Alleviate Common Pregnancy Discomforts and Reduce Pain

Edited by Nerissa Avisado, Eng, Lynn, Doug Collins

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Pregnancy is often described by so many superlatives that women with problems getting pregnant are made to feel inadequate - like pregnancy is the ultimate source of fulfillment, and they are somehow missing how wonderful it is. Indeed, many parents-to-be are ecstatic at the thought of having a bundle of joy in about nine months, and there are many reasons to celebrate motherhood

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For those who have gone through harrowing experiences while pregnant, however, they may look at pregnancy at least partly with misgivings. You can't seem to sit, stand or lie down for long without some pains throbbing here and there. Much of what you do before pregnancy must now be done with great caution and tentativeness, or not at all. You try to sleep on the left side for circulation, but that can keep you awake every night. Climbing the stairs and lifting your ballooning body gets harder as you advance in months.

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Becoming pregnant is still a joyous experience with the anticipation, preparing the nursery, picking names and counting the days. You can make this stage in your life as joyful as it is intended. The "painful truth", however, does not go away with such thoughts. There will be a lot of changes physically and there will be lots of discomforts in those nine months. This is why it is essential to learn about ways to alleviate common pregnancy discomforts and reduce pain.

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First Trimester: Are you really pregnant? It barely shows, but you can feel it.

  1. 1
    The Morning Sickness:
    Nausea and Vomiting – This is perhaps the most known symptom of pregnancy, and as the name suggests, it is usually more severe in the morning. This is largely attributed to the shifting and changing levels of hormones, and it gets worse with stress, eating fat- or protein-rich foods, and motion (traveling).
    1. To minimize nausea and vomiting naturally, you can eat small meals and more complex carbohydrates, such as whole wheat bread, veggies, pasta, and fruits. In severe cases, you must watch out for dehydration (hyperemesis gravidarum).
    2. See a doctor if nausea and vomiting gets really bad.
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  2. 2
    Tightness and Cramping.
    This is actually a sign that pregnancy is progressing as it should and that the uterus is expanding and crowding the abdomen. Other causes include sexual intimacy, bloating, and constipation. Take note, however, that if it becomes extra heavy that indicates ectopic pregnancy; this is usually accompanied by bleeding.
    1. Light or normal cramping can be relieved by proper nutrition, hydration, rest and exercise (low impact stretching).
    2. You may also do some relaxation techniques.
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  3. 3
    With the levels of progesterone rising fast with pregnancy, it tends to relax smooth muscles, including the sphincter in the lower esophagus. This can lead to acid reflux or heartburn.  
    1. Eating frequent, but smaller meals can help prevent the backflow of acids. It will also help if the diet is not fatty or acidic.
    2. Try not to lie down right after meals, and prop your head using extra pillows when you sleep.
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Second Trimester: The stage of the cute, round bump.

  1. 1
    Pelvic and abdominal pain.
    The pain at this stage is primarily due to the growing fetus and uterus. The organs in the abdominal cavity are pushed sideways and upwards causing indigestion and constipation, urinary and gall bladder problems, cramping and contractions, hyperactivity of the baby, and progressively worsening muscle pains in the pelvis and abdomen area.
    1. Since the growth of the fetus and the uterus are inevitable, you can focus on other solutions, such as adhering to a proper diet so that the baby will not grow bigger than necessary.
    2. You can also spend more hours resting. Lie on your side when sleeping with a pillow tucked between your legs.
    3. Try wearing low-heeled shoes with good support and avoid strenuous or prolonged standing or activity.
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  2. 2
    Leg Problems.
    As you start to get heavier, the brunt takes a toll on the legs that have to support that weight. This starts to manifest in the forms of varicose veins, cramps and swelling. Varicose veins are caused by increased pressure and blood volume on the legs and pelvis around this time.  
    1. To keep the legs healthy, it is important to give them regular physical activity like walking, and to avoid standing or sitting for an extended period or with legs crossed.
    2. Keep your legs up whenever you can and consider wearing support hose.
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Third Trimester: Close to term, heavy and eager to get the baby out.

Aside from those discomforts felt in earlier trimesters becoming more intense, there are other additional discomforts as pregnancy advances to term. Here are simple solutions to ease them.

  1. 1
    Sleeping troubles.
    This is related to the pregnancy hormone. It can make your body unusually warm, making you feel restless and uncomfortable. It can also be caused by excessive worrying or depression.
    1. You can take a bath before sleeping and set the thermostat of your air-conditioning unit to keep you comfortable throughout the night.
    2. Learning about relaxation strategies like meditation can help you relax your mind.
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  2. 2
    Breathing difficulties.
    Increased pregnancy hormones also means increasing blood supply to the heart, making it work harder. The growing uterus and fetus also tightens lungs, causing shortness of breath.  
    1. It is advisable that you increase the number of hours of your rest and sleep.
    2. Make sure that you are not anemic or suffering from iron deficiency.
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  3. 3
    Digestive concerns.
    The increasing pressure on the pelvis and the displacement of the intestines and stomach are taking a toll on the digestive function, and this can lead to flatulence, indigestion and worse, constipation and hemorrhoids.  
    1. The most important thing to prevent these conditions is to eat more fiber-rich foods, drink more water, get regular exercise, and lead a healthy life in general.
    2. Pain can be managed with certain hemorrhoid creams that can subdue the swelling.
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  4. 4
    Sore and itchy skin.
    The stretching of the skin as the bump grows like a watermelon can cause itchiness and pain in the skin.  
    1. The best solution is to keep the skin moisturized with moisturizing cream or lotion.
    2. The growth of the abdomen is not preventable, but following a healthy diet can help to keep your weight in the lower limits of a normal weight range so that there will be minimal skin stretching.
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  5. 5
    More intense pain in the abdominal or pelvic area.
    The pains around these areas will get more intense as the delivery date nears.  
    1. Nothing much can be done about it, but you can try to relax and be more watchful of the signs and symptoms of the real labor.
    2. Watch out for Braxton Hicks contractions that can start from as early as 20 weeks and happen periodically to full term.
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Aside from these, there are also many other pregnancy discomforts that you can feel throughout pregnancy, such as bleeding gums, breast tenderness and soreness, and fatigue. Dizziness and headaches can also be quite common during pregnancy. All these can even be made more complicated by the weight gain, the mood swings, and so many aversions.

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If you are happily planning on getting the bump soon, remember that pregnancy is both a joyful and a painful experience. Dwelling on positive thoughts is good, but so is knowing tips about easing common pregnancy discomforts.

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Categories : Health & Wellness

Recent edits by: Lynn, Eng, Nerissa Avisado

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