Ah pregnancy, the one experience in life that most women expect will be the most joyous occasion in their life. Unfortunately, it’s not all sunshine and rainbows for some. Pregnancy and childbirth is the most amazing thing a woman will ever experience but for most women it can mean any of the following: morning or all-day sickness, aches, pains, stretch marks, hemorrhoids, achy feet, weight gain, and other unwanted issues.
Although you may not be able to completely stop all of the negative aspects of pregnancy, you can definitely ease some of them and make them much more tolerable. With each of my pregnancies I experienced all but the nasty hemorrhoidal issue. I have to thank God for that. With my first pregnancy, I experienced all day sickness. I was miserable for the first few months and actually lost weight instead of gaining it. I know that don’t sound so bad but from a medical perspective, you do not want to lose weight during pregnancy, especially in the first trimester. I got just a few tiny stretch marks but none that were really noticeable. I was and always have been a petite girl. Maybe that’s it.
With my second pregnancy, I gained weight almost immediately. I had morning sickness, pains, occasional bleeding, and horrible heartburn. Ugh! An old wives tale states that if a woman has lots of heartburn during pregnancy then her child will be born with lots of hair. Well, my daughter was born with tons of black hair. Maybe those old wives know what they’re talking about. hehee
My third pregnancy was the worst. It was my largest baby. My son. I had several problems with my uterus after my first pregnancy that included lots of sharp stabbing pains. I was later diagnosed with Uterine Prolapse. A condition in which the uterus falls out of place and presses on other internal organs. I had 2 surgeries to correct it.
During my pregnancy with my son I experienced weight gain, morning sickness, aches, pains, achy feet, horrible heartburn AND the worst allergy attacks. Before I had my babies I had never had an allergy issue. In my second trimester I was diagnosed with Complete Placenta Previa. A condition in which the placenta grows right at the bottom of the uterus and the opening of the cervix. Not a good thing. The placenta, of course, is what nourishes the developing baby. At any point the placenta could tear away and fall right out of the body. Which in turn can cause an early delivery or a miscarriage.
As horrific as my experiences may sound, they all ended with normal deliveries and very healthy babies.
Here are some tips that may help you have an easier pregnancy:
Problem: You can’t keep anything down (boy is this a typical one)
And Good to know: There’s just no way around it—morning sickness sucks. Especially since it sometimes lasts all day. Try easing the quease with known tricks like sucking on ginger drops, noshing on saltines, avoiding an empty stomach, and wearing wrist acupressure bands — the same kind you’d buy for sea sickness. If a bland diet and mini-meals don’t work to keep you off your knees, learn how to vomit in style. Sorry ladies!
Be prepared for emergencies with a homemade sickness kit that includes waterproof disposable bags such as those you can get in hospitals or a small trash can lined with a trash or grocery bag, baby wipes for cleaning up messes, an on-the-go toothbrush and some breath mints. And when the worst happens and you become a victim of public puking, hold your head high and know you’re not the only mom-to-be to suffer this fate. This too shall pass … hopefully by the second trimester.
Bottom line: Know the symptoms, and don’t think you’ll be able to skirt what’s coming: If you feel sick, head for the nearest toilet pronto.
Problem: You’re feeling the burn. Heartburn that is.
And Good to know: Some women are lucky enough to never experience indigestion while expecting. Others are miserable for the entire 40 weeks. Me, me, me! (raises hand, but not happily). There’s no way of telling which category you’ll fall in, even if you’ve had a prior burn-free pregnancy—it’s different for every woman, every time. Mine definitely were.
While the milk fix often does work here (really!), it often isn’t enough to cure a bad case of heartburn. Your doctor will likely OK an over-the-counter antacid, and you can also adjust your diet to help put out the fire. Avoid carbonated beverages, caffeine, chocolate, and spicy, acidic or fatty foods, as they can all make indigestion even more uncomfortable. You should also sleep at an incline to help keep your stomach acids down where they belong. I sure had to do this with babies 2 and 3. With my son, I had to sit upright in my last 2 months because I had gained so much weight and experienced so much discomfort when I lied down that I couldn’t breathe. I felt like I looked like a beach whale but had the mobility of a turtle on it’s back.
Bottom line: Keep an eye on your diet and eat small, frequent meals throughout the day. Unless your doctor says otherwise, feel free to go ahead and buy that economy-sized bottle of heartburn relief.
Problem: Hemorrhoids — enough said.
And Good to know: Nobody enjoys varicose veins of the rectal variety. In fact, for many moms, the potential for an uncomfortable anal experience evokes heart-stopping fear and anxiety. (Pooping on the delivery table is right up there with hemorrhoids on the “please don’t let that happen to me” wish list. lol) ’Rhoids are often caused by constipation or pushing during delivery, although some women get them simply from the increased pressure on the rectum and perineum that comes with carrying a baby. Yay, I know.
A warm sitz (“sits”) bath (small tub filled with warm water that you sit in for 15-20 minutes) can help with hemorrhoid discomfort, as can witch hazel applied with a cotton pad. Purchasing a sitz bath if you don’t already have one is not necessary. Just sit in a small amount of warm water in your bathtub to get the same effect. Your doctor may also recommend an over-the-counter or prescription medication, which will probably offer the most relief should you find yourself suffering from bulging veins in your backside.
Bottom line: Avoiding constipation might be your only preventative measure. Eat plenty of fruits, veggies and fiber, and don’t be afraid to reach for the prune juice (gag) if you get backed up.
Problem: Your ankles are, well, cankles.
And Good to know: Pregnancy swelling … it isn’t really so swell, is it? It’s downright uncomfortable, actually. But most women do experience it to some degree, and not only in their ankles, but also in their hands, feet and face (and pretty much all over the place). My Father-in-law always had to tell me “You’re looking swell” when he visited during my last pregnancy. Somehow, I just didn’t think it was funny.
All that extra fluid is a necessary evil—your body produces approximately 50 percent more blood and body fluids than normal to meet the needs of your growing babe—but that doesn’t mean you have to let it get you down. To reduce swelling, try to stay off your feet when possible, wear comfortable shoes when on your feet, maintain a healthy diet, and drink plenty of water. If swelling is severe, give your doctor a call so he can check it out. While some swelling is normal, too much might be a sign of a more serious problem.
Bottom line: Take it easy and keep your feet propped above your heart while you’re relaxing—especially if you’re in your third trimester during the summer months.
Problem: Your allergies are out of control, and meds are a no-go.
Good to know: A runny or stuffy nose is pretty common during pregnancy, and it might not have anything to do with allergies at all. Rhinitis of pregnancy—which basically just means you’re suffering from congestion for no apparent reason—occurs in about 20 to 30 percent of pregnancies. Boy was this problem a huge problem for me during my last pregnancy. I could not breathe through my nose almost throughout the whole pregnancy. Iwas miserable. I used Afrin nasal spray continuously and suffered nose bleeds because of it. If your nose trouble is accompanied by other symptoms, such as itchy eyes and sneezing, it might be allergy-related after all.
Rely on steam for temporary relief, but make sure you don’t raise your body temperature; a hot bath is off-limits during pregnancy, but a warm one is just fine. At night, plug in a humidifier or vaporizer and keep your head elevated. Saline nose drops can offer additional relief. If you’ve tried it all and you’re still suffering, check with your doc—many will OK a decongestant during the second or third trimester.
Bottom line: Hopefully, your nose-related problems will be nothing more than a mild inconvenience. But if you have aches and pains or a fever with your sniffles and sneezes, call your doctor as you could have a cold or infection.
Problem: You can’t sleep because you’re up peeing all night.
And Good to know: There’s a lot of pressure on your bladder these days, so the need to tinkle frequently is understandable—and to some extent unavoidable. However, there are things you can do that will help you sleep longer between bathroom breaks.
While it’s important to drink your 64 ounces of water a day, it’s equally important that you do it before sundown. Killing a glass of water before bed guarantees the need to release it before night is through. Once you’ve finished your final meal of the day, limit liquid consumption to an as-needed basis. And before you hop into bed, use the restroom and lean forward slightly while urinating to help completely empty your bladder. Also, if you feel like you’ve gotta go during the night, just get up and do it—it’s not going to go away, and the quicker you can get it over with, the quicker you can get back to Mr. Sandman.
I sure hope these tips help at least some of you pregnant ladies. I know these are things you really don’t want to think about. Just think this way, it will all be over soon and you will be holding that precious little one in your arms. That makes it all worth it in the end. I wish you all the best!
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© 2010, Dee @ Bella Savvy. All rights reserved.