quote bubbles describing various pregnancy concerns including nausea, preeclampsia, weird cravings, UTI, and more

Common Pregnancy Concerns

By Josey Murray
Reviewed by Alyssa Quimby, M.D.
June 26, 2024

When you’re pregnant, your body is going through many changes. From morning sickness to swollen feet, a variety of pregnancy concerns can crop up throughout these nine months. Some simply cause discomfort, and at times, you may worry that something more serious could be wrong.

Here’s a list of common pregnancy concerns, including symptoms and pregnancy complications. See below to find information that can help you better understand what you’re going through, what to look out for, and how to feel better.

Yeast Infection

Yeast infections occur because of an excess of candida, a fungus in the vagina. They may be more common during pregnancy due to changes in hormone levels which impact the pH of the vagina.

If you have a yeast infection, you may experience itching or burning of the vulva and white, lumpy discharge. You may also notice redness or swelling.

The good news is that yeast infection treatment is often simple. Your doctor will usually prescribe an oral medication or recommend over-the-counter medications like Monistat.

Wearing cotton underwear and loose clothes, changing out of wet clothes, taking a probiotic, and choosing unscented lotion and detergent may reduce your chances of getting a yeast infection.

Learn more about yeast infections


Preeclampsia is a condition characterized by high blood pressure that wasn’t present before pregnancy. It usually develops after 20 weeks of pregnancy and can even develop postpartum.

Signs of preeclampsia include face or hand swelling, vision changes, abdominal pain, protein in the urine, and headaches. It’s important to be aware of the signs so you and your doctor can catch it early. Your doctor will regularly check your blood pressure and urine throughout your pregnancy to screen for this.

If you have preeclampsia, your doctor may schedule more frequent prenatal visits to monitor your blood pressure closely. In some cases, medication or hospitalization may be necessary. When preeclampsia is diagnosed late in pregnancy, delivering the baby early may be the best option.

Read more about preeclampsia

Urinary Tract Infection (UTI)

A UTI, or urinary tract infection, causes symptoms like burning or pain during urination and frequent need to urinate. You may find you’re more prone to UTIs during pregnancy, due to pregnancy hormones and the pressure your uterus is putting on your bladder.

Never ignore symptoms of a urinary tract infection. If you think you may have a UTI, contact your ob-gyn, midwife, or primary care doctor, who can test your urine and prescribe antibiotics if necessary.

They may also test your urine at prenatal care visits to make sure bacteria is not present. In pregnancy, it’s possible to not experience the symptoms of a UTI but still have one.

In more extreme cases, the infection can spread to your kidneys. Fever, nausea, vomiting, or lower back pain could indicate a kidney infection, which is more serious. This often requires a hospital stay and poses more risks to you and your baby including preterm birth if it’s not treated quickly.

UTIs can’t always be prevented, but you can help reduce your risk by:

  • Staying hydrated
  • Drinking cranberry juice
  • Peeing before and after sex

Read more about UTIs

Varicose Veins

Varicose veins are swollen purple or blue veins in your legs and lower body. They’re common in pregnancy because your growing uterus puts increased pressure on the blood vessels in your lower body. They usually go away after you have the baby.

Varicose veins can be physically uncomfortable and can cause pain or swelling. If you experience increased pain or swelling, contact your doctor immediately, as this could indicate a blood clot.

Some methods that can help reduce the appearance and physical discomfort of varicose veins include:

  • Taking breaks from standing
  • Propping your feet up with a pillow when sitting or lying down
  • Wearing compression stockings
  • Wearing loose clothing
  • Regularly moving your body

Read more information about varicose veins during pregnancy

Gestational Diabetes

Gestational diabetes is diabetes that you didn’t have before you became pregnant. This can develop when pregnancy hormones affect insulin’s ability to do its job.

Insulin is a hormone that processes the glucose (sugar) in your blood into energy. When not enough insulin is produced, the glucose stays in the bloodstream, which leads to diabetes.

Your doctor will test you for gestational diabetes between 24 to 28 weeks of pregnancy. A diagnosis may feel stressful, but it will help you and your doctor effectively manage the condition and prevent any complications for you or your baby. Your doctor may recommend more frequent prenatal visits to ensure you and your baby are in good health.

When managing gestational diabetes, it’s important to eat regular, healthy meals and snacks, engage in doctor-approved exercise (like a 10-minute walk after a meal), and focus on getting quality sleep.

Read more about gestational diabetes


Melasma, also known as the mask of pregnancy or chloasma, is a skin condition that can include patches darker than your skin tone or freckle-like spots on the face, neck, or anywhere that’s exposed to the sun.

Experts are unsure exactly what causes melasma, but it’s possible that higher levels of estrogen and progesterone are to blame. The condition doesn’t pose any health risks to you or your baby, but it’s still important to mention any skin changes to your doctor.

Melasma patches usually fade on their own after pregnancy, but some can linger. Limiting sun exposure and wearing sunscreen are essential to preventing and managing melasma. If you’re concerned about the appearance of these spots, seeing a dermatologist can help.

Learn more about melasma

Round Ligament Pain

As your uterus grows, the ligaments that support it have to stretch to keep up. This stretching can sometimes cause a sharp, stabbing pain or ache across the lower abdomen or into the groin, called round ligament pain. It’s normal and common, but it can be quite shocking to experience.

Round ligament pain is most likely to happen during movement, so you may notice it when you get in and out of bed or the car, or even when you cough or laugh. Resting, stretching, and/or taking a warm bath can help ease the pain. Walking slower, avoiding sudden movements, and wearing a maternity support girdle may help as well.

While round ligament pain is normal, other pelvic pain could be a cause for concern. Keep your doctor informed about any stomach or pelvic pain you experience. They should know if it changes in any way, or if you develop other symptoms that accompany the pain, like bleeding or fever.

Learn more about round ligament pain

Pregnancy Discharge (Leukorrhea)

Leukorrhea is a medical term for vaginal discharge. While you may have experienced discharge since puberty, discharge during pregnancy can be a little different. Because more blood is supplied to your uterus and cervix and progesterone levels rise, you can experience more discharge.

While normal discharge (thin, clear, and white) helps your body prevent infection, changes to it can be a sign of other issues. If your discharge changes in color, smell, or causes irritation, you should alert your doctor.

Read more about types of pregnancy discharge

Morning Sickness

Morning sickness is nausea and sometimes vomiting that can occur any time of day, generally early in your pregnancy. Some experts believe that morning sickness is caused by the surge in HCG, a pregnancy hormone, during those first few weeks.

Although it may be uncomfortable, morning sickness is usually not harmful to you or your baby. If it becomes difficult to go about your daily life, you may want to talk to your doctor about ways to manage it. Simple ways to prevent and reduce morning sickness include snacking regularly, eating ginger, aromatherapy, acupuncture, and staying hydrated.

For severe cases, there are medications your doctor can prescribe you that are safe in pregnancy.

Learn more about morning sickness

Swollen Feet

Swollen feet can occur during pregnancy because your body holds onto more fluid and because your uterus is getting bigger and putting pressure on some of your veins.

Swelling in the feet is common during pregnancy, but there are some types of swelling that you should inform your doctor about. These include sudden swelling in other parts of the body like the hands or face, which could be a sign of preeclampsia. Asymmetric swelling in the lower legs could be a sign of a blood clot.

There are a few ways to reduce swelling in your feet during pregnancy. These include wearing comfortable and properly fitting shoes (which might be a different size than you wore pre-pregnancy), taking breaks from standing, propping your feet up with a pillow, increasing your hydration, avoiding salty foods, and soaking your feet in cool water.

Read more about swollen feet during pregnancy

Pregnancy Insomnia

If you consistently have trouble falling and staying asleep, you may have pregnancy insomnia. Almost 80% of people who are pregnant experience it at some point during their pregnancy. Physical changes can make it difficult to get comfortable enough to fall asleep, and hormonal changes may affect the quality of your rest.

Other issues, such as restless legs, heartburn, and bathroom breaks, may affect your ability to get sufficient sleep. Adequate rest while pregnant is important for your health and your baby’s. Talking to your doctor about these issues can be helpful.

Creating a calming bedtime routine, removing screens and distractions from the bedroom, investing in a pregnancy pillow, and lowering the temperature of your room are a few simple ways to get better sleep.

For more intense insomnia, treatment like medications or even therapy may be more appropriate. Ask your doctor about medications you can take that are safe in pregnancy.

Read more about pregnancy insomnia

Weird Pregnancy Cravings

If you talk to anyone who has been pregnant, you’re bound to hear about the food cravings that they had. Up to 90% of pregnant people experience cravings. Doctors and researchers aren’t entirely sure why pregnant people experience cravings. They believe pregnancy hormones, nutritional deficiencies, and comfort may be to blame.

Eating regular meals and snacks is essential for nourishing your body and your baby during pregnancy. Thoughtfully satisfying cravings can also be part of appropriate nourishment.

For some, weird pregnancy cravings can include foods you didn’t enjoy before pregnancy or interesting combinations of foods. In rare cases, pregnancy can cause you to crave things that aren’t food. If you experience this kind of craving, let your doctor know as it may indicate a mineral deficiency.

It’s important to avoid foods that aren’t safe during pregnancy. Also, be cautious if you have a health condition, and, if you have a history of disordered eating, find a good support system during this time. Talking with your doctor about cravings and choosing healthy foods can be an essential part of your prenatal care.

Find more information on weird pregnancy cravings

Heartburn During Pregnancy

Almost half of people experience heartburn during pregnancy. Heartburn can feel like a burning or squeezing sensation in your esophagus (the tube that connects your throat to your stomach), nausea, and even a sore throat.

During pregnancy, you have increased levels of progesterone, a hormone that can cause relaxed muscles. The valve between your stomach and esophagus may relax, allowing stomach acid to rise—the perfect recipe for heartburn.

Heartburn during pregnancy isn’t usually something to worry about, but it can be very uncomfortable. If you’re experiencing it often, try identifying food that irritates it (such as caffeine, spicy foods, tomatoes, and citrus), sleeping with your head propped up, or talking to your doctor about antacids.

Learn more about heartburn during pregnancy

Fatigue in Pregnancy

About 94% of people experience fatigue in pregnancy. It can be a first symptom of pregnancy because of the increase of pregnancy hormone, HCG, and can also remain throughout the first trimester. While your energy levels may return to normal during the second trimester, you may feel the need for naps again in the third.

Fatigue in pregnancy can happen because of hormone changes, your energy being used for fetal growth and development, as well as trouble sleeping.

Discuss fatigue with your doctor if it’s significantly affecting your life or getting worse. Otherwise, there are a few ways to reduce fatigue.

Make sure you’re practicing good sleep habits:

  • Avoid naps late in the day
  • Stick to a consistent bedtime
  • Limit screen time one to two hours before bed

Exercising regularly, eating a balanced diet, taking your prenatal vitamins, and managing your stress may also help.

Learn more about handling fatigue during pregnancy