Changes have to be made in pregnancy to accommodate the foetus and provide nourishment which is necessary for the needed growth and development before the child is born. This adjustment is made through hormonal action (oestrogen and progesterone) which act on every cell and tissue in the body to keep up with metabolic and oxygen demands of the baby. However, these changes can be quite disturbing and uncomfortable; a pregnant woman should learn how to adapt in this situation.
Tiredness; most pregnant women struggle to carry out task of daily living and other activities. This is because of the increased oxygen demand of the baby which causes fatigue and general body weakness. Therefore, pregnant women are encouraged to take enough rest as possible, take plenty of fluids to keep them hydrated and over all expend less energy as during activities
Breast tenderness; during pregnancy, the breast expands in preparation for breast feeding. The nipples become erect and enlarged as the ducts become more enlarged than before. There is also increased blood supply to the breast causing warmth and tenderness when touch. Colostrum which is the first milk might leak out during second or third trimesters of pregnancy. Women should wear supportive bras and use breast pads if breasts are leaking. Avoid washing your breast with soap or rubbing harsh creams on them.
Nausea and vomiting; hormones released during pregnancy can trigger nausea and vomiting which is popularly known as morning sickness. This is common during the first semester of pregnancy. In order to manage this, pregnant women should avoid foods that are nauseous, eat small frequent meals during the day, drink fluids in between meals and not with meals
Frequent urination; hormones cause frequent urination during pregnancy especially in the first semester. At the last semester this can also be experience because of the pressure of the enlarged uterus on the bladder. This can be of great discomfort to women during pregnancy.
Shortness of breath; as pregnancy advances, the enlarge uterus pushes upward against the diaphragm thereby causing shortness of breath during breathing. Pregnant woman should endeavour to lie in an upright position or elevate head with pillows to aid expansion of the chest
Heart burn; most women experience heartburn during the third trimester of pregnancy. This happens as a result of the action of pregnancy hormones around the muscles that closes the oesophagus from the stomach causing a backflow of gastric content up the oesophagus which leads to a burning sensation felt on the chest wall or mid line of the upper abdomen. Women should sit up for few minutes immediately after meals. Also, avoid consumption of spicy and oily foods.
Ankle swelling; most women have leg swelling during pregnancy. This occurs as a result of the pressure of the enlarged uterus on the blood vessels on the feet causing pooling in the veins called oedema. It is important for women to limit consumption of sodium foods and avoid excessive intake of canned and processed foods.