Signs and Symptoms of Pregnancy

Your body is going through a lot of changes in a short period of time, bringing quite a bit of discomfort with those changes. Use the suggestions in this guide to help ease pain and discomfort during pregnancy.

Breast Changes

A woman's breasts increase in size and fullness during pregnancy. As the due date approaches, hormone changes will cause your breasts to get even bigger in preparation for breastfeeding. Your breasts may feel full and heavy, and they might be tender or uncomfortable. In the third trimester, some pregnant women begin to leak colostrum from their breasts. Colostrum is the first milk that your breasts produce for the baby. It is a thick, yellowish fluid containing antibodies that protect newborns from infection. If leaking becomes embarrassing, put nursing pads inside your bra.

Try to these tips to stay comfortable:

Wear a soft, comfortable maternity or nursing bra with extra support.

Wash your nipples with water instead of soap. Soap can dry and irritate nipples. If you have cracked nipples, use a heavy moisturizing cream that contains lanolin.

Dizziness

Many pregnant women complain of dizziness and lightheadedness throughout their pregnancies. Fainting is rare but does happen even in some healthy pregnant women. There are many reasons for these symptoms. The growth of more blood vessels in early pregnancy, the pressure of the expanding uterus on blood vessels and the body's increased need for food all can make a pregnant woman feel lightheaded and dizzy.

To feel better follow these tips:

Stand up slowly.

When you're feeling lightheaded, lay down on your left side.

Avoid sitting or standing in one position for a long time.

Eat healthy snacks or small meals frequently.

Don't get overheated.

Call your doctor as soon as possible if you faint. Dizziness or lightheadedness can be discussed at regular prenatal visits.

Hemorrhoids

Up to 50% of pregnant women get hemorrhoids. Hemorrhoids are swollen and bulging veins in the rectum. They can cause itching, pain and bleeding. Hemorrhoids are more common during pregnancy for many reasons. During pregnancy there is a huge increase in the amount of blood in the body. This can cause veins to enlarge. The expanding uterus also puts pressure on the veins in the rectum. Plus, constipation can make hemorrhoids worse. Hemorrhoids usually improve after delivery.

Follow these tips to help prevent and relieve hemorrhoids:

Drink lots of fluids

Eat plenty of fiber-rich foods like whole grains, raw or cooked leafy green vegetables, and fruits

Try not to strain for bowel movements

Talk with your doctor before taking any laxative.

Talk to your doctor about using witch hazel or ice packs to soothe hemorrhoids.

Leg Cramps

At different times during your pregnancy, you might have cramps in your legs or feet. They usually happen at night. This is due to a change in the way your body processes, or metabolizes, calcium.

Try these tips to prevent and ease leg cramps:

Eat lots of low-fat calcium-rich foods.

Get regular mild exercise, like walking.

Ask your doctor if you should be taking a prenatal vitamin containing calcium.

Gently stretch the muscle to relieve leg and foot cramps. If you have a sudden leg cramp, flex your foot towards your body.

Use heating pads or warm, moist towels to help relax the muscles and ease leg and foot cramps.

Nasal Problems

Nosebleeds and nasal stuffiness are common during pregnancy. They are caused by the increased amount of blood in your body and hormones acting on the tissues of your nose. To ease nosebleeds blow gently when you blow your nose. Stop nosebleeds by squeezing your nose between your thumb and finger for a few minutes. If you have nosebleeds that do not stop in a few minutes or happen often, see your doctor.

Drinking extra water and using a cool mist humidifier in your bedroom may help relieve nasal stuffiness. Talk with your doctor before taking any over-the-counter or prescription medicines for colds or nasal stuffiness.

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