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Discomforts and common concerns of pregnancy

Pregnancy causes many changes to your body. Below are some common discomforts of pregnancy, their causes and what you can do to cope with them.

Backache

     
  • Strikes in later months.
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  • Pregnancy hormones relax ligaments in preparation for birth. This inevitably causes the pelvic to be unstable and painful. Moreover, a heavier uterus changes your centre of gravity, so you tend to lean backwards and this over-exerts your back muscles.
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  • Wear low-heeled shoes. Do not lift heavy objects and be mindful of your posture.
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Constipation

     
  • Takes place in the later months.
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  • Progesterone slows down intestinal functions. Consumption of iron supplements also contributes to it.
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  • Maintain a high-fibre diet rich in wholemeal bread, bran, fruit and vegetables. Drink more fluid and do more exercise.
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Dizziness

     
  • Present in the early and late months.
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  • Caused by low blood pressure from the relaxed blood vessels and low level of iron.
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  • Take an iron supplement. Do not wear tight clothing and do not stand too long,Avoid heat and stuffy rooms.

Food cravings and aversions

     
  • Can happen any time during pregnancy.
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  • Taste buds are affected by hormones.
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  • Always ensure a balanced diet,  no matter how strong the craving or aversion is. Choose the smallest packaging.  Take your mind off food by doing other activities such as going for a walk or reading. If cravings are unusual like wanting to eat dirt, inform your doctor.
  •  

Frequent urination

     
  • Present in the early and late months.
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  • Owing to hormonal changes and pressure on the bladder by the uterus.
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  • Avoid standing for long periods. If you experience a burning sensation, tell the doctor.
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Heartburn or indigestion

     
  • Usually experienced in the later months.
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  • Due to progesterone and the enlarged uterus crowding the stomach, hence pushing the stomach acid upwards.
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  • Take care of your diet by having small and frequent meals as well as plenty of milk. Avoid spicy food.  Raise your upper body on your bed to prevent acid from rising into your chest. Take antacids if necessary.
  •  

Itching

     
  • Felt any time.
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  • Probably due to medical problems such as thrush, trichomonas and diabetes. Poor hygiene would result in itching too.
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  • Inform your doctor to rule out medical conditions. Take cool baths and wear cotton clothes. Take care of hygiene.
  •  

Leg cramps

     
  • Surface in later months.
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  • May be caused by pressure on blood vessels or baby’s demand for calcium.
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  • Flex toes upwards and gently massage affected muscles.
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Morning sickness

     
  • Occurs during the early months.
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  • It is the result of your body’s response to the hormones.
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  • Takecare of your diet and have small frequent meals. You can also try eating some simple food, like a dry biscuit or a piece of toast before rising in the morning. If condition worsens,  tell your doctor.
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Piles or haemorrhoids

     
  • Develop in later months.
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  • Pregnancy weight and constipation increase pressure in the rectum.
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  • Take steps to prevent constipation. Use prescribed creams or suppositories. A small pack of ice wrapped in something soft and applied to the affected area may give some relief from pain and swelling. 
  •  

Sleep problem

     
  • Occurs in early and late months.
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  • Many reasons such as worrying,  itchiness, cramps, heartburn, frequent urination and baby’s movements.
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  • Wind down with relaxation techniques or take some warm milk. You can also discuss your worries with your spouse.
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Stress incontinence

     
  • Arises in later months
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  • Pressure on the bladder by the uterus.
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  • Wear protective pads and perform pelvic floor exercises.
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Swelling of hands and feet or oedema

     
  • Common in later months.
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  • Due to fluid retention caused by hormones. Could also be due to medical conditions such as preeclampsia.
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  • Rest in bed and elevate your feet. Do not wear tight clothes but do wear comfortable shoes.
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Vaginal discharge

     
  • Can occur any time, increasing at late pregnancy.
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  • Increased secretion from the uterus and cervical walls.
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  • Take care of your hygiene. Wear cotton underwear. Avoid wearing tight underwear and pants. Do not use soap in the genital area. The discharge can be due to a yeast infection so consult your doctor.
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Varicose veins

     
  • Appear in mid to later months.
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  • Progesterone relaxes blood vessels which may cause the veins to separate in small amount. In addition,  enlarged uterus creates pressure on blood vessels with ramifications to the leg veins.
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  • Avoid standing for long periods. Prop your feet up when sitting down.  Wear support stockings.
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