Everyone knows about morning sickness and heartburn during pregnancy. Here are the most common complaints women have during pregnancy and we explain why these things happen.
Common in Pregnancy. The yeast Candida Albicans multiplies uncontrollably and infection sets in. Thrush can be treated with antifungal pessaries or cream and altering diet.
Due to release of the hormone Relaxin, ligaments soften and stretch, and joints become more flexible. This results in extra strain on the back and hips. Because abdominal muscles stretch, they can no longer stabilise the pelvis.
As progesterone relaxes the intestinal muscles, there are less contractions and more water is absorbed. Eat lots of fruit and vegetables. Drink prune juice and eight glasses of water a day.
Progesterone relaxes the smooth muscles of the uterus as well as the valve that separates the oesophagus from the stomach. Heartburn is experienced because stomach acids seep back up in to the oesophaghus. It intensifies as the uterus grows.
Nausea and vomiting can occur at any time of the day or night. It is caused by pregnancy hormones and extreme swings in blood sugar levels.
You will find that you constantly have to run to the toilet (even at night). This is due to the fact that your bladder has less space to expand because your baby needs more and more space to grow as your pregnancy progresses. Frequent urination is not such a problem in the second trimester when the baby is out of the pelvis. When the head engages in the last trimester, the need to urinate frequently increases again.
This is not only because you often have to get up to go to the toilet, but also because your body is getting larger throughout your pregnancy. Your body now needs more support. Pregnancy also upsets one’s body clock. Insomnia gets worse in the last month as one’s body trains one to getting up at night.
Cramps are common in pregnancy, usually in the thigh, calf or foot. Due to low calcium levels or salt deficiency. Relieved by massage or calcium and salt tablets.
As long as they are not caused by hypertension, most headaches in pregnancy respond well to paracetamol.
Carpal Tunnel Syndrome:
The carpal tunnel becomes swollen owing to water retention and pinches a nerve. Your doctor may recommend that you wear a splint on your wrist at night. Surgery is indicated in severe cases.
Caused by a virus or bacteria, or by iron supplements. As diarrhoea can cause dehydration and low nutritional levels to the mother and baby, drink plenty of fluids to replace lost fluid. Your doctor may test stools for infection. If the diarrhoea is due to iron tablets, stop taking them for a few days.
The growing baby presses down on the woman’s pelvic floor and impedes blood flow. The blood therefore pools in the veins which dilate to accommodate it, commonly causing piles in pregnant women. Eat fibre-rich foods and avoid lifting heavy objects.
It has the same cause as piles. Exercise regularly and avoid standing still for too long. Elevate your legs, sit with your legs uncrossed and wear support stockings.
Due to high oestrogen levels. Stay out of the sun. Severe cases can be treated with ointment available by prescription.
Due to excessive hormones, women can suffer from symptoms such as mood swings, tearfulness and a feeling of not being in control of emotions. In extreme cases it could be a predictor of Post Partum Depression.
(Ilse Pauw, Health24, November 2003)