Find Out How To Deal With The Top Pregnancy Symptoms, Such As Heartburn, Swelling And Acne

Congratulations! You're pregnant! And you may find you are now experiencing bouts of heartburn, constipation, shooting pains and even acne. What gives? While pregnancy is a wonderful thing, there are some not-so-pleasant side effects. Here, we offer a list of some pregnancy symptoms and what you can do to alleviate them.
Molly Cerreta Smith

You may experience some of the symptoms, all of these symptoms and, for the lucky few, none of these symptoms. Make sure you talk to your personal doctor about your specific pregnancy symptoms.

According to Dr. Julie Scott, co-founder of Amomi Spa, a physician-supervised medical spa, and Scottsdale Perinatal Associates in Scottsdale, Arizona, some of the most common — and unfortunate — side effects of pregnancy occur along the gastrointestinal tract.

While heartburn can occur early in pregnancy, Scott says it usually increases later in pregnancy as the uterus expands and pushes the intestines around. To relieve symptoms, she suggests avoiding highly acidic and spicy foods. But remember, there are some hidden sources of acidic foods. "People forget that tomatoes and tomato-based products such as ketchup and salsa are highly acidic," she says. To nip heartburn in the bud, Scott suggests an over-the-counter remedy such as TUMS that will kill two birds with one stone. "TUMS are great because they will control heartburn and they are a great source of calcium," she says.

Constipation is caused by the pregnancy hormone progesterone. This muscle-relaxing hormone slows the transit of waste through the colon, according to Scott. She suggests increasing fluid and fiber intake to ward off this pregnancy woe. But beware of which fiber sources you select or you may be haunted by another offending pregnancy side effect — gas! Fiber cereals, oatmeal, apples, and spinach are all good choices for fiber, however cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli, cauliflower and beans are known to cause gas.

Round ligament pain
In the second trimester of your pregnancy, you may have experienced shooting pains that Scott says are intense enough to "take your breath away." This is round ligament pain, and she says this very common pregnancy side effect typically occurs between 18 and 24 weeks of pregnancy. "It can happen if you shift positions quickly, such as going from sitting to standing," Scott explains. The sharp and sudden pain is a result of the uterus growing out of the support of its "bony girdle," according to Scott. To alleviate the pain, try to lie down and take deep breaths to take the stress off of your belly. If you are really uncomfortable, talk with your doctor about taking Tylenol for pain relief. 

Swollen ankles and feet
If your ankles are the size of your calves by the end of the day, you are not alone! Dr. Scott says that swelling is extremely common, generally later in pregnancy, due to the build up of blood volume during pregnancy. The lower extremities usually get the brunt of the swelling. To relieve it, Scott suggests resting on your left side or trying a little hydrotherapy. "Hydrotherapy is one of the best things you can do to relieve it," she adds. This means soaking up to your neck in a bath for twenty minutes two times a day. Hot baths are not safe during pregnancy, so make sure you keep your tub water lukewarm. Now, if we could only find the time for this luxurious remedy!

So much for that pregnancy glow – your skin looks like it did when you entered high school! Scott attributes pregnancy-related acne to hormonal shifts in the body. Luckily, she says pregnancy-related acne usually occurs mainly in the early stages of pregnancy. She suggests maintaining a good skin care regiment and, if needed, applying a topical treatment salicylic acid which has been shown to not have any adverse effects on baby. Read more on safely treating acne while pregnant

Bleeding gums
If you've noticed blood when you rinse out your mouth after brushing your teeth, don't be alarmed. As long as you don't have any existing dental problems, this is most likely just another pregnancy side effect! Scott insists that it is very common and that women should not worry too much about the sight of blood. She stresses, "It's important to continue your regular dental routine, including brushing and flossing." The good news: It goes away after pregnancy.

Good pregnancy symptoms
Hooray — there are some good side effects that come along with pregnancy, too! With all the yucky symptoms you may also experience some of the following:

Thicker hair
Have you noticed the hair on your head is fuller and shinier? This is not actually a result of growing more hair; during pregnancy your body simply loses hair at a much slower rate than normal. Don't get too excited – once the baby is born, you'll start losing your hair at its normal rate again.

Longer nails
Your fingernails grow more quickly during pregnancy, so enjoy a much-deserved manicure to make them look their best. Protect them by wearing rubber gloves while doing dishes and moisturizing them if they turn brittle.
Pregnancy "glow"
Have people told you that you're glowing? It's one of the best compliments you'll ever hear! You can thank increased blood circulation for your fresh new look, though it may also come with hidden side effects such as darker nipples and dark patches on your skin.

Read more about pregnancy symptoms:

Tags: acne constipation heartburn swelling

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