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The journey to motherhood has begun. You feel a mixture of
anticipation, joy, hope, excitement, and perhaps a little
apprehension. Unfortunately, these euphoric moments may be
punctuated with episodes of nausea,
back pain. How do you get through the rest of the pregnancy without these nagging discomforts?
During pregnancy a woman's body goes through some major changes to meet the demands of her growing baby. These changes are initiated by the sex hormones estrogen, progesterone, and the other hormones of pregnancy, and are often accompanied by numerous discomforts. These normal side
effects, which vary among women and pregnancies, are not the same as
complications. (Complications of pregnancy include
pre-eclampsia, and vaginal bleeding.) Here are some common pregnancy discomforts and tips on how to manage them.
Fatigue is especially common during the first 8-10 weeks due to metabolic changes in your system. Fatigue may also be related to poor nutrition, being overweight, lack of regular exercise, and
What may help : Take frequent naps and rest whenever you can. Cut back on your work or daily activities, but engage in regular moderate activity ( eg, walking). Eat small, frequent meals to keep energy levels even.
You may feel like you are on an emotional roller coaster—excited and euphoric, but also full of doubt and
anxiety. You may cry easily and worry about any number of things, such as your pregnancy, the health of your baby, giving birth, your relationship with your partner, and your future.
What may help : Keep in mind that it is normal to have these feelings. Talk openly with your partner, family, friends, and supportive others. Join groups or classes for expectant mothers. You will find that sharing experiences is very helpful.
Hormone changes can cause you to lose some hair in the weeks
What may help : Remember that new hair will grow within a few months. Until then, you might try wearing a shorter, fluffier hairstyle. Avoid agents that damage the hair such as dyes, perms, and hot air from blow drying.
Morning sickness can be experienced at any time of day and is usually caused by high pregnancy hormone levels. Every woman has a different experience—some do not have any nausea, while others are nauseated often. Rarely does sickness become so severe and prolonged that a woman cannot keep any food down and needs to be hospitalized. In most women, bouts of nausea subside by the fourth month. Contact your healthcare provider if you find you are unable to drink, retain fluids, or are losing weight.
What may help : Avoid foods that are high in fat, acidic, or very spicy. Have small frequent snacks of bland food to keep your stomach from being empty. If you are nauseous upon rising in the morning, keep some dry crackers or toast next to your bed. Avoid tobacco smoke and smells that make you nauseated.
Inflammation and swelling of the gums is often caused by poor
oral hygiene. During pregnancy, however, the gums may bleed easily
as the result of increased progesterone and expanded blood supply
which softens the gums. This situation increases the risk of food collecting
at the base of the gums, which could lead to
What may help : Practice good oral hygiene. Brush teeth several times per day, especially after eating, and use dental floss. Make sure you visit the dentist during your pregnancy.
Dark purplish, swollen veins
may develop in the lower leg,
causing aching and itching. These can be due to pregnancy hormones,
the weight of the baby, increased blood volume, and heredity.
What may help : Do not stand for long periods of time or sit with your legs crossed. You can also try elevating your legs on a pillow when lying down. When sitting, keeping your legs raised. Try support stockings before getting out of bed.
Back aches are common during pregnancy and may result from increased weight in the abdominal region, postural changes, and stretching and softening of ligaments.
What may help : When bending, keep your back straight and bend your knees. Do not stay in the same position for too long—move around. Avoid heavy lifting. Try to develop good posture and do not wear heels. Try back exercises for pregnant women. Supportive garments like a BellyBra may also be helpful. These are special garments to support your back and abdomen.
are most common during the last
trimester due to increased pressure on the stomach, which causes a
reflux of gastric juices into the esophagus.
What may help : Avoid fried, spicy, or acidic foods and drinks. Eat small, frequent snacks rather than several large meals. Avoid lying down after eating. Elevate your head with propped up pillows when you go to bed. Talk to your healthcare provider about which medicines are safe for you to take.
Back Pain. American Pregnancy Organization Website. Available at: ...(Click grey area to select URL) Updated March 2007. Accessed December 20, 2012.
Common Symptoms, Signs and Laboratory Changes in Pregnancy. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: ...(Click grey area to select URL) November 29, 2012. Accessed December 20, 2012
Insomnia During Pregnancy. American Pregnancy Organization website. Available at: ...(Click grey area to select URL) Updated March 2007. Accessed December 20, 2012.
Mood Swings During Pregnancy. American Pregnancy Organization website. Available at: ...(Click grey area to select URL) Updated May 2011. Accessed December 20, 2012.
Morning Sickness. American Pregnancy Organization website: Available at: ...(Click grey area to select URL) Updated March 2007. Accessed December 20, 2012.
Pregnancy and Hair Loss. American Pregnancy Organization website. Available at: ...(Click grey area to select URL) Updated March 2007. Accessed December 20, 2012.
Pregnancy and Swollen Gums. American Pregnancy Organization website. Available at: ...(Click grey area to select URL) Updated March 2007. Accessed December 20, 2012.
Treatments of Discomforts During Pregnancy. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: ...(Click grey area to select URL) November 2, 2012. Accessed December 20, 2012.
9/16/2008 DynaMed's Systematic Literature Surveillance ...(Click grey area to select URL) Kalus SM, Kornman LH, Quinlivan JA. Managing back pain in pregnancy using a support garment: a randomised trial. BJOG. 2008;115:68-75. Epub 2007 Nov 12.
EBSCO Information Services is fully accredited by URAC. URAC is an independent, nonprofit health care accrediting organization dedicated to promoting health care quality through accreditation, certification and commendation.
This content is reviewed regularly and is updated when new and relevant evidence is made available. This information is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with questions regarding a medical condition.