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Aches and Pains of Pregnancy

Just as the pain of childbirth doesn't end with the final push, it doesn't start with labor. Here are some painful problems you may experience before having your first contraction.

Scrapes and bruises

Early in pregnancy, your body begins to prepare for all the energy and stretching it requires to grow and deliver a baby. Your joints begin to loosen as the body prepares for delivery. You may be feeling sleepy, nauseated, distracted, and overwhelmed. All of this can lead to more slips, falls, scrapes, or bruises. Treat these events just as you would if you were not pregnant. You should consult your doctor if there is a significant fall.

Clean minor cuts or scrapes with soap and water or an over-the-counter (OTC) antiseptic wash, and cover the wound with a bandage. Antibiotic or hydrocortisone ointment should be fine to use. If you notice unexplained bruising, talk to your doctor immediately.

Aching feet and blisters

During pregnancy your feet and ankles may swell. This typically occurs in the third trimester and is caused by several things. As your uterus grows, it begins to exert pressure on the veins in the lower body, and this slows the rate blood is circulated back to your heart. Also, the hormonal changes occurring inside your body can cause you to retain fluid when  blood vessels are dilated and increase blood volume. This extra fluid tends to collect in the feet and ankles. After you have your baby, the swelling should subside.

There are several things you can do to minimize the discomfort that comes with swelling:

  • Drink plenty of water. If you drink enough water, your body will not retain as much fluid.
  • Avoid salty foods. Junk food and salty foods cause the body to retain fluids.
  • Change positions every hour or so. If you are standing, try to sit for a few minutes. If you sit for a long period of time, stand and walk around for a few minutes.
  • Avoid crossing your legs. Crossing your legs can slow the blood flow.
  • Elevate your feet. Keep a stool, box, or stack of books under your desk so you can prop up your feet.
  • Wear maternity support stockings. Waist-high maternity hose may help prevent fluid from collecting in your feet and ankles. Put them on early in the morning.
  • Lie on your left side. If swelling persists, find a safe place and lie on your left side for a bit.