Common Discomforts of Pregnancy

Common Discomforts of Pregnancy


Abdominal crampingThe ligaments that support the growing uterus are stretching.
Note location and duration. Try a heating pad for 5 minutes and/or Tylenol every 4-6 hours. Call us if severe pain and/or bleeding occurs.
AllergiesThe hormonal changes can increase nasal sensitivity.
Try to avoid the allergen. Claritin and Zyrtec are safe. Try Ocean Spray saline nasal drops/spray.
BackacheThe increasing uterus size causes a shift in the center of gravity and posture.
Try heat/ice for 15 minutes alternately. Avoid lifting, bending, heeled shoes. Wear a supportive bra, try stretching, pelvic rocking, wearing an external abdominal binder and/or Tylenol.
Bleeding gumsThe high level of estrogen increases gum sensitivity.
Practice good oral hygiene. Use a soft toothbrush and floss regularly. Try warm saline mouthwashes. Increase vitamin C intake.
Braxton-Hicks contractionsThese probably occur due to the increased tone of the uterine muscles.
Rest on your left side and/or walk. Push oral fluids. Empty your bladder frequently. Call us if they are regular and/or intense, are coming >4 in an hour, and you are <35 weeks along.
Breast painThe increased hormone levels cause a thickening of the fat layer and stimulate the developing milk ducts.
Perform a breast exam, avoid caffeine, and try vitamin E 800 IU. Wear a supportive bra constantly. Applying ice packs may also help.
Carpal Tunnel SyndromeThe fluid retention causes compression of certain nerves.
Wear a wrist splint while sleeping. This usually disappears postpartum. Hand therapy referrals can be given.
Chloasma/Skin changes
(Linea nigra)
Estrogen and progesterone hormones have melanocyte-stimulating effects.
Avoid sun exposure and wear sunscreen. Try 2-5% Hydroxyquinone cream.
ConstipationProgesterone relaxes smooth muscle, decreasing gut motility. This is also a side effect of iron.
Try drinking >8 glasses of water daily & warm fluids in the morning. Eat prunes & a high fiber diet (like raw vegetables, fruits, whole-wheat grains, etc.). Try exercise, Colace 50-200mg or Metamucil 4-7grams. Do not drink caffeine.
DiarrheaAlso caused by hormonal changes affecting gut motility.
Drink liquids high in sugar to avoid dehydration. May use Imodium. Avoid dairy products (milk or milk products like yogurt or cheese). Try rest, rice, bananas, toast or Kaopectate sparingly (2 tablespoons initially and then again with each loose bowel movement).
Difficulty breathingThe enlarging uterus presses up against your diaphragm.
Avoid restrictive clothing. Use pillows to elevate you back. Decrease exercise and rest.
DizzinessThe enlarged uterus compresses the vena cava and causes nausea/vomiting.
Avoid rapid breathing. Slowly change positions. Lay on your left side. Eat regularly and frequent small meals throughout the day. Try calf raises. Avoid becoming overheated.
FatigueCaused by a fall in metabolic rate, hormone level changes and sleep disturbances.
Take frequent rest periods. Avoid exercise before bed and caffeine. Exercise in the morning. Try warm milk and relaxation.
ConstipationProgesterone relaxes smooth muscle, decreasing gut motility. This is also a side effect of iron.
Try drinking >8 glasses of water daily & warm fluids in the morning. Eat prunes & a high fiber diet (like raw vegetables, fruits, whole-wheat grains, etc.). Try exercise, Colace 50-200mg or Metamucil 4-7grams. Do not drink caffeine.
FlatulenceOccurs from decreased gastric movement and intestinal pressure.
Avoid gas-forming goods (broccoli, potatoes, cabbage, milk with lactose and drinking with straws). Try taking Mylicon 40-80mg, exercise and use lactose-free milk.
HeadachesCaused by stress, increased blood volume, low blood sugar or hormone level changes.
Rest in a dark room, drink fluids, try relaxation techniques, massage, and/or hot/cold compresses. Try Tylenol 650-1000mg every 4-6 hours.
HeartburnHormonal influence relaxes the cardiac sphincter and decreases gastric motility.
Eat small frequent meals and limit beverages with meals. Avoid spicy or cold foods and lying down after eating. Try liquid Maalox Plus or Extra Strong Mylanta. Elevate head of bed when sleeping.
HemorrhoidsStraining during bowel movements causes veins and rectum to become inflamed and swollen.
Eat a high fiber diet (bran, whole grains and fruit). Try frequent sitz baths, sitting on a rubber ring, and/or Preparation H or Anusol HC creams.
InsomniaCaused by anxiety and/or being uncomfortable.
Try a warm bath and milk, relaxation techniques and a body pillow. Avoid caffeine.
ItchingChanges in the hormone levels.
Try an Aveeno bath. Use moisturizing lotion or baby oil frequently. May try Hydrocortisone or Benadryl creams sparingly.
Leg crampsThe uterus puts pressure on the pelvic blood vessels. Also caused by decreased circulation.
Straighten the affected leg and stretch calf 3-4 times daily (Book Stretching by Anderson). Try leg elevation several times daily, a diet high in calcium and low in phosphate, exercise and try magnesium 122-244mg and calcium 1.5-2grams daily. Use a heating pad or hot water bottle.
Libido changesCaused by physical discomforts, anxiety and hormone changes.
Try different positions, more foreplay, going on dates or spending time alone together.
Mood swingsOccurs from constant fluctuation of hormone levels.
Make time for yourself, rest, exercise, communicate needs, do enjoyable activities.
Nasal congestionThe hormone changes increase nasal mucosa sensitivity.
Use a humidifier, drink fluids, try Ocean Spray nasal drops/spray, and gargle with salt water.
Nose bleedsThe high estrogen level increase nasal mucosa sensitivity.
Loosen the clothing around your neck. Sit with head tilted forward and pinch your nostrils for 10-15 minutes. Avoid overheated air, excessive exertion and medicated nasal sprays. Blow your nose gently. Use a humidifier in your room.
Pain with intercourseOccurs from pelvic and vaginal congestion, uterus enlargement or anxiety.
Try changing positions, adding lubrication (K-Y liquid or gel), longer foreplay and more communication.
Round ligament painThe ligaments that support the enlarging uterus are stretching.
Flex your knees to your abdomen (Book Stretching by Anderson), warm baths, exercise, and using a heating pad and a body pillow.
Stretch marksThe skin stretches to accommodate the enlarging uterus.
Apply lotion with vitamin E and aloe Vera daily. They are permanent but usually will fade.
Swollen hand/feetThe water retention impairs the circulation and increases pressure in the extremities while standing.
Wear loose clothes. Elevate legs throughout the day. Wear support hose. Walk for 10 minutes every 1-2 hours. Drink >8 glasses of water daily. Avoid long standing.
Tender breastsUsually fluid retention as well as engorgement from blood and milk.
Wear a support bra. It may help to wear a brasserie 24 hours a day.
Urinary frequencyThe heavy weight of the uterus pushes on the bladder.
Urinate frequently; do not wait until it is urgent to void. Drink less fluid before going to bed. Wear easily removable clothing.
Urinary tract infectionThese are common because of increased exposure to bacteria.
Vaginal dischargeEstrogen causes increase cervical mucous formation.
Wear cotton underwear and panty-liners. Call if odor or itching, change in color. Avoid pantyhose, girdles, and tight pants.
VaricositiesMay be hereditary, caused by impaired circulation, pressure of the uterus and hormonal effects on veins.
Avoid restrictive clothing, long periods of standing, and crossing legs. Wear support hose, elevate legs, and take rest periods.
Yeast infectionCaused by a change in vaginal flora because of hormone fluctuations.
To prevent, use good hygiene. Wear cotton underwear. Use a hairdryer to dry yourself. Eating plain yogurt or acidophilus milk may help. Call our office if you suspect an infection.

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