• thecolumbusdoula

Pregnancy Discomforts & Reliefs

Updated: Aug 8, 2019

The moment you look at the stick with 2 pink lines or read the word "pregnant," you are consumed with excitement, joy and anticipation. What is running through your head are things like how you're going to tell friends & family the big news, when you should start buying maternity clothes, wondering what the gender will be and googling "due date calculator." And then usually days or weeks later it hits you.... the beginning of all the symptoms, pains and discomforts you will face for the next 35-40 weeks. 

More googling, questions for your doctor & counting down the days until your feet will no longer be swollen. 

Below you will find a compilation of common discomforts, ailments, pains, symptoms you might feel during pregnancy, the reason behind them & the RELIEFS


Enjoy!


Backache

Reason: Balance change; center of gravity is pulled forward/straightening back, pelvic joints begin to loosen in preparation for childbirth

Relief: Try not to stand in one position for too long, an exercise called pelvic rock can help alleviate back pain and strengthen lower back muscles, elevate feet on a stool while sitting


Sore breasts

Reason: Milk glands enlarge and the fat tissue enlarges, causing breast firmness and tenderness

Relief: Wear a good support bra that will make you feel more comfortable, wear a bra during the night, get a bigger bra as breasts become larger and fuller


Shortness of breath

Reason: Increased upward pressure from the uterus and changes in physiologic lung function

Relief: When walking, slow down and rest, raise your arms above your head, avoid lying flat on your back


Nausea

Reason: Change in hormone levels

Relief: Eat small small frequent meals, avoid greasy/high-fat foods, drink carbonated beverages, peppermint, spearmint, chamomile teas, eat high protein snack before bed, limit coffee consumption, consume dry starch foods (crackers) before getting out of bed


Vomiting

Reason: Change in hormone levels

Relief: Eat small frequent meals, avoid greasy/high-fat foods, drink carbonated beverages, peppermint, spearmint, chamomile teas, eat high protein snack before bed, limit coffee consumption, consume dry starch foods (crackers) before getting out of bed


Heartburn

Reason: Pressure on the intestines and stomach which pushes stomach contents back up into esophagus

Relief: Eat smaller meals throughout day, avoid lying down shortly after eating


Gas

Reason: Increased levels of progesterone- a hormone that causes the muscles throughout your body to relax, causing your digestion to slow down

Relief: Avoid fatty foods, avoid carbohydrate drinks, focus on smaller meals throughout the day, drink from a glass with a straw, exercise, limit or avoid artificial sweeteners, drink a lot of water, eat slowly


Constipation

Reason: Low-fiber diet, minimal physical exercise, worry, anxiety or hormones that relax the intestinal muscle and by the pressure of the expanding uterus on the intestines

Relief: Increase amount of fiber in diet (fruits, raw vegetables, whole grains, nuts), drink a lot of fluids, exercise, eat prunes or figs, exercise


Hemorrhoids

Reason: Increased pressure on the rectum and perineum, increased blood volume, being constipated

Relief: Witch hazel or tucks pads, prevent constipation by maintaining a diet that is high in fluids and fiber, avoid laxatives


Bleeding Gums

Reason: Increase in blood flow

Relief: Take care of teeth & gums, regular checkups to dentist


Braxton Hicks Contractions

Reason: Uterine muscles contract (tighten) -irregular infrequent contractions

Relief: Try to relax, change positions


Headache

Reason: Change in hormone levels

Relief: Rest, proper nutrition, adequate fluid intake


Fatigue

Reason: Body is working overtime to provide a nourishing environment for the fetus, blood volume and other fluids increase as body adjusts to pregnancy, possibly anemia

Relief: Get as much sleep and rest as you can, short naps, pace yourself, balance activity with rest, exercise boosts energy level


Itching skin

Reason: Blood supply to the skin increases or as your abdomen stretches, it can become itchy as well

Relief: Regularly apply unscented lotion or moisturizer, wear clothing loose so it doesn’t irritate skin, wear clothing made of natural fibers (cotton) & because they are breathable


Leg cramps

Reason: Pressure from growing uterus

Relief: Increase intake of calcium, while in bed stretch with your heels pointed, not toes during cramp, massage the cramp or apply heat


Moodiness

Reason: Physical stress, fatigue, changes in metabolism or hormones estrogen and progesterone

Relief: Get plenty of sleep, take a break during the day to relax, get exercise, eat well, spend time with partner, take a nap, go for a walk, don’t be hard on yourself


Sleeplessness

Reason: Difficult to find a comfortable position, anxious about labor & all the things on “to do list”

Relief: Warm bath, massage, hot drink before bed, use extra pillows, lying on left side


Round ligament stretching/cramping

Reason: As the baby and womb grows, the round ligament stretches, making it more likely to become strained

Relief: Exercise, avoid sudden movements, flex your hips, apply warmth


Stretch marks

Reason: Rapid increase in weight

Relief: Control weight, stay hydrated, eat a healthy diet, apply a stretch mark oil or cream, massage your skin


Varicose Veins

Reason: Increase pressure on the legs & pelvic veins & increased blood volume

Relief: Avoid sitting or standing in same position for long time, avoid wearing high heels, get regular exercise, wear support hose, avoid crossing your legs while sitting, elevate your legs, sleep on your left side, reduce sodium intake, drink a lot of water


Vaginitis

Reason: Inflammation of the vagina

Relief: Oral medications, wear loose/breathable (cotton) underwear, cream


Swelling

Reason: Pressure from growing uterus on the blood vessels carrying blood from the lower body causes fluid retention

Relief: Lying on side, elevating legs, wearing support hose, wearing comfortable shoes, do not be on feet for long periods of time, drink plenty of fluids


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