Your body has a great deal of change to deal with during the first three months of pregnancy. While a degree of discomfort is to be expected, there are some conditions that are a little more serious. Spot the signs of health problems early on, and you will drastically increase the chances of dealing with them successfully - and enjoying a relatively smooth pregnancy.
Nausea and sickness are normal during the first few weeks of your pregnancy. While morning sickness is common, it usually ceases after around 16 to 20 weeks. However, some women develop a serious form of the ailment known as hyperemesis gravidarum - which can be picked up during early pregnancy care at The Portland Hospital. This potentially dangerous condition involves prolonged bouts of sickness, incessant vomiting, dehydration, low blood pressure and rapid weight loss. Serious cases of the condition can be treated through a combination of vitamins, minerals and steroids.
The hormonal changes in your body that occur during the first trimester have the potential to cause constipation. While some constipation is completely normal during the first few weeks of pregnancy, you can reduce its impact by eating fibre-rich foods, getting plenty of exercise, drinking lots of water and taking iron supplements. However, you should seek advice from a doctor before taking supplements of any kind when pregnant.
Hormonal changes in your body could be causing you to experience light headedness and dizziness during the first trimester. Your faintness may be at its worst when you stand too quickly from a seated position, or when you get out of bed in the mornings. Whenever you feel faint, find a seat and remain seated until it passes. If you feel faint when lying down, try lying on your side. And always try to get up from a seated or lying position slowly.
Changes to your skin
The hormonal changes that take place in your body during pregnancy have the potential to darken areas of your skin, as well as your nipples. It is also possible that any moles and freckles you have will darken too. If you spend lots of time in the sun, make sure you wear lots of high-factor sunscreen, as your skin could be more susceptible to burning during pregnancy.
Teeth and gum problems
In some rare cases, the hormonal changes in a pregnant woman’s body can make the gums more vulnerable to plaque. This can lead to bouts of inflammation - referred to as gum disease or pregnancy gingivitis. You should consult with your dentist if you experience regular bleeding of the gums, but there are some things you can do to minimise the problem:
• Clean your teeth thoroughly, twice a day
• Don't smoke
• Avoid alcohol-based mouthwashes
• Use a soft-filament toothbrush with a small head
• Avoid sugary drinks and snacks between meals
Some light vaginal bleeding (sometimes referred to as spotting) is common during pregnancy, but it can be a sign of miscarriage or ectopic pregnancy during the first trimester. As part of the maternity care provided by a private hospital, you will be able to consult with midwives and consultant obstetricians on a regular basis. Use this opportunity to relay your concerns about vaginal bleeding.
Deep vein thrombosis
While deep vein thrombosis (DVT) is not common during pregnancy, it is an extremely serious condition that requires urgent treatment. This life-threatening condition involves a blood clot that usually develops in the legs, but occasionally in the pelvis. If the clot dislodges and travels to the lungs, it has the potential to be fatal.
The symptoms to look out for include localised pain, warm skin, swollen legs, and redness which is often found below the knee at the back of the leg. However, wearing a compression stocking and taking regular exercise can significantly reduce the chances of DVT developing. Your doctor might ask you a series of screening questions when you first visit a maternity hospital - some of which could be related to assessing your predisposition to DVT.
Pregnancy and childbirth are usually memorable and hugely rewarding experiences. However, the potential for complications and various health issues is always present. By remaining vigilant and having access to world class early pregnancy care, you can maximise your chances of enjoying a trouble-free, healthy pregnancy.
Disclaimer: This post is brought to you by The Portland Hospital - the only private hospital in the UK dedicated exclusively to the care of women and children. For more information, please visit – www.theportlandhospital.com