When God created the flower, he knew it would give rise to fruits. More beautiful the flower is, healthier is the fruit. So, He blessed women with this miraculous ability to give birth to new life! Ever seen a mother nursing her child? Then, you would surely know that it is one of the many wonders of the world. No amount of words can describe the beauty and divinity of the relationship between a mother and her child. Of course it has elements like love, care and compassion, but it is the pain that the mother undergoes and selfless sacrifices she makes to nurture her child, is what makes this relation stand up above all! It is perhaps one of the happiest moments in a woman’s life, when she knows she is pregnant. But what comes next, is a series of difficulties and responsibilities. With a new life form, preparing for its stay for nine months, certain physical and chemical changes occur in the body of the mother, so as to accommodate the baby. It started with a simple vomiting tendency and nausea, which perhaps got her diagnosed with the pregnancy! As the feeding and other life habits of the mother undergo alterations, it is quite natural for her body to face some problems during the pregnancy. Everything that the mother does henceforth needs to be carefully monitored because it affects the baby directly. After all, maternal healthcare is one of the most daunting tasks of parenthood! And for the people out there, do avoid smoking when you see a pregnant lady around!
10. Physical discomforts
The changes taking place in the body during pregnancy may lead to several discomforts. The mother may suffer from backache as the body tries to balance the added weight of the foetus. Problems like indigestion, constipation, nausea, muscle cramps and contractions, dehydration, incontinence, swollen ankles, feet and fingers, headache, pelvic pain, and tiredness are common among pregnant women due to the hormonal changes occurring in the body during pregnancy. Due to the increased blood supply, women generally tend to feel hotter than normal temperature and consequently sweat more. Drinking adequate amounts of fluids, mild exercises and a balanced diet help in comforting the mother though these problems.
9. Breathing problems
Pregnant women may suffer from occasional bouts of cough and congestion associated with flu or common cold. Due to increased body activity, breathlessness and fatigue is a common problem, because, as the foetus grows, it can become more difficult to breathe as the lungs are pressed upward into the chest cavity. Hormonal changes that occur during pregnancy may affect both the nose and sinuses, as well as the lungs. Asthma is found to occur in quite a percentage of women during pregnancy, characterised by symptoms like frequent shortness of breath, accompanied by coughing, chest tightness and wheezing. Those who have had a history with asthma are more prone to develop it. They may also be allergic to certain substances in the environment. If left uncontrolled, asthma may decrease the amount of oxygen the foetus receives, which can then negatively affect the foetus’s growth, weight and overall development. It can also complicate the mother’s health and pregnancy.
Hormonal changes during pregnancy often lead to several types of skin changes in pregnant women, including darkening of skin, reddening of face and palms, and development of stretch marks in the lower parts of the belly. Several types of skin diseases occur only in pregnancy. These appear as numerous small, raised bumps that are usually extremely itchy. Infection of the sinuses or throat is also common among pregnant women. Pregnant women are more prone to contract yeast infections that affect the reproductive tract, urinary infections causing pain in the loin and other bacterial and viral infections that can even harm the foetus. Growth of hair and nails also increases during pregnancy which may lead to infections in the scalp and feet as well. The mother should be well vaccinated against all types of communicable diseases and also take proper care of personal hygiene to prevent complications.
6. Digestive Problems
The most common problem is the tendency to vomit that is caused by excessive discharge of some hormones, which can lead to dehydration and weight loss, if not checked in time. Pregnant women often have an increased tendency to eat more, which may cause indigestion. Improper bowel movement is another problem, which can be taken care of by a balanced intake of food and fluids. Overweight and obesity also complicate during pregnancy. Liver problems like elevated liver enzymes and lowered platelet count are also seen in pregnant women, which can be combatted with proper medications.
Due to the increased blood volume and blood flow in the body during pregnancy, the blood pressure of a pregnant woman rises above normal. However, it may lead to serious problems of hypertension if not checked regularly. Elevated blood pressure, generalised oedema and high levels of urea in blood may be symptoms of Preeclampsia, a multi-organ disease unique to pregnancy. This may lead to placental abruption and birth complications. Problems of haemorrhages are also prevalent among pregnant women, due to hypertension. The added stress of pregnancy can also cause heart problems in the mother.
4. Mental Health Conditions
Though being pregnant is one of the happiest moments for a women, some may suffer from depression due to various reasons ranging from loss in appetite, sleep and energy to problems in concentrating and making decisions. Headaches and sleep deprivation is another common problem seen among pregnant women. Numbness and tingling of the fingers, thighs, and toes are quite common in pregnancy and usually result from retention of water and swelling. Some women may also suffer from epilepsy during pregnancy. It is very important to keep pregnant women under proper rest and avoid involving them in serious issues that might lead to depression. After all, being happy is the key to good health!
3. Gestational Diabetes
Women are often found to exhibit signs of carbohydrate intolerance in the presence of pregnancy. During pregnancy, the mother’s body produces a variety of hormones to support the foetus. In some women, these hormones work against their bodies, making them less able to make the insulin needed to get energy from body cells, leading to higher blood sugar levels, which may tend to become permanent if not controlled at early stages. Gestational diabetes can complicate childbirth and can also lead to diabetic problems in the child. Women with pregnancy-induced diabetes are generally treated with a special diet that restricts their intake of sugar and carbohydrates, along with moderate exercise. Artificial Insulin is sometimes necessary to bring the blood sugar level down to normal. A periodic urine test is advisable to keep things under check.
2. Renal Disorders
Pregnant women often suffer from urinary disorders ranging from an urge to urinate more frequently to urinary tract infections. It may result in irritation when urinating, fever and fatigue, pressure in lower belly, nausea and back pain. The increased blood filtration rate, combined with the high blood pressure of blood causes increase in urinal frequency. However, amount of fluid intake should be kept normal for normal functioning of both the mother and the foetus. Renal problems can give rise to various other complications. So, it is advisable to undergo urine tests periodically to ensure normal levels of sodium, potassium, urea and body hormones.
Anaemia is a condition when the Red-blood cell count is lower than the normal levels in a healthy human body. Generally, a haemoglobin value of less than 11 g per decilitre defines anaemia during pregnancy. Due to increase in blood volume during pregnancy, the haemoglobin content may fall to as low as 35% by the third trimester. Iron deficiency is the main cause of this type of anaemia. Extra iron is needed not only for the extra haemoglobin requirements of the maternal blood, but also for the growing baby and placenta. One can also develop anaemia from not getting enough Vitamin B12, by losing a lot of blood, or from certain diseases or inherited blood disorders such as sickle cell disease. Doctors generally prescribe a daily supplement of 30 mg of elemental iron as a preventive dose.