As your pregnancy progresses, your body is undergoing significant changes. For one thing, your uterus will ultimately grow to about 1,000 times its normal size! As a result of these changes, many women experience discomfort. You should feel free to talk to your doctor about your concerns. In the meantime, here are some common pregnancy changes and advice for coping with them from the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists.
Call your doctor if your nausea and vomiting are so severe that you can't keep any food or liquid down, you lose weight quickly, vomit blood, or have reduced urine output or dark urine. You could have a condition called hyperemesis gravidarum which can lead to the loss of weight and fluid.
Carrying approximately 30 extra pounds can put stress on your back muscles. Another cause: Many women adopt a swayback posture to offset the additional weight they are carrying. Stretched and weakened abdominal muscles also contribute.
If you have severe back pain that doesn't go away or gets worse. It could be a sign of a kidney infection or preterm labor.
Iron supplements can cause constipation (infrequent bowel movements), and hormonal changes can mean slower digestion. Plus, near the end of pregnancy the pressure that the uterus exerts on the rectum can add to the problem.
Talk to your doctor if the above steps don't offer any relief. He may suggest a bulk-forming agent such as Metamucil or Citrucel to make your stool easier to pass. Never take laxatives during pregnancy.
A common problem among pregnant women, heartburn results when pregnancy hormones cause the muscle valve between the stomach and esophagus to relax. When this happens, stomach acids cause a burning feeling in the throat and chest. Indigestion is caused by slower-than-normal digestion during pregnancy. The result: bloating and gas.
If the above suggestions don't give you relief, ask your doctor about taking antacids. Avoid over-the-counter heartburn medications since they haven't been proved safe during pregnancy.
Hemorrhoids -- painful, itchy varicose veins in the rectal area -- are caused by the extra blood present in the pelvic area as well as the pressure of the uterus on the veins.
Swelling of the hands, face, legs, ankles, and feet is normal. It's caused by the extra fluid that develops in your body during pregnancy. Swelling tends to be worst in the third trimester.
If you are badly swollen or you have sudden swelling in your face or hands, contact your doctor. This could signal a problem such as high blood pressure.
Sources: Planning Your Pregnancy and Birth, Third Edition, by the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists
All content here, including advice from doctors and other health professionals, should be considered as opinion only. Always seek the direct advice of your own doctor in connection with any questions or issues you may have regarding your own health or the health of others.