Nausea: Nausea and vomiting is quite common during the early weeks of pregnancy. It will usually disappear after the third month. Nausea is worse on an empty stomach. The following suggestions may help alleviate your nausea:
-Eating 2-3 saltines upon waking in the morning.
-Small frequent meals throughout the day instead of 3 heavy meals.
-Hot, spicy, fried, greasy foods should be avoided. Also, extremely hot (temperature) or cold foods.
-Semi-reclining for 20 minutes immediately after eating or when you first feel nauseous is enough to relieve it.
Heartburn: Avoid overeating and stay away from spicy, greasy, or fried foods. Eating 6 small meals is helpful as well. Also avoid drinking fluids with meals. If necessary, you can take antacids, refer to the OTC list for which are safe in pregnancy. It is best not to lie down after eating or drinking for at least 2 hours.
Constipation: This is more common during pregnancy because of the hormonal effect on your bowels. Regular exercise, eating a diet high in fiber, drinking plenty of water, eating cereal such as oatmeal and bran, increasing your fruit intake, eating plenty of green vegetables will help prevent constipation. Certain fruits are more helpful than others, especially when consumed at night. These include prunes, figs, dates, raisins, and apples. Green vegetables, cooked or raw, add roughage to the diet to stimulate the bowels. Whole wheat bread is also a good choice. Exercise is very helpful as well to relieve constipation.
Falls: Given our location in the world it is very common to slip and fall. No matter what time of year, should you slip or trip and fall you must contact our office immediately to ensure both you and your baby are ok.
Gas: Gas is a common occurrence in pregnancy. If this happens often, limit hard to digest foods, such as beans, parsnips, corn, onions, cabbage, and fried foods. Regular bowel movements and plenty of exercise will help relieve the discomfort.
Hemorrhoids: This is a collection of enlarged veins at the opening of the rectum. Avoid constipation. Sitting in warm water for 15 minutes may also help relieve the discomfort. If necessary, you can use over the counter hemorrhoid preparations such as Preparation H or Tucks pads.
Varicose Veins: Varicosities are actually veins that weaken and enlarge as they work harder to circulate blood. Lie down with your legs elevated above the level of your heart (2 pillows should do it) as often as possible during the day. Standing for long periods of time without movement may aggravate the condition. Walking and moving will keep the blood circulating. When you sit, try to elevate your legs to increase the return of blood back to your body from your feet. Compression stockings worn during the day can provide some relief.
Muscle Cramps: This is often more common in the second and third trimester. Cramping in the calves and thighs can cause considerable discomfort. Immediate relief can be achieved by flexing the foot upward so that the cramped muscle is suddenly stretched (DO NOT point toes DOWN). Rest and good shoes are beneficial as well. Muscle cramps could be a result of low calcium intake, or dehydration. Try increasing your calcium intake and making sure you’re staying hydrated. Drinking one glass of tonic water per day will also relieve muscle cramps.
Dizziness/Fainting: Dizzy and fainting spells are relatively uncommon, however can occur. Avoid quick movements and utilize deep breathing. Vigorous leg activity and slowly changing position most often prevents lightheadedness. If this is happening on a regular basis, please contact our office immediately.
Shortness of Breath: As the baby gets larger, they can push up against the lungs causing you to be somewhat short of breath. To be more comfortable, move more slowly and utilize deep chest breathing. Prop your head up on a couple of pillows while sleeping, if shortness of breath interferes with your sleeping. Try to avoid sleeping directly on your back. If your shortness of breath increases in ANY way, please contact our office immediately.
Insomnia: Movements of the baby, shortness of breath and muscle cramping all contribute to difficulty sleeping in pregnancy. Try a shower and a cup of milk. Prop yourself up on pillows at night. Avoid caffeine. Do not take sedatives or tranquilizers without contacting our office first.
Vaginal discharge: Due to hormonal changes, an increase in vaginal discharge is very common. Moderate vaginal discharge, even enough to necessitate wearing a panty liner is also common, especially in the second and third trimester. Should the discharge accompany vaginal itching, irritation, odor, change in color, heavier than usual, or very watery, please make sure to call our office.
Nasal Congestion and Nosebleeds: Frequently in pregnancy it feels as though your nose is swollen by a perpetual cold and interferes with breathing. This is common and clears up with delivery. Nosebleeds are fairly common, especially during the winter months. They are usually as a result of dry air, drying and crusting the mucous membrane lining the nasal cavity. Simply pinch your nostrils together to stop the bleeding. You may also try applying an ice pack to your nose while in an upright position. A humidifier may provide some relief from the dry air.
Abdominal Pain: Many women experience shooting pains in both the groin and down the legs. This is caused by stretching of the ligaments that normally hold the uterus in place. This discomfort can sometimes be severe. Lying down or a change of position can sometimes help. Round ligament pain can also be relieved by wearing a belly band or maternity belt. Avoid sudden movements. If the pain is severe, steady, and is accompanied by bleeding, or is concerning to you in any way please contact our office immediately.
Swelling of Feet, Ankles, or Legs: Many normal pregnant patients complain of gradual swelling of ankles, feet, lower legs toward the end of the day. This is a result of water being held by the tissue. This excess fluid tends to pool in the dependent parts of the body; this is aggravated by periods of standing and very warm weather. Elevate your feet whenever possible during the day. Lying on your left side improves circulation as well. Immersing your feet in cold water is helpful. Fingers are the next common area to swell and can be stiff. Be careful to remove any rings before you are unable to. Continue to maintain adequate fluid intake. If swelling seems abnormal in any way, please contact our office.
Although the discomforts listed above are common during pregnancy, we would rather have you call and discuss your concerns, rather than worrying. Please call our office with ANY questions or concerns.