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Nine Months : Common Concerns in Pregnancy

Headaches

Pregnancy headaches are due to the hormonal changes taking place in your body. They may also be caused by fatigue, tension, physical and emotional stress or hunger. If you are able to identify the cause for your headache, you can try and prevent the cause to prevent the headache.

See also migraines

Heartburn

What is it? Normally, the valve between the food pipe (oesophagus) and the stomach prevents the stomach acids from passing back into the oesophagus. In pregnancy however, high levels of the hormone progesterone causes this valve to relax. As a result, the stomach acids pass into the oesophagus and irritate the oesophagal lining. This produces a strong burning sensation in the centre of the chest, just where the heart is and hence the term, heartburn (although it has nothing to do with the heart).

What to do?

* If you suffer most at night, try raising the head of your bed or sleeping with extra pillows

* A glass of milk before going to bed might help (as it neutralises the acidity).(Milk may bring on nausea in some cases, so make sure it agrees with you.)

* Sit up straight while eating to prevent your stomach from being sqaushed.

* Eat small and frequent meals rather than three large meals.

* Avoid eating or drinking very close to bedtime.

* Avoid too many cups of tea or coffee.

* Avoid spicy and fatty foods unless you are used to them.

* Certain pregnancy safe antacids may be prescribed by the doctor. Consult a doctor or pharmacist.

Hepatitis A

Hepatitis A is a harmless infection and is not known to be passed to the foetus or the newborn. Therefore, if you do get infected or come in contact with someone suffering from the infection, it will not affect your pregnancy. However, as all infections are unnecessary in pregnancy, make sure that you wash your hands well after going to the toilet as hepatitis A is passed by the faecal-oral route.



Hepatitis B

What is it? It is a liver infection caused by a virus, easily transmitted from person to person through infected blood and also through sexual intercourse.

In pregnancy: Unlike hepatitis A which does not pass to the foetus or newborn, hepatitis B is passed to the baby during birth or to the foetus during pregnancy, if the mother is infected. A routine blood test is performed in pregnancy to check for hepatitis B along with other infections and if the mother is found to be infected with hepatitis B, bed rest and a good, nutritious diet form the main course of treatment. If the mother is found to be infected at delivery, the baby is injected with hepatitis B vaccine.

Symptoms:

* Yellowing of skin or the whites of the eyes

* Vomiting

* Abdominal pain

* Loss of appetite

Herpes

What is it? Genital herpes is caused by a virus and results in painful blisters in and around the vagina.

In pregnancy: If you have recurrent herpes during pregnancy, the chances of passsing on the infection to the unborn baby are very low. However, if you have primary or first attack of herpes when pregnant or have ulcers at the time of delivery, a caesarean may be carried out to reduce the chances of infection to the newborn baby. A caesarean is carried out when it is believed that a normal vaginal delivery will cause infection to the newborn when it passes through the birth canal. In the event where the newborn does get infected, an antiviral drug is given to the baby to prevent permanent damage. Untreated hereps in the baby may lead to brain damage.

Symptoms:

* Fever

* Headache

* Genital pain

* Itching

* Pain with urination

* Blisters in the vaginal area

HIV and AIDS

What is it? HIV (Human Immuno-deficiency Virus) is the virus that causes AIDS (Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome). You can get infected if you have unprotected sex with an infected partner, share injections or razors etc. with an infected person.

In pregnancy: There are higher chances of passing on the HIV virus to the baby if you contract HIV while pregnant. A caesarean delivery may be carried out if the doctors are of the opinion that normal vaginal delivery may increase the risk of the baby contracting the infection. Certain drugs are also known to reduce the risk to the baby during delivery and your doctor will be able to help you. Breastfeeding is not recommended to HIV positive mothers as the virus can be passed to the baby during breastfeeding.

Homeopathy

Homeopathic medicines stimulate your body's own healing mechanisms. Miniscule amounts of plant, animal and mineral extracts are used: the smaller the dose, the more potent the treatment. Minor pregnancy-related ailments, including nausea, vomiting, heartburn and indigestion are amenable to homeopathic treatment, but really potent doses should not be taken during pregnancy.

Hot Flushes

What is it? In pregnancy, the body's metabolism increases causing extra heat to be produced. This in turn, causes the blood vessels to dilate with extra blood. This condition of feeling hot and flushed is called hot flushes and may be especially strong in summer.

What to do? You cannot stop hot flushes but can definitely make yourself more comfortable by wearing loose, cotton clothing. Also remember to dress in layers so that you can remove layers as you get hot.




               

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