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17 Reliefs to Common Pregnancy Discomforts

 




Pregnancy is a joyous time for expectant mothers. But it’s also a challenging time physically and emotionally. Every mother experiences some discomfort during pregnancy. Most symptoms go away quickly or can be easily relieved. If any of these problems persist, or cannot be relieved easily, talk to your health care provider.

Fathers who understand the physical changes of pregnancy and the common discomforts are more able to help minimize them.

morning sickness pregnancyMORNING SICKNESS

Half of pregnant women experience nausea and vomiting during the 4th-14th week.

Possible Causes: hormone changes • low blood sugar • tension, worry and fatigue can make it worse

Relief: give yourself extra time in the morning • eat dry toast or crackers and then rest before getting out of bed • eat small, frequent meals throughout the day and aim for healthy foods high in protein or cabohydrates • keep your kitchen well ventilated and cut down on cooking time • eat a high protein snack at bedtime to relieve morning sickess due to low blood sugar • avoid rich, spicy, acidic or fried foods and eat less fat in general • though it's important to keep yourself well hydrated, try to drink fluids only between meals, and limit them during meals • sniff lemons, the smell of a cut lemon may help your nausea • try acupressure bands on your wrist; drugstores sell a cotton wristband called sea-band (help to fight seasickness and have helped many pregnant women through morning sickness) • talk to your doctor/ midwife before taking any drugs

CONSTIPATION

Possible Causes: decreased physical activity • relaxation of bowel caused by hormones

Relief: drink 8-12 large glasses of water daily; water rich in antioxidants and electrolytes such as smart water or neo water help keep you hydrated longer than regular water • eat foods high in fiber (raw fruits and vegetables, whole grain bread and erelas, prunes) • add 1-2 tsp. of wheat bran to your breakfast cereal • exercise regularly • discuss laxatives with your doctor/midwife before using

HEMORRHOIDS

Possible Causes: pressure of uterus • lack of exercise • constipation, straining • not emptying the bowel when needed

Relief: drink 8-12 large glasses of fluid daily • eat food high in fiber • add 1-2 tsp. of wheat bran to cereal • exercise regularly (including kegels) • use cold compresses or ice

INTESTINAL GAS

Possible Causes: decreased activity of the intestines caused by enlarging uterus and hormones

Relief: Chew your food well • have only small servings of foods that cause gas eg. corn, beans, cabbage, lentils

pregnant woman walking exerciseVARICOS VEINS

Possible Causes: may be inherited • pressure of uterus on veins in abdomen • hormones relax walls of veins

Relief: avoid wearing clothing or stockings that are too tight on your body or legs • wear support stockings instead • exercise moderately during pregnancy; a brisk walk helps to improve circulation • elevate feet above heart level when sitting or lying down • avoid sitting with legs crossed • sleep laying on your left side to avoid increased pressure on your inferior vena cava

HEARTBURN

Possible Causes: elarged uterus pushes stomach upwards • hormones relax muscles at opening allowing digestive juices to go back up esophagus

Relief: eat small meals frequently during the day • avoid spicy and fatty foods • avoice coffee, tea, and alcoholic drinks • take fluids (soup, juice, milk) 1/2 hour after solid meals, not at the same time • avoid lying down right after meals • use pillows to raise your chest and head when you sleep • talk to your doctor/midwife or pharmacist about antacids before using

TINGLING OR NUMBNESS OF FINGERS

Possible Causes: breast tissue high in the armpit enlarges and puts pressure on the nerves • stooped shoulders

Relief: place hand on shoulder and make circles with your elbows • practice good posture • wear a supportive bra (80% of women wear the wrong bra or the wrong bra size). Signs of an ill-fitting bra:

  • backaches
  • shoulder grooves
  • the back rides up
  • the straps dig into your shoulders
  • you have red marks on your body after you take it off
  • you tug at your bra throughout the day
  • you have bulges at the tops and sides of the cups
  • you have bulges on your back

SWELLING OF FEET

Possible Causes: enlarging uterus presses on the veins, slowing blood return from the legs

Relief: avoid sitting or standing for long periods • elevate legs whenever possible • lie on your left side to help the kidneys get rid of extra fuild • put on support stockings before getting up • avoid constrictive clothing (eg. knee highs)

DIZZINESS AND FAINTING

Possible Causes: pressure of the uterus on large blood vessels in the abdomen • anemia-low blood iron • decreased blood sugar

Relief: get up slowly from sitting or lying down • avoid standing still for long periods of time • eat healthy meals and snacks regularly throughout the day • avoid rooms with poor ventilation • see doctor or midwife

pregnant woman backacheUPPER BACKACHE

Possible Causes: elarging uterus • increase in breast tissue • ill-fitting bra

Relief: sit and stand tall • good posture • wear supportive shoes with low heels • practice progressive relaxation daily or take a yoga class • wear a supportive bra • practive shoulder circles daily

LOWER BACKACHE

Possible Causes: elarging uterus • softening of ligaments • poor posture • hormone production makes joints less stable

Relief: practive progressive meditation daily • use a firm mattress on your bed • lift and carry objects correctly • massage • strengthening abdominal muscles, back muscles, pelvic floor, buttock, and thigh muscles by doing the following exercises and stretches:

  • pelvic tilts
  • arm and leg raises
  • kegels
  • wall squats
  • back stretch
  • hamstring stretch
  • chest stretch
  • neck stretch

CRAMPS IN LEGS OR FEET

Possible Causes: uterus presses on blood vessels and abdominal nerves • fatigue or chilling • sudden stretching • calcium-phosphorus imbalance

Relief: avoid massaging a cramp • to relieve foot cramps - press foot against a firm surface, straightenleg, keep knee stiff and use foot muscles to push heel out and pull toes toward the body • do warm-ups before exercising • avoid getting overtired • elevate your feet • discuss diet with a doctor/midwife

GROIN SPASM - PAINT AT TOP OF LEG

Possible Causes: leg ligament cramps • maybe caused by standing too long, sudden movement coughing or sneezing

Relief: avoid sudden movements • bend slightly at the hips when coughing or sneezing • to get rid of the spasm - pull your leg up as if you were going to tie your show, lightly massage in groin, rest in a side-lying position with your knees bent

PAIN ("STITCH") UNDER RIBS

Possible Causes: enlarging uterus presses on diaphragm • diaphragm presses against the bottom of the lungs

Relief: stretch arms overhead, then bend side to side slowly • relax • breathe deeply

ENLARGED BREASTS

Possible Causes: changes occur in breast tissue to prepare breastfeeding • milk glands enlarge, fat and supporting tissue increase

Relief: select a cotton bra that has alrge openings and wide straps • take long nursing pads when being fitted • wear a bra at night for additional sipport • wash breasts with plain water only (soap and perfumes dry the skin)

SHORTNESS OF BREATH

Possible Causes: decreased lung capacity because of pressure of uterus against diaphragm

Relief: elevate the head of your bed or prop yourself up with pillows • raise arms overhead, lifting up the rib cage • relax periodically and take slow deep breaths • avoid overloading your stomach • pace activities - slow down

MOOD SWINGS, MIXED FEELINGS

Possible Causes: hormonal and metabolic changes • feelings about timing of the pregnancy, sexuality, and changes in lifestyle • fear of parenting • pressure from others • concern for baby's health

Relief: reassurance and support from family/friends • good communication with partner, family, and friends • discuss concerns with a physician/midwife or nurse

NOTE: These feelings may continue afeter birth. If severe, it may be a sign of postpartum depression. Treatment is available. Consult your physician or midwife.

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