Here are some tips.
As soon as you become pregnant, hormones start adjusting your body's systems to create a nourishing and protective environment for your baby. The changes you go through during pregnancy are normal and good for your child, but they can lead to all sorts of discomforts for you: among them are constipation, nausea, backache, and fluid retention.
What's more, these changes can wear you out physically and emotionally. Like most expectant women, you'll probably experience only a few of these discomforts and only some of the time. Most problems will disappear shortly after your baby is born. In the meantime, here are some simple, safe tips to help you find relief.
Breathe easy: In your last trimester, your baby will more than double her height and quadruple her weight. Somehow your body must find room to accommodate this growth. In doing so, your expanding uterus pushes your stomach and other organs upwards, reducing the room your lungs and diaphragm have for breathing. Try this exercise to relieve discomfort:
✿ Stand with your arms hanging down from your sides.
✿ Inhale slowly while raising both your arms over your head.
✿ Exhale slowly while you lower your arms.
✿ Repeat this exercise five times, taking a few normal breaths between each of the repetitions.
A swell time: The increase in blood volume sometimes slows down your circulation, so a certain amount of swelling is normal in late pregnancy. Ankles and feet tend to swell the most because the baby's weight puts pressure on the veins in your pelvis, slowing the return flow of blood from your legs to your heart.
However, if you have swelling in your hands, feet or ankles that does not improve after elevating the affected part for 30 minutes, contact your health-care provider. This could indicate preeclampsia, a pregnancy-related form of high blood pressure. Also call your doctor if your eyes or face look swollen or puffy.
“Changing position frequently and elevating your legs will help prevent varicose (enlarged) veins, as will exercise. Your extra weight puts pressure on your vascular system and this, coupled with your increased blood volume, can cause veins to swell. Fit some exercise into your day by walking short distances.” Walking helps relieve some of the swelling and discomfort of varicosities because, as the leg muscles move, they "milk" the blood back up toward the heart.
You can also do ankle circles while you sit at a desk or stand in line. Even gentle rocking in a rocking chair will help. Resting on your side can improve circulation and decrease swelling as well.if your legs ache, try maternity support hose. Put them on as soon as you get up in the morning, before fluid has a chance to pool in your ankles or feet. (Otherwise the pressure of the hose will make it even more difficult for that fluid to move back out of your legs and feet.) If you have to wait until later in the day to put on hose, first elevate your legs for 15 to 20 minutes, and keep them elevated as much as possible while you put on your stockings.
Hemorrhoids are varicose veins of the rectum. Hemorrhoids can hurt and may bleed when you have a bowel movement, especially if you are constipated. You can ease the discomfort and swelling of hemorrhoids by applying a cold pack or cotton balls soaked in cold witch hazel to them, or by soaking in a few inches of cool water. Talk to your prenatal caregiver about using a commercial hemorrhoid preparation.
Eating fibre-rich foods is a great way to help prevent hemorrhoids and relieve aggravation of those you might already have. But keep drinking plenty of fluids; otherwise the fibre won't be very helpful. Pelvic pressure is another common circulation-related complaint. Women describe it as a feeling of heaviness, soreness, tenderness, or "a bad bruise"; it's caused by blood pooling in the pelvic area. You might find some relief by applying a cold pack to the area or by soaking in a cool bath.
A pain in the back (and everywhere else): Pregnancy also affects your muscles, bones, nerves, and joints, causing problems such as backache, hip pain and leg cramps. Understanding what's happening to your body is the key to coping with any of these discomforts.
Baby's increasing weight and mom's lack of abdominal muscle tone can result in backache. During the first half of pregnancy, the baby rests on your hip bones, which are strong enough to support a great deal of weight. As the baby continues to grow, however, the ab muscles tend to weaken and sag under the strain.
The weight drops forward and pulls the lower spine out of alignment. To prevent backaches, always try to stand with your shoulders back and down, buttocks
CHANGING POSITION FREQUENTLY AND ELEVATING YOUR LEGS WILL HELP PREVENT VARICOSE (ENLARGED) VEINS, AS WILL EXERCISE. YOUR EXTRA WEIGHT PUTS PRESSURE ON YOUR VASCULAR SYSTEM AND THIS, COUPLED WITH YOUR INCREASED BLOOD VOLUME, CAN CAUSE VEINS TO SWELL.
tucked under, and stomach held in as much as you can. Your childbirth educator can show you simple abdominal exercises, such as the pelvic tilt, that will also help. Don't wear high-heeled shoes, and avoid standing for long periods of time or lying flat on your back, all of which can make your lower back arch forward.
Activities that stretch or round your back will help relax the muscles and ease discomfort. For example, bending one or both legs at the hip stretches the spine and relaxes the back muscles. If you have to stand for long periods, place one foot a little higher than the other (rest one on a footstool, for example). You can also apply a heating pad or cold packs to the painful area or use massage or acupressure.
When you lie down, rest on your side or turn forward a bit to rest on your side and abdomen. Bend one or both knees, and place a pillow between them. Place another pillow in front of you and rest your upper arm on it. If your abdomen feels as if it is being pulled, place a small pillow or rolled towel between your tummy and the bed. It may take a few tries, but when you find the right position, you'll wake up with fewer aches and pains and a lot more energy. Try to avoid sleeping on your back in late pregnancy—it can increase swelling and may cause your blood pressure to drop, making you feel faint.
Hip pain, or sciatica, is another common problem in late pregnancy. It's a sharp pain, cramp, pressure, or aching in the hips or buttocks. The discomfort is caused by the compression of the sciatic nerve as pregnancy hormones relax hip joints, allowing the hip bones to spread and make room for the baby to move through. Because the baby tends to lie more heavily to one side, the pain is stronger in one hip.
You can ease the pressure by elevating your hips above the level of your chest. A good way to do this is to kneel on all fours and rest your head and chest on a pillow. Heat and massage also can help, as can this simple movement: Stand beside a sturdy chair with your feet 12 to 18 inches apart. Place one hand on the chair back for support. Using the leg closest to the chair, bend your knee, and lift your foot eight to ten inches. Repeat several times. Then face the opposite direction and repeat with the other leg.
Some women experience leg cramps during late pregnancy. These sharp pains in the calf, also referred to as a Charley horse, usually attack while you sleep or as you stretch your legs in the morning. To relieve a spasm, flex your foot by standing or by doing this stretch: Sit on the floor with your legs crossed. Stretch the affected leg out to the side. Reach towards the leg with the hand on the same side. If you can, grab your toes and pull the foot towards you. Use the other hand to gently press down on the knee. Doing this stretch several times on each leg before you go to bed may help prevent cramps.if you have frequent leg cramps, check how much calcium you're getting. You need 1200 mg a day while you're pregnant or nursing. This equals four eight-ounce glasses of milk or an ounce of cheese. Calcium supplements should state the amount of calcium on the label.
Hard to stomach: Your growing baby places pressure on your stomach, sometimes causing indigestion. You can reduce the severity of heartburn and nausea, which some women experience throughout pregnancy, by eating small, frequent meals and by avoiding spicy and greasy foods. Saltines can help ease nausea. If your stomach is more upset at night, avoid eating within two hours of lying down, and sleep with your head and torso elevated on a pillow or two. Milk products and calcium tablets are natural antacids but shouldn't be used to excess. Consult your doctor, nurse or midwife about other medications.
Constipation usually gets worse as pregnancy progresses because the growing baby takes up more and more of the space that your intestines need to function well. To prevent or relieve constipation, drink at least eight glasses of liquid daily. Good choices include water, juices and lemonade. Avoid coffee, tea, or soda with caffeine, which can all deplete your body of necessary fluids.
Bladder control, especially when you laugh, sneeze or cough, or when the baby moves suddenly, can be a problem during the last month
YOU CAN EASE THE PRESSURE BY ELEVATING YOUR HIPS ABOVE THE LEVEL OF YOUR CHEST. A GOOD WAY TO DO THIS IS TO KNEEL ON ALL FOURS AND REST YOUR HEAD AND CHEST ON A PILLOW. HEAT AND MASSAGE ALSO CAN HELP, AS CAN THIS SIMPLE MOVEMENT: STAND BESIDE A STURDY CHAIR WITH YOUR FEET 12 TO 18 INCHES APART.
of pregnancy, when your baby is resting directly on your bladder. Kegel exercises can help.
General discomfort and a feeling that your foetus is getting too big for your body to hold are common at this time. Your hormones are helping your body tissues stretch and grow to accommodate your baby, but you may feel heaviness, pressure or a pulling sensation in your abdomen. Use the pads of your fingers to massage your abdomen. Your belly button may feel sore and tender; apply a cold or warm compress to soothe it. And you may feel most uncomfortable in an upright position.
Your breasts also reach their fullest in the last trimester. In the weeks before delivery, your breasts produce a yellowish fluid called colostrum, or first milk, which initially may be sticky and then become watery and whitish as you move closer to your due date. The amount of colostrum you leak during late pregnancy has no bearing on your ability to breastfeed your baby. If you leak frequently, try wearing nursing pads inside your bra.
An emotional roller coaster
Even though pregnancy and childbirth are normal events in life, they don't feel normal to you, and it's easy to feel overwhelmed, both physically and emotionally.
Most women at this stage in pregnancy start to have fears and doubts, and the most common is fear of childbirth. By taking classes, you'll learn ways to prevent or reduce labour pain through such methods as controlled relaxation and breathing, massage or changes in position. You'll also have the chance to share your fears with your childbirth educator and other expectant parents.
Pregnancy brings a range of emotional ups and downs. No one knows exactly what causes these mood swings, but hormonal and other physical changes are likely involved to some extent, as well as the profound life changes you and your partner are going through as you grow into parents. Your aches and pains may add to the fatigue already caused by hormonal shifts – so it's no wonder that you sometimes feel depressed. Then the next moment you might be delighted by a favourite song on the radio, a silly commercial on TV, or a kick from baby.
With so much happening in your body and your life, you're entitled to be a bit moody. Some pregnant women feel guilty about this, believing that no "good" mother would be so unpredictable. But occasionally feeling sad or depressed for no reason is a normal response to pregnancy. Perhaps it's body-image changes that are to blame, or concerns about your parenting ability, sex life, or finances, or loneliness, or worries about your own mortality. But if you experience sadness or fatigue most of the time, or you just don't feel like getting out of bed each morning, or you can't seem to carry on normal basic functions, your depression may be more serious. Talk to your doctor as soon as possible. There is someone out there who can help you feel normal again. As you journey through these last months, be patient with yourself. You're nurturing a brandnew person, and that's a very big job.