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Understanding Pregnancy Discomforts -- Treatment

What Are the Treatments for Pregnancy Discomforts? continued...

Mouth and Gum Discomfort

Pregnancy can be demanding on your teeth, so make sure you get your regular dental checkup and cleaning. Brush your teeth and tongue at least twice a day, and floss regularly. Sugarless gum can be substituted for an after-meal cleaning if it isn't feasible to brush your teeth.

Nasal Congestion or Nosebleeds

Use a vaporizer to humidify your bedroom at night. Lubricate each nostril with a dab of petroleum jelly during the day to prevent nosebleeds. Avoid decongestant nasal sprays, which can constrict blood vessels.


Avoid lying on your hands while sleeping. If your hands feel numb when you wake up, shake them over the side of the bed. Soaking the hand in warm water or using a heating pad twice daily may help ease numbness; or try wearing a wrist splint.

Skin Changes and Stretch Marks

Rashes from hormone changes during pregnancy generally go away after the baby is born. To prevent freckles or darkened skin on your face, called a "pregnancy mask" or chloasma, wear a wide-brimmed hat and use a sunscreen with an SPF of at least 30 when outside.

Lubricate dry skin around your abdomen with a moisturizing cream. For heat rash, try to stay as cool as possible and use cornstarch powder under your breasts, on your thighs, or wherever your skin tends to chafe.

Sleep Problems and Insomnia

Pregnant women often experience sleepless nights and daytime fatigue. During the first trimester, frequent trips to the bathroom and morning sickness may disrupt sleep. Later in pregnancy, vivid dreams and physical discomfort may prevent deep sleep. After delivery, the new baby's care or a mother's postpartum depression may interrupt sleep.

Fatigue during the first trimester of a pregnancy is likely due to changing levels of hormones, such as progesterone. Toward the end of pregnancy, some women find it difficult to sleep because they're uncomfortable due to the size of a growing abdomen. Some women are too excited, anxious, or worried about becoming mothers to sleep well. Sleep apnea (snoring), especially if it's severe and causes your blood oxygen level to drop during sleep, is a risk to the fetus.

Pregnant women who experience insomnia during pregnancy may find relief by taking afternoon naps, drinking warm milk, or taking a warm (not hot) bath before bedtime. Exercise during the day may help, too. Expectant mothers may find it more comfortable to sleep on one side, with pillows supporting the head, abdomen, and topside knee. Don't take sleeping pills or herbal sleeping remedies without talking with your health care provider first.

Leg Swelling

Monitor your weight gain throughout your pregnancy. To control swelling in your legs and ankles, wear support hose and avoid standing for long periods. Wear shoes that fit well and give good support, or buy shoe inserts designed especially for pregnant women. Getting off your feet helps the most. Lying down is often more comfortable than sitting.

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