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Pregnancy

Dr Ali's essential health for women - Pregnancy

Question

Completely trouble-free pregnancies are very rare, but there are simple ways to alleviate some of the problems.

Answer

Morning sickness
About half of all pregnant women suffer from morning sickness- which can in fact occur at any time of day – usually in the first trimester. The last thing you will feel like doing is eating, but it is vital that you continue to nourish both yourself and your baby.

What helps:

  • Ask your partner to give you a ten-minute neck massage first thing in the morning.
  • Put a hot-water bottle, wrapped in a towel, under your neck and lie on it for a while before getting up.
  • Have gentle osteopathic manipulation once a week for the first few weeks of pregnancy.
  • Practise acupressure: massage and stimulate the "nei guan" point in the middle of the inner arm about three fingers’ width above the wrist. It will be painful when pressed with the thumb or index finger of the opposite hand, but massaging this point often helps to relieve nausea.
  • Smell fresh-cut lime or put a few drops of lime essential oil on a tissue and sniff every few minutes.
  • Let in fresh air through open windows; use an air purifier too, if possible.
  • Follow the breathing exercise for period pain mentioned earlier, on page 34.

Backache
Lower back becomes a problem in the later stages of pregnancy as the spine realigns itself to counteract the extra weight in front.

What helps:
Practise yoga and in particular these exercises:

  • Lie on your back, knees bent, heels a hip-width apart. Lift your pelvis about 15cm above the ground and hold for five seconds. Repeat five to ten times.
  • Stand with your feet together and tighten your buttocks. Place both hands on your buttocks, inhale deeply and push them forwards. Don’t bend your knees but don’t lock them either. Hold for five seconds, breathing out as you return to the original position. Repeat five times.
  • Also, locate the tender spot in the lower abdominal muscles, on the right or left just above the pubic bone, and massage that gently, also the buttock on the same side.
  • Lie on your side with a pillow under your neck. Ask your partner to massage your neck and right down your spine.

Varicose veins and haemorrhoids
The growing weight of the baby, particularly a large one, puts tremendous pressure on the veins in the lower part of the body. The pressure causes congestion in the circulatory system and the result is varicose veins. Straining due to constipation and the downward pressure during labour similarly dilate the veins, leading to haemorrhoids (piles) or worsening varicose veins.

What helps:

  • From the beginning of your pregnancy, ask your partner to massage your calves gently upwards from the ankle at bedtime, using massage oil.
  • Keep your feet raised on a pillow at night.
  • Exercise your legs three to four times a day like this: lie or sit in bed with your legs stretched out in front of you; flex your ankles towards your body and hold them as far as possible and hold in that position for the same count. This will stretch the muscles and skin of the legs.

Tip:
Thai basil, a herb found in oriental of Thai grocery shops and some supermarkets, helps circulation and promotes relaxation. Add the leaves to soups and sauces, or infuse a few leaves in boiled water for five minutes, strain and drink with a little honey.

Stretch Marks
Stretch arks on breasts and abdomen, also hips and upper arms, mostly come after the birth but you can begin preventive treatment much earlier.
Keep your skin lubricated during pregnancy by massaging with almond oil. Continue after the birth using almond or mustard oil to nourish the skin restore the lost elasticity.

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