Pregnancy brings multiple changes to a woman’s life. Everything from her body to her finances and her relationships will change over these nine months. Each month brings with it new feelings and some discomfort. Understanding how these minor aches and pains happen will help to determine what options may be available to decrease the discomfort or how long it will be before the aches go away.
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According to Heidi Murkoff, author of "What to Expect When You’re Expecting," week 12 of a pregnancy is when a new symptom may first appear. Larger amounts of progesterone are now being excreted to increase the blood flow to the baby and relax the mother’s own blood vessels. This leads to an increased amount of dizziness when standing suddenly. It may occur when going from sitting to standing or when she first gets out of bed in the morning. Pregnant women should eat regularly, get adequate rest and stand up slowly.
At week 12, pregnant women may also start experiencing heartburn, also called acid reflux. Babycenter.com notes that the pain can extend from the bottom of the breastbone to the lower throat. Pregnancy may be the first time a woman experiences heartburn. For those women who have suffered from heartburn before, the symptoms may actually get worse during pregnancy. Progesterone is also the culprit in this discomfort. In the process of relaxing the blood vessels, the valve that separates the stomach and the esophagus also relaxes, allowing gastric acid to flow up the esophagus. Heartburn may be worse when lying down immediately after a meal.
Breasts are still enlarged and tender at 12 weeks, reports Heidi Murkoff. At the start of a pregnancy, the breasts are getting ready to deliver milk to the newborn baby, so there is a buildup of fatty tissue and an increase in blood flow to the area. Although the breasts will continue growing, within one or two weeks the tenderness will subside.
Many women have lower levels of blood sugar during their pregnancy, as the body continues to feed and nourish the baby. This decrease in blood sugar can lead to the occasional headache, especially in the first trimester, when the baby and placenta are growing quickly. Heidi Murkoff suggests that eating regularly throughout the day can help to reduce the blood sugar peaks and valleys and therefore prevent some of those headaches. Do not take any over-the-counter medication to treat headaches unless the obstetrician has recommended it.