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Common discomforts of pregnancy vs. warning signs.

We need to differentiate between common discomforts and warning signs of pregnancy for the childbearing family. It is essential that they know when to seek immediate medical assessment. Many common discomforts are better tolerated when the family is armed with evidenced-based selfcare measures in advance. This issue is filled with articles on different discomforts of pregnancy, why we think they happen, evidence-based approaches to reducing the symptoms, as well as when to seek medical attention.

Warning signs indicate the immediate hospital or health care provider is required. These include vaginal bleeding, seizures, high fever, severe abdominal pain, severe headaches, blurred vision, or difficulty breathing. Women should also seek health care as soon as possible if they feel ill, have swelling, have abdominal pain, or are running a fever (, 2016! March of Dimes, 2016).

Discomforts of pregnancy can begin within days of conception with hypersensitivity to smell and may progress through heartburn, nausea, vomiting, headaches, pinched nerves, varicose veins, disturbances in sleep, and more. With any approach to treating discomforts we want to first do no harm. Measures must be proven safe for pregnant women and their babies. Some of these measures have been used for centuries and are not considered to be dangerous.

These discomforts are so common that over time tendencies seemed to cluster around the phenomena with folklore. Some folklore includes heartburn; the more heartburn you have, the more hair on the baby's head. If the hair on your legs grows faster you are having a boy (or in some cultures a hairy baby). The darker the linea nigra, the calmer the baby. If you have a lot of heartburn eat toast corners and your baby's hair will be curly. Or perhaps you have heard your grandmother say you will lose a tooth with every pregnancy.

Remind your families to seek advice from their provider before they take any medicine, supplement, application, exercise, or herbal product to treat a discomfort. There are times that pregnancy is uncomfortable. For many discomforts of pregnancy there are several things you can do to reduce the symptoms. I reflect back on the nausea and vomiting for 18 weeks soon to be replaced with back pain, constipation, stretch marks, heartburn, fatigue, insomnia, dizziness, and frequency of urination. My son was grounded for 10 years for all that. Some have a lovely pregnancy, feel healthy, energized, and marvel at the wonder of the beautiful experience. Just be aware that there are some who don't want to hear about it. [C]

Special thanks this issue to Ahing for the photos and our model Treasure. They are both BSN nursing seniors at Tennessee State University who took on this photo project for our January issue on common discomforts in pregnancy.

Members please email me. Let me help you write for our journal. Let me know what you want to know. Upcoming issues include breath work, comfort measures in pregnancy, and evidenced-based practice. If you are interested in doing a book review, email me and inquire about what is available and I will provide guidelines.


Women's (2016) describe normal body changes and discomforts which include:

Body aches

Breast changes



Fatigue, sleep problems

Heartburn and indigestion



Leg cramps

Morning sickness

Nasal problems

Numb or tingling hands

Stretch marks, skin changes


Urinary frequency and leaking

Varicose veins


References (2016); NCBI.NLM. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.

March of Dimes. (2016). Common discomforts of pregnancy. Retrieved December 2, 2016, from pregnancy/common-discomforts-of-pregnancy.aspx

Women's (2016). Body Changes and Discomforts. Retrieved December 1, 2016 from pregnancy/you-are-pregnant/body-changes-discomforts.html
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Title Annotation:The Editor's Perspective
Author:Wilson, Debra Rose
Publication:International Journal of Childbirth Education
Article Type:Editorial
Date:Jan 1, 2017
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