Common Pregnancy Pains and Their Causes
Headaches can happen anytime during pregnancy. They can be caused by tension, congestion, constipation, or in some cases, preeclampsia (detected after 20 weeks).
- Put an ice pack on your forehead or the back of your neck.
- Rest, sit, or lie quietly in a low-lit room. Close your eyes and try to relax your back, neck, and shoulders.
- Over-the-counter acetaminophen like Tylenol may help. But if your headaches don't go away, are severe, make you nauseous, or affect your vision, tell your doctor.
Pregnancy Bleeding and Swollen Gums
You may not have expected pregnancy to affect your mouth. But your blood circulation and hormone levels can make your gums tender and swollen, and you may notice they bleed more easily. You may also develop nose bleeds.
- Get a dental checkup early in your pregnancy to make sure your teeth and mouth are healthy. See your dentist if you notice a particular problem.
- Brush your teeth and floss regularly.
Constipated? It can happen during pregnancy for a couple of reasons.
Your hormones, as well as vitamins and iron supplements, may cause constipation (difficulty passing stool or incomplete or infrequent passage of hard stools). Pressure on your rectum from your uterus may also cause constipation.
- Add more fiber (such as whole grain foods, fresh fruits, and vegetables) to your diet.
- Drink plenty of fluids daily (at least 6-8 glasses of water and 1-2 glasses of fruit or prune juice).
- Drink warm liquids, especially in the morning.
- Exercise daily.
- Avoid straining when you have a bowel movement.
- Discuss the use of a laxative or stool softener with your health care provider.
Pregnancy Dizziness (Feeling Faint)
Dizziness can occur anytime during middle to late pregnancy. Here's why it happens:
- The hormone progesterone dilates blood vessels so blood tends to pool in the legs.
- More blood is also going to your growing uterus. This can cause a drop in blood pressure, especially when changing positions -- and that can make you dizzy. If your blood sugar levels get too low, you may feel faint.
- Move around often when standing for long periods of time.
- Lie on your left side to rest. This helps circulation throughout your body.
- Avoid sudden movements. Move slowly when standing from a sitting position.
- Eat regular, small meals throughout the day to prevent low blood sugar.
- Drink plenty of water.