Pregnancy is different for every woman. Some women glow with good health and vitality during those first three months; others feel absolutely miserable. You may be confused about the changes that are happening, what they mean, and which signs warrant a call to your doctor. Here's everything you need to know about fixing the side effects of baby's growth, from tips to help her enjoy life before and after conception.
Having a baby is one of the most joyous times in many women's lives. From anticipating the day you'll bring your little one home, to picking a name and nursery colors, the excitement is palpable. No matter how well you plan for their arrival, you may not be fully prepared for all of the changes your body will go through now. Knowing what to expect will help you get ready for the months ahead.
She may not look pregnant yet, however, chances are she is feeling it. That's because a flood of pregnancy hormones is prepping your body to play baby hostess for the next nine months, so you could be in line for quite a few aches and pains, from fatigue to flatulence. While she might be less than thrilled with some of these symptoms, try to remind her that these temporary discomforts are part of the incredible process that allow her to grow an entire human being.
Pregnancy changes a woman's body, her emotions, and her life. Here are some tips on what she can do for some of the common annoying health problems you may face during the pregnancy, along with alternative therapies that may help. Pregnancy symptoms like nausea, headaches, hemorrhoids, constipation and heartburn are common and they can take all the joy out of the joy of having a baby.
There is good news; there are safe and natural solutions that have helped millions of women for decades. If a pregnant woman in distress gives a few of these remedies a sincere chance, she should find herself in much better condition. While the following treatments are considered safe during pregnancy, if you want to try any other herbal or folk remedy on your own, be sure to check with your doctor first. Some home remedies and herbs aren't safe when you're expecting a child.
15 Morning Sickness
In the case she has a mild case of nausea and vomiting, some relatively simple steps may be enough to help. Obstetricians and midwives support many of the following suggestions. These tips are commonly recommended, and many women swear by them.
She should eat small, frequent meals and snacks throughout the day so her stomach is never empty. High-protein foods and complex carbohydrates might be especially helpful. Whatever is eaten, eat it slowly. Avoid lying down after eating because this can slow digestion. The longer it takes to digest, the greater the chances of nausea. Keep simple snacks, such as crackers, by your bed.
When she first wakes up, try a few crackers and then rest for 20 to 30 minutes before getting up. Try to eat food cold or at room temperature because food tends to have a stronger aroma when it's hot. If these measures are not helpful, a physician should be consulted.
14 Dealing With Shortness of Breath
In pregnancy, some shortness of breath is common and even normal. To limit this, the best thing to do is to try to prevent uncontrolled weight gain. A woman is going to have the weight gain of course, but if you gain weight too rapidly, your body will have more of a difficult time adjusting to its new contours. Amazingly enough good posture, especially when you are sitting.
The best position for sleeping is on your side, preferably your left side and never your back. You may get some relief a few weeks before the due date, especially if it's your first pregnancy. This is when some women experience lightening (the baby dropping into the pelvis).
A pregnant woman needs more oxygen during pregnancy, and your body adapts to meet this need in several ways. An increase in hormones, particularly progesterone, directly affects your lungs and stimulates the respiratory center in your brain. And while the number of breaths you take per minute actually changes very little during pregnancy, the amount of air you inhale and exhale with each breath increases significantly.
Later in pregnancy, as your growing uterus puts pressure on your diaphragm, your breathing might feel more labored, especially if you are carrying your baby high, are carrying multiples, or have excessive amniotic fluid.
13 Relieving Back Tension
To prevent back strain leading to back pain, keep any weight gain under control with proper diet and exercise. It is important not to take pain relievers unless necessary. Heating pads can be used on your back to reduce or completely remove the pain. There are special exercises that will tone abdominal muscles, which will alleviate back pain.
Pregnancy girdles or elastic slings will help support your abdomen, taking a bit of the pressure off her lower back. After the third trimester it would be prudent to wear shoes or shoe inserts designed for pregnant women, but at all costs, avoid high heels. While pregnant, a woman should endeavor to stay off her feet for as long as possible.
Sit up straight when sitting. A firm mattress will align a woman’s spine while sleeping. If your mattress is too soft, your back will ache. Failing to replace the mattress, she can try lying on her side with a pillow between her legs, which may provide some relief.
A chair massage can be a great boon to a woman with an aching back. It’s fairly simple:
- She should sit in a straight chair.
- She should be facing the back of the chair.
- She should lean forward, resting her weight directly over the back of the chair.
- While her head rests on your crossed arms, massage using long strokes, working upward and outward.
- Avoid pressure on the spine, as it may cause damage to the spinal nerves, which will cause extreme pain and or injury.
A pregnant woman should avoid undue stress when lifting heavy loads, especially when lifting children. If you must lift any heavy weight, bend at the knees. Keep your back as straight as possible. Hold the object or child close to your body, and raise yourself slowly.
12 Alleviating Heartburn
Heartburn is another common problem for many pregnant women. Avoiding heavy meals and spicy, greasy, sweet, and acidic foods in excess can alleviate these symptoms. It's best to stick to a bland, high-fiber diet with lots of fluids and exercise on a daily basis.
If the pregnant woman in question has frequent small meals, she may relieve a few symptoms. Never lie down right after a meal. Raise the head of your bed 2-4 inches using stable supports (wood blocks). If all else fails, most antacids are quite safe for pregnant women.
Try to eat your main meal of the day at lunchtime. Eat your evening meal early in the evening, so your body has time to digest it before you go to bed. Avoid spicy, rich, fatty, and fried foods and anything else that triggers your symptoms. Sugar, tea, and coffee may also make your heartburn worse. Some women find that foods containing garlic make their heartburn worse.
However, for others, eating a clove or two of raw garlic every day or using whole cloves in cooking can actually help. Or you could take a garlic capsule to relieve the intensity of your symptoms. Garlic capsules should be rich in allicin to be effective.
Ask your midwife before taking any supplements in pregnancy. If you're taking iron tablets that make your heartburn worse, talk to your midwife or doctor about changing to a liquid supplement instead. Drink water between meals rather than with a meal.
Drinking while you eat dilutes your digestive juices, meaning they don't work as well to break down food. Try to cut down on meat and fizzy drinks if you have them often. Both can cause heartburn. Lean meat is healthy during pregnancy, but fizzy drinks have no nutritional value.
Sit upright after eating, as lying down may cause you to bring up a little food. Sleeping propped up on two or three pillows in later pregnancy may help. Heartburn may also be worse if you smoke. It's another reason to stop, as smoking is harmful to your baby.
11 Removing Stretch Marks
When constantly stretched, the skin can break down leaving marks behind. Stretch mark scarring of this kind happens when skin doesn’t recover after it's been stretched by pregnancy, weight gain, or extreme weight loss. There are several treatments for stretch marks but none of them are absolutely effective. The level of success will depend on several factors, skin tone, age, amount of sun damage to your skin, and your diet. There are several options for treatment.
One surgical option is dermabrasion, which is basically peeling the damaged, dead skin from the living dermis. There are chemical peels which dissolve the damaged skin, allowing it to be removed from the body. The final surgical option is larger surgery, which carefully destroys the damaged skin cells with high heat, basically vaporizing them, leaving smooth, even skin behind.
If you catch stretch marks early, there are always lotions and creams. These are prescription Retin-A and Tazorac gels or creams. Theses medications stimulate collagen to improve stretch marks over time. The downside is this will only treat new, pink, or purple pigmented stretch marks as they are not scarred over (non-living skin).
10 Dealing With Pregnancy Acne
Acne is common during pregnancy. In fact, 50 percent of women can expect to develop pregnancy acne to some extent. The increased hormone levels in the first trimester are the primary cause of pregnancy-related acne. In response to the increased hormone levels, the skin begins producing more natural oils. There is no sure way to predict who will get pregnancy acne, unfortunately.
A woman is at higher risk for pregnancy acne if she has a history of acne or if she has acne flares at the start of her menstrual cycle. On the bright side, if a woman does not develop acne during the first trimester, her chances are good not to have any acne breakouts that are out of the ordinary during the second or third trimester when the most severe acne breakouts usually occur.
In order to manage those major pregnancy acne outbreaks, the woman in question should be careful. Many over-the-counter medications have a high-risk of causing birth defects. In general, you should avoid any medication that has even a slim chance of negatively affecting your unborn baby.
9 How to Alleviate a Pregnancy Headache
As with most pregnancy symptoms, pregnancy headaches usually result from hormonal changes. In addition, fatigue and blood sugar swings can play a role as well. This means the best tactic to avoid a headache is to eat small, frequent meals throughout the day, get enough rest, and, of course, avoid any known headache triggers.
If you come down with a headache, try these natural remedies to ease the pain. Simply relax, lie down, and place a cool compress on your forehead. If you're still feeling a nagging headache, a massage can remedy that. She can ask your partner or a friend for a shoulder and neck massage.
Practice relaxation techniques. Deep breathing, yoga, or meditation can sometimes help. If all else fails, look into acupuncture. A great deal of modern research has shown that getting acupuncture during pregnancy eases headaches. Women who have received acupuncture also relied less on medication. Now, if you develop a severe headache or one that persists for more than a few hours, be sure to contact your doctor as it may be a sign of a pregnancy complication.
8 How to Soothe Tender Breasts
During pregnancy, a woman’s breasts are preparing to feed the gestating baby. There’s a fat layer that thickens inside of the breasts. The milk glands multiply. Blood flow increases. And even nipples can change size, shape, and thickness. All these changes start to make her breasts sore and bigger.
The fact her breasts are getting bigger may be quite intriguing for her significant other. However, many women want nothing to do with someone touching their breasts during those first few weeks of pregnancy. The tenderness will pass as her pregnancy goes on.
Until then, wear a bra that gives enlarged breasts proper support. If your breasts leak, use nursing pads in your bra. Avoid stimulating your breasts. Besides a supportive bra, a pregnant woman suffering from tender or sore breasts should reduce their salt intake. This will reduce blood volume and the inflamed breast tissue.
7 Treating Cystitis (Urinary Bladder Infection)
If a pregnant woman develops a bladder irritation, like persistent burning when urinating, she should ask her healthcare provider about appropriate treatment. Bladder infections in pregnant women are more common and dangerous than in non-pregnant women. Many bladder infections are triggered by sexual intercourse.
Remember to empty your bladder immediately after sex and watch for symptoms. Several glasses of cranberry juice a day may prevent urinary tract infections. The vast majority of women improve within a few days of developing cystitis. However, if your symptoms do not improve after you have been taking antibiotics, you may need an alternative antibiotic. Some germs (bacteria) causing cystitis can be resistant to some types of antibiotic.
6 Getting Through Sleepless Nights
Pregnant women often have sleepless nights and daytime fatigue. Morning sickness and frequent trips to the bathroom during the first trimester often disrupt sleep patterns. Later on in pregnancy, vivid dreams and physical discomfort may prevent deep sleep. After delivery, the new baby's care or a mother’s postpartum recovery may interrupt sleep.
Fatigue during the first trimester of a pregnancy is likely due to changing levels of hormones, such as progesterone. Toward the end of pregnancy, some women find it difficult to sleep because they're uncomfortable due to the size of their growing abdomen. Some women are too excited, anxious, or worried about becoming mothers to sleep well.
In the case of sleep apnea (snoring), especially if it's severe and causes your blood oxygen level to drop during sleep, is a risk to the fetus.
Pregnant women who experience insomnia during pregnancy may find relief by taking afternoon naps, drinking warm milk, or taking a warm (not hot) bath before bedtime. Exercise during the day may help, too. Expectant mothers may find it more comfortable to sleep on one side, with pillows supporting the head, abdomen, and topside knee.
Never take sleeping pills or herbal sleeping remedies without talking with your healthcare provider first.
5 Getting Rid of Aching Legs and Feet
Wear support hose during the day, and elevate your feet when resting, if possible. Use a heating pad or gentle massage on the back of your thigh to ease sciatica. When a leg cramp hits, straighten your leg, and slowly flex your ankle and toes while massaging your calf; or soak your legs and feet in hot water. You may be able to prevent night cramps by wearing socks to bed or by pressing your foot against the bed board.
Get arch support for your shoes. If you don't support the arches, it's not as effective. The flat inserts create pressure points on your feet where pain will pool. Applying ice can help with the inflammation. Wrap an ice pack with a towel, and let your feet rest on it for 20 minutes. If painful cramps persist, ask your healthcare provider about calcium or magnesium supplements.
4 How to Adjust to Fatigue
Fatigue is particularly common during the first trimester and tends to return in late pregnancy. Some women feel tired throughout pregnancy, however some hardly seem to slow down at all. Many women feel constantly tired in early pregnancy, even before they're showing or carrying any extra weight. Even night owls may find themselves struggling to stay awake long enough to watch their favorite television program.
No one knows for sure what causes early pregnancy fatigue, but hormonal changes, namely a dramatic rise in progesterone is, at least, partly to blame. It's also hard to get a good night's sleep if you're uncomfortable or getting up to use the bathroom frequently. Fatigue can also be a sign of an iron deficiency.
In order to deal with fatigue, she should obey her body's cues. Start by going to bed earlier than usual. And make a habit of taking a nap during the day. Even a 15 minute catnap can make a difference. So, if you work in an office and you're lucky enough to have a door, shut it, put your head down on your desk, and rest. You may need to be creative. Look for an empty lounge or conference room or lie down in the back seat of your car.
3 Coping With Strange Abdominal Pains
To relieve sharp pains or cramps from abdominal muscles and ligaments, rest or take a warm bath or shower. If you engage in regular exercise, you will strengthen and tone your abdominal muscles. Be careful to limit or avoid exercises while lying on your back for more than a few minutes at any given time after the first trimester.
This form of exercise may decrease blood flow to your developing baby. It can be stressful, especially for first-time mothers to discern between normal pains and when there is a possible complication from a sharp pain during pregnancy.
One of the most common sharp pains that women report is a stabbing pain in and around the uterus, abdomen, or groin area. While this can be uncomfortable, in many cases, it can be explained by normal changes that occur during pregnancy. If the sharp pains persist, visit your medical specialist. Persistent pain is also the symptom of a spontaneous miscarriage.
2 Why the Odd Food Aversion or Cravings?
About half of the women in the United States report at least one food craving during pregnancy, and those cravings aren't all for pickles and ice cream. They often run the gamut. An anonymous woman confessed to wanting pickles wrapped in cheese, salsa spooned straight out of the jar, and yes, even steak fat.
Expecting mothers may find some foods unappealing and develop a craving for others, especially sweets. Iron supplements may leave a bad taste in her mouth. Talk to a healthcare practitioner if this is a problem.
Use mouthwash often. Chewing gum, mints, or hard candies can also chase away unpleasant tastes. It's all to do with hormones but not progesterone or estrogen; it has more to do with the hormones that govern her appetite.
Many of these appetite-controlling hormones shift during pregnancy with some, including a hormone called Neuropeptide Y. Increasing this leads to a corresponding rise in appetite. Once again, our knowledge is lacking because although these hormones can increase her appetite during pregnancy, but does not link them to a particular food craving.
1 Urination and Discharge Issues
During pregnancy, Kegel exercises can help you control stress and incontinence, losing a small amount of urine when you sneeze, cough, or laugh. You can also use a sanitary pad. Leaning forward while urinating helps to empty your bladder completely. In most pregnancies a thin, mild-smelling discharge is normal. Use sanitary pads, if necessary, to contain any spillage. A woman should not douche during pregnancy.
Any red or brown discharge is a signal to call your doctor immediately. Vaginal itching and soreness may indicate an infection, which requires treatment by your doctor. Vaginal yeast infections can be common in pregnancy, and may disappear without treatment after the baby is born.