Pregnancy Complaints

In this section we have included some of the problems or complications which you may encounter during your pregnancy.

If you are concerned about anything you are experiencing, do not hesitate to call your doctor.

Abdominal Pain

Back Ache

Bloating

Breast Tenderness

Constipation

Groin Pain

Dizziness

Ectopic Pregnancy

Heartburn

Fatigue

Headaches

Hemorrhoids

Leg Cramps

Linea Nigra

Mask of Pregnancy

Molar Pregnancy

Morning Sickness

Nasal Congestion

Nipples Darken

Shortness of Breath

Stretch Marks

Swelling

Vaginal Bleeding

Vaginal Discharge

Varicose Veins

Vision Changes

Abdominal Pain

There are many causes of abdominal pains. Some twinges and tightening feelings are to be expected, as the area expands to hold the growing baby. This should not be very painful. You may also feel mild discomfort if the baby kicks and moves around.

However, if the pain is severe, does not go away, and is accompanied by bleeding, the cause may be miscarriage or premature labor. Contact your doctor as soon as possible.

To relieve pains or cramps particularly, use a hot water bottle on the affected areas. You can also gently massage the areas with lavender oil. If you exercise regularly, you will strengthen and tone your abdominal muscles.

Back Ache

Almost all pregnant mothers experience backaches during the second or third trimester. Backaches are usually caused by poor posture. Since you now have more weight in front of your body, you may be leaning back to compensate. If you have gained more than the recommended amount of weight, this pain may be worse. Also, hormonal changes in your body loosen your joints, which further worsens your posture. A second cause of backache is your baby, who may be pressing on your spine. Backache late in the third trimester may actually be your contractions beginning.

Backache in the first trimester may be a sign of a kidney infection if the backache is accompanied by painful urination and an increased need to urinate. If you experience these warning signs, contact your doctor.

Breast Tenderness

One of the first things you notice about pregnancy is the change in your breasts. They will grow and become tender. Your nipple areas may also darken.

In the second and third trimesters, your breasts may continue to grow, but may become less tender. And you may even notice that your breasts are slightly lumpy. This is normal – what you are feeling are the milk ducts and glands developing. You may also leak a thin , yellow, early milk, called colostrum.

Constipation

Constipation is very common during pregnancy. Your body absorbs more fluids, which makes your stools harder. Your pregnancy hormones also relax your intestinal walls, so its contents do not move very quickly. Later in the pregnancy, the baby may also press on your intestinal tract, making intestinal movement difficult. Finally, constipation is a common side effect of iron pills.

To avoid constipation, you should drink plenty of water and eat fiber-rich foods like brown rice, fruits and vegetables. Mild exercise will also help, as will natural fiber laxatives like MetamucilĀ®. Drinking a warm beverage at a regular time each day also encourages regular bowel movements. However, you should not use any suppositories without consulting your doctor or other healthcare provider.

Groin Pain

Later in your pregnancy, as your body prepares for labor, your pelvic joints soften so the baby can easily pass through them. However, softer joints can make it painful to stand for long periods of time, especially in one position. If you must stand for long periods of time, change positions often. The only true cure for this pain is delivering the baby.

Dizziness

There are five main causes of dizziness. One cause is anemia. If you are anemic, your doctor can prescribe iron supplements or other health supplements to improve this condition. A second cause is high blood sugar. You may have high blood sugar if you are diabetic and do not take your insulin. A third cause is low blood sugar, created by skipped meals. This disappears if you eat a balanced diet. A fourth cause is low blood pressure. This can be especially noticeable if you stand up suddenly. This causes your blood pressure to drop briefly because gravity pulls blood away from your brain. Finally, dizziness can be caused by the baby and uterus putting pressure on major blood vessels, especially if you lie on your back. This decreases circulation of your blood, and makes you feel faint. To cure this type of dizziness, learn to sleep on your side.

Heartburn

Heartburn is usually worst in your third trimester, but it may happen earlier. It can feel like a burning sensation in your esophagus, or pain in your heart area. It is caused when stomach acid, normally present after a meal, surges back up into your esophagus. Heartburn is more of a problem when you are pregnant because your baby presses on your stomach, making it easier for the acid to flow back up the tube. Pregnancy hormones also relax the entrance to your stomach, making it easier for stomach acid to flow backward.

To help prevent heartburn, don’t lie down after a large meal. You can also try to eat several small meals rather than one large one. You can take most antacids for heartburn .Your doctor can suggest other remedies.

Fatigue

Tiredness is very common during the first trimester. Your body is adjusting to important changes, which may increase fatigue, especially if you are caring for other children. This tiredness should improve by the second trimester.

During the second and third trimesters, tiredness is also common as your body adjusts to important changes. But tiredness may also be a sign of anemia. Anemia occurs when there are not enough red blood cells to carry oxygen. This type of anemia can be improved with iron supplements given to you by your doctor or other healthcare provider.

Headaches

Pregnancy does not cause headaches, so you should not have more headaches than you had before pregnancy. However, if you have a very severe headache that will not disappear, or if your headache is accompanied by blurred vision, contact your doctor. This may be a sign of preeclampsia.

Hemorrhoids

Hemorrhoids are common during pregnancy. They are varicose veins in your rectum, which are veins that become enlarged, and they can be very painful. One cause of hemorrhoids is the increased pressure on the area from your baby. They can also be caused by constipation, which is common in pregnancy. You can try to prevent them by eating foods with lots of fiber, like brown rice and vegetables. You should also drink lots of water, and avoid foods with extra fats and sugars. And do not strain while having a bowel movement.

If you do have hemorrhoids, you may find relief in shallow, warm baths. Ice can also reduce the swelling. Several times per day you should rest in bed with your hips elevated above your heart. Your doctor may also be able to prescribe some relief. However, do not take over-the-counter creams unless your doctor tells you to.

Leg Cramps

Many mothers experience leg cramps as a normal part of pregnancy. However, the cause of leg cramps is not known for certain. Some believe cramps are caused by a calcium deficiency, and that calcium tablets may help. Others believe the cramps are caused by decreased circulation.

Once you have a cramp, you should get your partner to push your heel up, while keeping your leg extended.

If the pain is particularly bad, and accompanied by warmth, tenderness and swelling in a particular spot, then you may have a more serious condition called Deep Vein Thrombosis. This condition is caused by blood clots in the veins. Your doctor or other healthcare provider can test for this condition.

Linea Nigra

Skin changes may occur in the second and third trimesters. Linea nigra is a dark, vertical line that may develop down the center of your abdomen. It is caused by the same pregnancy hormones that make your nipples darken. It darkens even more if exposed to sunlight, but it lightens after delivery

Mask of Pregnancy

Skin changes may occur in the second and third trimesters. Brown patches may appear on your cheeks, forehead or neck. These are caused by the same pregnancy hormones that make your nipples darken. The patches will disappear on their own, or get lighter, after the baby is born.

Morning Sickness

The cause of nausea is not known, but it is so common in pregnancy that it is often one of the earliest signs that you are pregnant. Nausea in pregnancy is called morning sickness, because it occurs most often when you wake up. But you may experience it at any time. You may feel very sick, and you may vomit. It tends to be worse when you are tired, or when you have an empty stomach. Alcohol and greasy food will also make you feel more nauseous.

Nausea usually ends by the beginning of the second trimester. You can get some relief if you eat small snacks or meals throughout the day, instead of one large meal or nothing at all. Crackers or dry toast may help you feel better in the morning. You should not take any medications for nausea, including home remedies, without first consulting your doctor.

If you are vomiting excessively, contact your doctor.

Nasal Congestion

Your body releases hormones that soften tissues in preparation for delivery. But these hormones soften all your tissues, including those in your nose. This area may now swell easily, causing congestion. And since your blood circulation has increased, you may have nosebleeds.

Neither of these two complaints are harmful, and both disappear with delivery. However, ask your doctor before taking over-the-counter medicines that you would usually take for congestion.

Nipples Darken

One common skin change is an increase in a hormone that stimulates the coloring of your skin. This causes your nipples to darken, beginning in the third month. They darken more if you already have dark skin or hair.

Shortness of Breath

In the third trimester you may be short of breath often. There are several causes of this condition. One is the extra weight — your body is not used to carrying an extra 25 pounds. Shortness of breath can also be caused by your baby pressing on your lungs and diaphragm, which may make it hard to breathe. Breathing may get easier when the baby drops into your pelvis at 34 to 36 weeks in preparation for delivery. Avoid shortness of breath by moving more slowly and maintaining good posture.

Stretch Marks

Over half of pregnant women get stretch marks, which usually appear in the second trimester. They appear where skin has been stretched, such as the breasts, pregnant belly, hips or thighs. They are more likely to occur during pregnancy because your skin loses its usual elasticity when pregnant. Your skin also produces excess pigment, which settles in the stretched area and causes the marks to take on a reddish color. This makes them more noticeable. Stretch marks may fade after delivery, but they probably won’t go away. Many mothers believe that lotions or creams will help to improve stretch marks, or prevent them from forming, but there is no evidence for this.

Swelling

In the second and third trimesters, swelling in your legs and feet is a normal part of pregnancy. Fluids get “stuck” in these areas because more weight is pressing on them while at the same time your blood circulation has slowed down. Swelling usually appears in the second trimester, and can be lessened if you keep your legs raised for part of each day. You cannot avoid swelling by drinking less fluid or taking less salt.

Contact your doctor if you are swelling suddenly in your face or fingers. You may be experiencing a serious complication called pre-eclampsia.

Also contact your doctor if your swelling is accompanied by deep pain, if you are swelling in one leg and not the other, and if the leg is red or warm. This could be a complication called Deep Vein Thrombosis.

Vaginal Discharge

Vaginal discharge normally increases during pregnancy, because more blood is flowing to the vaginal area. Discharge may help protect the baby and mother from infection. Normal discharge during pregnancy is usually white or creamy yellow, and may be thick. Vaginal discharge will return to pre-pregnancy levels after delivery.

Tell your doctor about any large increase in the amount of discharge in the second or third trimester. This may signal preterm labor. If your discharge smells bad, is greenish , and your vaginal area burns or itches, you may have an infection. Your doctor will test you to see if an infection is present. If so, you can often be easily treated. Your doctor will prescribe antibiotics or advise other treatment. Do not take any over-the-counter medicine unless it is recommended by your doctor.

Varicose Veins

Vaginal varicose veins are similar to hemorrhoids. Because of the extra weight pressing down on your vaginal area, the veins in your vagina may become swollen. It is hard for the veins to push blood back to the heart, so blood may pool and become painful.

To feel better, raise your hips. Cold compresses are also soothing

Vision Changes

Blurred vision can be caused by pregnancy hormones changing the shape of your eye slightly. This will disappear after delivery.

However, in the second and third trimesters, black spots before your eyes with a headache may be a sign of pre-eclampsia, a very serious condition. If your vision becomes blurred, you should tell your doctor.

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