​Coping with minor discomforts in pregnancy 


Today is another beautiful Monday for a sequel to last week’s post. The minor discomforts series would last for the whole of July , I started last week with the first six most common discomforts. This week I would be sharing ways to cope with five other discomforts. Some of these discomforts cannot be avoided but you can reduce the discomfort it brings and like I mentioned in the last post different discomforts for different people you don’t necessarily have to experience all the discomforts. Today I would be sharing coping strategies for backache, leg cramps, insomnia, dyspnea(difficulty in breathing) and syncope(faintness). 

BACKACHE

Backache is very common, it is due to the weight of the uterus which causes the your posture to be altered , there is usually an exaggerated curvature of the back to compensate for the increasing uterus. It Is also due to the hormones progesterone and relaxin  which also cause a softening and relaxation of your pelvic ligaments. If you do not maintain proper positioning and posture there will be a strain on the muscles and ligaments and will cause backache. Simple measures to reduce pain include limiting physical activity, wear low-heeled shoes, have adequate rest , use supportive pillows beneath the knees and abdomen. Use of proper posture and good body mechanics such as when picking up objects and bending. 

LEG CRAMPS

Leg cramps are often caused by extension of the foot, other causative factors include inadequate calcium intake, pressure on the pelvic vessels causing impaired circulation. It is more common in the third trimester because of the increased weight of the uterus on the nerves supplying the lower extremities. Relief measures include doing stretching exercises before bedtime , this can help to prevent leg cramps. You can achieve immediate relief of the leg cramps by stretching the muscles, also massage can be used to alleviate the discomfort from the cramps. 

INSOMNIA

Insomnia is caused by back pain, heartburn, frequent urination during the night , anxiety, hormonal changes  and also discomfort due to the increased size of your abdomen. Try new sleeping positions , exercising regularly will help to improve sleep, relaxation techniques, prepare yourself for sleep by taking a warm bath or receiving a nice massage, sleeping with the lights off also works. Pregnancy pillows can also be used as pregnancy pillows help in relieving discomforts such as back pain which would cause insomnia, read my post on relieving sleep discomforts in pregnancy to learn more about pregnancy pillows.

DYSPNEA

Dyspnea which is difficulty in breathing occurs due to the rising uterus in the abdomen, which causes pressure on the diaphragm. Learn to use proper posture when sitting and standing   also ensure you are propped up with pillows for relief if problems occur at night, sleeping in a semi fowler position can  help to expand the chest region and ensure for adequate breathing.
SYNCOPE

Syncope is also known as faintness. It is caused by postural hypotension, sudden change of position causing venous pooling in dependent veins, standing for long periods in warms areas and also by anaemia. Avoid standing for long  hours in warm or stuffy areas. Also ensure you see your midwife or doctor in order to check your hematocrit  and hemoglobin levels in order to rule out anaemia. 

Coping with minor discomforts in pregnancy

This is the first in the series of minor discomforts in pregnancy. I will be sharing remedies and several ways to cope with some of the discomforts in pregnancy. One thing you should note with discomforts is that it varies for different people, different bodies different reactions, you might be experiencing a certain discomfort in which another might not experience. So I will be sharing remedies to nausea and vomiting, heartburn, constipation, urinary frequency, hemorrhoids , and  leukorrhea.

  • Nausea and vomiting: This is one of the commonest discomfort and it is  experienced by most women. The exact cause is not known but it is believed to be due to the increased hormone levels or changes in carbohydrate metabolism. Nausea and vomiting is quite normal but when vomiting becomes excessive and causing you to loose weight it is called hyperemesis gravidarum . see your midwife or doctor for appropriate care. Certain  foods  and odors  trigger nausea and vomiting  avoid such triggers, avoid greasy , oily and highly seasoned foods also. Take cold fluids , eat dry foods like crackers, also minty sweets and gum help to suppress nausea and vomiting. Due to the nausea and vomiting some tend to loose appetite, in such cases try taking fruits and have small frequent meals, small frequent meals ensure that you eat and get all the nutrition and energy you need despite a lack of appetite.
  • Heartburn: heartburn is due to the regurgitation of acid contents of the stomach into the oesophagus which is mainly due to the displacement of the stomach by the growing pregnancy. Heartburn is aggravated by overeating, ingesting fatty and fried foods, and lying down soon after eating. Avoiding these situations listed is the first thing you need to know, drink lots of water , eat smaller and more frequent in order to accommodate the decreased size of your stomach and also avoid spicy foods.
  • Constipation: this occurs due to the increased absorption of sodium and water from the colon thereby resulting in smaller stool with lower water content (hard stools).increase water intake, consume fibre foods such as wheat , also engage in exercise to help in alleviating this problem.
  • Urinary frequency: during pregnancy your visit to the toilet becomes more frequent it is quite normal too. It occurs due to the pressure of the uterus on the bladder, don’t try to hold the urine ensure to void when you feel the urge. Increase fluid intake during the day and decrease only in the evening to decrease frequent urination at night which can disturb sleep, also empty bladder frequently approximately every two hours.
  • Hemorrhoids: this is popularly known as pile (in Yoruba it is called jedi jedi). It is due to both constipation and pressure in the veins below the enlarging uterus. It can be inherited, due to excessive weight gain , increased maternal age or a large fetus. Consume lots of water and fibre rich foods , elevate legs frequently , avoid crossing legs at the knees, standing for too long periods and also avoid constrictive bands such as garters.
  • Leucorrhea: this is known as increased whitish vaginal discharge. During pregnancy there is increased vaginal secretions which is not abnormal and no cause for worry, there is onl a cause for concern when the discharge is any color other than whitish such as yellow or brown and having a malodorous odor e.g fishy smell , report such abnormalities to your midwife or doctor immediately it can be an infection. Hygiene in pregnancy is very important especially the vagina in order to prevent excoriations and vaginal infections. Ensure you bath daily , avoid douching, wear cotton pants(nylon pants and pantyhose retain heat and moisture in the genital area) and always ensure to report any foul odors or change in vaginal discharge to your midwife or doctor immediately it is noticed. you can get more information on vaginal hygiene on my post on  Tips to maintaining a healthy vagina

 

I hope this has been useful please share your own relieve measures for these discomforts I would love to hear from you and like if it was helpful.