Midwife Anne Richley shows you how to beat those pregnancy complaints – and when to seek help.
Nausea, tiredness and headaches – being pregnant can be daunting. Midwife Anne Richley looks at how to deal with pregnancy’s 10 most common complaints and worries, and when you should talk to your midwife.
“I was delighted nausea disappeared at around 12 weeks of pregnancy but now it’s returned – six weeks before my due date. My midwife explained it’s because my stomach – along with everything else – is getting squashed.”
Claire, 24, 34 weeks pregnant
Approximately 70% of women suffer from nausea and vomiting during pregnancy, particularly in the first 12 weeks. But don’t worry, because normal pregnancy sickness won’t harm your baby; she’ll still get what she needs from you even when you’re feeling awful.
Despite adjusting your diet, you continue to vomit several times a day, have upper abdominal pain, are losing weight, feel generally unwell or are not passing much urine. This could mean you’re becoming dehydrated or have an underlying condition.
“I’ve never known tiredness like this. By 2pm I can’t keep my eyes open any more. It’s as though I’ve been drugged.”
Gabby, 21, 10 weeks pregnant
In the first few weeks of pregnancy, your body works incredibly hard, so it’s no wonder you’re exhausted. You’ll have times during your pregnancy when your body tells you to rest, and that’s exactly what you should try to do.
You also feel breathless or light-headed as you may be anaemic and need iron supplements.
“I had a very small bleed around 8 weeks and then around 12 weeks. It was very light, a bit like the end of a period”
Liz, 32, mum to Macey, 3, and 32 weeks pregnant
A small amount of bleeding in the early weeks occurs in around a quarter of pregnancies. Often the cause is unknown, and women stay healthy to full term. There’s an increased blood supply to the cervix in pregnancy and you may experience a little spotting after sex.
Some women get unwanted hair when they’re pregnant, due to hormonal changes. It’s best to leave it alone, though, as once your baby arrives your hormone levels will balance and the hair will disappear.
Yvonne Faulkner, community midwife
You have any bleeding as she can reassure you or arrange further investigations if needed.
“I wear sandals as my feet are swollen by lunchtime. Now I can’t wear my wedding ring as my hands are swelling, too.”
Tina, 30, 37 weeks pregnant
Accumulation of fluid (oedema) is normal in pregnancy. Women mainly get it in their hands, ankles and feet but it can also occur in your face and abdomen, particularly at the end of the day or during bouts of hot weather.
You have a sudden increase in fluid, particularly if you’ve had high blood pressure, as it can be a symptom of pre-eclampsia.
“My bump gets incredibly itchy, especially at night.”
Laura, 32, mum to Nancy, 6, Bertie, 2, and 28 weeks pregnant
This is a very common problem, so don’t worry. Lots of women find that their skin is itchy during pregnancy – particularly on their abdomen as it becomes stretched.
The itching spreads from your abdomen or becomes severe. There’s a pregnancy condition called obstetric cholestasis, caused by a problem with the liver. It causes unbearable itching, often including the palms of your hands and soles of your feet.
“In the last two months of pregnancy, the soles of my feet and palms were very itchy. When I mentioned this to my midwife, she sent me straight to the local hospital. I was put on a foetal monitor to check the baby and blood tests checked how my liver was working. Thankfully, everything was clear but I had more tests later in my pregnancy to check again.”
Nicolette, 35, mum to Bon, 3, and Catalina, 3 months
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