Chapter 6: Common body changes in pregnancy
Difficulty getting up and down
It is better if a pregnant woman does not lie flat on her back. When a woman is on
her back, the weight of the womb presses on the big blood vessels that bring food
and oxygen to the baby. If the mother wants to be on her back, she should put
something behind her so she is not lying completely flat.
A pregnant woman should also be careful how she gets up. She should not
sit up like this:
Ow! Getting up like this can harm the
muscles of the belly.
Instead, she should roll to the side and push herself up with
her hands, like this:
Turn to the side...
up with the
Shortness of breath
Many women get short of breath (cannot breathe as deeply as usual) when they are
pregnant. This is because the growing baby crowds the mother’s lungs and she has
less room to breathe. Reassure her that this is normal.
But if a woman is also weak and tired, or if she is short of breath all of the time,
she should be checked for signs of sickness, heart problems, anemia (see page 116),
or poor diet (see page 117). Get medical advice if you think she may have any of
Feeling hot or sweating a lot
Feeling hot is very common, and as long as
there are no other warning signs (such as signs
of bladder infection, see page 128), the woman
should not worry. She can dress in cool clothes,
bathe frequently, and drink plenty of water
and other fluids.
A Book for Midwives (2010)