13 Pains of Pregnancy


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Every expecting mom anticipates the moment she meets her new baby for the first time. But before she gets to kiss that nose, look into those beautiful eyes or tickle those tiny feet, she has to make it through nine months of pregnancy.

For some women, those nine months are filled with aches and pains they never knew existed. We consulted pregnancy websites and asked pregnancy and childbirth experts from around North Carolina for tips and tricks to help expecting moms get through the ups and downs of pregnancy. Alexandria Montgomery, a certified nurse midwife with a doctor of nursing practice degree who works for Novant Health Nurse Midwifery Associates Langtree in Huntersville; Cara Osborne, a certified nurse midwife with a master’s degree in nursing who is chief clinical officer and founder of Baby+Co. in Cary; and Jennifer Ozan, a doctor of osteopathic medicine and OB-GYN for Eagle Physicians in Greensboro, offered the following advice for some of the most common complaints pregnant women experience.

1. Nausea/morning sickness: Eat small, frequent meals. Try starchy foods such as crackers, toast or cereal in the morning before getting out of bed. Increase protein intake with foods like dried nuts, cheese and yogurt. Avoid greasy, high-fat foods. Drink peppermint, spearmint and chamomile teas, and try ginger-based remedies found at specialty stores like Whole Foods. Wear a seasickness band, which you can find at most pharmacies.

2. Food aversions. Studies show that up to 85 percent of expectant mothers experience some kind of food aversion, most often in the first trimester. Protein is a common trigger, but many pregnant women also suddenly dislike leafy greens, coffee, garlic and cinnamon, for example. As you might expect, hormones take the blame, but experts say there is some truth to a pregnant woman craving what her body needs and feeling repulsed by what is not good for her. Look for food substitutes that are appealing to you and that offer the nutrients you need.

3. Heartburn: Eat smaller, lighter meals more frequently. Avoid fatty, spicy foods and drinks with caffeine. Don’t lie flat for one to two hours after eating. Don’t drink fluids while eating.

4. Constipation: Eat a high-fiber diet of foods containing whole grains, fresh fruits and vegetables. Remember “B” — bran, beans and berries. Increase daily water intake. Be mindful that straining may lead to hemorrhoids, another common side effect.

5. Hemorrhoids: Use Witch Hazel wipes, Tucks Medicated Pads and Preparation H. Soak in a warm bath. Increase fluids and the amount of fiber in your diet.

6. Round ligament pain: As your body changes to make room for baby, you may experience pain on one or both sides of the lower pelvis/groin. Avoid changing positions too quickly or making sudden movements. Support your abdomen with pillows when lying on your side. Do stretches, prenatal yoga or core building exercises.

7. Back pain: Maintain good posture and avoid sitting or standing for long periods of time. Wear low-heeled, comfortable shoes. Use a footstool to prop up your feet when sitting. Use knees (not your back) when lifting. Stretch. Back pain may also include sciatic nerve pain that can cause numbness or tingling down the back of your legs or hip. Do stretches to help ease pain or sit on a large exercise ball.

8. Varicose veins: Wear support hose or compression tights. Avoid stockings with elastic bands. Don’t sit or stand in the same position for more than one hour at a time. Do not cross your legs. Lie down to rest occasionally and elevate your feet. Take walks.

9. Foot and ankle swelling: Keep legs elevated when sitting and don’t sit for long periods of time. If you do have to sit for a long time, get up and move every hour. Do not cross your legs. Decrease salt intake and increase water intake.

10. Leg cramps: Stay well hydrated. Take walks or swim daily. Stretch calf muscles during the day and before bed. Avoid getting too tired, or standing or sitting with your legs crossed for long periods of time. Eat a diet high in magnesium and calcium, and talk to your physician about supplements.

11. Itching: Stay well hydrated. Avoid perfumed soaps and lotions. Try switching soaps or using less soap. Blot skin with a towel instead of rubbing. Rub on cocoa butter. Take warm baths with baking soda.

12. Bleeding gums: Brush gently with a softer toothbrush and floss daily. Eat foods high in vitamin C, such as fruits and vegetables. Contact your dentist.

13. Headaches: Apply ice packs and rub peppermint oil on your forehead and the back of your neck. Do yoga or get acupuncture.

“Be kind to yourself and know that anything you have is something someone else has had too,” Osborne says. “You are not alone — lots of people have been through the same things. And if you think something is going on, don’t be shy about bringing up your concerns with your physician.”

Pregnancy the Second (or Third) Time Around

Just like each child is different, no two pregnancies are ever alike.

“It is amazing how women like to compare one pregnancy to another,” says Alexandria Montgomery, a certified nurse midwife with a doctor of nursing practice who works for Novant Health Nurse Midwifery Associates – Langtree in Huntersville. She says that in multiple pregnancies, women may notice pains and discomforts in subsequent pregnancies because they don’t have the excitement and fear of the first pregnancy.

Depending on the time between pregnancies, moms may be chasing a toddler so they don’t have time to rest like they did with their first. She also says back pain tends to be more common with each additional pregnancy.

No matter how bad the nine months are, remember that it is all worth it when you meet your sweet bundle of joy.
 

Postpartum Pains

Having a baby is an amazing experience, but it takes time for your body to fully recover. Use the following advice for dealing with aches and pains after baby arrives.

Recovery pain: Expect swelling and discomfort after a vaginal delivery. To help ease the pain, clean the area with warm water using a Peri bottle or by taking Sitz bath, and use pain medication and ice packs as instructed by your physician. If you have a C-section, follow the doctor’s orders and take it easy — no heavy lifting. Seek pain relief through doctor-recommended medications. Drink plenty of fluids to help prevent constipation and take stool softeners if recommended by your doctor.

Bleeding: It is normal to experience period-like bleeding for several weeks after having a baby. Expect a bright red, heavy flow of blood for the first few days.

Breast discomfort: As your milk comes in, increased breast size, tenderness and firmness are normal. To help reduce the pain and soreness, apply ice packs following feedings. Wear a supportive bra even if you are not breastfeeding.

Hemorrhoids: Use Witch Hazel wipes, Tucks Medicated Pads and Preparation H®. Soak in a warm bath. Increase fluids and the amount of fiber in your diet.

Swelling: Increase fluids.

Contractions: Don’t expect your uterus to shrink overnight. According to mayoclinic.org, you may feel small contractions during the first few days after delivery as your uterus decreases to its normal size post-pregnancy.

Baby blues: Don’t be surprised if you experience mood swings, anxiety, sadness, irritability and crying as your hormones adjust post-pregnancy. Exercise, meditate, and reach out to friends and family for support. If symptoms become more intense or you feel you might have postpartum depression, contact your physician for help.

Michele Jonczak, a freelance writer from Raleigh, is a mother of two boys, ages 3 and 5, and a girl, who is 18 months old.

 

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Historic Yates Mill County Park
4620 Lake Wheeler Road
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Century Center
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Kids Mindful Movement - Chapel Hill
781 Mt Carmel Church Rd
chapel hill, NC  27517
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216 N. Roberson St.
Chapel Hill, NC  27516
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Historic Yates Mill County Park
4620 Lake Wheeler Road
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Historic Yates Mill County Park
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Kids Mindful Movement - Pittsboro
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Sanderford Road Center
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Lake Crabtree County Park
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A brave young woman sets out on a journey to discover the mystery of her past through the twilight of the Russian Empire to the euphoria of Paris in the 1920s. Purchase tickets online.

Cost: $129 and up

Where:
Durham Performing Arts Center
123 Vivian St.
Durham, NC  27701
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Cost: Free

Where:
Stevens Nature Center/Hemlock Bluffs
2616 Kildaire Farm Rd.
Cary, NC
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This after-school class for kids in grades 3-5 offers fun learning yoga poses and mindfulness techniques to reduce stress. Grades 3-5. 

Cost: $15/class, or use your class pass/membership.

Where:
Kids Mindful Movement - Chapel Hill
781 Mt. Carmel Church Rd.
Chapel Hill, NC  27517
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A brave young woman sets out on a journey to discover the mystery of her past through the twilight of the Russian Empire to the euphoria of Paris in the 1920s. Purchase tickets online.

Cost: $129 and up

Where:
Durham Performing Arts Center
123 Vivian St.
Durham, NC  27701
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Bond Park
801 High House Rd.
Cary, NC
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Cost: Free

Where:
Historic Yates Mill County Park
4620 Lake Wheeler Road
Raleigh, NC  27603
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Telephone: 919-856-6675
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Take your budding paleontologist on a quest to unearth colorful dinosaur eggs. Explore the Dinosaur Trail where you will find fun activities, adventure, and prehistoric excitement, including...

Cost: $7 for egg hunters, $2 for accompanying adults. Museum admission not included.

Where:
Museum of LIfe and Science
433 W. Murray Ave.
Durham, NC  27704-3101
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Telephone: 919-220-5429
Contact Name: Heather Hill
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Join us for a day of family fun to welcome spring, including a picnic area, giant slides, a giant sandbox, the barrel train, and mini zip lines (weights up to 100 pounds).  An egg hunt for...

Cost: $8 Bunny Pass (includes egg hunt); $5 Chickee Pass

Where:
Hubb's Farm
10276 N US 421 Hwy
Clinton, NC  28328
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Get ready for Easter with egg decorating. Make wooden eggs that will last for years. Along with the crafting, enjoy some treats.  Register online. 

Cost: $8/person

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Bull City Craft
105 W NC highway 54
Suite 265
Durham, NC  27713
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Enjoy fun, games, friendship and more every Friday.

Cost: Free

Where:
Sanderford Road Center
2623 Sanderford Rd.
Raleigh, NC  27610
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Sponsor: Raleigh Parks, Recreation and Cultural Resources Department
Telephone: 919-831-1898
Contact Name: Adam Sproles
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A brave young woman sets out on a journey to discover the mystery of her past through the twilight of the Russian Empire to the euphoria of Paris in the 1920s. Purchase tickets online.

Cost: $129 and up

Where:
Durham Performing Arts Center
123 Vivian St.
Durham, NC  27701
View map »


Website »

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Step back in time with our 19th-century costumed interpreters and watch the millstones at work grinding corn into meal. Preregistration is encouraged. Tours are not available between Noon-1:00...

Cost: $5/Adult, $4/Senior (ages 60+), $3/Child (ages 7-16), Free/Child (6 - under)

Where:
Historic Yates Mill County Park
4620 Lake Wheeler Road
Raleigh, NC  27603
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Telephone: 919-856-6675
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Cost: Free

Where:
Crowder County Park
4709 Ten-Ten Road
Apex, NC  27539
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Telephone: 919-662-2850
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Cost: Free

Where:
Duke Homestead
2828 Duke Homestead Rd.
Durham, NC  27705
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Cost: Adults $10, Youth 7-17 $4. Free for ages 6 and younger

Where:
City of Raleigh Museum
220 Fayetteville Rd.
Raleigh, NC  27601
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Cost: Free

Where:
Baptist Grove Church
7109 Leesville Rd.
Raleigh, NC  27587
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Sponsor: Baptist Grove Church
Telephone: (919) 787-4528 x224
Contact Name: Cynthia Jacko Wise
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Cost: Free

Where:
Halle Cultural Arts Center
237 N. Salem St.
Apex, NC  27502
View map »


Website »

More information

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Cost: $7 for egg hunters, $2 for accompanying adults. Museum admission not included.

Where:
Museum of LIfe and Science
433 W. Murray Ave.
Durham, NC  27704-3101
View map »


Sponsor: Museum of Life and Science
Telephone: 919-220-5429
Contact Name: Heather Hill
Website »

More information

Enjoy an Easter egg hunt featuring games and prizes. 

Cost: Free

Where:
Genesis Church
6724 Hankinson Rd,
Wendell, NC  27591
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Telephone: 843-908-1700
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Cost: Free

Where:
Sertoma Amphitheatre, Bond Park
801 High House Rd.
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Cost: Free

Where:
Historic Yates Mill County Park
4620 Lake Wheeler Road
Raleigh, NC  27603
View map »


Telephone: 919-856-6675
Website »

More information

Step back in time with our 19th-century costumed interpreters and watch the millstones at work grinding corn into meal.  Preregistration is encouraged. Tours are not available between...

Cost: $5/Adult, $4/Senior (ages 60+), $3/Child (ages 7-16), Free/Child (ages 6-under)

Where:
Historic Yates Mill County Park
4620 Lake Wheeler Rd.
Raleigh, NC  27603
View map »


Telephone: 919-856-6675
Website »

More information

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Cost: Free

Where:
Crowder County Park
4709 Ten-Ten Road
Apex, NC  27539
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Telephone: 919-662-2850
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Cost: Free

Where:
Historic Yates Mill County Park
4620 Lake Wheeler Road
Raleigh, NC  27603
View map »


Telephone: 919-856-6675
Website »

More information

A brave young woman sets out on a journey to discover the mystery of her past through the twilight of the Russian Empire to the euphoria of Paris in the 1920s. Purchase tickets online.

Cost: $129 and up

Where:
Durham Performing Arts Center
123 Vivian St.
Durham, NC  27701
View map »


Website »

More information

A brave young woman sets out on a journey to discover the mystery of her past through the twilight of the Russian Empire to the euphoria of Paris in the 1920s. Purchase tickets online.

Cost: $129 and up

Where:
Durham Performing Arts Center
123 Vivian St.
Durham, NC  27701
View map »


Website »

More information

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Cost: Free

Where:
Harris Lake County Park
2112 County Park Dr.
New HIll, NC  27562
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Sponsor: Harris Lake County Park
Telephone: 919-387-4342
Contact Name: Joanne St. Clair
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