Common Discomforts in Pregnancy
Pregnancy can be a time of great joy and happiness for any couple after all, watching your baby grow and develop is one of the most exciting things in the world! Plus, you get to participate in lots of fun things, like choosing your baby's name and decorating his nursery. Unfortunately, pregnancy isn't all fun and games. During these nine months you may experience a number of pregnancy discomforts that can sometimes make life a little tough. From backaches to morning sickness, the discomforts of pregnancy can really put a damper on things. By knowing what to expect and how to go about getting some relief, you can help to put that spring back into your step.
What are Pregnancy Discomforts?
Pregnancy discomfort is a name given to pretty much anything that makes you feel uncomfortable during pregnancy. This can be a wide range of things, from headaches and fatigue, to more severe pregnancy symptoms. However, some pregnancy discomforts are more common than others during pregnancy; many affect more than 50% of pregnant women. But why do these discomforts occur during pregnancy and what can you do about them?
Now that you are pregnant, you may have noticed that your ankles and feet have begun to swell up a little. You may find that it isn't so easy to get into those dainty shoes that you once sported with confidence, and you may wonder why your feet are looking more and more like they belong on an elephant. Well don't worry though this swelling may not look pleasant, it is completely normal during pregnancy.
Also known as edema, pregnancy swelling typically hits during the third trimester. It usually affects the ankles and feet, though it can also cause your hands to swell up slightly. This swelling is the result of the hormonal shifts that are occurring in your body. Because of these hormonal changes, your body will retain more fluid than usual, which will shift more easily to your soft tissues.
This swelling can be relieved by making sure that you rest your lower extremities. Prop your feet up from time to time during the day and stretch frequently. Drink lots of water to maintain proper circulation and think about wearing support stockings to keep the swelling down. It is important to watch for signs of severe swelling during your pregnancy, as this could signal a pregnancy complication. Swelling of the face and eyes could indicate that you are suffering from preeclampsia, a serious condition during pregnancy.
Are you constantly clutching your lower back now that your nearing your due date? Well, then you are just one of the 50% of pregnant women who experience back pain during pregnancy. Generally, pregnancy back pain attacks the hollow in the your lower back, and tends to get worse as your pregnancy progresses. Thanks to your increased body weight and the size of baby, your back is taking a lot more stress than usual. This can cause the muscles in your back to scream out in pain. These backaches are also caused by pregnancy hormones particularly, a hormone called Relaxin. Relaxin helps to soften your muscles and ligaments for labor. While this is good for labor, it's murder on your back as it no longer has the support that it is used to.
If you are suffering from persistent backaches there are some measures that you can take. Wearing a support belt around your belly can help to improve your posture and relieve added stress on your back. Sleeping with a pillow under your knees can also work wonders for a sore back. Taking a swim will help to ease your pain, as the water will cushion all the curves on your body.
If you are experiencing any pins and needles or leg weakness with your back pain, though, it's a good idea to contact your health care professional. This may indicate that a nerve in your back is being pinched, and requires treatment.
Unfortunately, hemorrhoids do not just attack later in life as many of us think. In fact, up to 30% of pregnant women suffer from hemorrhoids at some point during their pregnancy or labor. Hemorrhoids are actually a type of varicose vein. They appear on and around the rectum and are caused by poor circulation in the lower extremities. The added weight of your uterus sometimes interferes with the function of your pelvic blood vessels, causing blood to pool and form hemorrhoids. Typically occurring in the third trimester or during labor, hemorrhoids usually itch but they can also cause pain and bleeding.
If you are suffering from hemorrhoids, then it is a good idea to try to relieve the pain and swelling that they cause. Baking soda is a great hemorrhoid treatment try taking a warm baking soda bath, or apply a baking soda paste directly to the hemorrhoids. If you are constipated, try to eat more fiber and drink lots of water, as constipation can make hemorrhoids worse. Your hemorrhoids should go away after you give birth. However, if they linger for more than a few months, contact your health care provider. To prevent the formation of hemorrhoids, try compression stockings to increase blood flow and circulation.
Constipation is the bane of every pregnant woman. Affecting more than 50% of all pregnant women, constipation is a very common pregnancy discomfort. Unfortunately, it can be very unpleasant, causing abdominal pain and bloating and even hemorrhoids.
Constipation in pregnancy can usually be attributed to a slow-moving digestive system. The pregnancy hormones, progesterone and estrogen, work to slow down the gastrointestinal tract. This means that food stays inside your stomach and intestines longer than usual. As a result, waste products aren't flushed out of your system as frequently, which can cause your stools to become quite hard. In severe cases, constipation can cause terrible abdominal pain and even interfere with labor.
To deal with constipation, try to add lots of whole grain products and fresh fruits and vegetables to your diet. These foods contain fiber, which can help to soften your stools. Try to drink at least six glasses of water a day, and supplement your fluid intake with prune juice. Exercise can also help to stimulate bowel contractions, which will help you to pass compacted stools. If you are experiencing severe abdominal pains or if you are noticing any rectal bleeding, consult with your health care provider. She may be able to provide you with a laxative that is safe to take during pregnancy.
Indigestion and Heartburn
Many pregnant women complain of indigestion and heartburn, particularly during the later stages of pregnancy. If you feel bloated or if you have a burning sensation in your upper chest, then you may also be suffering from this common pregnancy discomfort. Indigestion is normal during pregnancy because of the pressure that your growing uterus exerts on your stomach. The fact that pregnancy hormones slow down the rate at which your stomach processes food also tends to exacerbate indigestion.
To fight the effects of heartburn and indigestion, try eating smaller meals more frequently throughout the day. This will help your stomach to process food more easily and will reduce bloating. Avoid spicy or fried foods, which can trigger heartburn, and instead focus on eating lots of fresh fruits and vegetables. To reduce heartburn in the evenings, avoid eating before you go to bed or sleep propped up on a lot of pillows. If your indigestion just won't go away, talk to your health care provider about an antacid that is safe to take during pregnancy, or for another type of indigestion remedy.
Chat with other pregnant women about the many common discomforts in pregnancy, like pregnancy cramps, in our pregnancy forum.