A woman’s body has a great deal to do during pregnancy. Sometimes the transformation taking place causes irritation or discomfort, and on occasions they may seem quite frightening. Fortunately some simple lifestyle changes can relieve the expectant mothers from these health woes. Sometimes it is hard to know what is normal. The expectant mother should call her doctor if something is bothering or worrying her.
Dr Sunil Eshwar lists some symptoms that are par during pregnancy.
Nausea and vomiting:
This is a very common and distressing symptom of pregnancy due to hormonal changes. The expectant mother is advised to eat bland food which has no smell or taste like dry wheat bread or rusk in the morning even before brushing the teeth. She should also avoid oily and spicy food and eat food in frequent intervals and in small quantities to ease the nausea and vomiting.
Constipation: It is quite common for a pregnant woman to be constipated during her pregnancy. She is bound to become constipated very early in pregnancy because of the hormonal changes in her body. She could eat foods that are high in fibre, such as wholemeal breads, whole grain cereals, fruit and vegetables, and pulses such as beans and lentils to help the constipation. She should also drink adequate amount of water.
Cramps: Cramp is a sudden, sharp pain, usually in your calf muscles or feet. It is most common at night. Regular, gentle exercise during pregnancy, particularly ankle and leg movements, will improve her circulation and will help prevent cramps from occurring. Consuming dairy products containing calcium also help in reducing the frequency of cramps.
Faintness: Pregnant women often feel weak because of hormonal changes occurring in their body during pregnancy. She is most likely to feel weak and dizzy if she stands up too quickly from a chair, but it can also happen when she is lying on her back. She could try to get up slowly from a sitting position and if she feels dizzy and weak when standing still, she should find a seat quickly and wait for the dizziness to pass. If it doesn’t, she should lie down on her side to cope with the faintness.
Feeling hot during pregnancy: During pregnancy women are likely to feel warmer than normal. This is due to hormonal changes and an increase in blood supply to the skin. She could wear loose clothing made of natural fibers, as these are more absorbent and breathe more than synthetic fibres. Also keeping the room cool could help her cope with the feeling of heat. She should also avoid spicy food.
Incontinence: Incontinence is a common problem, and it can have an effect on her during and after pregnancy. Sometimes pregnant women are unable to prevent a sudden spurt of urine or a small leak when they cough, laugh or sneeze, or when they move suddenly, or just get up from a sitting position. This may be temporary, because the pelvic floor muscles (the muscles around the bladder) relax slightly to prepare for the baby’s delivery.
Varicose veins: Varicose veins are veins that swell up. The veins in the legs are most commonly affected.
If the expectant mother has varicose veins she should
Try to avoid standing for long periods of time
Try not to sit with her legs crossed
Try not to put on too much weight as this increases the pressure
Sit with her legs up as often as she can, to ease the discomfort
Try support tights, which may also help to support her leg muscles
Try sleeping with her legs higher than the rest of her body - use pillows under her ankles or put books under the foot of her bed.
Do foot exercises and other antenatal exercises, such as walking and swimming, which will all help in circulation.