Pregnancy is one of the most exciting stages of a woman’s life. There is so much to do, so much to prepare for, and so many changes that the body goes through when a woman is expecting.
Although many women enjoy being pregnant there are those that have symptoms that truly make them wish that they were not.
Here is a list of some challenging symptoms that are common in pregnancy and what a woman can do to adjust during this trying time.
Sore Breasts-Like everything else, a woman’s breasts change during pregnancy and it isn’t unusual for a woman to grow a couple of cup sizes while she’s expecting. However, with growth comes tenderness but mothers can obtain relief through wearing a well fitted bra during the day and a pregnancy sleep bra at night.
A reputable department store will have someone on staff that can assist mommies-to-be in finding just the right bra to purchase. They will have experience in taking measurements and can put the mother into a bra that will give her the needed support which will help alleviate the soreness.
Back Pain- During pregnancy at least 50 % of women have admitted their struggle with back pain during the latter part of pregnancy.
Although there are many contributing factors including hormone levels, additional weight gain, a woman’s posture, and added stress, expectant mothers can lessen and possibly prevent this level of discomfort by doing some simple things during their pregnancy.
On a routine visit, mothers can talk with their doctor and find out what types of exercise they can perform in order to strengthen and support the lower back, instead of bending over to retrieve something on the floor, mothers should squat, only wear shoes that offer support and avoid wearing high heels, and when sitting elevating the feet should decrease the back pain that often comes with pregnancy.
To treat this type of pain mothers find relief by using ice or heat to alleviate the symptoms, sleeping on the left side with supportive pillows, and getting a massage from a licensed therapist may lessen the symptoms. In extreme cases of pain doctors may find it necessary to prescribe certain medications with a higher dosage such as Ibuprofen, Tylenol, or other pain medications.
Round Ligament Pain-Due to normal changes that take place in a woman’s body during pregnancy, many experience round ligament pain. These ligaments are attached to the uterus and because the uterus has to expand in size and weight, the ligaments will have to stretch becoming longer and thinner causing discomfort and/or pain.
Symptoms can include spasms and contractions on the right side of the abdomen, pain when walking or rolling over in bed, or sharp pain brought on by exercise or other activity.
Although painful, expectant mothers may receive benefit when they apply a heating pad to the affected area, take a warm bath, or lie on the opposite side of the pain. This however should only be done after a doctor has ruled out any other type of serious conditions, especially if the pain is accompanied by a fever, chills, painful urination or difficulty walking.
Headaches-An increase of headaches during the first and third trimester is very common for expectant mothers. In addition to being caused by hormones and an increase of blood volume circulating throughout the body, headaches can also be triggered by a lack of sleep, low blood sugar, stress, and many other changes the body goes through when carrying a baby.
Although over the counter medications are available, expectant mothers should try to relieve the symptoms of a headache naturally such as applying hot or cold compresses, eating smaller and more frequent meals, getting a massage as many headaches are caused by tension, relaxation techniques can be performed in a quiet and dark room, and by avoiding certain foods such as chocolate, yogurt, peanuts, and preserved meats.
If a headache is unbearable or if the mother cannot relieve the symptoms naturally she should contact her doctor, especially if the headache is accompanied with blurry vision, sudden weight gain, pain in the upper right abdomen, swelling of the hands and face, or if there is an increase in frequency.
Constipation-Constipation during pregnancy is very common and is usually caused by two factors; the hormone progesterone starts being produced in greater quantities and the speed of digestion slows down.
Although uncomfortable constipation during pregnancy is easily remedied by doing the following things: Increase fiber consumption by eating foods with whole grains including brown rice and oatmeal, fresh fruits and vegetables, and by eating or drinking prunes, keep the body hydrated by drinking at least 8-10 glasses of water each day, and getting plenty of exercise. Not only will these things help the digestive system work properly, it may also help relieve stress and tension that often comes with a pregnancy.
Heartburn-Many women complain of heartburn during pregnancy. While some feel a burning sensation others feel as if there is a large lump in their chest. Either way is uncomfortable and irritating however there are a number of simple steps that can prevent or minimize this symptom during pregnancy.
Instead of eating 3 large meals per day, women should break down those meals into 6 smaller ones. This will not only help with heartburn but it will also curb the great appetite that comes with eating for two. Avoiding certain foods and drinks that are known for causing heartburn such as fatty and spicy foods, spicy condiments, tomato or tomato based pasta sauces, and caffeine or carbonated beverages. Although women have different cravings throughout their pregnancy, refraining from these foods and beverages will help prevent heartburn.
If heartburn does occur women can relieve the symptoms by eating yogurt or drinking milk mixed with honey, chewing gum after eating meals may help neutralize the stomach acids, or use over the counter antacids such as “Tums” which are usually safe to take when expecting a baby, however women should check with their doctor prior to taking any type of over the counter products.
Morning Sickness-With an increase of hormones and a heightened sense of smell and taste, 50 % of expectant mothers’ chief complaint is morning sickness. Although dubbed “morning” sickness, this symptom of pregnancy can occur any time throughout the day and can be triggered by almost anything. The good news however is it is easily treatable and usually tapers off after the first trimester.
Women experiencing morning sickness can find some relief in doing simple things including taking Vitamin B6 or products containing Vitamin B6, taking prenatal vitamins at a different time of the day, avoiding extreme heat which often triggers nausea, take naps throughout the day but not after meals, get a good night’s sleep but rise slowly upon waking, and eating plain crackers and/or dry toast can lessen if not prevent morning sickness symptoms.
In the off chance that these steps are unsuccessful, women may need to speak with their doctor or obtain a prescription for anti-nausea medicine that is safe for expectant mothers.
Hemorrhoids-Hemorrhoids during pregnancy are a relatively common occurrence and can develop both during and after a pregnancy.
The two common causes of hemorrhoids are the increased pressure of the veins in the lower part of the body and constipation which causes itching, swelling, and pain in the anus.
Expectant mothers may be able to avoid the development of hemorrhoids by keeping their body hydrated through water consumption, avoid lifting heavy objects which will put more pressure on the veins, eating a high fiber diet, exercise regularly, and avoid sitting for long periods of time.
To relieve the pain associated with hemorrhoids mothers can apply ice to the affected area, soak in a warm bath, clean the area with unscented baby wipes or tissue after each bowel movement, and ask their doctor for safe topical ointments that can be applied to the affected area.
Braxton Hicks Contractions-When the uterine muscles tighten and/or contract it is often a sure sign that baby is on the way, however it may be nothing other than Braxton Hicks contractions.
Braxton Hicks contractions are similar to regular labor pains however they generally go away during exercise and/or activity.
Usually occurring during the 9th month, Braxton Hicks contractions usually only last a short time and generally happen every 10 to 20 minutes. There are however things that mothers can do to help alleviate the pain and/or discomfort.
Changing position or activities when Braxton Hicks begin will help alleviate the pain, a mother can rest and lie down on her left side, stay hydrated, empty the bladder often, and practice labor breathing techniques. Although this can alleviate the symptoms it’s important that the mother contact her doctor if she isn’t comfortable and to rule out any medical conditions that may be causing the symptoms.
While some women seem to have more problems during their pregnancy than others, mostly all of them experience some type of pregnancy complaints.
While this list contains the most common symptoms caused by pregnancy it should not be taken as medical advice. Expectant mothers should visit their doctors regularly to obtain the prenatal care that they need to ensure the birth of a healthy baby.