As your home and heart are filled with the joyful anticipation of bringing a new life into the world, be informed on how your body may respond to this exciting change during pregnancy and what you can do to ease some of the discomforts.
Restless Leg Syndrome
RLS is the irrepressible need to move the lower legs, feet, thighs, arms or hands in order to relieve sensations, and it should disappear around delivery time. For treatment, eliminate caffeine completely, massage the extremities and take a warm bath. As with any condition, consult your health care provider before taking medication or supplements. Dr. Erin Werner of North Florida Women’s Physicians does not recommend the use of herbal supplements, as they are not FDA-approved.
This inability to fall or stay sleep is estimated to affect over 75 percent of pregnant women and may be caused by hormonal imbalance, pre- birth anxiety or physical discomfort. Don’t worry – insomnia won’t hurt you or your baby. Go to bed at the same time each night, eliminate caffeine, practice relaxation techniques (such as soothing music, breathing exercises and body stretches) and avoid using sleep aids, which can be harmful.
Sleep apnea involves flashes of breathlessness lasting about 10 seconds, often including heavy snoring afterward. Apnea increases risk for problems like gestational diabetes and preeclampsia, often endangering your baby. Try not to sleep on your back and consider using breathing strips. If you’re overweight, the odds for apnea increase, so work with a professional and find a plan to best treat your condition. If the situation continues, ask about a CPAP (continuous positive airway pressure) machine.
Anxiety disorders in pregnancy are more common than depression, and expecting moms suffering from anxiety are at risk for post-traumatic stress symptoms after labor. Cognitive-behavioral therapy has been highly effective in treatment, but each situation is unique, so talk openly with your doctor about your anxiety and what she would recommend for you.
A common culprit of pregnancy discomfort, backaches are known to strike most expecting women. The pain lessens progressively, but exercising lightly can help alleviate the ache. According to Dr. Werner, water aerobics and prenatal yoga can provide great benefits. Other women also have had success with chiropractic help and acupuncture. If the pain becomes severe, patients should seek medical help, as this could be a sign of preterm labor or a urinary tract infection.
Heartburn is one of the most common conditions among pregnant women, Dr. Werner said. Although difficult to eliminate completely, discomfort can be minimized by avoiding triggers like carbonated drinks and spicy foods. Eating smaller meals, sitting upright or standing after meals, and elevating your head and upper chest at night may also alleviate symptoms. Stay within the weight guidelines from your health care provider and consult a professional before taking over-the-counter antacids.
Carpel Tunnel Syndrome
As Carpel Tunnel Syndrome is caused by swelling and fluid retention, this condition is common in pregnant women. Identified by numbness, tingling or aching in the wrist, hand or fingers, it comes and goes, often most painful at night. To ease the ache, adjust your position at the computer, use wrist or hand braces and avoid sleeping on your hands. If pain interferes with your daily routine, consult your health care provider.
*Please consult your physician for specific recommendations for your personal healthcare.