It is advised that you gain approximately two to three pounds per month (20–25 pounds during the entire pregnancy). This may be accomplished by eating a well-balanced, low-fat diet.
Exercise is recommended to strengthen the muscles that support the back. Walking can be helpful in reducing leg or back discomfort. High impact exercises such as aerobics, racquetball, or jogging should be avoided if you have a history of preterm labor or incompetent cervix.
Nausea and Vomiting
One of the earliest symptoms of pregnancy is feeling nauseated. Traditionally, nausea occurs in the early morning, but it may occur at any time of the day or even throughout the day. Nausea is probably caused by rising hormonal levels, which are produced by the developing placental tissue. Some pregnant women have very little nausea, while others are quite sick and vomit. Often a pregnant woman's sense of smell becomes much more acute, and some odors tend to aggravate nausea. Hunger can also make nausea worse. Eating dry crackers or dry cereal first thing in the morning helps relieve early morning nausea. Snacks between meals may help daytime nausea, and it is better to eat 5 or 6 small meals per day than 3 large ones. You also may want to avoid citrus juices that tend to cause heartburn. Persistent, severe nausea may require a prescription antiemetic medication.
If your bowel movements become hard, sometimes simply increasing the amount of fluid you drink per day can help. Pregnant women should drink six to eight glasses of fluid per day. If this does not help, adding a stool softener such as Colace may be needed.
It is vital that you stop smoking during pregnancy. Smoking constricts the blood vessels to the placenta and may result in a smaller, low birth-weight infant.
Ligament pain is intermittent, sharp pain from the uterus getting larger and pulling on the ligaments that support it. It is usually located in the lower right or left side and occurs when changing positions or with increased activity. It is harmless although it may be significantly discomforting. Tylenol or a heating pad will help relieve this.
Self medication should be minimized during your pregnancy. For mild pain, Tylenol is acceptable. Avoid aspirin and ibuprofen products. For sinus symptoms, Sudafed is fine.
For the common cold you are allowed to take Tylenol, extra strength Tylenol, Tylenol Cold & Sinus, Sudafed, Afrin Nasal Spray and Ocean nasal Spray. For cough, Robitussin-DM can be used as directed. If you run a fever over 100.5°, please contact the office.
These often occur if you have a family history of varicosities and frequently the severity increase during pregnancy. Support hose may be obtained from your pharmacy. Tylenol and a heating pad may relieve pain from superficial varicosities.
Hemorrhoids are enlarged veins in the rectum. Occasionally they appear for the first time or even worsen during pregnancy. The symptoms associated with them may be itching, soreness or swelling around the rectum. These symptoms can be partially prevented by avoiding constipation. Anusol cream, Preparation H ointment, or Tucks pads can all be used safely during pregnancy.
Backache in pregnancy may be relieved in a number of ways: sleep on a firm mattress, wear a maternity girdle, and wear low-heel shoes. When lifting a child or heavy object, do not lean over. Bend at the knees and squat, keeping your back straight. Should a backache persist or if it is rhythmic and continues, contact us to be sure that you are not having signs of premature labor.
Some women are prone to daily headaches. Other women suffer from migraines, a particularly severe form of headaches. During pregnancy, some headache sufferers find that their headaches become less severe or come less often while others find that they worsen. Women who normally never have headaches in the last trimester requires urgent medical advice as it may be due to elevated blood pressure from preeclampsia (toxemia). Tylenol may relieve headache pain during pregnancy. Avoid aspirin or ibuprofen products.
Heartburn and indigestion
In pregnancy, there is increased pressure on the stomach from the enlarging uterus. Heartburn is not serious but may be unpleasant. It can be improved by relieving the pressure in the stomach. Avoid tight clothing and eating large meals especially late at night. Avoid ingesting greasy, fried, or spicy foods. If heartburn occurs at night, sleeping on several pillows or elevating the head of your bed 30 degrees may help. Antacids such as Tums can neutralize stomach acid and help reduce heartburn symptoms.
Tiredness and insomnia
Particularly during the first three months of pregnancy, many women find that they need more sleep at night and during the day as well. They also have less energy for normal activities and easily become tired. The best treatment for this is to slow down and rest as much as possible. Most women feel much better and more energetic after the first trimester has passed. Toward the end of pregnancy, the tiredness may recur, mainly because much more effort is required for normal activities. Insomnia may also be a problem at this time. It can be due to the physical adjustments of pregnancy, baby kicking, backache, increased weight, or to normal emotional anxieties about the pregnancy and having a new baby. Limiting your intake of caffeine and liquids after dinner can often help insomnia. Physical discomfort can be relieved by placing additional pillows under the small of your back while resting on your side. Do not take sleeping pills during pregnancy.
Urinating frequently is very common in early pregnancy, and often, a woman will need to get up at night to urinate. Most women find that this condition improves after a few weeks, however only to return toward the end of pregnancy when the baby's head enters the pelvic and presses on the bladder. Frequent urination in early and late pregnancy is not usually caused by a urinary tract infection. If there is any doubt, or if you are experiencing urinary symptoms such as burning while urinating, a urine test should be ordered by your physician. If an infection is found, it should be treated with antibiotics.
Vaginal discharge is very common in pregnancy because the pregnancy hormones increase the vaginal secretions. The protective mechanisms that normally prevent vaginal infections are reduced, so the possibility of infection is more likely. The most common vaginal infections are bacterial vaginosis and yeast. Both can cause vaginal itching of burning along with a discharge. Medical advice is required for any of these symptoms.
A mild decrease in hemoglobin is very common in pregnancy. Taking the prescribed prenatal vitamins can prevent it. Sometimes, the anemia is significant enough to require the addition of iron pills as prescribed by your physician. You will be checked for anemia at different stages of your pregnancy by a blood test called a CBC.
Edema (swelling) is due to excess water in the body, which causes swelling in certain areas, most commonly in the feet and ankles. It is more likely to occur in later pregnancy and in hot weather. In the majority of women, edema is just a nuisance and is not serious. In a few, it may be associated with elevated blood pressure and protein in the urine later in pregnancy, a condition called preeclampsia (toxemia). This condition requires special treatment. The treatment of edema is simple. The swelling tends to lessen if you lie down and raise your feet up as high as possible. Raising your feet in bed at night can reduce the swelling overnight. You may also find that a low-sodium diet or reduced salt intake helps to reduce water retention.
Many pregnant women show a gradual intolerance to sugar later in pregnancy as the placenta makes your insulin less effective. This can have serious consequences for mother and infant. Your risk of gestational diabetes is increased if there is a family history of diabetes or if you have had gestational diabetes in a previous pregnancy. You will be checked for gestational diabetes around 24–28 weeks of your pregnancy. Treatment requires a special diabetic diet and occasionally insulin therapy.