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Nine Months : Common Concerns in Pregnancy

Incompetent Cervix

What is it? In a normal pregnancy, the neck of the womb (cervix) remains closed and sealed by a plug of mucus till the beginning of labour, when the cervix begins to dilate. Sometimes however, the cervix is weak and is unable to remain closed and opens up. This results in miscarriage as the amniotic sac opens up and the baby is expelled.

Treatment: If it is diagnosed that your cervix is incompetent, then the doctor can stitch the cervix closed in the beginning of pregnancy and remove them either towards the end of pregnancy or wait till the onset of labour. If treated in time, your chances of carrying a baby to full term are very good. However, your pregnancy needs to be monitored closely and any signs like vaginal bleeding or abnormal discharge, feeling of lump in the vagina need to be reported to the doctor immediately.

Indigestion

Cause: The pregnancy hormones, progesterone and oestrogen relax muscle tissues everywhere including those of the stomach. As a result, food stays around longer in the system giving you a feeling of bloatedness and indigestion.

Effect: Although indigestion may be an uncomfortable feeling for you, the relaxation of the muscles is beneficial for the baby because if the food stays longer in the gastro-intestinal system, the nutrients are better absorbed in the mother's body and hence, through the placenta into the baby's body.

Prevention: Some relief from indigestion can be achieved through eating small and frequent meals rather than few and heavy ones.



Insomnia

Cause: Sleeplessness or insomnia in pregnancy is quite common, especially during the later months. It could be due to various reasons like finding it very difficult to get into a comfortable position because of the extra weight with you; the need to make frequent trips to the toilet because of the increased pressure of your uterus on the bladder; vivid dreams, baby kicking etc.

What to do? Whatever the reason for your insomnia, try the following tips and see if they can get you a good night's sleep:

* Try to find a comfortable position for sleeping. You may find that propping yourself up by pillows might help.

* Wear loose, comfortable and breathable clothes at night.

* A warm bath or shower before going to sleep might help.

* Don't use the bedroom too much during the day. By the time night falls, you start hating the sight of your bed and the thought of sleeplessness creeps in involuntarily.

* Avoid daytime napping if it causes you to stay awake at night.

* Try reading a book in bed which may help you to doze off.

* A warm drink (tea/milk) may help bring sleep.

* If you can't sleep, get up and watch television, play computer games or even knit and continue till you feel drowsy.

* Try not to think that you can't sleep. If you convince yourself that you won't be able to sleep, you'll definitely not be able to sleep at all!

Itching

Cause: In pregnancy, as the belly expands, the skin stretches to accomodate it and this stretching makes the skin itchy on the abdomen. Itching can also be attributed to the increased blood supply to the skin and sweating.

What to do? Calamine lotion, moisturising lotions or bath oils may help. Wearing loose and comfortable clothes may help minimise sweating and cause less itching.

When to worry? If there is severe, generalised (not just abdomen but other areas as well) itching, especially in the last trimester of pregnancy, it is wise to visit the doctor as this could be a sign of obstetric cholestatis, a dangerous liver disorder which may cause stillbirth, premature labour or serious risk to the baby.

Symptoms for this problem include: very itchy and yellowish skin and dark coloured urine.




               

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