changes in hormones slow the movement of food through the digestive tract.
During the last part of pregnancy pressure on your rectum to your uterus
often worsens the constipation.
Bleeding that occurs when the fertilized egg attaches to the
uterus (womb) is called implantation bleeding. Implantation bleeding is
common and may be mistaken for a menstrual period. The bleeding
usually lasts for 1 to 2 days. Spotting during the first trimester is also
common and occurs in up to 1 in 4 pregnancies. Heavy bleeding that lasts a
long time is not common. You should contact your health care provider if you
have concerns about vaginal bleeding, especially if the bleeding is heavy or you
have additional symptoms such as abdominal pain, dizziness, shoulder pain, or
you are passing tissue.
swollen veins in the rectum, are also very common and can sometimes cause
bleeding while having a bowel movement. If the bleeding is excessive notify
your physician. Swollen veins (varicosities),
also appear frequently in the legs but can also be found in the vulva and
vagina. Varicosities can be uncomfortable but usually they are not a serious
Table 2. Safe Medications
For Some Common
Problems During Pregnancy
Docusate (Colace®, Ducolax ®) Milk of magnesia.
Groin or lower abdominal
pain is also a common finding as the
support the uterus are stretched.
There is also a need
to urinate frequently caused by the pressure of the growing
uterus on the bladder. As the pregnancy continues it may also be normal
to leak some urine. If you have pain when you urinate or if you often feel
you need to urinate right away you should consult your physician.
The growing uterus can also
put pressure on certain nerves causing numbness and tingling
in the legs and toes and low back pain.
This is usually not serious and will go away after the baby is born.
A certain amount of
water retention manifested as swelling in the ankles is very
common particularly in the third trimester. If the swelling involves your
hands and face this can be a manifestation of
and you should notify your doctor.
cramps are also common in the third trimester particularly during
sleep, these may be avoided by stretching your legs before going to bed.
labor or Braxton-Hicks contractions can start as early as the
fifth month of your pregnancy. Maintaining good hydration and emptying
your bladder frequently can minimize the symptoms. If contractions become
regular and last for more than one hour you should contact your physician.
Pregnancy is a time of not
only physical changes but also emotional changes.
Because of your increased hormone levels you may be irritable and have
unpredicted mood swings. You may also
feel anxious and depressed. Good nutrition with regular periods of rest
and relaxation and setting special time aside for you and your partner
will help your emotional as well as physical well being.
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