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Pregnancy-Related Problems - Home Treatment

Using medicine to help relieve discomfort or fever

You may also have other common problems, like a cold, mild headache, backache, mild fever, or the flu, while you are pregnant that are not caused by your pregnancy. These minor symptoms generally do not cause problems or hurt your baby. In general, doctors say it is usually safe to take acetaminophen (Tylenol) for fever and pain.

Acetaminophen dosage: The usual dose is 650 mg. Take every 4 hours, as needed, up to 4 times in a 24-hour period. Do not take more than 3,000 mg in a 24-hour period.

Be sure to follow these nonprescription medicine precautions.

  • Use, but do not exceed, the maximum recommended doses.
  • Carefully read and follow all labels on the medicine bottle and box.
  • Do not use other nonprescription medicines, such as nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), until you have talked with your doctor.

Check with your doctor before you take any other types of medicines.

Heartburn and gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD)

Most pregnant women have symptoms of gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), especially heartburn, at some time during pregnancy. These symptoms are common but do not usually cause problems or hurt your baby. Most of the time symptoms of heartburn get better once the baby is born.

You can make changes to your lifestyle to help relieve your symptoms of GERD. Here are some things to try:

  • Change your eating habits.
    • It's best to eat several small meals instead of two or three large meals.
    • After you eat, wait 2 to 3 hours before you lie down. Late-night snacks aren't a good idea.
    • Chocolate and mint can make GERD worse. They relax the valve between the esophagus and the stomach.
    • Spicy foods, foods that have a lot of acid (like tomatoes and oranges), and coffee can make GERD symptoms worse in some people. If your symptoms are worse after you eat a certain food, you may want to stop eating that food to see if your symptoms get better.
  • Do not smoke or chew tobacco.
  • If you have GERD symptoms at night, raise the head of your bed 6 in. (15 cm) to 8 in. (20 cm) by putting the frame on blocks or placing a foam wedge under the head of your mattress. (Adding extra pillows does not work.)
  • Use nonprescription antacids for heartburn symptoms. Do not use antacids that have sodium bicarbonate (such as baking soda) during pregnancy because they can cause fluid buildup. It is okay to use antacids that have calcium carbonate (such as Tums).

Constipation and hemorrhoids

Constipation and hemorrhoids are common during pregnancy. To prevent or ease these symptoms:

  • Eat a high-fiber diet with lots of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains.
  • Drink plenty of fluids, especially water.
  • Talk to your doctor about trying a stool softener.
  • Do not strain (push hard) during a bowel movement.
  • Get more exercise every day.
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WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

Last Updated: March 20, 2012
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.
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