Minor disorders of pregnancy
Backpain in Pregnancy
Common Minor disorders in Pregnancy
As your baby grows then so do all the ligaments around you pelvis and back area become stretched and softer. The weight of your baby can sometimes cause you to stoop forward so you compensate for this by leaning backwards. The hollow in your back becomes more pronounced because of the size of your tummy is growing and you end up having backache.
Tips to avoid backache in pregnancy
- Avoid Lifting heavy objects
- bend your knees and keep your back straight when lifting anything off the floor
- move your feet around with yourself when you turn to avoid twisting your spine
- Wear flat comfortable shoes so that the weight can be evenly distributed
- Work at a surface that is in line with your waist so that you don't have to stoop down
- sit up with your back straight and well supported
- get plenty of rest especially in the latter stages of pregnancy
- use a firm mattress or place a piece of hardboard under your mattress to make it firmer as soft mattresses can cause backache
- get your partner to give you a massage which may help!
If your backache persists then you may need a referral to an obstetric physiotherapist who will be able to give you some useful tips and advice.
Relieving Back pain in Pregnancy
is a very common minor disorder in pregnancy. The Constipation hormones that are raised in pregnancy act upon the smooth muscles in your body causing them to become soft and sluggish. This includes the bowel and small intestine. Food that has been digested passes along the bowel slower than usual because the hormones have made them softer and sluggish. Some women can often get constipation because of this and find it difficult to have a normal bowel movement.
There are ways to try to prevent constipation:
- Eat food that are high in fibre such as wholemeal breads, wholegrain cereals, fruit and vegetables and pulses such as beans and lentils, What can you eat when your pregnant?
- Exercise regularly to keep the muscles toned
- Drink plenty of water
- Avoid iron supplements as these can make you constipated but if you need iron in pregnancy then taking it with orange juice should help in absorbing in the gut.
Relief of Constipation
Nausea and Vomiting in Pregnancy
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Cramp is when you get a sudden like sharp pain in your legs or feet and can feel like a muscle spasm. It is caused by the build up of lactic acid which is produced when your muscles are tired, as your pregnancy progresses your baby takes from you what it needs in order to grow including nutrients and salts. This alongside you feeling tired from pregnancy can often leave you with leg cramps that wake you up in the night.
- Drink Plenty of fluids especially water
- Do some leg exercises, circling your feet and pointing your toes upwards if the leg cramps occur
- Eating bananas help, or drinks that replace nutrients and salts such as some sport energy drinks have these, Indian tonic water also helps!
Minor disorders of Pregnancy - Headaches
Headaches are quite common to get in pregnancy due to the hormonal changes going on in your body. Paracetamol is safe to take in pregnancy, speak to your doctor or midwife first, and drink plenty of fluids. If these headaches are persistent especially in the later stages of pregnancy, speak to your midwife or doctor as headaches could be an early sign of high blood pressure related to pre-eclampsia
Feeling Faint and Hot
The hormonal changes that are occurring in your body when you are pregnant can cause fainting spells as there is a lack of oxygen to the brain carried around your body.
A normal non pregnant woman would have an average iron count of 12, iron helps to increase red blood cells, these in turn carry oxygen around the body effectively.
A pregnant woman has an increase in their circulatory volume as they are taking on a baby too, and so the blood becomes diluted. In pregnancy your iron count can drop to 10 or even lower depending on you and there is not enough red blood cells available to carry oxygen around - causing tiredness, low blood pressure and fainting.
Feeling hot in pregnancy is normal too as your circulation to your skin has increased from hormonal changes in your body. This can leave you feeling hot and sweaty, wearing loose clothing, natural fibres such as cotton, washing frequently and keeping your room cool with a fan may help.
Incontinence is a common problem in pregnancy and sometimes an embarrassing one. Your growing baby is pressing in your bladder causing you to sometimes leak some urine when you cough, laugh or sneeze or even with exercise. This is mainly due to the hormones affecting the pelvic floor muscles causing them so soften up ready for the birth of your baby. Doing regular pelvic floor or Kegel exercises should help but if it becomes a real concern your doctor may be able to help.
Indigestion and Heartburn
This is caused by the hormones acting upon smooth muscles in the body especially on your stomach and oesophagus (gullet). Also your growing baby pushes upwards on your stomach area.
Heartburn is that burning sensation at the back of your throat and stomach you get when you eat something and the acid in your stomach jumps up your gullet, this happens often in pregnancy as the opening from your gullet to your stomach has softened.
How to avoid heartburn
- Avoid spicy foods
- Avoid caffeine in drinks such as coffee
- Avoid fizzy drinks
- Don't go to bed on a full stomach leave it a couple of hours after eating
- Drinking milk can help alleviate heartburn
- Obtaining an antacid from your Doctor or over the counter at the pharmacy may help if your problem is persistent.
- Heartburn can be worse when laying down so sleep with some pillows to help prop you up slightly at night.
Nose bleeds can occur in pregnancy due to the hormonal changes going on in your body even if you have never suffered from them before. You also may find you get a blocked up more often too. If you have a nose bleed then you need to take the following action.
- Sit forwards with your head lowered slightly
- Pinch the sides of your nose with your thumb and forefinger just below the bony part of your nose, hold this for 10 minutes and do not swallow any blood
- seek further attention if bleeding persists or it is excessive.
Passing Urine Often
Many pregnant women pass urine regularly due to hormonal changes in the body that soften the tubes leading from the kidneys to the bladder and to the outside of the body.
The growing baby puts pressure on the bladder causing women to leak or feel full when they are not ready to pass urine yet.
Sometimes these tubes become 'kinked' and the bladder cannot empty effectively, leaving areas of urine that are sat in the corners breeding bacteria and causing infection.
- When you are sat on the toilet rock backwards and forwards which helps to take the pressure from baby's head off your bladder.
- Drinks plenty of fluids but limit it before you go to bed so your not visiting the toilet too often in the night
Pelvic Joint Pain
As your pregnancy progresses it is normal to have stretching ligaments and muscles that may cause you discomfort and sometimes shooting pains in your groin area.
If your pain is more central across your pubic bone especially when you try and walk upstairs or climbing in and out of the car than you could be suffering from Pelvic Girdle Pain (PGP) also known as Symphysis Pubis Dysfunction (SPD).
If this is the case you will need to see you Midwife or Doctor who can then refer you to an Obstetric Physiotherapist. ?They can help you with some exercises on how to cope with the condition and have a plan of action together ready for when you deliver you baby.
These are very common in pregnancy and again are caused by hormones softening the smooth muscles in the bowel and small vessels. The pelvic area in pregnancy becomes very vascular which means the blood supply increases causing some of the vessels around your anus to bulge and protrude out, causing discomfort and itchiness. If they become worse over the course of your pregnancy then you may need to have minor surgery to remove them.
How to deal with haemorrhoid's
- drink plenty of water and eat foods that are rich in fibre, this will prevent you from getting constipated and having pain on passing a bowel movement.
- Exercise regularly to improve your circulation
- Avoid standing for long periods of time
- Use ice wrapped in a plastic bag or a cloth to press on the area which is sore
- Use lubricating jelly to push any piles back inside
- Ask your midwife or doctor for any topical ointment which may help ease the soreness.
Stretch marks are caused by your skin stretching to allow for your growing baby, and are pinky, purple lines that can be found on your abdomen, around your bottom or at the sides of your breasts. It depends on your skin type as to whether you get them or not but some creams and lotions may help alleviate them but will not be able to get rid of them.
When you baby is born, stretch marks will shrivel up slightly and become pale and not so noticeable.
Vaginal discharge is normal in pregnancy due to the increase in hormones, it should be clear and white and not smell offensive. Vaginal discharge can also increase towards the end of your pregnancy.
If you have any discharge which is a strange colour, smells, or is itchy then you may have an infection. A yeast infection called thrush can display these symptoms but if you are not sure then see your midwife or doctor who would be able to help you.
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