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Backache

As your womb grows, the joints in the pelvis relax, which can also cause pain in

your lower back. Comfortable shoes and good posture may help, but exercise

may relieve your backachemore than anything else. Strongmuscles can tolerate

more stress without hurting.

Develop a routine of back exercises every day from the beginning of your

pregnancy. There are many good books available about exercising and

pregnancy. The more important routines are shown in this booklet on pages 36

through 38. Toward the end of pregnancy, some women feel that the baby is

pushing on a nerve in their back causing discomfort in their lower back. Get on

your hands and knees and let the baby’s weight fall toward the floor. This will

relieve the pressure on your back as the baby shifts, and it may give you a great

deal of backache relief.

Insomnia

Early in your pregnancy, you may be very tired and sleep all the time. However, at the end of your pregnancy, you may

wish those days were back again. Usually, trouble with sleeping comes from the difficulty of finding a comfortable

sleeping position. If you have always slept on your stomach, you are going to experience difficulty sleeping during

pregnancy. Exercising a few hours before you go to bed or taking a warm bath may help you rest easier. It is important

not to drink alcohol or take sleeping pills to try to solve this problem. Work with your healthcare provider to find a safer

way to get enough sleep. Shortness of breath or heartburn may aggravate this situation, so prop yourself up at night.

Also, an active fetus might keep you awake, so avoid drinking caffeinated beverages.

Varicose Veins

Varicose veins or “varicosities” are caused when the veins in your legs get weak and enlarge with blood. The veins have

to work harder to carry blood back up your legs to your heart. Sometimes pregnancy can aggravate this problem. The

enlarging uterus partially cuts off circulation from your legs. Exercise will help, and it is important that you do not stand

for long periods of time without moving. When you sit, try to prop your legs up to allow better circulation. Varicose

veins are more of a problem for women having their second or third child. Even if you are having your first baby, try to

do as much as you can to aid instead of hinder the circulation in your legs.

Rest periodically with your legs up. Short walks at different times during the day will help pump your blood faster.

Support panty hose help tremendously but avoid tight clothing like knee highs or thigh high stockings that could cut

off circulation more. The area around the vulva can also suffer from varicosities during pregnancy. Again, rest periods

spread out during your day will help. Place a pillow under your buttocks to elevate your hips and aid circulation.

Skin Changes

Many women get very upset about changes in the color of their skin, but these

changes are common. Changing hormone levels cause most of these skin color

changes, but they usually all go away or fade dramatically after the baby is born.

Your skin may simply look “flushed,” like you are blushing. If you have especially pale

skin, you may develop brownish markings on your face. Some women get a dark line

down the middle of their abdomen, where the skin darkens considerably from the

navel to the pubic hair. This is called

linea nigra

.

Linea Nigra

If you have acne, you may find that pregnancy may cause it to flare up

or it can clear your skin from breakouts.

9

You Can Expect Some Changes