Pregnancy Body Changes & Normal Discomforts

Abdominal Discomfort: Caused by stretching of the round ligaments.

Treatment: Relax, heating pad and hot baths, Belly Bra.

Backache: Caused by muscle strain from weight gain, shape and balance.

Treatment: Good posture, firm mattress, comfortable shoes, good body mechanics (squat instead of bending over), pelvic rock for lower back, heating pad and hot baths, Belly Bra.

Breast: Increased size and tenderness; increased size due to milk glands enlarging and increase in fatty tissue; increased blood supply.

Treatment: Supportive bra, preferably cotton-may need to wear to bed.

Colostrum: Yellowish fluid produced by breast. It is baby’s first food. May begin about 5th month or later of pregnancy.

Treatment: Pads to absorb leaking fluid. Do not use plastic.

Colds: Caused by virus. Antibiotics are not helpful.

Treatment: Benadryl, Actifed, Tavist, and Tylenol if fever. Tylenol Sinus is also OK. Increase fluids and rest. Claritin for nasal drainage associated with allergies. Robitussin DM for cough. *DO NOT USE Afrin.

Constipation: Slower passage of food due to hormone changes and pressure from uterus on colon. Iron in vitamins sometimes cause constipation.

Treatment: The most common cause is lack of adequate fluids. Hydrate Hydrate Hydrate! High bulk diet-grains and raw vegetables. Lots of liquids, fruits and juices. Go to the bathroom when you feel the urge-Do Not Wait. If you need a laxative, MiraLax works best. Others, Metamucil or Milk of Magnesia may be used.

Contractions: Stretching of round ligaments that hold up the uterus. Pressure from the baby’s head. Tightening of the uterine muscles.

Treatment: Increased hydration. Empty your Bladder. Increase rest. Warm bath. Back rubs.

Diarrhea: Due to hypermotility of bowel.

Treatment: Increase your fluid intake. Gatorade is good as are all clear liquids. Kaopectate, Pepto-Bismol, or Imodium AD as directed on the package.

Feeling Faint: Caused by low blood pressure or low blood sugar.

Treatment: Avoid standing for long periods and move frequently to stimulate circulation. Frequent rest periods especially towards the end of pregnancy. Eat healthful foods in small amounts at frequent intervals. Hydrate.

Fatigue: Hormone effect is strong. Using extra energy to care for and carry growing baby.

Treatment: Try to get adequate sleep and rest. Exercise to stimulate circulation. Prenatal vitamins, extra Iron.

Headache: Anxiety, tension, fatigue, nasal congestion. Vision problems may be related to increased fluid volume and are usually temporary.

Treatment: Relaxation and rest. Hot, moist towel over eyes and forehead for sinus type headaches. Tylenol, two, 2-3 times daily. Pregnancy is not the time for new contacts or glasses to be fitted. Wait until after pregnancy.

Heartburn: Increased stomach acid. Reflux of stomach content into esophagus.

Treatment: Bland diet-avoid fried foods. Frequent small meals. Riopan or Mylanta-use one tablespoon 30 minutes after each meal and at bedtime. Gaviscon Chewables, Prilosec, Zantac, or Pepcid AC may be used.

Hemorrhoids: Due to constipation or pressure from growing uterus. Increased circulation volume causes veins in the rectum to dilate.

Treatment: Avoid constipation. Do not sit long lengths of time while having a bowel movement. Sitz baths: sit in 6 inches of warm water 2-3 times daily for 15 minutes. Preparation H, Anusol HC, or Proctofoam may be used.

Leg Cramping: Calcium absorption is decreased during pregnancy. Uterine pressure slows circulation to the lower extremities.

Treatment: Keep up calcium intake-milk products. To relieve cramping in the calf, push away with your heel and point your toes toward your shoulder. Take a calcium supplement and increase your potassium. Eat a banana twice a day for potassium.

Insomnia: Sleeplessness.

Treatment: Benadryl, 50mg, may be helpful.

Nausea: Caused by high hormone levels. Increased stomach acid as the stomach empties more slowly. Also, caused by not getting enough Vitamin B6.

Treatment: Frequent small meals-eat slowly. Bland diet with protein snack before bed. Crackers before getting out of bed in the morning. Take Vitamin B6 25-50mg every day.

Nosebleeds: Increased circulatory volume. Vessels become overloaded and rise close to the surface.

Treatment: Saline Nasal Sprays, NOT Afrin. Eat foods with Vitamin C. Use cold compresses and lie down during a nosebleed. Increase humidity in the house. Apply a small amount of Vaseline to nostrils at bedtime.

Shortness of Breath: Uterus puts pressure on your diaphragm as it grows.

Treatment: Stand tall. Use deep breathing/slow breathing techniques. Sleep with your pillows propped up to make breathing easier. Lay on left side.

Sinus Troubles: Allergies

Treatment: Tavist D, Benadryl, Claritin, or other antihistamines. Saline nasal drops.

Skin Color: Discoloration or Pigmentation changes are brought on by hormone increases. Usually on the face, nipples, and line from navel downward.

Treatment: Hormones will decrease after pregnancy and color will also decrease.

Stretch Marks: Occur on abdomen, breasts and thighs. Normal skin elasticity is not sufficient. May not disappear completely but fade with time.

Treatment: No real cure available but may keep skin soft and moist with cocoa butter or creams and oils. Eat proper diet of protein.

Stool: May be black or dark due to presence of iron in the stool.

Treatment: If this started after beginning iron and vitamin tablets there is no problem. If this was present before the therapy was started then discuss with the Doctor.

Swelling-Extremities: Increased fluid in pregnancy. Uterine pressure to blood vessels which help return fluid from legs. Lengthy intervals standing or sitting slowing circulation. Tight clothing.

Treatment: Frequent rest periods with legs elevated. Do not sit with legs crossed. Drink plenty of clear fluids. Limit use of table salt. Wear loose fitting clothing. Bed rest.

Vaginal Discharge: Increased vaginal secretions due to hormone levels and increased blood supply. PH balance changes.

Treatment: No treatment required unless discharge becomes excessive or has an odor.

Vaginal Itching: Possible Yeast Infection.

Treatment: Do Not Douche. Wear cotton underwear. Gyne-Lotrimin or Monistat may be used.