Obstetrics

Pregnancy Discomforts

Discomfort Cause(s) Relief Measures
Shortness of Breath Increased pressure on diaphragm, decreased room for lung Kegels, hip elevation. Replace with lubricated finger. Sitz baths. Avoid constipation
Hemorrhoids Increased pressure on veins, "straining" due to constipation. Decreased venous return. Prolonged sitting or standing inactivity Kegels, hip elevation. Replace with lubricated finger. Sitz baths. Avoid constipation
Varicosities of Vulva Same as above. Avoid sitting with legs crossed Kegels, hip elevation. Knee/chest position, regular exercise, avoid long standing
Pelvic Pressure, Heaviness Increasing weight of uterus, decreased venous return, increased pelvic circulation Kegels, hip elevation, knee/chest position, regular exercise, avoid long standing
Rib Soreness Pressure from growing uterus, baby's limbs, kicks Rib cage stretch "pulled-up" posture. Frequent position changes, especially at night
Lower Backache Change in posture, pull of abdomen on lower back. Lack of abdominal support. Relaxation of pelvic ligaments and body joints, caused by estrogen and relaxin Pelvic rocking, good posture. Spine stretch, pelvic tilt. Lie with knees pulled up, press lower back into floor. Use proper lifting, carrying. Wear low heels
Middle Backache Postural change Spine stretch, rib cage stretch. "Cat back." Avoid sitting or standing for long periods
Upper Backache Same as above, tension in shoulders and neck Shoulder circling, head circles. Good sitting and standing posture
Leaking Urine(Stress Incontinence) Relaxation of pelvic floor muscles, increase in pressure on bladder Kegels. Empty bladder frequently
Cramp in Leg, Buttocks Imbalance of calcium-phosphorus ratio. Excessive or inadequate dairy intake, excessive soda intake (high in phosphorus). Fatigue, sudden stretching Limit dairy to 4 servings per day, limit soda intake. Flex, do not point feet when cramping occurs. Elevate legs at night. Take warm bath to relax irritable muscles
Tired legs, feet Increased body weight tires legs. Decrease in circulation to extremities. Prolonged standing. High heels Leg elevation, foot circles. Calf stretches, foot massage or soaking. Regular exercise. Avoid prolonged standing. Wear low heels
Abdominal Pain when coughing Stretching and spasm of round ligaments which support uterus, reduced abdominal support Lie on side. Squatting. Spine stretch, slow movements. Abdominal contractions to strengthen support
Side-Stitch Hormonal changes, anxiety, excitement, difficulty getting comfortable Relaxation exercises, slow breathing. Many pillows for support of body parts. Exercise, eat right during day. Protein snack before bed
Fatigue Increased demand on body systems, hormonal changes. Increase in metabolism. Incorrect posture or body mechanics. Possible anemia Frequent short rests. Good nutrition, regular exercise. Slow down! Deep breathing and relaxation. Regular bedtime
Numbness in Arms, Fingers Postural changes, especially in neck. Decreased circulation, possible edema Shoulder circling. Good sitting and standing posture. Watch edema, tell doctor
Heartburn Relaxation of sphincter of esophagus-reflux of stomach acids into esophagus Eliminate spicy, greasy foods. Eat frequent, small meals. Drink at separate times. Plenty of fluids. Loose clothing. Sleep propped up. Maalox or TUMS
Urinary Frequency Hormonal influence, decrease in bladder capacity. Increased kidney activity, especially in supine position Drink lots of fluids, but limit night intake. Empty bladder frequently to avoid "stasis" and infection. Limit caffeine. Kegels to reduce leakage
Altered Sex Drive Hormonal, emotional changes. Physical changes and discomfort, fatigue. Fear, anxiety about harming the baby. Increased pelvic circulation Maintain couple communication. Alternate sexual activities, positions. Patience, understanding, flexibility
Mood Swings Depressant effect of progesterone. Physical and emotional changes, body image. Physical discomforts, fatigue. Anxiety, changing roles, responsibilities Maintain open communication with spouse, family, friends, pregnant others. Good nutrition, rest. Activities that bring enjoyment. Exercise, good grooming
Increased Vaginal Discharge Increased production or cervical mucus, caused by estrogen. Possible vaginal infection Avoid douching, tampons. Wear mini- pad, especially during exercise. Change frequently. Discuss any odor, itching, or discomfort with doctor