Pregnancy Pains

Learn how to manage the discomforts that come when you're expecting a baby.

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-Pregnancy is a beautiful thing. But no one ever said it was easy. Lisa Leclezio should know. She's just a few days shy of her due date. -It sort of crescendos, you know, as you get closer to giving birth. It's not that one symptom or another, it's so horrible. It's the combination of all the symptoms. It's the fact that you're feeling eight or ten or twelve things all at once. -Women with child often endure a variety of uncomfortable symptoms, says OB-GYN, Dr. Suzanne LaJoie, starting with morning sickness. -Women usually experience that between 6 and 12 weeks of pregnancy. And not all of them would feel it in the morning. Sometimes, it's kind of like an all day, low level of nauseous feeling. And a lot of times, there's no vomiting involved at all. Some women don't get it at all, some women just have it in the morning. -I guess, on a scale of 1 to 10, 10 being the worst imaginable, I would probably call mine a 7. So, it was-- it was pretty strong. I'd be walking down the street with my husband and I'd have to like jump into a doorway, if you know what I mean. It wasn't pretty. -To help keep bouts of morning sickness at bay, avoid strong odors. Snack throughout the day to keep your belly from getting too hungry or too full. Try eating dry or salty foods. Exercise, get lots of rest, and avoid mixing drinks and solid foods. -Dr. LaJoie says to eat first thing in the morning. But then, wait about half an hour before having anything to drink to keep morning sickness from rearing its ugly head. -Another common symptom is swelling. -I started waking up with very, very painful wrists. My fingers start looking like-- start looking like sausages, I can't get my wedding band off. I managed to get my engagement ring off in like the fifth month. But this, forget it. They might have to cut it off of me by the time I give birth. -To lessen swelling, drink lots of water. Steer clear of salty foods, and if the swelling is in your feet, try to keep them elevated. Swelling in her hands caused Lisa to develop carpal tunnel syndrome, which should go away after she gives birth. -Fot the carpal tunnel, I found these gloves at the drugstore, called Smart Gloves. And it's sort of like a wrist brace, if you will. So, I wear that a few hours during the day. I also found it was helpful to ice my wrists a little bit. The ankle, which has been even worse than the wrists, I did put on an ankle brace. -Supporting a pregnant belly is a lot work. No wonder so many expectant mothers complain of back pain. Dr. LaJoie says there are a few things that may help. First, wear reasonable shoes. Exercise to strengthen your back muscles. Try sleeping on your side with a pillow between your knees. And if all else fails, see a licensed chiropractor or massage therapist. -For me, it was a combination of massage, like hot baths, hot compresses, acupuncture, and chiropractic. That seemed to help a little bit. -Another big complaint, heartburn. Keep your cool by not eating right before bed. Avoid foods you know will set it off, and treat heartburn with over-the-counter antacids like Tums or Zantac. -I have acid reflux. Out the [unk]. Oh, yeah. Oh, Mylanta. Mylanta. Three shots of Mylanta before you go to bed at night. I think there's so many pregnant women who live on Tums. Mine lives on Mylanta. I hope she's not a Mylanta addict when she comes out. -But Lisa says her real secret weapon is her sense of humor. -A good, healthy dose of perspective, and just taking a step back and being like, "You know what? I feel awful. This hurts, that hurts." But just laughing at it, like really having a great sense of humor about it. I think it really helps a lot, just realizing at the end of the day that-- oh, she just kicked-- that should be the worst thing that happens. -Call your doctor if you experience severe pain that won't go away, menstrual-like pain, or something just doesn't feel right. -Sometimes, it can be hard to tell, like is this preterm labor or is this just normal pregnancy stuff? I think if there's any question, let your health care provider kind of figure it out. You don't wanna take a chance. -Because in the end, it's all for a good cause. -I had doctors telling me I was never gonna get pregnant. So-- and we did, naturally. And it's been amazing. And the fact to the matter is any moment, any day, she's gonna be here. And it will all have been worth it.