By Natalie Roberts
THERE are many wonderful changes that can happen to your body when you are pregnant like glossy hair and nails, soft supple skin. But manypeople neglect to tell you the not so wonderful changes that can occur.
Here are 5 not-so-nice changes to your body you may have noticed.
- Are your gums bleeding when brush your teeth?
Gingivitis or gum disease as it is more commonly known, affects most people at some point in their life, but pregnancy can make you more prone to it. Pregnancy hormones can cause your gums to swell and become inflamed, which leads to them bleeding when you brush or floss. To help relieve the bleeding, continue to brush and floss regularly. You may have been avoiding brushing the areas that are bleeding but leaving the plaque to build up at the gums will only make them more irritated.
Use an electric toothbrush. Various studies have shown them to be more effective than a manual brush. You should floss or use interdental brushes at least three times a week and visit your dentist for regular examinations. Dental treatment is free on the NHS while you are pregnant and up until your baby is one. Your dentist will also be able to advise a mouthwash that is safe to use during pregnancy.
2. Morning sickness doesn’t just happen in the morning.
Although it can be worse at this time, sickness can occur at any time of the day and night. The cause of the sickness pregnant women can experience is unknown. It is thought that it could be due to hormonal changes that happen in pregnancy. It usually starts around the 5th or 6th week of pregnancy and can last up until your 16th week. Some women get Hyperemesis Gravidarum, an illness which can make you dehydrated, sick and ill all the way through pregnancy. As long as you are able to keep some food down and drink plenty of fluids it should not affect your baby in any way. To help with your symptoms you should make sure you are getting plenty of sleep, as tiredness can play a big part in morning sickness. Try eating dry cereal or crackers before getting out of bed. You may find eating small but frequent meals helps, but avoid spicy and greasy foods which can make the sickness worse. Drinking peppermint or ginger tea may also help.If you are worried at any point then contact your GP for advice. You can also contact the charity Pregnancy Sickness Support if you would like some advice.
3. Have you noticed you have developed varicose veins, or ones you already had look worse?
This is due to your growing uterus putting pressure on your pelvic veins. This increases blood pressure in the leg veins causing varicose veins to develop or worsen. The good news is you may be able to prevent or minimise them. Keep your legs elevated as much as possible. Don’t stand for long periods of time and when you are sitting avoid crossing your legs. You may also want to invest in some support tights. They are not very sexy, but may be worth it if they help prevent unsightly veins.
Once your baby is born the varicose veins may disappear. If not, you can have surgery to correct them, but you may have to pay privately for the procedure.
4. You may have noticed itching and bleeding coming from your rectal area (your bum)!
If so then you probably have haemorrhoids or Piles as they are more commonly known . You’re not alone. Up to 50 percent of pregnant women suffer from them. Pregnancy makes you more prone to them because of the increase in blood circulating around your body. You can avoid getting them by eating a high fibre diet and drinking plenty of water. This will help you avoid constipation which can cause you to develop haemorrhoids.
Once you do have them you can help get rid of them by taking regular warm baths, which will help alleviate the itching and pain. Ensure you clean the area gently and thoroughly after a bowel movement. Avoid sitting and standing for long periods and sleep on your side not your back. They usually disappear once pregnancy is over. But if they do persist or are painful see your GP.
5. Do you leak urine when you cough, sneeze, laugh or run?
Around 4 out of 10 pregnant women suffer from stress incontinence. The great news is you can stop it. Various pregnancy hormones cause your pelvic floor muscles and tissues to stretch, which can lead to a weakness in the muscles that release urine from your bladder. Doing regular pelvic floor exercises will help with the weakness. If you find you are still leaking after several weeks of regular exercises then have a chat with your Midwife or GP. They may refer you to a women’s health Physiotherapist.