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Pregnancy Weeks 25-32 - Page 3

Healthy Pregnancy Newsletter
Healthy Pregnancy Newsletter - Growing Mom

Physical changes

As you move into the second half of pregnancy, you will begin to notice many physical changes happening in your body. While these aren't always pleasant, it helps to know they are quite common. You may or may not experience all of these changes, and you may find some are more intense at different times during pregnancy.

Here are some of the most common changes women experience during these last months of pregnancy:

  • The skin on your belly may itch as it grows. Aches may occur along the sides of your abdomen as ligaments stretch to support your uterus. Keep your skin soft and moisturized, and avoid quick, jerky movements to prevent pulling the ligaments.
  • You may feel the need to frequently urinate as the weight of your uterus presses on the bladder.
  • Mucous membranes in your nose and mouth are affected by the increase in hormones during pregnancy. Some women have a stuffy nose and nosebleeds, as well as spongy, tender gums. Good dental hygiene is a must.
  • Varicose veins and hemorrhoids may appear. These are caused by the increased pressure on your legs, pelvic veins, rectum, and perineum, and by the increased blood volume in pregnancy. Avoid standing for long periods and try to elevate your feet and legs whenever possible. Your health care provider may also recommend special support pantyhose. Avoiding constipation and straining may help to prevent hemorrhoids, or to lessen their discomfort.
  • You may notice a white-colored vaginal discharge called leukorrhea. A watery, colored, or bloody discharge may signal possible complications and should be checked by your health care provider immediately.
  • Skin pigmentation may change on your face due to the pregnancy hormones. Sunlight can aggravate this condition called chloasma, so wear a hat or sunscreen if you will be outdoors.
  • Heartburn, indigestion, and constipation may be a concern. Eating small, frequent meals and taking an antacid approved by your health care provider can help.

I don't have a cold but my nose is always stuffy and congested, and I've even had a nosebleed. Is this common?

The increase in estrogen during pregnancy can affect the mucous membranes in a woman's nasal passages causing a condition called rhinitis of pregnancy. As the membranes swell and secrete more mucous, symptoms resemble the common cold. Hormones also make the mucous membranes very tender and bleed easily.

Although it's tempting to use decongestant sprays, these should be avoided as they can actually worsen the congestion.

If your congestion persists, or you have symptoms of an infection such as fever, be sure to contact your health care provider.

The following are some other tips to help manage stuffiness and tender nasal passages:

  • Use a nasal saline solution.
  • Use a cool mist humidifier in your room at night if the air in your home is dry. Be sure to follow the manufacturer's advice for cleaning the humidifier so that germs and mold do not grow in it.
  • Don't blow your nose too forcefully.
  • Apply petroleum jelly inside your nostrils several times a day, especially at bedtime, to help keep the area moist.

Most women find that their nasal congestion disappears completely within a couple of weeks after birth.

 

Keeping a watchful eye
Staying healthy during pregnancy also means keeping a watchful eye for signs or symptoms of problems. Every woman needs to be aware of the signs of preterm labor. Preterm labor is defined when labor occurs more than three weeks prior to your due date. Having a baby too early can mean serious health problems. Call your health care provider if you have any of the following signs of preterm labor:
  • Uterine contractions, especially more than four in one hour
  • Menstrual-type cramps
  • Pelvic pressure
  • Backache
  • Intestinal upset
  • Vaginal discharge of blood, mucus, or water

 

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