Signs & Symptoms | Beyond Braxton Hicks and Nausea

Pregnancy or Not? – Signs & Symptoms

Morning sickness, Braxton Hicks, heartburn, indigestion, shortness of breath. What does that list have in common? To start with, everyone knows they’re very common side effects of pregnancy. A million words have been written about them, every woman’s doctor warns her about them and when you get them you know what you have and what you can, or can’t, do about them.

But what about the second string of pregnancy symptoms? We’re talking hip pain, skin tags, sore navels and a couple of things with fancy names that sound much more ominous than they are. Dr. Dotti James, associate professor of nursing at Saint Louis University, says because these symptoms don’t always get the press that the more common symptoms do, some women worry needlessly. Here are some lesser-known pregnancy symptoms and what you can expect if you’re experiencing them.

Hip Pain

Carpal tunnel syndrome is common in pregnancy, even with women who have no environmental or employment factors.

According to Dr. James, this is a very common symptom of pregnancy, particularly in women older than 35, although doctors aren’t sure why. “We think that the progesterone causes it,” says James. “It’s the same effect that causes the pregnancy waddle. As the cartilage in your pelvic girdle stretches, you get a slightly unstable hip, and that can cause soreness, especially at night when you lie down. James suggests experimenting with sleeping with pillows between the legs or trying different mattresses.

Belly Button Tenderness

Dr. James says she’s heard women describe it as feeling like someone has poked a finger into their belly button. It has to do with the uterus growing, and as it grows it pushes everything out of the way. The discomfort usually reaches its peak at the 20th week and then subsides.

Birth Plan Maker

The decisions you make as a parent are endless. Even before your baby is born you have to choose a name, a stroller, a crib and pick out a nursery theme, and then purchase and assemble it all. And what about one of the biggest decisions you have to make – where and how you want your baby born.

“Don’t wait until the last few weeks of pregnancy to discuss [your birth plan] with your care provider,” says Michelle Collins, a certified nurse-midwife and faculty member in the Nurse-Midwifery Program at Vanderbilt University. “A birth plan lets everyone involved … know what [your] desires are and helps to make it the experience [you] are looking for.”

Regardless of the path your delivery takes, the end result is going to be perfect.

Here is information to help you decide where you want your baby born (at home, a birth center or in the hospital), who your care provider will be (a midwife, a family practitioner or an obstetrician) and choices such as pain management and alternative birth methods. A complete birth plan will include many more details – from your musical preferences in the room to who will cut the umbilical cord – but this will help with the big decisions.

Home (Natural and Water Births)

You may consider a home birth if you like the idea of the flexibility and comfort you will derive from familiar surroundings during your labor. In addition, it is a method that will ensure the least amount of interventions, allowing you to have a natural childbirth.

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