Wednesday, August 20, 2014

10 side effects of pregnancy

Know what physical changes to expect before the baby arrives.

Sometimes your pregnancy may not follow the rules of your baby book. Here are some of the complications you may experience along the way and what can help.

1 Mood swings

"During pregnancy we have such large amounts of hormones in our body, we swing between tears and tantrums," says natural health expert, Natalie Kringoudis. "Unlike PMS, progesterone – which affects your mood – doesn't drop off, but remains at a high level," she says," says Kringoudis. "Exercise regularly and take Vitamin B. Take 25mcg to 50mcg once a day, or eat Vegemite on crackers or drink peppermint tea, to calm your moods and stomach."

2 Insomnia

Around 78 per cent of women suffer from sleeplessness during pregnancy. "Insomnia may be due to discomfort, fears about impending birth, or iron deficiencies," says Kringoudis. If you wake at the same time each night, "this may indicate an iron deficiency. If it's between one to three am your liver may need recharging with acupuncture or supplementation," says Kringoudis. Be sure to exercise through the day so that you're tired at night.

3 Heartburn

"Heartburn is caused when the contents of the stomach is flushed back towards to the lower part of the oesophagus, where the food goes down," says Dr Ronald McCoy, Spokesperson for the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners. Keep meals small, but frequent. "Avoid spicy foods and smoking of course," he says. "Antacids can help – check with your GP or chemist which ones are safe during pregnancy." Propping up against extra pillows may help too.

4 Breast tenderness

Sore breasts are often the first indication for many women that they are pregnant. "Your body is getting prepared for breastfeeding, due to an increase in estrogen and progesterone," McCoy says. Wear a supportive bra, cut down on caffeine drinks and take B vitamins, as suggested by your GP, to help with the tenderness and morning sickness," he says.

5 Nausea

Around 50 per cent of pregnant women suffer from constant nausea during the first trimester. "At the beginning of your pregnancy your baby is producing the hormone human chorionic gonadotrophin (Hcg). The more the baby produces, the sicker you'll feel," says McCoy. "Ginger tea, bland crackers or sea sickness bands may be of help." Or try acupuncture. A study at Adelaide University found that weekly acupuncture treatments could reduce feelings of nausea and sickness.

6 High blood pressure

"Blood pressure is monitored throughout your pregnancy as a matter of course," says McCoy. "High blood pressure, or pre-eclampsia, only occurs during pregnancy. It then disappears once your baby is delivered. Often, mothers with high blood pressure are induced earlier."

7 Gestational diabetes

"Around two to three per cent of pregnant women suffer from gestational diabetes which may lead to birth complications," says McCoy. "The placenta makes chemicals which have an anti-insulin effect and some women can't produce enough insulin to counteract this. Most manage it through diet, although around 10 per cent of women need insulin injections." A significant number of women with gestational diabetes may develop diabetes in later life, or in their next pregnancy. "Make sure that you exercise, don't smoke and have regular checks for blood pressure," he says.

8 Haemorrhoids

"Haemorrhoids are the varicose veins of the bottom," says McCoy. The first time you may realise you have haemorrhoids is during childbirth, or during a bowel movement. "When you strain this enlarges raised veins in the anus or rectum area. Eat lots of vegetables and fibre to prevent constipation. If they're causing pain, ask your GP for a topical treatment." They can disappear after childbirth, but if they persist you may need surgical treatment.

9  Symphysis Pubis Dysfunction (SPD)

"SPD occurs when there is inflammation of the ligaments holding the front of the pelvis together," says osteopath Danny Williams. "When the baby is bearing down in the pubis and the ligaments are stretched, pain can occur. This can also be due to tension in the back, or a hip imbalance." Ask your doctor for advice. You may be advised to exercises, wear a sarcro-iliacs belt, or lie in various positions to ease the pain and create a stable pelvis.Pregnancy pigmentation

10 Pregnancy pigmentation

While some women get a glow during pregnancy, others get a 'mask' of pigmentation. Called chloasma, the mask of pregnancy, this facial hyper pigmentation occurs due to hormonal changes during pregnancy, and is aggravated by sunlight. "I have treated chloasma successfully post-pregnancy by using acupuncture and microneedling," says skin specialist Francesca Perino. "A great at-home remedy is to apply a paste made from ground hawthorn berry to the area twice a week for 20 mins to help reduce discolouration."

If you're concerned about anything during your pregnancy speak to your GP. Although your GP will monitor your blood pressure and check for gestational diabetes, they won't know if there's something wrong, however minor, if you don't tell them.

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