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Nine Months : Common Concerns And Discomforts

Palmar Erythema

Palmar erythema is the reddening of the palms and sometimes of the soles of the feet in pregnancy. This is the result of increased blood flow to them. It is not serious and is due to changes in the blood vessels during pregnancy.

Palpitations

Another name for palpitations is 'missed beats' and is known to happen in pregnancy. Although they are not something you should lose your sleep over, if your palpitations increase and are accompanied with chest pain and breathlessness, you should consult a doctor.


Piles/Haemorrhoids

What are they? Piles are swollen veins which appear inside the rectum and may protrude out from the anus.

In pregnancy: The weight of the growing baby puts pressure on the pelvis and this affects the flow of blood to and from the pelvis. As a result, the veins swell to accomodate the trapped blood and cause protrusions outside the anus. These can be very painful and the only relief is the actual birth of the baby.

Symptoms: Piles are characterised by itching, pain, soreness of the back passage. Sometimes, you may notice bleeding when you try to pass stools. You can also feel some lumpiness of the piles aound the anus.

What to do?

* Avoid constipation as straining to pass stools may worsen the condition.

* Have a high fibre diet and plenty of fluids to ensure that you are not constipated.

* Regular exercise to improve circulation.

* Try not to remain standing for long periods of time.

* Use an ice pack over the piles if they are causing discomfort.

* Use an ointment as prescribed by the doctor.

* Pelvic floor exercises may help.

Placenta Praevia

What is it? Placenta praevia is a rare condition in which the placenta is situated at the bottom of the uterus instead of above it. As a result, the placenta blocks the cervix, either whole or partially.

Symptoms: The main symptom is bright, red bleeding, especially after week 20.

Treatment: A low lying placenta may be diagnosed during a routine ultrasound scan. Most cases of low lying placenta in early pregnancy correct themselves by 20 weeks. If however, the condition is diagnosed later and there are no symptoms, the patient is placed on bed rest. If there is bleeding as well, hospitalisation is necessary (accompanied with blood transfusion if you have lost a lot of blood). If it is found that there is a risk to the baby by the bleeding placenta, a caesarean may be performed even if that means delivering a premature baby. Sometimes, the condition might only be discovered during labour and if the obstruction is not severe, a normal vaginal delivery may be tried first before opting for a caesarean.

Risk:The success rate with such conditions is quite good now.

Placental Insufficiency

This occurs when the placenta does not function properly. As a result, the baby develops slowly due to lack of nutrients and oxygen. Generally, this condition can be improved by resting so as to increase the blood flow from the placenta to the foetus. However, you will need to be closely monitored.

Pre-eclampsia

What is it? Also called Pregnancy Induced Hypertension (PIT) or Pre-Eclamptic Toxaemia (PET), pre-eclampsia is a high blood pressure condition that occurs only during pregnancy. If left untreated, it could progress into eclampsia which could be dangerous for both you and the baby.

Causes: Your chances of developing pre-eclampsia increase if you already suffer from high blood pressure, diabetes or are over 35.

Symptoms:

* High blood pressure

* Protein in the urine (even traces)

* Oedema (swelling of hands and feet)

* Headaches

* Nausea and vomiting

* Blurred vision or seeing spots

* Increased weight gain

* Abdominal pain

* Fits in severe cases (when it progresses towards eclampsia, if left untreated)

Risk: Most cases of pre-eclampsia are mild and controlled but in severe cases, there is a risk that the baby may be affected by placental insufficiency and it could even be life-threatening. Pre-eclampsia occurs later in pregnancy but can occur early on as well when the severity may be higher.

Treatment: Mild cases do not require hospitalisation. They involve regular monitoring of blood pressure and urine samples, gentle exercise, good diet and rest. In severe cases, you may need to be hospitalised and if blood pressure continues to rise, you may be given drugs to lower it. In severe situations where there is a risk of seizures or fits, the baby may be delivered by a caesarean section even though it may be a premature delivery.




               

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