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Pregnancy-Related Problems - Home Treatment

Back, pelvic, and hip discomfort

Many women have back, pelvic, or hip discomfort during pregnancy. As the size and weight of your belly increases, strain is placed on your back. Pelvic and hip discomfort is a normal sign that your pelvic area is getting ready for childbirth. To help with your discomfort, follow these tips:

  • Try not to stand for long periods of time.
  • Stand with a straight back. Do not stand with your belly forward and your shoulders back.
  • Rest one foot on a small box, brick, or stool when standing.
  • Try heat, such as a hot water bottle or a heating pad set on low, to painful areas when resting. Do not fall asleep with a heating pad in place. Place a cloth between your skin and the heating pad.
  • Sit with a back support or pillow against your lower back. If you must sit for a long time, get up and move around every hour.
  • Wear a prenatal belt or girdle around your hips but under your belly to support your hips.
  • Sleep on a firm mattress (plywood under a mattress helps). Lie on your side, with a pillow between your knees.
  • Do not lift anything heavy. Lift with your legs by rising from a squat, keeping your waist and back straight.
  • Do not stretch to reach something on a high shelf or across a table.
  • Try acetaminophen, such as Tylenol. Talk to your doctor if your discomfort does not get better with acetaminophen. Do not use more than the recommended dosage.

Fetal movement counting

After 18 to 20 weeks, you will notice that your baby moves and kicks more at certain times of the day. For example, when you are active, you may feel less kicking than when you are resting quietly. At your prenatal visits, your doctor may ask you whether the baby is active.

Kick counts. In the last trimester of your pregnancy, your doctor may ask you to keep track of the baby's movement every day. This is often called a "kick count." A common way to do a kick count is to see how much time it takes to feel 10 movements. Ten movements (such as kicks, flutters, or rolls) in 1 hour or less are considered normal. But do not panic if you do not feel 10 movements. Less activity may simply mean the baby is sleeping.

If an hour goes by and you have not recorded 10 movements, have something to eat or drink and count for another hour. If you do not record 10 movements in the 2-hour period, call your doctor right away.

Symptoms to watch for during home treatment

Call your doctor if any of the following occur during home treatment:

  • Abnormal or increased bleeding.
  • Weakness or lightheadedness.
  • Pain in your belly.
  • Swelling in your face, hands, or feet.
  • A severe headache.
  • Vomiting that gets worse or continues even with home treatment measures.
  • Urinary problems.
  • Fever.
  • Heartburn that continues even with home treatment measures.
  • Symptoms that become more severe or occur more often.
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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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