Five Painful Pregnancy Symptoms

Pregnancy is a beautiful journey in its entirety, but we mom can agree that there are some parts that are anything but. Painful pregnancy symptoms can be very common. What’s not common is how much they are discussed. Why is that? Yes, pregnancy is beautiful, but it can also be an uncomfortable, painful and life-threatening experience as well. Additionally, we typically speak of pregnancy symptoms as if they go away after the first trimester. They most certainly do not.

They may go away, but some often don’t for the entire length of the pregnancy. Others go away only to be replaced by others.

Sharing can be therapeutic. There is so much comfort in knowing that something you are experiencing is commonly experienced by other women, especially during that fragile time.

When I was pregnant, it was eight long months of wondering whether everything was going right, overanalyzing every little niggle, every little discomfort and wondering it meant little Pepperseed Reid was in trouble. So for the inexperienced pregnant mom, here are a few common, painful pregnancy symptoms.

Five Common Painful Pregnancy Symptoms You Should Know About

1. Breast Pain

By the time I found out I was pregnant, the gestational calculator had me at about three weeks along. By that time, my breasts has been painfully inflated for approximately two weeks with what I thought was a pre-menstrual symptom. Unfortunately, at the time I had no idea sore breasts were a pregnancy symptom. A painful pregnancy symptom that continued all through pregnancy.

In my inexperience, I also naively thought it would go away when my pregnancy ended. Needless to say, it did not. In fact, it got worse.

I also didn’t realize it would only get worse as my pregnancy progressed. I shot through several bra sizes, never truly finding the right fit and eventually abandoned the pursuit in favour of sports bras. It worked for while until my belly got bigger and my lungs threw a fit.

The most part of this painful pregnancy symptom was looking forward to release at the end, but dismally recognizing once I did that, that breastfeeding makes your breast bigger, more painful and in my case almost rock hard. My dream of blissful tummy sleep were dashed for another few months still.


2. Pelvic pain

You can literally feel your pelvis giving way. It’s definitely one of the more painful things during pregnancy. I hadn’t realized it was possible to feel your body physically shifting to make space.

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It feels like a parson climber inside stooped in diagonally, and unceremoniously pushed themselves into a standing position each day. It’s really completely amazing that our bodies can do that when you think about it, but it’s also completely insane.

3. Vaginal Pressure and Lightning Crotch

Have you ever had lightning crotch? Have you ever felt weight just sitting in your vagina so heavy it’s basically numb? I truly feel that. Often, a misplaced stretched limb can send a shocking jolt of pain through your vagina.

Nature dropped an extra ten pounds on your cervix to carry around for a while. You’ll feel the weight, believe that. The pressure is less shocking but no less painful. Instead, it feels like a dull, heavy, painful and lasting pain you can do nothing about.

4. Back Pain

I was four and a half months into my pregnancy before started to look like I could be pregnant, bloated or just greedy. Right about the time my extra bulk because visible. My back pain began. All throughout my pregnancy, my little bump came with varying degrees of back pain.

I hadn’t slept comfortably since the minute I started to show until the minute I waddled and then realized my back pain was even worse after giving birth than it was when I was pregnant.

It’s another lovely lingering symptom I still experience five years later.

5. Sciatic Pain

I never knew what the sciatic nerve was before I was told it was what was causing mi unmentionable pain and essentially dripping me. (C’mon, I’m not a doctor). So when my leg started giving way, and I almost fell flat on my face seven months pregnant, I wondered why if I was going to be crippled now.

But, that was it at all. When I finally got my leg to work, a nerve-tingling pain ran from my butt cheek straight into my leg every time I walked and on some days render it useless. It was excruciating!

Five lovingly long years later, the pain still pops back up quite often to remind me of a time that was. It’s not as bad now as it was during pregnancy, (probably because no tiny person is sitting or laying on the nerve), but it’s enough to command some respect.

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Honourable Painful Mentions That Aren’t Direct Symptoms

Giving Birth

I didn’t have a natural birth myself in the end, but I spent eight months thinking I would and I was terrified. I was also fortunate that my Braxton Hicks pain wasn’t too bad. It mostly felt like a tightening of my belly. However, that is most definitely not everyone’s experience. I recall waking up in the wee hours of the morning, foggy through the receding haze of my pain medication wearing off. The screams of a woman woke me.

They were awful. I know she was screaming from her toes, saying “no one told her it was that bad“. While we’ve all heard birth stories recounted a million different ways, one description that never fails is that this is the single most painful undertaking women will encounter.

Painful pregnancy symptoms

Rh Immunoglobin Shots

The Rh factor is a protein found on the surface of red blood cells, however, not everyone has these proteins. People who do are known as rhesus positive (Rh+) and people who don’t are known as rhesus negative (Rh-). So for example, you can have two people who are blood type O, but one is O positive (O+) and the other is O negative (O-).

A rhesus-negative person’s body does not recognize the proteins and will recognize them when it comes into contact with it as foreign, or more simply, something to protect the body from an illness. You’re typically screened for the protein with your first pregnancy work-up.

As a rhesus-negative mom with a rhesus-positive partner, a shot is necessary to prevent your body from developing antibodies during your pregnancy and birth when the fetus’s rhesus-positive blood gets into the mother’s bloodstream.

You’ll want to prevent this because if it happens, the body will develop antibodies and try to ‘fight’ the pregnancy as it would an illness should the woman become pregnant again with a second rhesus-positive child. It would make it difficult to bring the pregnancy to term because the woman’s body would consistently try to get rid of the ‘illness’ it perceives (the pregnancy).

This is prevented by administering an Rh immunoglobulin shot at 28 weeks of pregnancy and another within hours of giving birth.

All that the say, the shot hurts like a bitch! I’m not particularly scared of shots. I don’t love them, but I’m not scared. But that one hurt like all-get-out.

Pelvic and Vaginal Exams

During pregnancy, the vaginal exams seemed to hurt at least five times more than they did before. I have no idea why that was, but they were terrible.

Moms Share Their Most Painful Pregnancy Symptoms

I’ve asked a handful of moms across my social network to share their single most painful pregnancy symptom. Here’s what they had to say.

Lady B

“Well, you guessed right. I was definitely God’s favourite. My most painful pregnancy symptom was throwing up till my throat hurt or was so sore, that I could barely swallow or eat. That was what I dreaded most besides spitting into a bottle for 7 months (excess saliva), which was the worst thing I experienced during my pregnancy.”

Lady S

“With my first pregnancy, I had an on and off again pain. One night it was really unbearable so I went to the hospital. After being strapped up and a few hours of observation, Braxton Hicks was ruled out and so was early labour. The doctor suggested it may be my round ligaments stretching to accommodate the baby.”

Lady H

“Sciatic pain. I once had an episode where I couldn’t move from the kitchen to the bathroom, and they were right next to each other!”

What were your most painful pregnancy symptoms? Comment below!

Xo, Shandean.

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Shandean Reid

A lifestyle blogger, digital and strategic communications practitioner and self-published author, I am also a heavily caffeinated, quintessential wife, mom and bookworm. This space is my contribution to the internet for the practical, resourceful everyday millennial.




  • Kirk

    As far as I am concerned women have super powers to be able to manage those symptoms.

  • Shandean Reid

    Ha! I can’t disagree at all

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