Pregnancy is a beautiful experience, but sometimes its side effects can be embarrassing and even downright annoying. We’re talking about bloating, morning sickness, nausea, constipation and gas among others.
And while these may seem icky at first, remember that they often appear because you are pregnant. Once you deliver, they will automatically subside. From around the six months of pregnancy, you will start experiencing its ‘real’ symptoms since your hormones will kick in. At this stage, you will also feel reassured that you are soon going to become a mother.
However, let’s not forget that every pregnancy is different and while some women may experience unpleasant side-effects, others may sail through without few or no side effects. But it’s important to be prepared and know what you will be dealing with during your nine months.
Here’s a look at what you should expect from your body when you are expecting and how you can deal with it:
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Backache is a common problem shared by most pregnant women. It is usually experienced in the lower back all the way to your legs. It can also be aggravated if you stand for too long or lift heavy objects during your third trimester. In fact, you may also experience the pain when you lie down on your side or turn over in the bed. This also happens because your body releases a hormone called relaxin during the second trimester to prepare your body for the delivery. This loosens all the joints and ligaments and may lead to extreme pain in the pubic area.
What to do: The best thing to do when you experience backache is to get massaged. It not only relaxes your body but also strengthens your bones. Avoid wearing heels, sleeping on extremely soft mattresses, maintain a good posture and avoid lifting heavy weights, especially during your last trimester.
Constipation is also a common problem when you are pregnant and even after you deliver because your body will use a lot more water while breastfeeding. The increase in the levels of progesterone hormones during pregnancy relaxes the intestines, thereby, making it difficult to pass stool. This results in the absorption of much more water (than required) and dries the stool. While the level of constipation may differ from one pregnancy to the other, know that it is common among most women.
What to do: The best way to deal with this situation is to increase the intake of fluids in the body, especially plain water and coconut water. You should also eat plenty of fibre-rich fruits and vegetables and use coconut oil for cooking food. Try prunes and dried figs to encourage healthy bowel movements. You can also include them in your daily cereal breakfast.
#3 Leg cramps
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A leg cramp is another painful side effect of pregnancy that you should be prepared to deal with. You may experience cramps in your thighs, calves and feet, which begin with a short sharp sensation followed by continuos pain. They are also mostly experienced by women during the night. Cramps are usually caused due to low levels of magnesium or calcium in the mother’s body since the baby needs these nutrients from the 20th week of pregnancy.
What to do: You can deal with leg cramps by massaging the affected area firmly and by pointing and stretching your toe. You could also try keeping a pillow under your feet while sleeping. Do not forget to walk or exercise daily and flex your leg muscles whenever possible.
Haemorrhoids or piles are basically varicose veins of the anus. They become more prominent when the body starts producing more progesterone which relaxes the blood vessels and the natural pressure on the anus due to the growing foetus. It can also occur due to straining to pass bowel movements. This weakens the blood vessels in the anal area, thereby leading to piles. You can identify piles if you experience sharp pain in the anal area, itching in the anal area, discharge of mucus, small amount of blood during bowel movements and discomfort during and after passing the stool.
What to do: If you feel extreme discomfort during bowel movements or notice blood, know that it is time to visit the doctor. However, there are a few things you can do at home to ease the discomfort. Start by drinking lots of water and keeping yourself hydrated. Try applying a cotton ball in the affected area and leave it overnight. Try this for a few days and you will be able to see positive results. However, consult with your doctor before trying this on your own.
#5 Heartburn or reflux
Heart attack symptoms in women can even include vomiting or dizziness
Progesterone will be the culprit again! As the body prepares for the growing baby and his requirements, your body produces more amount of progesterone. It relaxes the valve which is at the entrance of the stomach. This makes it easier for the stomach acid to flow into the oesophagus, giving you heartburn. In fact, your baby may also be pressing against your stomach that causes the acid to flow into the oesophagus resulting in this burning sensation. You may experience it even more while standing, coughing or even lying on the bed.
What to do: You can try to avoid reflux by keeping your meals small and frequent. Also drink a glass of milk to neutralise the acid reflux, particularly before bedtime. Avoid spicy food or foods that may be high on fat.
#6 Rib pain
Rib pain can be extreme in some cases and mild in others and is quite often felt on the right side below the breasts. It mainly occurs during the third trimester and can be more painful when you sit. It is primary caused when the uterus presses into the abdomen or when the baby moves inside the uterus. The pain will likely subside when the baby drops into the cavity in preparation of the delivery.
What to do: Wear loose fitting clothes and support your body while sitting down by laying out a bunch of cushions. Make sure to consult with the doctor if you suspect your baby to be in a breech position.
#7 Sore breasts
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Another painful side effect of pregnancy is sore breasts. Since every pregnancy is different, the level of pain would also differ from one to the next. You may experience breast heaviness and soreness or tingly sensation in the nipples. Breast tenderness is usually experienced by most women throughout their pregnancy but it can increase during the last trimester filling your ducts with milk.
What to do: Add Vitamin B6 in your daily diet and wear a well-fitted bra to ease the pain. It may take a while to get used to enlarged breasts, but by making small changes in your clothes and diet routine, you can relieve yourself faster.
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