Common pregnancy problems and advice

Pregnancy can come with some uncomfortable symptoms that are mostly harmless. The information below information is intended for self-treatment of minor problems in pregnancy.

If you are worried, your condition is getting worse or you have any of the following symptoms, please call us. 

If you are under 18 weeks pregnant

Call 111 or visit Urgent Care or A&E Over 18 weeks: Maternity Triage 01895 279 054.

  • Spotting or light vaginal bleeding
  • Constant vomiting
  • Leaking fluid from the vagina
  • Pain when passing urine
  • Persistent severe headache
  • Swelling in face, hands or legs
  • Contractions or cramps
  • Itching, especially on hands and feet
  • Sharp or continuing abdominal pain
  • Pelvic pain
  • Blurred vision or seeing spots
  • Baby’s movements slow down or their pattern changes
  • You have a fever (high temperature)

Sickness and nausea

Nausea and vomiting in pregnancy is very common in early pregnancy, which can affect you at any time of the day or night. You may feel very unpleasant and it can affect your day-to-day life but is usually harmless to your baby and most people tend to feel better by around 16-20 weeks.

You can help your symptoms by changing your lifestyle by:

  • Getting plenty of rest
  • Using special acupressure bands on your wrists
  • Eating bland foods such as toast or biscuits
  • Eating food or drinks containing ginger
  • Eating smaller portions more often throughout the day
  • Avoiding food and smells that make you feel worse

Sometimes lifestyles changes alone will not resolve sickness and you may require some anti-sickness medication, you will need to see your GP for this medication.

There is a small chance of developing a severe form of pregnancy sickness called Hyperemesis Gravidarum, which may require hospital treatment.

If your symptoms are not improving, getting worse or you are worried, please contact your GP or call 111 for advice.

Indigestion (heartburn and acid reflux)

Indigestion, also called heartburn or acid reflux, is very common in pregnancy and can be caused by hormonal changes and the growing baby pressing against your stomach. Changes to your diet and lifestyle usually can ease symptoms but if these are not effective then there are over the counter medicines that are safe to take in pregnancy – such as Gaviscon. You can speak with your local pharmacy to get the right ones.

Things you can do to help with indigestion

Eat and drink healthily: If you’re feeling very full after eating you’re more likely to get indigestion. Try having smaller amounts of food more regularly throughout the day and try not to eat too soon before going to bed. Some foods and drinks such as caffeine rich, spicy or acidic food may make your symptoms worse, try reducing or stopping these to ease symptoms.

Keep upright: Try sitting up straight to eat and don’t lie down too soon after eating. Think about sleeping with more upright positions.

Stop smoking and avoid alcohol: Smoking can cause indigestion by inhaling chemicals that relax the muscles in your gullet, which allow acid to come back up more easily. Stopping both smoking and drinking alcohol in pregnancy are beneficial to yourself and your baby.

Speak with your midwife or local pharmacy if you need smoking cessation support.


The hormonal changes in your body may cause you to become constipated even early on in your pregnancy, this can be very uncomfortable and can cause haemorrhoids (piles).

If you are very constipated, you can see your GP or local pharmacy for over the counter medications.

To try and prevent constipation

  • Eat foods that are high in fibre, such as wholemeal breads and cereals, fruit and vegetables, and pulses such as beans and lentils
  • Exercise regularly
  • Drink plenty of water

Thrush and increased vaginal discharge

Increased vaginal discharge in pregnancy is very common and is caused by increased hormone levels. Thrush (a fungal infection) is also common in pregnancy and can be very uncomfortable and itchy, to reduce discomfort ensure you clean regularly with water and wear loose cotton underwear and clothes. Over the counter thrush creams and pessaries can be used in pregnancy, but not the anti-thrush tablets, your local pharmacy will be able to talk these through with you.

Please contact your local pharmacy or GP if:

  • You have white discharge that looks like cottage cheese
  • You begin itching or are sore around the vagina and vulva
  • You experience pain or stinging during sex
  • You experience pain or stinging whilst passing urine