Body changes and discomforts
The mask of pregnancy
The mask of pregnancy is a name for dark-colored
areas that may appear on the face, breasts, and belly
of some pregnant women. This mask is not harmful.
Usually most of the color goes away after the birth.
A woman may be able to avoid dark areas on her
face by wearing a hat when she goes out in the sun.
Purple spots on the skin
Purple spots come from small groups of veins under the
skin. They sometimes happen when blood vessels swell.
They are not harmful and usually go away after the birth.
Aches and pains in the joints
A pregnant woman’s body gets soft and loose so the baby can get bigger, and so
she can give birth. Sometimes her joints also get loose and uncomfortable,
especially the hips. This is not dangerous, but she can more easily sprain her ankles
or other joints. So she should move more carefully. Her joints will feel better after
Sudden pain in the side of the lower belly
The womb is held in place by ligaments on each
side. Ligaments are like ropes that attach the
womb to the mother’s bones.
A sudden movement will sometimes cause a
sharp pain in these ligaments. This is not
dangerous. The pain will stop in a few minutes.
It may help to stroke the belly gently, or to put
a warm cloth on it.
Cramps in early pregnancy
It is normal to have mild cramps (like mild monthly bleeding cramps)
at times during the first 3 months of pregnancy. These cramps happen
because the womb is growing.
Cramps that are regular (come and go in a pattern) or constant
(always there), are very strong or painful, or come with spotting or
bleeding are warning signs. The woman may have a tubal pregnancy
(see page 113) or may be having a miscarriage (see page 91). She
should get medical help immediately.
A Book for Midwives (2010)