The Discomforts of Pregnancy

Pregnancy is a wonderful time and your body is going through many changes. There are many discomforts and aches and pains in pregnancy. Below are some ideas to help:

Nausea and vomiting
This tends to pass by 14 weeks but can be debilitating. Try to keep hydrated by sipping on chilled water frequently. Also keep your blood sugars stable by eating small amounts regularly. Both dehydration and low blood sugars will make vomiting much worse.

  • nibble two plain crackers before getting out of bed in the morning
  • try ginger – tablets, hot drink, any way you can get it down
  • consider seabands – they work using acupressure points on the wrist
  • discuss your symptoms with a homeopath – each woman needs a different remedy according to symptoms
  • accupuncture has very good results
  • there are several medications you can be prescribed if the vomiting is very bad.
  • if you are dehydrated and faint, go to the ED department of the hospital. They will give you IV fluids and drugs to stop you vomiting.


Haemarrohoids:
These are varicose veins that pop out of your anal sphincter. They can cause bleeding, and pain.

  • apply witch hazel with a cloth several times a day.
  • pour a little water onto a sanitary pad and freeze for several hours, then wear so its touching the haemmarrhoid
  • wizard cream is available from the Lincoln Rd pharmacy and is excellent for applying (also for nipples after birth)
  • your LMC can prescribe other creams
  • avoid constipation as this is what causes haemmarrhoids.


Leg cramps:
Increase the magnesium in your diet.

  • take two magnesium tablets at night before bed


Heartburn:
Is usually dietary related. Most people find milk helps soothe the pain BUT it has a rebound effect making more acid in your stomach which makes the heartburn worse so DON’T use milk as a relief. Instead look at your diet: reduce all spicy and acidic foods. Reduce all grains and flour based foods – this is the main cause of heartburn

  • eat a few almonds when you feel heartburn kicking in
  • use slippery elm powder
  • consider antacids like quickease, gaviscon or mylanta but remember they block the absorption of iron, so don’t rely on them too much
  • eat small amounts frequently rather than big meals
  • don’t eat for two hours before going to bed
  • sit upright after eating, or even to sleep if this helps.


Constipation:
Can lead to stomach cramps that may feel like mild contractions, and can cause haemarrhoids.

  • eat two green kiwifruit every day (the gold ones do not work)
  • or buy Kiwicrush and take each day
  • drink plenty of water everyday (2 litres)
  • avoid binding foods like cheese
  • increase your intake of leafy green vegies.


Aches and pains
Towards the end of pregnancy your hips and pelvis will ache as they stretch and open for baby to get into position. Your extra weight and the shape of your body will put strain on your back, so you will find backache a common companion.

  • visit an osteopath if you can afford to
  • keep moving! Walking every day, gentle stretches and squats help strengthen your ligaments and muscles reducing pain
  • pregnancy yoga will help you prevent aches and pains
  • water walking or aqua aerobics will also help
  • wear sensible shoes to support your back
  • apply warm packs to your back
  • consider pregnancy massage
  • use a pillow between your knees at night after 28 weeks


Itching and rashes
Skin stretches amazingly during pregnancy and daily application of a good quality oil can help prevent stretch marks. But some mothers experience rashes towards the end of pregnancy. Your midwife will ask you to do a blood test to check your liver but if this is all fine then try these things:

  • reduce carbs in your diet (yes, this REALLY works!)
  • wear cotton or merino clothing not synthetics
  • bathe the itchy area with cool cloths (heat makes itching much worse)
  • see a homeopath for a specific remedy


Thrush
Vaginal discharge is common in pregnancy and many women need to wear sanitary pads as the discharge is so heavy. However if it is thick and white and itchy or irritating then its probably thrush.

  • wear cotton underwear
  • reduce carbs and sugars from your diet (candida thrives on these)
  • bathe with a solution of 1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda in 1 cup water
  • spray with diltured tea tree oil (five drops in 250ml)
  • use acidophilus yoghurt (unflavoured and unsweetened) – dip a tampon into it and insert for two hours
  • take acidophilus tablets (Inner Health is a good brand)
  • your midwife can prescribe some treatment, but you will need to finish it and also treat your partner


Urinary Tract Infections
These are very common and need treating. Your midwife will need you to do an MSU test to see what the bacteria causing it is. She will prescribe you the correct antibiotics to treat it – please finish all the tablets. The signs are: needing to pee more often than usual, pain when peeing, aching in the back, smelly or cloudy looking urine, a fever, vomiting, uterine cramps.

  • drink lots of water to help flush it through
  • take cranberry tablets to prevent another infection
  • reduce sugar and carbs in your diet
  • be careful to empty your bladder soon after sex
  • be careful to wipe from front to back after toileting to avoid contaminating your vaginal area with pooh.


Swelling/Odema

  • drink plenty of water every day
  • walk every day – this helps your kidneys work more efficiently
  • after your walk get your feet up at hip level
  • reduce all salt in your diet
  • reduce carbs in your diet
  • do yoga or mediation

Your midwife will check swelling to make sure its not a sign of something more serious. Urine tests and blood pressure checks can rule out problems but sometimes we ask you to do a blood test to check your liver and kidneys are coping okay.