In case you hadn’t noticed, pregnancy isn’t all sunshine and rainbows. If you’re battling some common pregnancy symptoms, these tips might help.
Heartburn in pregnancy is caused by a combination of two factors; pressure and hormones. As your baby grows, it takes up most of the room in your abdomen, which compresses your stomach. Some of the hormones of pregnancy cause relaxation of smooth muscles like the sphincter that keeps food inside your stomach. The growing uterus pushes up on your stomach, which causes food and stomach acid to escape through the leaky sphincter into your esophagus, causing heartburn.
You finally find a comfortable position and manage to fall asleep... only to wake up with a painful muscle spasm! No one really knows what causes leg cramps, but they might be due to a build-up of lactic acid in the muscle tissue.
Nausea and vomiting affect the majority of women at some point in their pregnancy. The good news is that it usually goes away on its own by 16 to 20 weeks. There are some strategies for dealing with nausea that can help you get through the first trimester.
Sometimes nausea and vomiting gets so bad that you can’t keep anything down and become dehydrated. This condition is called hyperemesis gravidarum, which often needs to be treated with IV fluids and medications. If you are unable to keep liquids down, call your doctor.
Fluid retention and swelling can lead to compression of nerves in the wrist during pregnancy, especially in the last trimester. This leads to carpal tunnel syndrome, which causes numbness and tingling in the hands. It can be quite uncomfortable, but usually goes away within a few weeks of delivery. Wearing wrist splints at night to keep your wrists straight while you sleep can help with the symptoms. You can usually buy splints at pharmacies or health-care supply stores.
Sometimes a herniated disc or a history of scoliosis can cause back pain in pregnancy, but these are pretty rare. Most back pain in pregnancy is caused by the weight of the baby pulling forward on the spine and from increasing looseness in your joints. Back pain is usually worse with second or third pregnancies compared with the first.
Nearly everyone gets swollen feet and lower legs by the third trimester.
In rare cases, swelling can be a sign of a serious problem. Swelling combined with high blood pressure can be a sign of preeclampsia, so you should get your blood pressure checked if you’re really swollen. Other symptoms can include headache, right sided upper abdominal pain and seeing spots in your vision. A blood clot usually presents with one leg being painful and much more swollen than the other.