Morning Sickness and Nausea

It usually starts 2-8 weeks following conception. It is the second most commonly reported signs of early pregnancy.

Nausea which is commonly called Morning sickness can be experienced at any time of the day. It may or not be associated with vomiting. Mostly it subsides after the first three months of pregnancy, but for some women it stays till the pregnancy ends.

Women who have uncomplicated nausea and vomiting during pregnancy have normal pregnancy outcomes. IF mild to moderate it usually is not harmful to you or your baby.

What causes Morning Sickness and Nausea:

More than 50% women experience morning sickness.

It is believed that the high levels of hormones is the reason women experience it. There seems to be a relationship between the hormone Human Chorionic Gonadotrophin  (HCG) and the degree of Nausea experienced. HCG and Nausea both peaking at the same time during pregnancy.

Nausea and vomiting has also been linked to deficiency of Vit B6.

Many doctors believe that Morning sickness is actually an indicator that the placenta is developing well.

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Do’s and Dont’s to help relieve symptoms:

Eat small frequent meals.
Avoid fluids with meals. Take water atleast half an hour before eating.
Lemon and ginger might help with the Nausea.
Cracker, Rusk or toasted Bread helps alleviate it.
Salty potato chips.
Light exercise and walk.
Avoid spicy food.
Do not stay empty stomach for too long.
Avoid lying down after eating.
Some women might experience a severe form called “ Hyperemesis Gravidarum”..read more about it in the next article.

Hyperemesis Gravidarum

When there is severe nausea and vomiting during pregnancy accompanied by weightloss and electrolyte imbalance it is called “ Hyperemesis Gravidarum”. The exact reasons of it are not completely known but a rise in hormone levels are believed to cause it.

Hyperemesis gravidarum is more common in

  • first-time mothers,
  • twin or multiple pregnancies
  • women who have had this condition in previous pregnancies

SYMPTOMS

The symptoms of this condition may include:

  • persistent vomiting
  • dehydration and malnutrition
  • food aversions
  • inability to keep any food down
  • confusion, headache, fainting
  • very high ketone levels in the body
  • electrolyte disturbances
  • weight loss of more than 5% of body weight
  • low blood pressure
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Treatment:

Hyperemesis gravidarum usually does not appear to have an adverse effect on the outcome of pregnancy or the baby’s health as long as the mother can keep hydrated. If you are suspecting yourself to be experiencing it, you need to check with your doctor as soon as possible so that it is managed properly.

In some cases it is so severe that hospitalization might be needed.

In any case, if you have severe morning sickness, your doctor should rule out other potentially serious causes. These could include gastrointestinal disorders, genitourinary tract disorders such as kidney stones, certain metabolic disorders, neurological disorders such as migraine headaches or tumours, or drug toxicities. You may require an ultrasound to help rule out disorders of the gallbladder, liver, or kidney.

Shortness Of Breath During Pregnancy

Why am I short of breath?

Third trimester worsens the shortness of breath that women feel in pregnancy. One reason is the pressure being built up by the uterus, which is expanding and pushing up into the abdomen. This squeezes the lungs, reducing the space available for expansion. You may also be out of breath because you need more oxygen during pregnancy.

But the main cause of shortness of breath is an increase of progesterone, a hormone that increases during pregnancy. High progesterone levels directly affect your lungs and stimulate the respiratory center in your brain.

Later in pregnancy, your breathing might feel more labored due to increasing pressure on your diaphragm especially if the baby is high, or if there is excess amniotic fluid or multiple pregnancies. It can also be aggravated by a preexisting condition, such as asthmaanemia, or high blood pressure.

While shortness of breath can be worrisome, most of the time it is harmless.

What can you do to feel better?

  1. Practice good posture. Stand and sit up straight with your shoulders back and your head lifted.
  2. Breathing exercises.
  3. Aerobic exercise improves your breathingand lowers your pulse. …
  4. Relax. Don’t push yourself to stay active.
  5. Sleep with your head up and chest elevated.

When to seek EMERGENCY HELP?

  • Chest pain or pain when you breathe
  • Sudden or severe shortness of breath
  • A rapid or irregular heartbeat
  • A feeling that you’re going to faint
  • Rapid pulse
  • Blue-tinged lips, fingers, or toes
  • A sense of apprehension that you’re not getting enough oxygen
  • Coughing up blood

Safe Exercises During the Third Trimester of Pregnancy

Now that you have made it to the third trimester, you have entered into the final chapter of your pregnancy. Although the third trimester is a lot going to be like the previous trimesters, it is going to be your most exciting and suspenseful final weeks. However, it is also the time you have to give your mind and body utmost importance. And, the best way is to continue your exercise routine in this trimester or even if you haven’t been involved into any physical activity in your previous trimester, you can surely give it a try now, but start off slowly.

I know, you won’t feel like doing much but the following gentle activities will not only just make you feel better, they will help you in a lot of other ways, especially for labor. Pregnancy workouts reduce the risks of many complications during childbirth and counteract many of the uncomfortable side effects like fatigue, back pain, swelling, etc. Here are three workouts you can do in the third trimester.

  • Walking

Walking is the best form of exercise for expecting mothers. However, in this trimester, you will have to end your jog or running routine until you are fit and fine after the baby is born. The key to walking in the third trimester is reducing the intensity and duration of workouts. If you feel any discomfort during walking, then low it down and pace gently instead.

Walking
  • Aqua Aerobics

Swimming can make you feel fantastic during pregnancy. It is an excellent workout because water takes the stress off your ligaments and joints and increase your heart rate for some time. And the best part – swimming has very little or no discomfort. You can do swimming laps on your own or join an underwater aerobics class. However, don’t go swimming for a long period and keep yourself hydrated while doing laps or exercise in the pool.

  • Yoga and Pilates

As the baby grows, you will feel back pain and depression. To decrease the pain, Pilates is a great activity that strengthens the pelvic floor and abdominal muscles, build core stability for labor, and improve your overall muscles. The gentle movements during Pilate workout target all the major muscle groups and help you keep fit and active physically. The simplest Pilates activity is squat. Inhale through your nose during the squat, then sit back into the squat by using a chair as a support and then stand back up. Do a minimum of eight squats thrice.

Along with Pilates, do yoga regularly. Yoga can impact positively on your mental well-being by easing your anxiety and improving your mood.

A word of caution: Avoid the exercises that require – jumping, hopping, skipping, and bouncing. And, always consult your doctor before commencing exercise and make sure to stop as soon as you feel any discomfort.

Soon you will hold your baby. Until then, keep yourself happy and your body fit and healthy.

Aqua Aerobics

Stretch Marks

After birth, stretch marks will gradually change from red or purple to tan or white, and will become more difficult to see. However, some women never lose their stretch marks.

As your body grows, some areas of skin may become stretched . Elastic fibers right beneath the skin may tear. This creates streaks of indented skin called stretch marks. Stretch marks are likely to occur on your belly and breasts. These purple, pink or red marks (striae) may appear on your abdomen, breasts, and thighs.

APPEARANCE OF STRETCH MARKS:

Early stretch marks are itchy and pink in colour .

They enlarge in the next few weeks and become reddish or purple in colour.

Once matured,they loose their red/purple hue and become pale. After delivery they appear silver or whitish in colour.

Risk factors for developing stretch marks :

  • family history of stretch marks
  • being Caucasian,
  • gaining a lot of weight during pregnancy, and already having stretch marks on your breasts or thighs.
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How to prevent them?

Not every pregnant woman gets stretch marks, but they are very common. Unfortunately, there is no way to prevent them completely. There are some lotions and oils that claim to prevent stretch marks. The effects of these products are not proven. However, keeping your skin well moisturized can help reduce itchiness. Stretch marks should fade and become less noticeable after pregnancy.

Pain During Second Trimester

Just when the mother is relieved from the terrible bouts of nausea and morning sickness, multiple forms of aches and pain sets in. Second trimester brings with it some specific forms of pain.

In most instances Pain in the second trimester is due to one of the common causes listed below, and the person can be treated at home.

But, in some cases, it might be a sign of something more serious. It is always best to see a doctor if the pain is raising concerns or not relieving.

Causes:

It is usually caused increased pressure by the growing uterus alongwith the hormonal changes.

Some of the common second trimester pains include:

ROUND LIGAMENT PAIN:

Round ligament is supposed to support the uterus, but as the uterus grows drastically during the second trimester of pregnancy, the ligament stretches causing inflammation and pain.

Symptoms of round ligament pain include:

  • a sharp or aching sensation, radiating to the front below the lower abdomen or hip
  •  usually presents on one side.
  • more noticeable after exercise or when changing positions

Back pain

About two-thirds of pregnant women develop back pain during pregnancy. Lower back is one of the most common sites for pain to arise during pregnancy, and it usually arises during the second trimester.

The cause for it is usually the increased strain and pressure from the growing abdomen on the back muscles. Changes in posture is also one of the contributing factors.

Symptoms of low back pain include:

  • achy or dull pain in the lower back
  • pain that worsens when bending forward
  • stiffness in the back

Treatment

Any medication during pregnancy should be taken after discussing it with your doctor. Some pain medications are not safe to take during pregnancy.

Certain complementary therapies may help reduce low back or pelvic pain.

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A study involving 191 pregnant women found that complementary therapies, including acupuncture, aromatherapy, and reflexology, reduced symptoms in 85 percent of the participants.

Before trying any of these approaches during pregnancy, it is essential to talk with a doctor.

The following tips and strategies can be followed in your daily routine and might help to relieve or prevent some form of pain:

  • sleeping on the right or left side with a pillow between the legs
  • avoiding standing in one spot for too long
  •  taking a warm (not hot) bath
  •  light stretching to ease stiffness
  • Warm compresses on the lower back
  • wearing a maternity support belt
  • using a good back support
  • take care while changing positions
  • resting

WHEN TO GO TO THE DOCTOR:

Most common causes of second trimester pain do not require medical attention. However, pain at this stage of pregnancy can signify a problem, such as preterm labor, an infection, or another complication.

See a doctor if any of the following symptoms develop:

  • contractions that occur at regular intervals
  • vaginal pressure
  • vaginal bleeding
  • a severe headache
  • sharp pain in the belly that persists, even after resting or changing positions
  • vomiting, chills, or fever
  • menstrual-like cramps that grow more severe over time
  • fluid leaking from the vagina

Heartburn

AS soon as the morning sickness subsides, in comes the Heart burn due to hormones and increasing size of the baby.

Heartburn is a term used to describe a burning sensation in the center of your chest. Upto 80% women experience it. The symptoms usually disappear after you give birth.

Causes of heartburn:

It is caused by the hormone Progesterone, which surges in the second trimester to keep the muscles of your uterus relaxed and causes the valve at the opening of the stomach to relax aswell. The valve is then unable to hold stomach acids from regurgitating into the food pipe. The acid irritates the lining of the foodpipe called the esophagus and causes heart burn.  Progesterone slows down your digestion too.

Heartburn aggravates further in the third trimester due to the pressure from the increased size of the uterus.

Tips to reduce heartburn:

Avoid high fat, spicy foods. Chocolate and coffee can also aggravate symptoms.

Choose easily digestible food.

Small frequent meals, so there is less acid buildup.

Do not lie down atleast an hour after intake of food. Avoid bending over as it also causes regurge.

If your heartburn is worse at night, do not eat anything heavy atleast three hours before going to bed.

Mix one part milk with three parts chilled water and take small sips throughout the day.

Raise the headside of you mattress by a few inches by keeping a rolled towel or cushions beneath it. Do not use pillows to prop up your head as it would cause undue pressure on your tummy due to improper posture.

Could it be something else?

Get in touch with your Consultant if the location of pain is different than the usual.

Pain in the following sites may need you to be evaluated further:

  • a sharp pain located in the top of your belly below your ribs.
  • if the pain is in the upper right side of your tummy and you’re being sick.
  • if you’re finding it difficult to eat, are losing weight or are worried about other symptoms.
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Implantation Bleed

You might experience slight bleeding or spotting 6-12 days post fertilization when it attaches to the interior lining of the uterus. This is completely normal and doesn’t need medical attention. Around a third females experience this. It can be confused with a woman’s menstruation. Usually Implantation bleed occurs after 10 days of ovulation and  menstruation bleed takes place after 14 days of ovulation.

SIGNS:

It is considered one of the earliest identifiable signs of pregnancy. Its usually occurs a few days before menstruation. Many women get confused whether it is their normal period or implantation bleed.

  1. Mood swings
  2. Headache
  3. Mild cramps
  4. Lower backache
  5. Nausea
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The question arises on how to differentiate between implantation bleed and menstruation. There a few points that can help you differentiate between the two:

  1. Implantation bleed is usually light pink to dark brown in colour.
  2. Implantation bleed doesn’t consist of any clots.
  3. Implantation bleed usually occurs as a single episode. At the most extending to three days.
  4. Implantation bleeds is actually just spotting and not an actual bleed. Usually it only becomes apparent if the woman wipes it or comes in as spots on a pantyliner.

So if you experience full flow of bright or dark red blood that stays for a duration of your regular period then  it most likely isn’t implantation bleed.

Its ok to look for implantation bleeding if you are expecting to get pregnant but it should be kept in mind that many women do not experience any implantation bleeding at all. Also, any bleeding that occurs after a few day of your missed period is most likely not implantation bleeding. Causes for such bleeding can be read in our other articles.

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