The child in the womb has need for oxygen, nutrients and excretion; this puts some strain on the woman whose heart, lungs and kidneys have to work harder to meet this demand. There also hormonal changes as well which affect some functions of the organs of the pregnant woman.
It is easier for the woman to deal with these changes if she has a little knowledge of them, when to seek advice and where to seek such advice.
1. Morning Sickness
Over70 percent of pregnant women feel like vomiting in the early stages of pregnancy; in many cases this is what makes the woman suspect she is pregnant. Though called morning sickness, it could occur throughout the day and in a few cases throughout the pregnancy. This feeling of vomiting is said to be due to increased sense of smell induced by pregnancy related hormones in the blood. The situation can be worsened by fried or greasy foods and cooking aroma. Morning sickness stops after about three (3) months but in about 10 or20 percent of pregnancies it can continue throughout the pregnancy.
Mild cases can benefit from avoidance of fried or greasy foods, adequate ventilation of the kitchen when cooking, eating saltine crackers or dry cereal early in the morning. Avoid plenty of fluids in the morning and eat small frequent meals. Iron supplement could induce the feeling of vomiting, if this happens, see your doctor for possible alternatives.
Also if the vomiting is severe, see your doctor.
Some of the hormones associated with pregnancy relax the stomach and this makes the acid in the stomach to move upwards resulting in a peppery pain in the central lower part of the chest, this is common in pregnancy.
Women are advised when pregnant to avoid lying down after eating, to eat less of fatty food and also less of peppery foods. If situation persists, inform your doctor.
Constipation is common during pregnancy due to at least two reasons:-relaxation of the muscles of the intestines by the pregnancy hormones and also because of the iron supplements. Regular exercise, fluid and fibre intake can take care of the problem, intake of about 10 cups of fluids a day is advised.
Straining associated with constipation can lead to the development of piles, also the pressure of the baby on blood vessels. Piles due to pregnancy disappear after delivery but it is better to prevent the constipation in the first place.
5. Pregnancy induced diabetes
Pregnancy related hormones reduce efficiency of insulin resulting in high blood sugar; the baby is then able to take from this sugar for his needs. When this increase is excessive it becomes a problem, the baby can become too big and the woman may become diabetic.
This problem usually arises between the 20th and 28th weeks of pregnancy. Antenatal care can take care of this. The diabetes of pregnancy in most cases disappears after delivery but could progress into full blown diabetes if not properly treated. Such babies can also grow to become fat and diabetic.
6. Pregnancy induced high blood pressure
Pregnancy increases the blood volume of the woman; this together with other pregnancy related changes increases the blood pressure. If this pregnancy induced high blood pressure is accompanied by swollen feet and protein in the urine it is a very bad condition and usually taken very seriously by health professionals.
However, it normally disappears on delivery.
It is said that the mother’s blood volume increases by about 150 percent in order to meet the needs of the baby in the womb, if the iron intake is not enough, the mother may develop anaemia (low blood level). This situation is normally corrected during antenatal care with iron supplements.
8. Swollen feet (oedema).
Pregnancy related hormones induce retention of water in the body, hence the feet become swollen in some women. If uncomplicated (without high blood pressure and protein in the urine), there is no cause for worry. All the woman needs to do is raise her feet when lying down or sitting. However in all cases the woman must see her doctor.