Solutions to pregnancy discomforts
Soothe your body and mind with these fixes for common pregnancy woes:
The increase in blood volume comes naturally with pregnancy. And together with hormone changes and the increasing size of your uterus, these can cause varicose veins in your legs. Varicose veins can make your legs feel achy and heavy. Sometimes they cause severe pain and even irritate the skin covering the swollen veins.
There are a number of preventive actions you can take:
- Place your feet up whenever possible. If circumstances allow, raise them level with or above your heart.
- Avoid prolonged standing.
- Don’t wear shaping garments, socks, or stockings with elastic that restrict circulation.
- Wear support panty hose, putting them on before you get out of bed in the morning.
- Go for a 20-minute walk every day.
- Be careful not to gain too much weight.
If these preventive measures fail, your doctor may recommend special elastic stockings. They’re more expensive than regular support hose and not especially attractive, but they’ll keep your varicose veins under control.
Many women experience red or pink striations that may appear on the abdomen, hips, and breasts. Here’s what you can do to help minimize those marks:
- Stay within your weight-gain guidelines. Gaining a lot of weight in a short time can make the marks much worse.
- Eat foods high in vitamins A, D, and E. These vitamins nourish your skin from the inside and can help keep it supple.
- Rub lotion on your stomach to keep the skin soft.
Try not to worry about how you’ll look in a bikini next year. The stretch marks will fade after you have the baby, becoming pale and infinitely less noticeable.
Gaining too much weight
During your ninth month you should be gaining about one pound each week. But it’s really the baby who’s gaining weight to prepare for birth. If you’re concerned about your weight gain, discuss it with your doctor. Here are some tips to keep in mind:
- Be sure not to restrict your caloric intake before your baby is born.
- Focus on whole grains, fruits and vegetables, lean protein sources, and calcium-rich foods.
- Make each meal and snack pack a nutritional punch. Quality calories will help provide the energy you need for a normal delivery.
- Put your feet up whenever you can. Try to keep them elevated above the level of your heart.
- Contact your physician if your face or hands swell suddenly.
- Avoid constipation (which can aggravate hemorrhoids) by eating whole grains, fruits, and leafy green vegetables, and drinking plenty of liquids.
- Try not to strain when having a bowel movement.
- Avoid greasy or fatty foods and carbonated or caffeinated beverages.
- Opt for six to eight small meals a day rather than three large ones.
- Don’t lie down right after meals.
- Walk to lower stress and help you sleep better.
- Talk with your partner, a friend, or your physicians about your concerns.
- Take a childbirth class to prepare and learn relaxation techniques.