Common Pregnancy Symptoms

If you have any concerns please speak to your Midwife or GP.

Nausea & sickness

You may feel sick and experience vomiting in the early part of pregnancy. This does not indicate that anything is wrong and it usually stops around the 16th to 20th week. If you have severe problems speak to your GP who may give you further help or prescribe tablets for sickness.


Your midwife or GP should give you information about what to do if you suffer from heartburn during your pregnancy. If it persists they will offer you medicine to relieve the symptoms.


If you suffer from constipation while you are pregnant your GP can advise you on ways in which you can change your diet (such as eating more bran or wheat fibre) to help relieve the problem.


If you suffer from haemorrhoids, your GP will give you information on how to change your diet. If the symptoms continue to be troublesome they may offer you a cream to help relieve the problem.


Backache is common in pregnant women. Massage therapy and exercising in water may help you to relieve any discomfort.

Varicose veins

Varicose veins are common and are not harmful during pregnancy. Compression stockings may help relieve the symptoms. Discuss any symptoms with your GP.

Pelvis discomfort/pain

In pregnancy, the hormone relaxin is released to soften the ligaments and muscles in preparation for the birth of your baby. Because the hormone causes the ligaments to soften and stretch it which can cause pain in the pubic area, groin, inside the thighs and sometimes in the lower back.

Carpal tunnel syndrome

Carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS) is pressure on a nerve in your wrist which causes tingling, numbness and pain in your hand and fingers.

During the later stages of pregnancy you may notice that you are retaining fluid and that you have swollen hands and ankles. A fibrous band across the wrist protects blood vessels, nerves and muscles as they pass into the hand. The area beneath this band is called the carpal tunnel and swelling under this band causes compression of the nerve and blood vessels, which supply the muscles, and skin. This causes symptoms that may include:

  • Swelling
  • Tingling or pins and needles affecting the thumb, palm, and fingers of one or both hands
  • Numbness
  • Night pain
  • Hands may be hot and sweaty and mottled in appearance
  • Difficulty holding/gripping objects
  • Pain/swelling in the forearms.

If the swelling becomes severe, affects your face or gives you headaches you must contact your midwife immediately.

You can help reduce the symptoms of CTS by:

  • Removing all rings, watches and tight clothing which may restrict circulation.
  • When resting, keep your hands elevated on pillows and clench/ release your fists several times to improve the circulation.
  • If your hands are particularly swollen use an ice pack or plunge your hands in to a bowl of iced water for up to ten minutes
  • Discuss with your midwife using splints to support your wrists at night, to keep your hands in a good position. If you have pain in only one hand, avoid sleeping on that side.
  • Avoid taking weight through your hands and keeping your wrists bent for long periods of time.
  • Keep your wrists in a neutral position, especially when using computers or similar equipment. You can use your splints throughout the day to support your wrist.

Where to seek support for common conditions

See your GP or Community Midwife for support on the following:

  • Vaginal discharge/itching
  • Urinary problems
  • Cold & Flu symptoms
  • Diarrhoea and vomiting
  • Vomiting
  • Childhood disease advice
  • Cysts and lumps
  • Nose bleeds
  • Haemorrhoids
  • Constipation
  • Varicose veins.
  • Travel information (or practice nurse or midwife)
  • Early pregnancy bleeding less than 20 weeks gestation
  • Prescription or repeat drugs

See your Midwife for support on the following:

  • Skin rash
  • Ruptured membranes
  • Headache not relieved by paracetamol
  • If you are worried about fetal movements and are less than 25+6 weeks gestation
  • Infections (or GP)
  • Show
  • Pelvis discomfort
  • Carpel Tunnel syndrome.

See your Maternity Unit (Place of Birth) for support on the following:

  • Any vaginal bleeding
  • Severe or moderate abdominal pain
  • Ruptured membranes
  • If you are worried about fetal movements or change in pattern of movements and you are more than 26 weeks gestation
  • Visual disturbances - flashing lights/blurred vision
  • 36 weeks gestation or less and regular contractions.

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