It is an exciting time as you await the arrival of your tiny bundle of joy, and cannot even begin to imagine all the wonderful experiences you will have together. However, some of these experiences may be a little less exciting, or quite uncomfortable to say the least. The most common pregnancy complaints are: cramps, headaches, heartburn, indigestion, swollen ankles/hands/feet, nausea, vomiting, back pain, acne, and constipation.
Prenatal appointments should be done regularly. For those with a straightforward pregnancy, the Society of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists, recommends visiting their doctor or midwife:
Women with pre-existing medical conditions may require more attention, and are typically supported by an obstetrician. Conditions such as high blood pressure and gestational diabetes can develop during pregnancy, even in healthy women. The presence of the following symptoms would warrant an immediate visit to their midwife or doctor: fever higher than 100 degrees Fahrenheit, chills, persistent vomiting, fainting spells, unusual vaginal discharge, blurred vision. A visit should be made to the hospital if there is sudden decrease in fetal movement, vaginal bleeding, headaches or changes to vision, and contractions.
What you can do to alleviate some of these uncomfortable symptoms:
Many women experience sudden muscle cramps and spasms in their thighs, legs, and feet. Unfortunately, cramps can occur during sleep. Gentle movements during the day that stretch or exercise the legs, ankles, and feet can be useful. During a cramp, the affected area should be stretched. A simple exercise is rotating the foot in a circular motion 8 or 9 times.
Some women may develop acne even if it has never been a problem for them. As hormone levels change rapidly – mainly progesterone, acne is fairly common in the first trimester. Excess oil production triggered by the rapid changes in hormone levels, can generate flare-ups from whiteheads, blackheads, to inflamed red bumps. Acne can be treated using mild cleansers. It is important to be aware of which ingredients are in the products being used during pregnancy. Avoiding products containing salicylic acid is recommended. Drinking a lot of water is also helpful. If acne is severe, speak to a doctor regarding over-the-counter treatments.
Headaches are common during the first trimester, due to the fluctuation of pressure in blood vessels, as a result of hormonal shifts. It is important to stay hydrated by consuming a lot of water. Rest and relaxation is important. To treat tension headaches, a cold compress can be placed against the base of the neck. A glass of water with a pinch of ginger powder, taken 3 to 4 times daily can help alleviate the pain from a migraine. Before looking into painkillers, your doctor or midwife should be consulted.
Heartburn can create an acidic or bitter taste in the mouth, and a burning sensation in the chest. Discomfort can become more severe later on in the pregnancy, as the baby compresses the digestive tract as it grows. It is important to pay attention to your eating habits. Try keeping track of which foods may exacerbate these symptoms. Eating smaller meals more frequently, avoiding meals close to bedtime, eliminating spicy foods, or those high in acidity, would help reduce these symptoms.
Living in Fort Worth, Dallas and Denton can bring its own set of pregnancy complaints due to the heat, sun, humidity and those Texas-sized mosquitos! Be sure to wear adequate sunscreen, drink plenty of water and wear bug spray!
I'm Bethany. Wife. Boy Mom. Bradley Method® teacher. Child passenger safety technician. Placenta encapsulator. I like little dogs, big hair and sweet tea.