Chapter 6: Common body changes in pregnancy
Baby’s kicks hurt the mother
Most of the baby’s movements feel good. But sometimes babies kick very hard or
always in the same place. And sometimes the baby’s head bounces against the
mother’s back or bladder during the last weeks of pregnancy. These movements
may make the mother sore or uncomfortable, but they are not harmful.
WARNING! The mother usually feels regular kicks every day by
the 6th or 7th month. If the baby stops kicking for a few hours,
it is OK. But if the mother feels no movement for more than
a day and a night, there may be a problem. The mother
should meet with her midwife or get medical help.
Many women get back pain. The weight of the baby, the womb, and the waters
puts a strain on the woman’s bones and muscles. Too much standing in one place
or leaning forward can cause back pain. Hard work can also cause back pain.
Most kinds of back pain are normal. But it can be caused by a kidney infection
(see page 128).
Encourage husbands, children, other family members, or friends to massage the
woman’s back. A warm cloth or hot water bottle on her back may also feel good.
Her family can also help by doing some of the heavy work (carrying small
children, washing clothes, farming, and milling grain) for her.
A woman can also do an exercise — called the angry cat exercise — to reduce
lower back pain. She should do this exercise several times in a row, 2 times a day,
and whenever her back hurts her.
Start on hands and knees
with the back flat.
Push the lower back up.
Return to flat back.
Many women get foot or leg cramps —
sharp sudden pain and tightening of a
Point the then stroke
muscle. These cramps especially come
at night, or when women stretch and
point their toes. To stop the cramp: flex
the foot (point it upward) and then
gently stroke the leg to help it relax (do not
stroke hard). See page 273 to learn when leg pain can be dangerous.
Do not point
the toe down.
A Book for Midwives (2010)