Tuesday, 7 June 2011

Common problems in early pregnancy

I am in my early pregnancy and have been vomiting many times a day. What can I do?

Most pregnant women will have some degree of vomiting from 6 weeks. It can vary from mild to severe. Certain factors may bring it aggravate it such as noisy, crowded places, where the smell of cooking is strong,, bumpy bus and car rides. Small frequent meals instead of bug meals should be taken, after eating if possible lie down. Sucking ice cubes or dry biscuits may help. Ant-vomiting pills may be taken and are safe. Should your vomiting become severe, then admission to hospital for rehydration and treatment will become necessary. Severe dehydration can affect the foetus and should be avoided. Dehydration is present if you lose weight and urination is reduced in frequency and amount passed. Your obstetrician will asess you and decide if admission is necessary.

My obstetrician says that I am suffering from hyperemesis gravidarum. What is this and what needs to be done?

This is a medical condition in which the vomiting is of a severe nature. It occurs in about 3:1000 pregnancies. There is dehydration, imbalance of elecrolytes, sodium and potassium, possible liver damage and is a danger to both mother and child. It may occur due to abnormally high pregnancy hormones due to multiple pregnancies . Your obstetrician will want to admit you. Rehydration and replacement of electrolytes are instituted, and the condition will rapidly improve. Liver function will also improve over time.

What is heartburn? How can I avoid heartburn in pregnancy?

This is an uncomfortable sensation in the chest due to gastric juices being pushed up into the lower portion of the windpipe. This occurs as the muscle between the stomach and chest relaxes due to pregnancy. It tends to occur at night when lying down. Eating small frequent non-oily and spicy foods and sleeping in the upright posture will help. Antacids to neutralise the acid may also be taken.

I am experiencing backache even though I am only 10 weeks pregnant. Is this normal?

The backache in early pregnancy may be related to a womb that is tilted backwards. The enlarging womb will put pressure on your spine. You may get some relief by sleeping on your side or tummy. The backache should get better once you reach 16 weeks as the enlarging womb rises out of the pelvis and starts to grow forwards.

I suffer from gastritis. What can I take for it?

During pregnancy there will be an increase of gastric juices and acid. You should avoid all spicy foods. Have small frequent meals and avoid any foods that are acidic eg oranges. Antacids initially may be taken. If this does not relieve the discomfort, your obstetrician may give you something stronger such as cimetidine. This does not have any adverse effect on the pregnancy.

I suffered from constipation prior to pregnancy. However my constipation has worsenedn ow that I am pregnant. Is this normal?

During pregnancy, there is a slowing of intestinal movements due to the effect of hormones. This may give you a feeling of of distension and constipation. You should drink at least 6 glasses of water a day, eat fruits and vegetables and high fibre foods. If it is still a problem you can ask your obstetrician for laxatives but you should avoid using them too frquently.

I am in my early pregnancy and find that I am always breathless and tired. Is this normal?

The hormones in pregnancy will affect your breathing and chest muscles. This causes breathlessness and tiredness which increases as the pregnancy advances and the hormones rise. It is important however that you have yourself checked for any heart or lung problems. The symptoms will generally improve after 16 weeks gestation.

Q I have noticed that I have frequent nose bleeds. Is this normal?

Nose and gum bleeds are common and are caused by an increase in the total body blood circulation. Of course you should have yourself checked for anything serious such as hypertension, nasal polyps or other growths in the nose if the bleeding is frequent and persistent. It is also good to have your dentist do a check and cleaning during your pregnancy.

I have been having pain in my teeth. Is this normal and should I see a dentist?

Pain in the teeth is common during pregnancyand not something to be alarmed about. It is not due to vitamin deficiency. Your dentist will check for cavities. Cavities that have been enlarging during pregnancy may be due to insufficient calcium intake. Hence it is imporatnt that you get at least 1600mg calcium perday from supplements and food.

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