The valve between the oesophagus and the stomach doesn’t close properly, which causes gastric acid to seep back up the oesophagus. This is aggravated as the uterus grows and the stomach is pushed up. Eating spicy or fatty foods and drinking coffee or acidic and carbonated drinks can worsen the symptoms. Changing your diet can help. You can also try raising your head and shoulders higher in bed by using an extra pillow. Milk, vanilla custard, bananas and mints can also help reduce symptoms. Ask us for advice in case the symptoms persist.
Hormone levels change in the first phases of pregnancy. This can cause nausea, especially in the morning. Low blood sugar levels can also cause nausea. Ways to prevent nausea:
- Eat something light before breakfast, like a cracker.
- Eat something every two hours to keep your blood sugar level steady.
- Take ginger capsules or use fresh ginger (in your tea, for example).
Usually the nausea subsides after the first trimester (at about 13 to 14 weeks) when hormone levels drop.
Some women also experience vomiting. Make sure you get enough fluids. Please contact us if you are keeping down few to no nutrients or fluids due to excessive vomiting.
At the end of pregnancy, nausea can return. This is often caused by stomach acid rising back up.
Nausea accompanied by headache, seeing stars, fluid retention, tingly fingers or a very tight sensation in the lower abdomen could signify something else, and it is very important you contact us regarding this.
Constipation during pregnancy occurs due to hormones that relax the intestinal muscle. This can cause constipation (blockage) and a bloated feeling. If you are experiencing constipation, please do the following:
- Drink at least two litres of water every day.
- Eat a high-fibre diet (wholemeal bread, fruit).
- Exercise sufficiently.
- Drink Roosvicee Laxo.
Should your constipation symptoms persist, please refer to your general practitioner for medication.
During pregnancy your body holds on to extra fluid. Especially in warm temperatures and towards the end of your pregnancy, this will result in swollen feet, ankles and hands. Try to avoid sitting for long periods at a time and put your legs up at night. It also helps to elevate the foot end of your bed by placing a cushion under the mattress, for example. If you have tingling hands and/or fingers, wearing a splint at night can be beneficial. You can use a spoon and bandage or wrist-guards (also used for roller blading) for this.
Fluid retention by itself is not harmful. Please contact us if you also start experiencing higher blood pressure, or you suddenly retain a lot of fluid.
Some women develop varicose veins in their legs during pregnancy. Sometimes these also occur in the vulva. Try to stay active and to prevent standing and sitting for prolonged periods. Wearing elastic (compression) socks can help reduce varicose vein symptoms. After delivery varicose veins diminish quickly.
Vaginal discharge often increases in pregnancy. This is normal. Please contact your general practitioner if the discharge has an abnormal smell or colour, or if you experience itching, pain or a burning sensation. This could signify a fungal infection. In this case you will receive medication. A fungal infection is not an STD (sexually transmitted disease).
Many women experience fatigue in the first trimester. Again hormones are to blame. Give your body enough rest by going to bed a bit earlier, for instance. Or go for a stroll to feel more fit and less tired. Fatigue usually subsides after the first trimester.
At the end of the pregnancy, you can start feeling tired again. This time it is caused by the extra body weight you are carrying and because your sleep is less deep. It is also more difficult to find a comfortable sleeping position and often you will have to get up to pee multiple times a night. All of this gets in the way of a good night’s sleep. You can make up for this by napping during the day. It is important to be well rested. Even if you are not able to sleep, try to stay in bed so your body can rest.
When towards the end of pregnancy you start feeling exhausted due to lack of sleep, please be sure to mention this to your midwife.
Braxton Hicks contractions
At the end of pregnancy, your body starts preparing for delivery. In the weeks preceding delivery you may start experiencing Braxton Hicks contractions. They do not increase in frequency or intensity. They can occur frequently or infrequently. If you are unsure if you are experiencing Braxton Hicks or real contractions, we advise you to take a hot shower or bath. Relaxation techniques will reduce Braxton Hicks contractions while they will intensify actual contractions.