Minor Problems During Pregnancy

Your body is constantly changing during your pregnancy and sometimes can cause minor problems (like backache, cramp .Etc.) and these can sometimes seem quite alarming. There is no need to panic. All of us go through them at one point or another during our pregnancy. Below is a list of some of those common problems and some tips on how to deal with them. If you are worried about anything or are in pain in any way contact your doctor or midwife straight away.

Backache is very common in pregnancy. Your ligaments will become softer and stretch to prepare you for labour. As the baby grows, the hollow in your back may increase and this may cause you backache. About half of all pregnant women complain of backaches. Fortunately, there are lots of simple strategies you can use to ease the pain.

Avoid lifting heavy objects.

Bend you knees and keep your back straight when picking something up from the floor.

When carrying something heavy hold it close to your body.

Wear flat shoes (trainers are very comfortable.)

Work at a surface waist height.

Sit with your back straight and well supported. When you are seated, tuck a small, firm cushion into the small of your back. It will give you support and help relieve the aches you experience after you have been sitting for a while.

A firm mattress (if you don't have one put a piece of hardboard under your mattress.)

Ask your partner or a friend to massage your back (avoid aromatherapy oils as some can be dangerous for the baby.)

Make sure you get enough rest, especially later on in your pregnancy (if you have small children ask someone to take care of them for an hour a day so that you can rest.)

Don't gain more than the recommended amount of weight.

Do light exercises, but ask your doctor first to find out what kind you can do.

A brisk walk may help a lot, take your dog out.

Lots of rest (try listening to some relaxing music.)

A relaxing bath with bubbles in will do wonders for your headache and also relax you.

Try to avoid any kind of drug while you are pregnant. But if your headache is really bad a paracetamol is OK but don't take too many.

If you often have bad headaches tell your doctor or midwife and they can advice you on what to do.

Pregnant women often feel faint. This happens when not enough blood is getting to the brain.

When sitting or lying down take your time getting up to prevent dizziness or fainting.

Don't stand for too long. If you feel faint sit down straight away and it should pass, but if it doesn't lie down on your side.

If you feel faint when lying on your back turn on to your side. (Avoid lying on your back later on in pregnancy or during labour.)

When your womb grows it presses on your stomach causing indigestion.

Try eating smaller meals a few times during the day rather than one or two big meals.

Sit up straight when eating as this will take the strain off your stomach.

Avoid fried or spicy foods.

Heartburn is a strong, burning pain in your chest. It is very common in pregnancy. To avoid heart burn you could;

Sleep well propped up, use lots of pillows on your bed.

Drink plenty of milk and always keep a glass near by at night in case you wake up with heartburn during the night.

Don't eat or drink before you go to bed.

Don't take antacid tablets before checking that they are safe in pregnancy.

If you have any worries ask your midwife or doctor.

You may become constipated very early on in pregnancy because of the hormonal changes to your body.

Make sure you include plenty of fibre in your diet. Check out our healthy eating page

Exercise regularly.

Drink plenty of water.

Nausea and morning sickness:
This is a classic symptom of pregnancy, although it is actually only experienced by about 50% of women. Contrary to what the term may suggest, it does not always, or only, occur in the morning. You may experience an increase in nausea at any time of day, particularly if you do not eat often enough, causing your blood sugar to drop. Nausea is very common in the early stages of pregnancy. Some women feel sick, other women are sick and the lucky ones don't feel sick at all . Nausea usually disappears around the 12th to 14th week. But until then here are a few things that should help.

If you feel sick in the mornings give yourself time to get up slowly.

Eat dry or a plain biscuit for breakfast if you have morning sickness. (Ask your partner to bring you breakfast in bed.)

Drink plenty of fluids.

Eat small amounts often rather than several large meals.

Avoid the foods and smells that make you feel worse.

Eating foods that contain ginger may be helpful.

Ask the people around you to help you out when you are feeling sick or tired.

Make yourself busy, the more you think of the problem the worse it can get.

Wear clothes that aren't too tight around the waist.

Get as much sleep and rest as you can.

If you can't keep anything down see your doctor or midwife.

Breast tenderness:
Your breasts may become extremely tender and sensitive to the touch, with a darkening of the areola and more prominent veins over the surface of your breasts appearing very early on.

If they do become tender to touch. Try have a warm bath. Not a hot one as it will make your breasts sore.

Have your breasts measured and buy a comfortable bra.

Passing water:
Your bladder can become extremely irritable due to pelvic congestion from rising progesterone, which is excreted by the embryo. This will lead to a need to urinate more frequently than usual. You will probably have to pass water a few times a day and may have unwanted leakage. Here are a few tips to help you.

You may leak when you sneeze, cough or laugh. To avoid any embarrassment wear a panty liner or a sanitary towel.

Practice pelvic floor muscle exercises throughout your pregnancy. Tighten the muscles of your vagina as though you were stopping a flow of urine. Hold for a count of 8. Then repeat in sets of 10 several times throughout the day.

If you are having to go to the toilet a lot during the night cut out drinking before bed time. But drink a lot during the day.

Try rocking backwards and forwards when you are on the toilet. This lessens the pressure of the womb on the bladder so that you can empty it properly. You won't need to pass water quite as often if you do this.

If you have any pain or blood when passing water you may have a urine infection that will need treatment. Contact your doctor straight away. Drink plenty of water to reduce the irritation.

Piles also known as haemorrhoids, are swollen veins around the back passage which may itch, ache or feel sore. If you do suffer with piles while you are pregnant they may get uncomfortable but don't worry they should disappear once your baby is born.

If you have piles you should, eat plenty of food that is high in fibre check out our healthy eating page and drink plenty of water this will prevent constipation, which can make piles worse.

Take regular exercise to improve circulation.

Use an ice pack to ease the discomfort. Hold it gently against the piles (you could wrap a wet cloth around a packet of frozen peas or something else that is frozen.)

If the piles stick out push them back inside using a lubricating jelly. (We know this sounds disgusting but it will hurt more if you leave them.)

Consider giving birth in a kneeling position to reduce the pressure on your back passage.

Nose bleeds:
Nosebleeds are a result of increased hormone circulation causing your mucous membranes to swell and become congested.

To help the bleeding stop, press the sides of your nose together for ten minutes. If the bleeding doesn't stop try again for another ten minutes.

Hold your head back.

As long as you don't lose a lot of blood you have nothing to worry about.

If you aren't sleeping very well don't worry about it, it often happens during pregnancy. You may also have strange dreams about your pregnancy or your baby, don't worry they're natural.

You may find it more comfortable to lie on your side with a pillow under your stomach and another one in-between your legs.

Relaxation techniques might help, breathing slowly, listening to some soft music try your local library for relaxation cassettes. Your antenatal class may teach you relaxation.

A warm bubble bath might help.

Drink some warm milk before bed.

Have a rest during the day this can make you feel less tired.

Ask your partner to give you an all over body massage.

Mild itching is common in pregnancy because of the increased blood supply to the skin. Many women get a pregnancy rash that occurs on their stomach nearer the end of pregnancy.

If you do get a pregnancy rash on your stomach don't scratch at it too much as this can tear the skin.

Wear loose clothing.

Ask your doctor or midwife if there is anything you can take to ease the itching.

If itching becomes severe, or you develop jaundice (yellowing of the whites of the eyes and skin) see your doctor straight away.

Cramp often occurs when you are pregnant. It is a sharp pain that is usually in your calf muscles or feet.

If you suffer with cramp pains during the night pull your toes up towards your ankles or rub the muscle hard.

Do regular leg and foot exercises.

Massage your feet, ankles and lower legs before you go to sleep or ask your partner to do it for you.

Stretch marks:
These are pink or purplish lines which occur on your stomach and sometimes on your breasts, thighs, bottom and lower back. Some women get them some don't, it depends on your skin type. You are more likely to get them if your weight gain is more than average. Use baby oil every day to reduce the risk of getting them. After your baby is born they will lessen though it may take a while.

Vaginal discharge or thrush:
Almost all women get more vaginal discharge while they are pregnant. It should be clear and white and should not smell. If your discharge is coloured or smells strange you might have a vaginal infection called thrush.

If you do have thrush, drink plenty of water this will help to take it away.

Ask your pharmacist if there is a cream you could use, or you could use natural yoghurt.

Wear loose cotton underwear.

Edema, or swelling, of the hands and feet may occur. This is normal. Ankles, feet and fingers often swell in pregnancy because the body holds more water than usual.

Try to avoid standing for long periods of time.

Wear comfortable shoes.

Do foot exercises

Put your feet up as much as you can.

Soak your feet in warm water.

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