These are some of the
things that you can expect during your pregnancy.
What to look for
Your pregnancy is divided
into three sections or trimesters:
from the start of your last
period to week 14;
weeks 14 - 28; and
week 28 to birth.
You can expect some or all of
these conditions in a normal pregnancy:
in the second
trimester - more weight gain; stretching of the abdominal wall and pelvis;
backache, constipation, heartburn, and foetal movement.
Pregnancy is a time of
tremendous changes both physically and emotionally. These changes may come as a surprise
or shock, but if you know in advance what is going to happen to you, you will be more
Now is the time for you to
start seeing a qualified doctor specialising in conception and childbirth. He or she will
step you through what to expect as your baby grows, the labour and how to cope with a
You must strive to keep as
well as possible throughout your pregnancy. That means you need a balanced diet,
appropriate exercise, plenty of rest, and a stress-free environment.
Never smoke or drink alcohol
while you're pregnant, and avoid all drugs except those prescribed by your doctor.
We have listed some of the
common complaints that are felt during your pregnancy and the treatments that you can have
to ease them. If you are concerned about anything you are experiencing, do not hesitate to
call your doctor.
To relieve pains or cramps
particularly, use a hot water bottle on the affected areas. You can also gently massage
the areas with lavender oil. If you exercise
regularly, you will strengthen and tone your abdominal muscles.
Do not gain too much extra
weight as this can put extra pressure on your back as well as hinder the birth. Do the
appropriate exercises. Try not to take medications to relieve the pains; instead, use a
hot water bottle. Special exercises to strengthen abdominal muscles can also help reduce backache.
Also be very particular about
your posture - dont slouch or lean too far back. Lie down or sit down wherever
possible later on in the pregnancy. Wear special shoes or shoe inserts.
Sleep on a firm mattress.
Be careful when lifting heavy
Massage... Sit backward
on a straight chair. Lean over the back with your head resting on your crossed arms. Have
someone massage with lavender oil.
If your breasts leak fluid,
use nursing pads in your bra. Wear a bra that gives your enlarged breasts proper support.
Increased hormone levels can
cause your digestive system to slow down and this causes constipation. To keep stools soft
and bowel movements regular, get plenty of dietary fibre. Avoid using over-the-counter
laxatives. Drink lots of fluids and exercise regularly.
Mild, painless uterine
contractions usually start sometime after the 20th week of pregnancy. If they cause
discomfort, try changing positions. If contractions start coming at regular intervals,
notify your doctor.
See your doctor about the
appropriate treatment for any urinary infection. However either drinking cranberry juice
every day or taking the supplements can prevent this from occurring. (See also Urinary Problems.)
Always check with your doctor
before taking any new supplements.
DIZZINESS AND FAINTNESS
Always try to work and place
yourself where there is free air available such as near windows and doorways. Stand up or
get out of bed slowly. If you're in a crowd and start feeling dizzy, step away and get
some fresh air; if possible, lie down with your feet elevated or sit with your head
between your knees.
Do not gain too much
weight during your pregnancy. Try to avoid too much salt as this causes you to retain
fluid. Put your feet up whenever possible. Wear support pantihose and avoid standing for
long periods. Wear shoes that fit well and give good support - not high heals.
Get a full night's sleep and
rest with your feet up for at least 15 minutes several times a day. This can also be the
result of a lack of iron in your system. If you notice you have cravings for red meat,
spinach and eggs, see your doctor.
Make sure you get enough rest
- in fact these headaches are best treated by sleep, eat regularly, and drink six or more
glasses of water daily. Avoid over-the-counter painkillers;
Try techniques such as yoga
or meditation. Drink herbal teas and gently massage your temples with lavender oil.
Eat smaller, less spicy
meals, avoid, greasy, sugary, and acidic foods. Stick to a bland, high-fibre diet, drink
lots of fluids, and exercise daily. Don't lie down right after a meal. You may wish to
raise the bedhead up a little as well.
After meals, drink tea made
from chamomile, ginger,
Haemorrhoids may develop but
they usually disappear after the birth. Avoid getting constipated. Eat a high-fibre diet
to keep your movements soft, drink lots of fluids, and don't strain during bowel
movements. To relieve haemorrhoidal itching or pain, try a warm bath. If they persist see
your doctor who may prescribe a special cream.
PAINS AND CRAMPS
Wear support hose during the
day, and elevate your feet when resting, if possible. Have your legs massaged with
lavender oil. Use a hot water bottle. If painful cramps persist, ask your doctor about calcium or magnesium
supplements. It is comforting to know that they wont last long.
You may feel nauseated at any
time of the day during the first trimester. Eating frequent light meals rather than three
large meals. Keep your diet low in sweet and fatty foods. Drink plenty of fluids,
and eat fresh fruits and vegetables, which are high in water content. Do not take
antacids, but try vitamin B6.
the essential oils of lavender and mandarin to your bath. Peppermint and sandalwood are also good for nausea. Put on a
handkerchief and inhale the scent.
Herbal teas are also very
MOUTH AND GUM DISCOMFORT
See your dentist before you
get pregnant if possible or at least early in your pregnancy for a checkup and cleaning.
Brush your teeth and tongue at least twice a day, and floss regularly.
Supplemental vitamin C, calcium,
and coenzyme Q10 will strengthen your own teeth and ultimately your baby's. Always check
with your doctor before taking supplements.
NASAL CONGESTION OR
Petroleum jelly or
Vaseline inserted in each nostril may help. Otherwise see your doctor if it becomes too
uncomfortable. This problem should not last too long.
Chloasma, a darkening of the
pigmentation on your face can be alarming but be rest assured it will disappear after the
baby is born. It is best to stay out of the sun and to wear sunblock.
Lubricate dry skin around
your abdomen with a moisturising cream and especially vitamin
E cream; stretch marks usually fade and decrease after the birth.
It is normal to have cravings
for strange foods during your pregnancy. Use mouthwash often; chewing gum or mints may to
get rid of the strange tastes in your mouth. Iron
supplements may leave a bad taste in your mouth.
A thin, mild-smelling
discharge is normal in pregnancy. Use sanitary napkins, but do not douche without your
If your discharge is red or
brown call your doctor immediately. Vaginal itching and soreness may indicate an
infection, which requires treatment by your doctor.
Thrush is very common in
pregnancy and may disappear without treatment after the baby is born. But if it is
uncomfortable there are a number of home treatments that may help you. (See also Vaginal Problems.)
Pregnancy puts extra strain
on your legs. You can get the most benefit from wearing support pantyhose or stockings.
Exercise regularly, but don't
stand for long periods. Raise your legs above hip level when sitting, if possible. Lie on
your side in bed, or put a pillow under your feet. (See also Varicose Veins.)
Ask your doctor or a
nutritional specialist about taking vitamin C
supplements to strengthen blood vessels.
If your eyes swell or change
shape from fluid retention and hard contact lenses become uncomfortable, switch to soft
lenses or glasses.
When to seek further professional
you have severe nausea and
you have vaginal spotting
you have a fever and
chills, backache, or blood in your urine.