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Minor Disorders

Pregnancy isn’t without its uncomfortable parts.

Many women at some time will suffer from what is known as a minor disorder during their pregnancy. They are known as minor disorders because they are not dangerous, just a normal part of pregnancy, although at the time you are suffering them they can be anything but minor!

Nausea and Vomiting

Many women will suffer from nausea and vomiting. It’s thought that the condition may be due to hormonal changes during pregnancy, but the cause is not really known.

If you suffer from this, you should find that it eases by the 16th week of pregnancy, for many women before. It really can affect your daily routine. You may find that it helps you to eat little and often through the day. Don’t over face yourself with big meals. Sip small amounts of water in between. Some people find it helpful to have a plain biscuit and water in the morning before getting out of bed.

Morning sickness

A small percentage of women will go on to develop a condition called hyperemesis gravidarum. This condition will mean that you are referred to a doctor, as you may require intravenous fluids to replace the fluids you have lost. This condition will mean that you cannot keep any food or water down. You could lose weight and become dehydrated, which is why you will need to be under a doctors care until the condition improves.


During the third trimester (28-42 weeks of pregnancy), you may find that you are suffering from cramps. These can be so bad that it wakes you up at night. You may find it helpful to do some leg stretching exercises before you go to bed, and limiting your intake of milk and processed foods is thought to help.
During an episode of cramp, try to stretch the muscle affected. For example, if you have cramp in your calf, flex your foot towards the ceiling.


You may feel that your breasts are becoming very tender and fuller. This is due to changes in hormone levels. Fat is being laid down in preparation for breast feeding and your nipples may become larger and areola darker.
You may notice these changes very early on in pregnancy. It’s important during this time to wear a well fitting bra for support as you may find at times you feel uncomfortable.


Backache is another common disorder. It can occur at anytime during pregnancy, and is more than likely caused by the hormones that relax your ligaments. Further on in pregnancy it could be related to the extra weight you are carrying. Take care with your back and rest as much as you can. If you have toddlers lift them carefully. Keep them close to you and avoid holding weight at arms length. If you have a job that involves lifting, then you should really negotiate a different way of working with your manager.

Ligament Pain

Early on in pregnancy as your uterus starts to grow the ligaments that support it start to stretch. It can cause pain lower in your abdomen and can be quite concerning for some women. These pains called Round Ligament pain are harmless and will ease over time. Try taking a warm bath to relax.
Lastly, take heart. Minor disorders will improve once you have your baby, and then it will seem worthwhile anyway!

Claire Parry RM January 2007

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