Unusual Ailments During Pregnancy
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Unusual Ailments During Pregnancy

Knowing what pregnancy symptoms are to be expected, and when to seek medical help.

Pregnancy is a much anticipated time, where you end up thinking of all the good things about being pregnant - like getting to wear cute maternity dresses or feeling your baby kick for the first time.  Before the novelty of being pregnant wears off, few women think of the negatives.  But the first time you start experiencing discomfort, that's when you begin to be painfully aware of how long and drawn out pregnancy can be.  Having difficulties during pregnancy is not a cause for alarm, though, since because of hormonal changes and your body adjusting to having your baby growing within you, there are some problems that are bound to recur without you having to call your OB.  Still, it's a good idea to keep track of your symptoms you have and how often, and let your doctor know about them during your routine check-ups, just to be on the safe side.

Normal Pregnancy Woes

Pregnancy affects women in a variety of ways; no two women have exactly the same symptoms.  For that reason, it can sometimes be tricky for early pregnancy detection, and remedies for pregnancy ailments may vary from one woman to another.  But at one time or another, women may experience things like fatigue, cramps, weight gain (and perhaps occasional weight loss), insomnia, varicose veins, headaches, dry or oily skin, nausea, and hot flashes, to name a few.  One of the most common ailments is unrelentless fatigue.  You just can't seem to get enough sleep!  A close second is nausea - either periodically or throughout the pregnancy.

More Symptoms

Aside from those symptoms, women may also experience:

  •  dry eye syndrome
  • mental disturbances (i.e., depression, panic attacks)
  • chronic itching
  • swelling

It makes sense that as the eyes become dry due to pregnancy, it can be a constant problem along with sinus drainage and having a stuffy nose.  Fortunately, prescription medication or over-the-counter remedies may be used safely for relief without harming your baby. 

When it comes to mental disturbances, hormonal mood swings are often to blame, causing a chemical imbalance that may or may not prove temporary.  In such cases, medication may be warranted, especially if blood pressure is effected.  At the same time, though, there is some risk to your unborn child, so it is not something that can be generalized (within this article) and must be discussed with your doctor individually to determine if anti-depressants are absolutely necessary.

Two Symptoms with Possible Underlying Causes

Dry, itching skin can happen at any time, and ordinarily you can find relief with lotions, or an antihistamine if your OB recommends it.  Women with sensitive skin may be more likely to have this happen.  When it becomes a regular issue, though, it might be a good idea to have some tests run to rule out gallstones, a diseased gall bladder, or cholistasis of pregnancy.  With cholistasis of pregnancy, a pregnant woman experiences itching that doesn't subside, and it may preclude hypertension pre-ecclampsia, and ecclampsia.  Women with cholistasis of pregnancy may be advised to be induced ahead of their due dates to ease discomfort and avoid delivery complications.

Water retention is nothing new - women tend to experience swelling of the hands, abdomen, or feel often during a menstrual cycle.  The same reasons why it happens then is why it happens during pregnancy.  But if it becomes a constant problem, includes pain, spreads, or if there are other unusual symptoms accompanying it (such as with the chronic itching mentioned above) or even gestational diabetes, then it needs to be addressed as soon as possible, since it can also be a key to diagnosing hypertension and pre-ecclampsia.  Both hypertension and pre-ecclampsia are treated well without adverse side-effects in mother and baby, and may include bedrest and medications to contain contractions or help lower blood-pressure.  Ultimately, you want to keep pre-term labor from occurring, to minimize your baby's health risks during delivery, and in the event ecclampsia develops and interferes with delivery.

Knowing Your Body

It can be confusing to know when to be worried about your health while you are pregnant, let alone if you have problems to address in the meantime.  Keeping communication flowing between you and your doctor is extremely important, so you need to have an OB you can feel comfortable with and who is flexible in his or her availability so that you can be in touch with any questions or concerns you have, whether you have common or unusual ailments during your pregnancy.  But obviously if you are pregnant and you have uncontrollable vomiting with pain, dizziness, or vaginal bleeding, go to the hospital immediately!  And while having occasional vaginal bleeding is possible, constant bleeding with or without pain is definitely not, and you still need to go to the hospital right away.

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Comments (8)

Very useful article.

Interesting, but not very unusual.

Well, cholistasis of pregnancy was sure nothing I had ever heard of until I had it when I was pregnant! My liver enzymes were high, which led my doctor to suspect this problem.


I am suprised but how Cholistasis has been played down in this article almost brushed aside as if it's nothing to worry about apart from some minor discomfort from itching. As a suffer during both pregnancies I can agree yes the itching was very uncomfortable but this is NOT why they induce you early. There is a risk of baby being still born or from mother hemoraging during the birth which is why consultants like to induce as soon as baby is full term (sometimes sooner) to minimise risks

Nicki, thanks for your comment - I would love to hear more about your experiences, as I have never encountered anyone who had that too! Not that I was downplaying the condition, but I was giving info on what I was told by my doc at the time and how it can be related to preeclampsia. I made the general statement of "delivery problems" to include everything from hemmoraging (also from ecclampsia) to further harm to mother and baby. I have toyed with the idea of writing a more in-depth article on cholistasis of pregnancy, but had not found as much info about it as you have, which is why I think you could be a valuable help! :-). In mentioning the topic here, it was based off of my own experiences and discussions with the doctors and medical staff. I guess when I was going through my pregnancy, they must not have wanted to alarm me! I certainly didn't know until the day I delivered what all the dangers could have been, and I was fortunate enough to not have my child need any neonatal care.


I think an article on Cholistasis is a great idea - anything to make the condition more highlighted as it is becoming more common. Actually it has probably always been more common than people realise as it has only recently (maybe the last ten years) been recognised by medical staff and any understanding of the treatment of it starting to come to light. During your pregnancy you are made well aware of the risk of preeclampsia which is obviously a serious condition in itself yet I find it alarming how few people have heard of Cholistasis which is just as serious a problem in that it can cause still born births and mothers to bleed to death in birth! It is worrying that so many mother's do not know to look out for the signs of the condition and I am amazed the NHS do not ensure expetant mothers are not better informed. It is usually brushed over (as I felt it was in your article as I said before) and then great depth is mentioned about preecampsia! I'm not convinced it is entirely true that Cholistasis can lead to preeclampsia - this is certainly not whay you are monitored as I have said before. I would be happy to provide you with further information about my experiences in both (recent) pregnancies and for this to be used if it helps you, what would you like to know?

I will be in touch! I'm sorry you felt that way from my article; again, I was not trying to intentionally down play it, as for me I had more of an issue with preeclampsia - but thinking about it, I wonder if my symptoms were MORE the cholistasis than the preeclampsia, since I had it bother me first anyway and didn't have hypertension until later? Yet another reason why we have to sometimes take our health into our own hands, because doctors aren't always 100% forthcoming with information OR they haven't had enough experience. By chance, was your placenta small for size or were either of your children IUGUR (small for size)?


No neither the children nor the placentas were small but as I have an underactive throid I wasn't expecting them to be! My first weighed 7 lb 13 and second 6 lb 3 (both 2 weeks early)