Having a child is one of the most fulfilling experiences life offers, but nearly all women face several health problems during their pregnancy. There are only a few lucky ones who sail through their pregnancies without any problems. Here’s how to deal with some of the most common pregnancy problems.
1. Morning Sickness
Morning sickness refers to nausea and vomiting of pregnancy (NVP). It occurs probably due to higher hormonal levels, higher odor sensitivity, and specific physiological changes in the pregnant woman’s body.
- Eat smaller meals frequently (every 2 to 3 hours) instead of three big meals in a day.
- Avoid unpleasant or strong odors.
- Try eating bland foodstuffs such as dry toasts or saltine crackers.
- In some women, taking vitamin B6 supplements alleviates morning sickness.
- Cut down the intake of fatty food, as they take longer to digest, so they stay longer in the stomach.
- Try taking ginger ale (ensure it has real ginger) or make your own ginger tea by grating and boiling some ginger in water.
- Some women feel relief from morning sickness by acupressure wristbands, commonly available with drugstores.
- Avoid lying down soon after meals.
- If the symptoms are too unbearable, talk to your healthcare provider. They will prescribe you an effective and safe medicine to prevent nausea and vomiting.
Fatigue commonly occurs during pregnancy, especially at the early and late stages of pregnancy.
Pregnancy strains your whole body and makes you feel exhausted. Your body undergoes various changes to sustain your pregnancy, particularly the hormonal changes, causing you to feel lethargic. Lack of adequate night sleep and exhaustion because of repeated vomiting and nausea also adds to tiredness.
Furthermore, you might also be worried about pregnancy, which could be wearing.
- Get 9-10 hours of sleep every day.
- In between work, taking 15-20 minutes catnaps also makes a big difference, so whenever you get the opportunity, use a vacant lounge, office desk, empty conference room, and get a nap.
- Take a healthy, nutritious diet consisting of fruits, vegetables, lean meats, skim milk, and whole grains to energize you.
- Drink a lot of water to keep yourself hydrated.
- Engage in moderate physical activity like walking.
- Stretch your body frequently and breathe deeply.
- If possible, try regulating your schedule.
- Spare some work for the weekend and arrange to work at home so that you can leave your office early.
3. Frequent Urination
Frequent urges to urinate are very common during early pregnancy, with some relief in the second trimester.
There is a considerable increase in blood volume during pregnancy, so a lot of extra fluid is processed through your kidneys, eventually sent to the bladder. The increasing size of the uterus also exerts pressure on your bladder, leading to an urge to urinate.
During the second trimester, the feeling might reduce because your uterus will grow and rise higher in the abdomen. However, as you approach the delivery, the baby will drop lower into the pelvis, bringing back frequent urination urges again.
- Avoid diuretics such as tea, coffee, and alcohol (alcohol should be avoided during pregnancy anyway).
- To avoid nighttime urination (as it may disturb your sleep), cut down the amount of fluid intake after 4 pm. However, you should compensate for this by taking in plenty of fluids during the daytime.
- While you urinate, lean forward so that your bladder empties and the next urination is delayed.
- Talk to your healthcare provider if you feel pain or get a burning sensation while you pee or if the color and odor of urine change.
The major reason for constipation during pregnancy is the hormonal changes, which slow down the digestion of food by slowing down the movement of the intestines.
Progesterone, the primary hormone of pregnancy, is maintained at a high level throughout the pregnancy. This hormone is a muscle relaxant. Consequently, it slows down (or relaxes) the bowel (which is made of muscles) movements, so the food you eat moves slowly, and waste accumulates in your body. An increasing amount of pressure from the growing uterus on the rectum also causes constipation. Iron supplements also add to constipation.
- Take a diet rich in fiber.
- Fiber remains undigested and absorbs water, both leading to an increase in the bulk of feces. Consequently, there is a push on the intestines to work more. Fiber-rich food includes vegetables (celery, Brussels sprouts, broccoli, cucumber, cabbage, tomato, pea, turnip, carrots, radishes); fruits (like orange, apples, pears, prunes); breakfast cereals; whole wheat bread.
- Drink plenty of fluids. Fluids make feces soft, preventing constipation.
- Moderate exercises like walking and swimming also stimulate bowel movement.
5. Stretch Marks
Stretch marks during pregnancy are caused by rapid and excessive weight gain. In the last trimester, cortisone levels are usually increased, and this also weakens the dermis. The collagen and elastin in the dermal layer of the skin, which is just below the visible layer and is responsible for retaining the skin’s shape and firmness, are stretched to the point of breaking. As these fibers separate, the body produces more collagen, which then forms scar tissue.
- Eat a healthy, diverse, and balanced diet
- Use a body brush or washcloth to massage the affected areas
- Drink plenty of fluids
- Wear expecting mom clothes for utmost comfort
- Take your prenatal vitamins
- Keep skin liberally and effectively moisturized
Many women get heartburn during pregnancy. Although it is harmless, it can be painful and scary. You experience a burning sensation extending from the base of your breastbone towards your throat.
Heartburn occurs during pregnancy because of increased progesterone levels, which has a relaxing action on muscles. During later pregnancy, as the size of your baby increases, it occupies most of the space in the abdominal cavity, pushing the stomach. Consequently, it relaxes the valve separating the stomach from the esophagus (food pipe) as well so that the acids in your stomach seep backward into your esophagus. This also leads to heartburns.
- Do not take foodstuffs that cause gastric discomforts, e.g., carbonated beverages; caffeine; acidic foods (citrus fruits, vinegar, and tomato); spicy and highly seasoned food; chocolate; processed meats; fried or fatty foods.
- Do not take large amounts of fluids with meals. Instead, take them in between your meals.
- Avoid taking big meals. Eat small amounts but frequently (every 2-3 hours).
- Eat slowly, chewing the food properly.
- Avoid eating anything at least 3 hours before you sleep.
- Avoid bending your waist and instead bend your knees.
- Try sleeping in a propped-up position, resting on several pillows so that your head is elevated.
- Get yourself an antacid after consultation with your doctor.