Pregnancy causes many changes to your body; some mild, others more drastic. While most of these changes are manageable, some may need medical consultation, monitoring, or intervention.
Over half of pregnant women complain of back pain, especially as the pregnancy progresses. This can be caused by the extra weight that shifts your center of gravity and strains your muscles and by the hormone changes your body is experiencing. The pain most commonly occurs in the lower back where the spine and the pelvis meet. If the pain is severe or progresses from a dull soreness to cramping, see a doctor; otherwise, there are adjustments you can make to your lifestyle to help relieve some of the discomfort. Exercise helps strengthen your muscles so that they can support the weight. Heat or ice compresses are also helpful. Monitor your posture to keep your back straight when you’re sitting or standing. Acupuncture and chiropractic experts can offer alternative health methods.
The changes that your body is going through during pregnancy can cause sleep problems. Discomfort from cramps and the frequent urge to urinate can cause you to wake up frequently during the night. The hormone cycles can result in changes in your sleeping patterns. Being awake during the night and the extra strain on your body can increase the daytime sleepiness you experience. In order to combat some of this, exercise and eat well. Keeping your body healthy will help regulate your sleep patterns. Use pillows to alleviate some of the discomfort by supporting the extra weight and the shifts in your weight. Use relaxation techniques to ease your mind before going to bed.
The changing hormone make-up of your body contributes to the back pain and sleep problems that you may experience. Additionally, it can lead to other emotional and physical complications. Mood swings are common. At times, you may feel like you have no control over how you are feeling. Generally, this will pass and not cause a major interruption in your day to day activities. Depression can be part of those mood swings, but can also get a little more severe or persistent. It, too, should pass, but should be monitored to make sure it does not affect you too drastically. Physically, you may experience yeast or urinary tract infections as your hormones adjustments. You can help balance your hormones with a good diet and regular exercise.
The changes in your hormones will make you less tolerant of glucose, leading to higher than normal blood sugar levels, causing your body to produce more insulin to compensate. In a few cases (about 4%), the pancreas has trouble producing the extra insulin and this can lead to gestational diabetes. If you are overweight, have a family history of diabetes, or have had or are having a high risk pregnancy, your chance of developing gestational diabetes is increased. Your doctor will monitor you closely if you develop gestational diabetes. You will adjust your diet and exercise routine to help regulate your sugar levels and monitor your sugar frequently.
Preeclampsia is the development of high blood pressure during pregnancy. In some cases, this can evolve into eclampsia which includes the symptom of seizures. Your blood pressure can be controlled through diet and exercise. In about 6-8% of pregnancies, this is not enough and preeclampsia develops. In a small percentage of those cases, seizures occur. Your doctor will restrict your diet and monitor to avoid further complications.
The many changes that you will go through during your pregnancy can cause complications. Fortunately, many of these can be regulated with lifestyle adjustments such as diet and exercise. In some cases, a doctor may need to intervene. Keep your doctor informed of any concerns you have and follow his or her advice to minimize difficulties.