avoid this). Witch hazel compresses, Tucks pads, and/or preparation H can be applied to the swollen area.


Inability to Sleep

Occurs most frequently in the last few weeks of pregnancy as it is much harder to be able to find a comfortable position. Some things you can try:

  • Taking a warm bath (try adding some lavender essential oil into the tub)
  • Avoid stimulation for 2 hours prior to when you would like to sleep such as: television, electronics, bright lights, etc.
  • Try reading.
  • Lying on your side with pillows underneath your side and between your legs
  • Take frequent breaks during the day, nap if you can
  • Try 250 mg 1-2 times a day. Calm is a fizzy drink that may be an easy way to increase your magnesium.
  • A calcium supplement may also be helpful. Try 500 mg 1-2 times a day.


Otherwise known as heartburn. Back to the hormones that slow the digestion, they can also cause food to remain higher, especially with a uterus that has already brought your stomach directly to your esophagus. You can try:

  • Eating small, frequent meals
  • Avoid your trigger foods which may be: spicy, fried, greasy, acidic foods.
  • Remain with your head elevated for at least an hour before lying down
  • Raw almonds, dried papaya, papaya juice, papaya enzyme capsules, and/or Tums may be helpful.


Lower Abdominal Pain

Please see the article on Round Ligament Pain in the Maternity Handbook.


Nausea and Vomiting

Things to try:

  • Eat something bland before lifting your head from the bed in the morning. Allow the food to make it down to the stomach and then slowly ease yourself from the bed, don’t rush.
  • Eat small, frequent meals. Your stomach is very sensitive–don’t overfill it and don’t let it get too empty.
  • Avoid offensive smells the best you can. Use baking soda in and on everything to include the garbage can, the drains, in the fridge, etc.
  • Wear a smell that you find pleasant (such as peppermint or lavender essential oil) and apply this under your nose, on your wrists, and/or to your chest.
  • Peppermint or ginger in tea, soda (make sure it’s actually the real stuff), capsules, and/or candy.
  • If you are able to keep vitamins¬†down, Vitamin B6 25 mg to be taken 2 times a day may help.
  • Try SeaBands.
  • Consider acupuncture/acupressure therapy.
  • There are some medications that can be prescribed, let the midwives know if the vomiting continues to be an issue.


Skin Changes

You may notice a darkening on your face, especially around the nose and cheeks. Some women also notice a line on their abdomen. These fade postpartum once the hormones begin to decrease. Stretch marks may also occur, and unfortunately, there is nothing that can be done to prevent them. They typically fade postpartum.



Most often occurs in feet. If you are noticing hand or facial swelling, let the midwives know. Try the following for leg swelling:

  • Elevate your legs when you can
  • Have a goal to drink at least 10 cups of water a day
  • Increase your lean proteins
  • Soak in a bathtub, pool or in the ocean. You can add some Epsom salts to your bath, too–just make sure to follow the recommendations on the package.
  • Wear supportive stockings



Fatigue can be normal–remember that you are growing a baby! Exercise, a good diet, and frequent resting are likely to help.


Varicose Veins

Most frequently occur in the legs but swollen veins can also appear near the vagina and vulva. The expanding uterus places a good amount of pressure not allowing blood flow to return to the heart so easily. Relief measures can include:

  • Avoiding prolonged standing
  • Elevating your legs when you can
  • Avoid stockings or socks that have tight bands–compression stockings, however, can be helpful
  • If you sit for extended periods, take frequent breaks (preferably every hour) to stand up and stretch