Pregnancy is no picnic, especially as you get towards the end.
Your body is doing an amazing job, creating and growing a little human being that will function and grow perfectly once they are born, and it’s no wonder you feel exhausted 95% of the time.
There are many typical symptoms and ailments during pregnancy, including fatigue, morning sickness, constipation, weight gain, weird cravings etc, but what about those random occurrences that only affect a small percentage?
Listed below are some ‘common’ pregnancy induced health problems that you may, or may not, have had the misfortune to experience during pregnancy.
1. Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
Carpal Tunnel Syndrome (CTS) affects 30-50% of pregnant women and presents itself with pins and needles, numbness and/or stiffness in the hands.
The carpal tunnel is a small passage in the wrist where nerves and tendons pass from your arm into your hand and fingers. During pregnancy, hormones cause you to retain fluid and the nerve running through the tunnel may become squashed. If you experience pins and needles or numbness in your hand whilst pregnant, just pump your fingers into a fist and move your wrist around to move the fluid around.
2. Restless Leg
Up to 40% of expectant mothers experience restless legs, and again it’s all to do with fluid build up and swelling. Restless leg is an incessant urge to move your leg/s when you lay down, and can be accompanied by tingling, aching or itching in the legs. The best treatment for Restless Leg is to get up and stretch and move around, but severe cases should be reported to your doctor.
With all the pressure of carrying another human, and that of childbirth, the tearing of dividing walls between the rectum, urethra and urinary bladder can occur. A urethrocele is the prolapse of the urethra into the vagina and often occurs in conjunction with a cystocele where the urinary bladder ‘falls’ into the vagina. A rectocele is a tear in the divide between the rectum and vagina and the rectal tissue bulges into the vagina. These movements can range from mild to severe, both in damage and pain, and are usually rectified with surgery.
Haemorrhoids are blood vessels in the rectum that have become unusually swollen. They range from the size of a pea to the size of a grape and can be inside the rectum or protrude through the anus. Haemorrhoids can be itchy and mildly uncomfortable or quite painful. Sometimes they can even cause rectal bleeding, especially during a bowel movement. They are very common in pregnancy, as the growing uterus puts pressure on the pelvic veins and the inferior vena cava which increases the pressure on the veins below your uterus and causes them to become more dilated or swollen. They are also prevalent after birth, as the pushing during labour can cause them to erupt. But the main cause for haemorrhoids during pregnancy is constipation, which causing straining during bowel movements and aggravation of the already swollen veins.
5. Skin problems
Ranging from the odd stretch mark to raging dermatitis, your skin goes through a lot when you’re pregnant. The lack of hydration and the extensive stretching causes many different problems, including:
- Chloasma – splashes of darkened skin that appear on the forehead, nose and cheeks. Caused by hormonal changes and best treated with folic acid and doses of sunshine.
- Rosacea – a chronic, inflammatory skin condition which mainly affects the face. Rosacea causes facial redness and produces small, red, pus-filled pustules (bumps).
- Pruritus – excessive itching, mainly due to stretching skin. Some pregnant women find that their palms and the soles of their feet get red and sometimes itchy. This condition may be caused by an increase in oestrogen. It usually disappears right after delivery. Be careful though, as this could also be a sign of liver problems, so see your doctor if you have excessive itching during pregnancy.