Common Discomforts of Pregnancy
Pregnancy is a time of both physical and emotional changes. Aside from the obvious changes in your body shape and the size of your uterus, shifts in hormonal levels and metabolism can contribute to various physical and emotional discomforts.
Although the pregnancy discomforts mentioned below are common, they are not experienced by all pregnant women and may not be a part of your pregnancy. It is important to remember:
- You may need to try more than one remedy before you find one that works for you.
- Good nutrition is especially important for a comfortable and healthy pregnancy. Eating well can minimize discomforts and help your body cope with the stress of daily life.
- If you have a physical discomfort that is severe or does not go away, contact your health care provider.
- If you have a chronic health condition, such as diabetes or asthma, it is very important that you see your health care provider throughout your pregnancy.
- Breast Changes
- Difficulty Sleeping
- Flat or Inverted Nipples
- Heart Pounding
- Heartburn or Intestinal Gas
- Mood Changes
- Muscle Cramps
- Nausea and Vomiting
- Nosebleeds and Bleeding Gums
- Pelvic Discomfort or Sciatica
- Shortness of Breath
- Skin Changes
- Stretch Marks
- Stuffy Nose/Food or Chemical Allergies
- Swelling (Feet, Legs, Face and Hands)
- Vaginal Discharge/Yeast Infections
- Varicose Veins
Frequently, backaches occur as your increasing weight pulls your spine forward and shifts your center of gravity. See the section on "Pelvic Discomfort or Sciatica" for further details.
- First, consider the possibility of backache as a symptom of pre-term labor. See the section on pre-term labor.
- Practice good posture. Tuck your buttocks under and stand straight and tall. See the section on posture.
- Always be careful when lifting objects. Bend your knees instead of bending over at the waist. Lift with your legs instead of your back.
- Wear supportive shoes with low heels.
- Exercise at least three times a week (swim, walk, stretch).
- Join a prenatal exercise or yoga class. For information regarding prenatal exercise classes, call (415) 600-BABY or view our class listing.
- The pelvic tilt exercise may be helpful in reducing discomfort. See section on prenatal exercises.
- Consider wearing a maternity support belt to assist with alleviating some of the pressure. Also, maternity pants with a low, supportive waistband may be helpful.
- Apply heat using warm bath soaks, warm wet towels, hot water bottle or heating pad.
- Have a back massage.
- If the pain continues, ask your health care provider for a referral to a physical therapist.
- Avoid medications. There are no medicines considered 100% safe for use during pregnancy. Aspirin and other painkillers such as ibuprofen may be potentially harmful. Ask your health care provider about medication to treat backache.
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In preparation for producing milk, your breasts will increase in size during pregnancy as your milk glands enlarge and there is an increase in fatty tissue. They may become tender and more sensitive and may tingle with temperature change or touch. As your blood supply increases, the blood vessels enlarge, bluish veins may appear on your breasts. The areola and nipple also darken and the Montgomery glands, the small pores around the areola, enlarge. Not all, but some women will notice in the last 3 months of pregnancy a substance leaking from the nipple. This is colostrum, which is produced before breast milk is. If you do not leak colostrum in the last part of pregnancy do not worry that you may not be able to produce breast milk.
If you do not have breast changes during pregnancy and you plan to breastfeed, other factors may be involved. If before becoming pregnant, you had breast surgery (i.e., biopsy reduction or implants), there are some special considerations.
- Wear a supportive bra to ease the strain on your breasts and on your back muscles as your breasts become heavy. You may be more comfortable sleeping in a bra.
- Wear disposable or washable breast pads if you are leaking colostrum.
- Avoid soap on your areola and nipple, as this tends to dry out the skin. Use warm water to keep the area clean.
- If you are leaking, allow your breasts to air dry a few times a day and after a shower.
- Cotton bras are preferable to those made of synthetic fabrics because cotton allows the skin to breathe. If you plan to nurse your baby, your nursing bras will probably be about one cup size larger than those you need in late pregnancy so purchase your nursing bras in your ninth month.
- Nursing bras in a wide selection of sizes (32A - 461) and styles are available at Newborn Connections.
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During pregnancy, your digestive system slows down due to hormonal influences and your digestive organs are displaced due to the growing uterus. You may also become constipated from irregular eating habits, changes in environment, stress, and added calcium and iron in your diet. Some medicines, too little exercise and not enough fiber and liquids may also contribute to the problem. Constipation refers only to bowel movements that are hard in consistency or painful. Infrequent bowel movements are not unusual.
- Drink plenty of liquids, especially water (at least eight 8-ounce glasses daily).
- Get more exercise, especially walking, for 1/2 hour a day.
- Add high fiber foods to your diet. Eat raw or cooked fruits and vegetables, dried fruit (especially prunes), prune juice, bran (3 tablespoons daily), beans and whole grain products (such as whole wheat bread, brown rice and oatmeal).
- Eat small, frequent meals and thoroughly chew your food.
- Iron supplements can cause constipation. If you need to take iron supplements, take them with prune juice.
- Avoid using any type of laxative other than bulk producing ones unless under the supervision of a health care provider.
- Drink a glass of water before going to bed to help alleviate constipation.
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During pregnancy, some women have trouble falling or staying asleep. In the early months, difficulty sleeping may be a part of your body's adjustment to pregnancy. During the last few months, your increased size may make your normal sleeping position difficult, and the baby's kicking may awaken you during the night. Also, increased bladder pressure may cause you to wake up frequently during the night.
- Exercise daily.
- Take a warm, relaxing bath before bed.
- Drink hot water with lemon or warm milk before going to bed. You may also try eating crackers or toast with a glass of milk before bed.
- Reduce any noise or lighting which might keep you awake.
- Avoid eating a big meal within two hours before going to bed.
- Do childbirth preparation exercises such as deep breathing or other relaxation techniques.
- Experiment to find the most comfortable sleeping positions. Lie on your side and place several pillows between your knees.
- Starting at the 20th week of pregnancy, avoid sleeping on your back. The combined weight of your uterus and baby compress the major vessels which supply blood to the placenta and the lower part of your body. This could cause a decreased oxygen supply to your baby.
- Book a massage through our Women's Health Resource Center.
- Read a novel or other book of interest.
- Avoid products that contain caffeine as they may keep you awake and may also be harmful to your baby.
- Try to develop a regular sleeping schedule and routine. Try to include short rest periods during the day.
- If you are unable to sleep, relax and don't worry. Sleeping patterns change in late pregnancy due to hormones. This can cause you to sleep for only 2 to 3 hours at a time, which is normal. Your wakefulness may be your body's way of preparing you for the upcoming changes in your life.
- Avoid all sleeping medications. There are no safe medications to relieve sleeping difficulties during pregnancy. Some sleeping aid products contain multiple ingredients, some of which maybe harmful to your unborn baby.
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Women often feel more tired than usual and need extra sleep during pregnancy. During the early months, fatigue is caused by natural hormonal changes as your body adjusts to pregnancy. During the last month or two, carrying the extra weight of the baby will be tiring. Fatigue is an important sign from your body that you need extra rest. Listen to your body , and do not push yourself!
- Accept the fact that you need extra rest and pace your daily life accordingly.
- Take naps when you feel tired. Sit down and put your feet up.
- Try a rest break instead of a coffee break.
- Eat small, well-balanced meals several times a day.
- Exercise regularly. This will make you less, not more, tired.
- Avoid taking on extra responsibilities during this time in your life.
- Be sure to consume adequate calories, iron, and folic acid.
- Avoid all medications for fatigue. There are no safe medicines you can take for fatigue during pregnancy.
- Stimulants such as caffeine may be harmful.
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Flat or Inverted Nipples
Most women with flat or inverted nipples successfully breastfeed. The nipple is the way the baby receives the milk, but it has nothing to do with the milk supply. If you plan on breastfeeding and have flat or inverted nipples, check with your health care provider or lactation specialist for recommendations, such as breast shells, that may help the nipple become more pronounced. Breast shells should not be used until the ninth month of pregnancy (approximately 36 weeks) as nipple stimulation may cause contractions and possible premature labor.
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The increased blood volume and hormonal changes of pregnancy may cause headaches. Nasal congestion, fatigue, eyestrain, anxiety or tension may also increase the frequency of headaches.
- Try to determine what triggers your headaches (coffee, cigarette smoke, stuffy rooms, fluorescent lights, eye strain, etc.) and avoid them whenever possible.
- Apply a cool, wet washcloth or ice pack to your forehead and the back of your neck. (A warm cloth works better for some people.)
- Try to get plenty of sleep every night, and rest during the day when possible.
- Try to eat something every 2 to 3 hours.
- Drink plenty of liquids.
- Take a warm shower or relaxing bath.
- Massage your neck, shoulders, face and scalp, or ask a friend to give you a massage.
- Try to find a quiet place and relax.
- Get some fresh air; take a walk.
- Use meditation, self hypnosis and relaxation techniques. See section on Relaxation.
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Occasional heart palpitations are usually a normal response of your body to the extra blood volume, additional weight and energy expenditure of pregnancy.
- When you feel your heart pounding, let go of tension throughout your body. Start at your head and relax each part of your body until you reach your toes. (see other relaxation tips).
- Take slow, deep breaths.
- Limit activities that require vigorous exertion.
- If you feel your heart pounding frequently or irregularly, contact your health care provider.
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Heartburn or Intestinal Gas
Pregnant women may get heartburn because the stomach muscles relax and food tends to back up. Sometimes, the stomach makes more acid during pregnancy. The growing baby, pressing against the stomach, can force acid upward causing heartburn.
- Greasy, fried, or highly seasoned foods may produce heartburn. Determine which foods give you heartburn, and avoid them.
- Avoid both coffee and cigarettes, as they irritate the stomach and make heartburn worse.
- Avoid mint teas, as they can contribute to heartburn.
- Eat several small meals a day, rather than three large meals.
- To help coat your stomach and esophagus, try sipping water, milk, carbonated water or papaya juice. You can also try 1/2 tablespoon or yogurt, heavy cream, half and half or a small dish of plain ice cream.
- Drink plenty of liquids, especially water (six to eight 8-ounce glasses daily).
- Wear clothing that is loose around your waist.
- Don't lie down directly after eating. When you do lie down to sleep or rest, use pillows to slightly raise your head.
- Avoid acidic foods, such as citrus fruits, tomatoes, red peppers and chocolate, as they can cause heartburn.
- To reduce heartburn, try the "flying exercise." While standing, raise and lower your arms quickly, bringing the backs of your hands together over your head. Repeat several times.
- A leisurely walk reduces heartburn for some women; for others, sitting quietly and breathing deeply is helpful.
- Antacids may bring relief from heart burn by reducing stomach acid. Consult with your health care provider before taking any antacids. Ask which ones are low in salt. Use antacids only occasionally as they contain minerals that may be harmful in large amounts.
- Products such as baking soda or Rolaids are high in salt and should not be taken. Heartburn medications that contain aspirin (such as Alka-Seltzer) should NEVER be taken during pregnancy.
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Hemorrhoids are varicose veins in the rectal area caused by the increased blood volume and additional weight of pregnancy. They may itch or burn during bowel movements, and sometimes bleed slightly.
- Since constipation can make hemorrhoids worse, try to avoid becoming constipated.
- Use bulk-producing laxatives, however, check with your healthcare provider before taking them.
- Avoid sitting on the toilet for long periods of time or straining while having bowel movements. Put your feet upon a stool to reduce straining.
- Pads of witch hazel (for example, Tucks) may help relieve pain and itching. It can be very helpful to refrigerate the pads, as they may be more soothing when applied cold.
- An ice pack applied to hemorrhoids may bring some relief. Avoid hemorrhoid medicines that contain local anesthetics that may be harmful to your unborn baby.
- A 15 to 20 minute warm bath three or four times each day relieves hemorrhoid discomfort.
- Do Kegel exercises regularly. See section on prenatal exercises.
- Avoid using a "doughnut" to sit on as this decreases blood circulation.
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Light-headedness and/or dizziness are normal when you get up quickly but may be caused by low blood pressure. These symptoms may also result from low blood sugar or too little iron in your blood (anemia).
- Change positions slowly. Move from lying down to sitting, then wait a minute before trying to stand up.
- Avoid standing for long periods of time.
- Take frequent rest periods.
- Eat healthful foods high in iron in frequent small amounts throughout the day.
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Being pregnant can lead to many conflicting emotions and mood changes. Many women are subject to sudden bursts of emotion that can be due to several factors including fatigue, stress and hormonal changes.
- Talk over your feelings and concerns with a trusted person. Consider joining a pregnancy support group. Call (415) 600-BABY for a referral.
- Continue activities that you enjoy. This is a great time for you and your partner to spend time together before the baby arrives.
- Take time to pamper yourself. Hair and nails often grow quickly during pregnancy. Experiment with a new haircut and have a manicure.
- Exercise on a regular basis. You may find prenatal exercise classes valuable in providing support from other pregnant mothers. Call (415) 600-BABY for a referral.
- Avoid becoming overly fatigued. Take naps on a regular basis whenever possible. Even a 15-minute rest break can be helpful.
- Be sure your diet is healthy and you have an adequate daily intake of protein and iron.
- Attend classes, read books, and watch videos on various aspects of pregnancy, childbirth preparation and newborn care. Knowing what to expect will help ease tension. Visit Newborn Connections for a class schedule and information about the lending library. Two books to consider reading are:
- Excited, Exhausted, Expecting - The Emotional Life of Mothers-To-Be. Arlene Modica Matthews, The Berkeley Publishing Group, New York, NY, 1995.
- Shouldn't I Be Happy? - Emotional Problems of Pregnant and Postpartum Women. Shaila Misri, M.D., The Free Press, New York, NY, 1995.
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Muscle cramps are common during pregnancy, but the cause is difficult to determine. Possible causes include a calcium imbalance, pointing your toes when you stretch, or decreased circulation in your legs.
- Be sure to include enough calcium (1,000 mg/day) in your diet. Dairy products are an excellent source (3-4 glasses of milk or the equivalent of dairy products). Non-dairy sources of calcium include tofu, dark-green, leafy vegetables, such as broccoli or bok choy, okra, and blackstrap molasses. A traditional Chinese practice of making soups from bones and one tablespoon of cider vinegar is another way of adding calcium to your diet.
- Exercise to increase the circulation in your legs.
- Elevate your legs as often as possible.
- Keep your legs warm.
- Take a warm bath before you go to bed.
- Do not point your toes when you stretch. Instead flex your feet by pulling your toes toward you knees.
- Avoid lying on your back as this can decrease the circulation to your legs.
- Loosen the bedding at the foot of your bed.
- Before going to bed, stretch your calf muscles. Try leg lunges:
- Stand in a lunge position with one foot well in front of the other.
- Keep your back leg straight with your heel flat on the floor.
- Gradually bend your front leg at the knee and lean forward. You can use your arms for balance by placing your hands against a wall.
- Hold for a few seconds and repeat.
- Switch legs.
- Sit down; straighten your legs and flex your toes towards your nose. You can accomplish the same thing by sitting on the floor and having someone push down on your knees while pulling your toes towards your nose.
- Massage the cramped muscles, although sometimes applying an ice pack is more effective.
- When you are able, stand up and walk around.
- Soak your cramped muscles in warm water or use a heating pad.
- Avoid all medicines for leg cramps. There are no safe medicines you can take during pregnancy for leg cramps.
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Nausea and Vomiting
Nausea sometimes occurs early in pregnancy and usually goes away after the third month. Although it's called "morning sickness," it can happen any time of the day or night or you may never experience nausea. Different remedies help different women. Try several of these suggestions until you find the ones that work for you.
- Eat a piece of bread or a few crackers before you get out of bed in the morning, or when you feel nauseated. Put them close to your bed the night before.
- Get out of bed slowly. Avoid sudden movements.
- Suck on a fresh lemon, or inhale the scent of a freshly cut lemon.
- Avoid an empty stomach by eating small meals several times during the day (six small meals instead of three larger meals).
- Eat high-protein meals (lean meats, vegetable proteins, beans, legumes), complex carbohydrate foods (crackers, breads, potatoes, rice) and fruit and fruit juices. Such foods help prevent low blood-sugar levels which can cause nausea.
- Drink soups and other liquids between meals, rather than with meals.
- Avoid greasy or fried foods. These foods are hard to digest and may cause nausea. Even cooking such foods for others can cause nausea in some women. While cooking, open windows or use the exhaust fan to get rid of odors.
- Eat lightly seasoned foods and avoid spicy foods.
- Sip soda water (carbonated water or ginger ale) when you feel nauseated. Try plain cola syrup.
- Fresh air may help. Take a short walk or try sleeping with a window open.
- Drink spearmint, peppermint, red raspberry or ginger teas.
- Try cold foods such as popsicles or ice.
- Check with your health care provider regarding the use of vitamin B6 or alternative treatments such as acupressure, wrist bands, papaya tablets or ginger capsules. For more information regarding complementary therapies, visit the Institute for Health and Healing.
- Avoid any anti-nausea medicines which you can buy without a prescription. Some over-the-counter anti-nausea medications contain antihistamines that have been shown to cause birth defects in animals.
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Nosebleeds and Bleeding Gums
Nasal membranes become swollen due to the increased blood volume of pregnancy and may cause nosebleeds in some women. During pregnancy, an increased supply of hormones as well as the increase in your blood volume may cause tenderness, swelling and bleeding of your gums. A lack of Vitamin C in you diet may also contribute to this condition.
- During a nosebleed, lie down and apply pressure and cold compresses to your nose.
- A higher level of humidity in your surroundings will help decrease the incidence of nosebleeds. Use a humidifier if the air in your home tends to be very dry.
- Try a thin coating of petroleum jelly in each nostril, especially at bedtime.
- Continue practicing good oral hygiene.
- Check to see that you are getting enough Vitamin C from foods as this vitamin promotes strong tissues. However, avoid excessive vitamin supplementation. Consult with your health care provider for recommendations.
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Pelvic Discomfort or Sciatica
During pregnancy, the pelvic joints relax in order to increase the size and flexibility of the pelvis in preparation for birth. This may cause pressure on the sciatic nerve, and may be felt as pain in the pelvic area, down the thigh and into the leg.
At times a discomfort known as "Round Ligament Pain" can take your breath away. You may be walking and suddenly feel a "knife stabbing" pain on one or both sides of your lower abdomen or groin or feel a spasm in your vagina or rectum. As quickly as it came on, it may go away. There are ligaments that hold the uterus in place. One is on both sides of the uterus and the third goes across the pelvic floor. As the uterus grows, these ligaments stretch like a rubber band. Any sudden movement or position change can cause them to spasm.
- A heating pad or hot water bottle may bring some relief.
- Massage may be helpful.
- Experiment with different positions to find the one that's most comfortable for you. Try sleeping on your side, with one leg forward supported on a pillow and the other back, as if you were running.
- Use proper body mechanics when lifteng, bending and stretching during your pregnancy and following your delivery. See the posture section for suggestions.
- The pelvic tilt may be helpful in reducing discomfort.
- Consider wearing a maternity support belt to help alleviate some of the pressure.
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Shortness of Breath
Your growing uterus puts pressure on your internal organs and diaphragm, which leaves less room for your lungs to expand and leads to shortness of breath. Going up a flight of stairs is tough towards the end of pregnancy and you will find it harder to breathe. At night, it becomes harder to find a comfortable position without difficulty breathing.
- Hold your arms over your head. This raises your rib cage and temporarily gives you more breathing space.
- Try sleeping with your head elevated by pillows.
- Practice very slow deep breathing while relaxing. It will help you use your lung space to its greatest capacity.
- Slow down when climbing stairs.
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Due to hormonal changes, which occur during pregnancy, it is normal to have a brown coloring on your cheeks, nose and forehead, known as chloasma or "the mask of pregnancy". It is also normal for your nipples to become darker and to have a dark line on your abdomen from your navel down to your pubic bone called the linea nigra. Be reassured that the hormone that causes this increase in pigmentation and discoloration will decrease after your baby is born, and the spots will fade or disappear after delivery.
Some women will have a problem with acne or skin breakouts during pregnancy. Do not take any oral medications for this problem without your healthcare provider's advice.
- Avoid sunburn, which may deepen skin coloring.
- For acne or breakouts, wash your face as you normally would.
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About 90% of pregnant women experience stretch marks. There is nothing you can put on your skin to prevent stretch marks. Stretch marks are a type of scar tissue which forms when the skin's normal elasticity is not sufficient to accommodate the stretching required during pregnancy. Excessive weight gain in pregnancy is the most common cause for stretch marks. Stretch marks occur most frequently on the abdomen, but some women also develop them on their thighs, and upper arms. Fair-haired women, blondes, and redheads tend to have very red looking stretch marks, and brunettes may get them as well. Although stretch marks may not disappear entirely after delivery, those that remain usually fade to a lighter, silvery color.
- Ensure that your diet contains sufficient foods high in protein. This will help your skin stay healthy.
- Keeping your skin soft and moisturized won't prevent stretch marks, but it may help minimize itching. Try a gentle massage with a moisturizing lotion.
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Stuffy Nose/Food or Chemical Allergies
Sometimes a stuffy nose and allergies occur during pregnancy even among women who have not experienced them before. Antihistamines, the usual remedy for watery eyes and a runny nose, may be harmful to your unborn baby
- Try to determine what it is you are allergic to, and avoid it if possible.
- Smoking or being in a smoke-filled room can make your allergies worse.
- You may help clear a stuffy nose by breathing steam from a hot shower, a pot of boiling water (removed from the stove first) or a vaporizer. If you use a vaporizer, be sure to keep it clean to prevent bacteria and mold from growing. A cool mist humidifier may also bring relief.
- Place warm, moist towels on your face to make it easier to cough and clear your chest. If you have a cold, try drinking hot soups.
- Salt-water nose drops (made from 1/4 teaspoon of salt dissolved in 1 cup of warm water) may be helpful. Make a fresh solution each time you need to use the drops.
- Use finger pressure or massage your sinuses (rub on the bony ridge above and under your eyebrows, under your eyes and down the sides of your nose).
- Avoid using nasal sprays or drops (except salt-water drops) because they work by shrinking blood vessels, and may affect your whole body and your baby.
- Do not take cold or allergy medicines that contain antihistamines. Ask your healthcare provider if you are uncertain as to whether a product contains antihistamines.
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Swelling (Feet, Legs, Face and Hands)
During pregnancy, it is normal to experience swelling of the feet, legs and hands that makes the skin feel tight. The amount of blood in your body increases about 40 percent. In addition, your body naturally holds water. Your heart needs to work harder to circulate this extra fluid. For about one out of three women, swelling of the hands and feet occurs during the last three months of pregnancy and is often greater during hot weather. Some swelling or puffiness is not unusual or serious, but it can be uncomfortable.
- Eat foods high in protein, such as beans, cheese, fish, meat, poultry and tofu.
- Try to avoid standing for long periods of time.
- Drink the fresh juice of a lemon in a cup of warm water to help decrease fluid retention.
- Rest two or three times a day with your legs elevated higher than your heart. Lie down with pillows under your calves and feet or on your left side.
- Avoid wearing tight clothing such as pants, leotards and knee-high stockings. Varicose veins may be associated with swelling.
- Exercise regularly by walking or swimming.
- Avoid sitting with your legs crossed. Use a footstool when sitting and perform ankle circles whenever possible.
- Check your fluid intake and drink when thirsty.
Medications to Avoid
- There are no safe medications for swelling.
- Diuretics or "water pills" can cause an imbalance in the salt and potassium levels in your body, and this can be dangerous for you and your baby.
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Vaginal Discharge/Yeast Infections
Increased blood supply and hormones cause the vagina to increase its normal secretions and alter the chemistry (pH). This can create a more fertile setting for the common vaginal infection, monilia (yeast).
- Wear skirts rather than slacks.
- Wear 100% cotton underwear.
- Avoid douching during pregnancy unless advised by your healthcare provider.
- Call your healthcare provider if the discharge burns, itches, has an odor, or causes genital swelling.
- Consider eating yogurt on a daily basis to increase the helpful bacteria in your system.
- Pregnancy limits the choice of medications that are safe to use to treat yeast infections. Be sure to check with your health care provider before using medication previously prescribed or over-the-counter remedies.
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Varicose veins develop from weak areas in the walls of blood vessels and are due in part to heredity. The veins may swell in the leg and groin area. This is common during pregnancy and may be caused by the pressure and weight of the baby and uterus.
- Exercise regularly. Walking and swimming are ideal for improving circulation.
- Avoid clothing which binds or is tight, especially knee-high stockings. Tight clothing may decrease blood circulation in your legs.
- Wear support hose when you plan on standing or walking for a long time. Put them on before you get out of bed in the morning. NOTE: Some health insurance policies may pay for support hose if you have a prescription. Check with your insurance provider.
- Avoid standing or sitting in one place for long periods of time if possible. If you need to sit for a long time, get up occasionally and walk around. This is important during long automobile, airplane, train or bus trips.
- Avoid sitting with your legs crossed, as this decreases the circulation in your legs.
- Lie down with your feet elevated above the level of your heart several times during the day.
- Wear shoes with well-padded soles and low heels to reduce stress on your legs from walking.
- If exercise or movement is restricted during your pregnancy, consider isometric exercises which tone muscles and promote circulation.
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