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A number of health issues go hand in hand with pregnancy. Read Dr Pixie's guide to find out what to look out for and how to deal with them
On a personal level, I equated pregnancy to puberty. I never knew what the next day was going to bring. At times, I would wake up and feel like new bits of me had sprouted overnight.
Fatigue, mood swings, heartburn, cramps and constipation are some of the usual suspects at various stages through pregnancy. Simple symptoms worry you a lot more than before you were pregnant, as you are concerned they will have an impact on your little one. Thankfully, there are lots of resources for advice. No matter how stupid your questions or worry may seem, don't be afraid to ask the advice of a healthcare professional. There's also excellent advice available online if you find yourself alone and anxious. If you have doubts about the credibility of any information you find, visit an NHS website, where you will find accurate information.
One of the first problems women encounter in pregnancy is morning sickness. It's more common to suffer from morning sickness than not. The good news is that it doesn't usually linger longer than week 16-20. Keeping your fluid levels topped up, having regular rest and eating a bland diet (avoid spices and rich foods) all help.
Aim to eat little and often, and avoid preparing meals: the cooking smells often kick things off! For severe symptoms – such as not being able to keep anything down for 24 hours, not passing urine frequently or feeling very dizzy and weak when upright – see your GP.
Heartburn during pregnancy
It's rare for a woman to get through pregnancy without some type of acid reflux or heartburn. This may manifest itself as indigestion, sickness or, rather embarrassingly, bloating and burping. It is caused by stomach acid finding its way from the stomach into the food pipe, by hormonal changes, muscles relaxing during pregnancy and weight gain.
Beating heartburn in pregnancy
• Antacid medication is available through pharmacies and works well to slash the acid and reduce symptoms.
• Aim to eat little and often, and avoid irritants.
• Avoid eating late at night, and never lie down after a meal.
• Keep your clothing loose and avoid bending down to tie your shoes or pick things up.
• Prop yourself up with pillows when in bed, to reduce acid reflux from lying flat.
• Avoid carbonated drinks, caffeine, spicy foods and midnight snacks.
• See your GP if symptoms become severe as prescription medication may be necessary.
By Dr Pixie