Sunday, November 7, 2010

The Travails of Pregnancy

There is a young doctor with whom I have maintained a wonderful relationship. When I used to work him him on a regular basis, he remarked that there was an expression I used which was descriptive and useful for charting a variety of ills associated with pregnancy. I gave him permission to use it as well, and you can too. It is entitled the Travails of Pregnancy.

1. Just because you are pregnant, you aren't immune from the minor aches, colds, flues ( get a flu shot ), allergies and headaches that the rest of us suffer, from time to time. They can be treated. Tylenol, Benadryl, Chlortrimeton, Sudafed and Zyrtec are considered safe in pregnancy. Check with your provider about their recommendations for dosage and trimester usage and please don't take them all at once. Warm gargles for sore throats; humidifying the air for nosebleeds ( pinch your nose, don't blow )and sometimes it helps for headaches too. Always report a fever over 101 degrees F.

2. Sometimes, we develop a cough. Robitussin is safe. Check with the PCP of your choice if the cough lasts more than a week.

3. If it's not constipation, it's diarrhea. Fiber ( like bran ), fruits and juices (prune is good )and softeners like Colace and gentle laxatives like Milk of Magnesia are safe and many be used regularly ( for regularity ). For the opposite problem, No dairy products, in fact a liquid diet is the best ( clear fluids, lots of 'em ) is preferable. Kaopectate or Imodium A-D as directed per your PCP and again, report a fever over 101 degrees F. The issue is to prevent dehydration which isn't good anytime but especially in pregnancy. If you can't keep fluids in, call the doctor.

4. Which takes us to keeping fluids down. Have to do it. Small frequent meals, separating solid foods from liquids. Never get empty. Put dry crackers everywhere: bedside, car, purse, desk and snack on them constantly. Always eat a few upon waking and never brush your teeth on an empty stomach.

5. Not related: Heartburn ( not from aggravation , commonly called indigestion.)Stay away from fried, greasy highly spicy foods. Don't lie down for a good one-half hour after you eat. Sleep elevating the head of the bed: a recliner, pillows, a dorm-sized study pillow ( looks like the tp half of a chair ) or actually raising the head of the bed by putting a four- inch dictionary under each side of the top of the bed frame. A lot cheaper than purchasing a hospital bed.

6. Groin and leg cramps happen. So do backaches. Warm soaks, heating pads on medium setting, Tylenol, as directed, flat shoes, support stockings, maternity belts, stretching. Get enough Calcium ( 1200 mgs ) and eat a banana or drink a glass of orange juice for Potassium.

Hang in there. Rarely do women get all of these symptoms, especially at the same time. First trimester brings the nausea and fatigue ( naps are good ). Second trimester may bring some ligamentalgia ( groin aches )and lower back tinges but mostly women feel pretty darn good--considering. Second trimester is a great time for vacations and even some hanky-panky. Third trimester is better when it's over. Then you have a baby to worry about.