Pregnancy is an exciting time in a woman’s life, filled with countless physical, emotional and lifestyle changes. Pregnant women often do research, read books or consult friends and family to determine what to expect during those nine months and how to best combat the symptoms that may arise. While issues like morning sickness and cravings are to be expected, there are several uncomfortable, but common, effects soon-to-be moms may be less likely to anticipate.
“A woman is going to experience numerous changes to her body during pregnancy,” says Dr. Alyssa Dweck, an OB-GYN, author and expert on women’s health. “Although there is abundant information about issues like backaches and morning sickness, there are a number of common symptoms women are less inclined to talk about because they either consider them taboo or embarrassing.”
While each woman’s pregnancy experience will be unique, Dr. Dweck shares some of the lesser-known, but common, health nuisances to expect when expecting:
Some common causes of constipation among pregnant women include increased progesterone levels, which influences intestinal motility, increased pressure from the growing uterus and the recommended supplementation of iron. To help diminish constipation, women can try increasing their fiber and fluid intake and limit iron supplements to three times a week.
2. Yeast infections
The hormonal changes that come with pregnancy often increase the chance of developing a vaginal yeast infection. However, according to a 2016 Danish nationwide cohort study, even a single, low dose of fluconazole (the leading prescription pill to treat yeast infections) may increase miscarriage risk. Instead, Dr. Dweck recommends MONISTAT 7 for vaginal yeast infections, as it relieves symptoms four times faster and works on more of the most common strains of yeast than the prescription oral pill. Nevertheless, women should always check with their own healthcare provider before using any treatment during pregnancy.
Heartburn and indigestion are most frequent during the third trimester, as the growing uterus places pressure on the stomach and the muscle tone of the esophagus relaxes. To help minimize heartburn, eat smaller, more frequent meals throughout the day, sit or stand after a meal and avoid spicy, greasy and fatty foods. OTC antacids are typically safe, but it is important to speak to an OB-GYN before taking.
4. Varicose veins
Many women develop varicose veins during pregnancy. As blood volume increases and the uterus enlarges, additional pressure is put on the veins in the pelvis, lower extremities and the rectal area. Elevate the legs to improve circulation, avoid sitting or standing in the same position for extended lengths of time and try to exercise regularly, if possible.
5. Body and facial hair growth
Hair is likely to grow faster and thicker during pregnancy on places other than just the head. Higher levels of estrogen extend the growth phase of hair, leading to less shedding and denser locks. Safe ways to get rid of these unwanted hairs during pregnancy include tweezing, waxing and shaving.
Regardless of whether a result of pregnancy is considered normal, pregnant women should readily consult their OB-GYN if they experience any changes or if they are looking for treatment solutions. Though health nuisances are bound to pop up during pregnancy, there are simple solutions to combat them so women can make the most of this wonderful time and prep for the arrival of baby. For more information, visit Monistat.com.