Do you have these pregnancy symptoms?
No sooner has the test come back positive than you’re bombarded with symptoms. Heartburn. Itching. Bleeding gums. Haemorrhoids. No one said pregnancy was all fun and games! As your body adjusts to the body growing inside it, you may notice some of these symptoms, if not all of them at some stage during pregnancy.
That doesn’t mean you’ve got to suffer alone. From age-old wisdom to modern treatments, you can soothe many of the symptoms during pregnancy.
Here are some of the common symptoms during pregnancy – and what you can do about them.
Heartburn during pregnancy
“Was it something I ate?” you ask. Nope! Heartburn is a common symptom during pregnancy, affecting between 30% to 80% of women. As progesterone and relaxin prepare the body for labour, they also relax your oesophageal sphincter – between your stomach and food pipe. The result is acid reflux and lots of it.
Avoid eating spicy foods, high-fat foods and processed meats, alcohol, caffeine, citrus fruits, and overeating; these can all worsen heartburn. Also try to avoid eating large meals, especially later in the evening.
The best treatment is antacids. They’ll neutralise the acid, providing instant relief. There are certain antacid medications that can be used safely during pregnancy. Speak to your midwife or GP to discuss the most appropriate medication to take.
Itching is something of a pregnancy nightmare. Caused by a combination of factors – including skin stretching, dryness,prurigo, and more – it can turn a simple scratch into a constant torment.
Consider changing your perfume or detergent, wearing loose clothes made from natural fabrics, increasing your water intake, or using a moisturiser.
Your doctor may be able to prescribe a bath treatment or moisturiser to help. Of course, there might also be an underlying cause, e.g., cholestasis: bile buildup, which will need specialist treatment. Luckily the itching will subside within a few days of giving birth.
Is the itching Cholestasis?
There is also a form of itching that can be a sign you may be developing a pregnancy related condition known as choleostasis.
This type of itching is particularly on the areas of the palms of your hands and soles of your feet. It is an uncontrollable itch and excessive itching then often leads to uncomfortable scratches and breaks in skin.
If you think you are experiencing any level of itching, always speak with your midwife. There are tests that can be performed so that we can ensure that you are not developing choleostasis.
Bleeding gums during pregnancy
Your gums can bleed due to a myriad of reasons: hormones (yes, they’re always to blame!), fast food intake, decreased saliva production, morning sickness, or a sudden aversion to toothpaste. Bleeding gums tend to begin in the second trimester, peaking late in the third.
Treatment is mostly common sense: brush twice daily (pick a milder toothpaste if you dislike the taste), floss, use mouthwash, and limit your sugar intake. You can also take vitamin C supplements – fantastic for gum health. And visit your dentist; they can give your gums a thorough examination.
Haemorrhoids, constipation & varicose veins during pregnancy
If in doubt: blame the hormones. This time it’s progesterone’s fault. It triggers widespread relaxation in preparation for labour. It may lead to haemorrhoids and cause constipation as your bowels slow to a crawl. You’ve also got an extra volume of blood supplying you and your baby.
Haemorrhoids can cause significant discomfort; you can use fibre supplements, stool softeners, and drink plenty of water – that’ll also help constipation.
Of course, if haemorrhoids cause severe pain, speak to your doctor and they can provide you with various options for treatment.
Sometimes you can experience varicose veins particularly in lower legs. Very often they can appear superficial, which means they appear as slightly blue veins just under the skin. Or occasionally one or more veins can start to appear raised and may be causing some discomfort. Again this can be due to the increased blood flow and pressure of your growing bump. If you are ever concerned, always seek advice from your midwife or your GP.
Like all symptoms during pregnancy, they can be uncomfortable but treatable and very often they do resolve once you’ve delivered your baby, but you can lessen your struggle with a few tips and tricks.