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Pregnancy Basics

Everyone expects pregnancy to bring an expanding waistline. But many women are surprised by the other body changes that pop-up. Get the low-down on stretch marks, weight gain, heartburn and other "joys" of pregnancy. Find out what you can do to feel better.

Body Changes

Aches, pains, and backaches

As your uterus expands pains in the back, abdomen, groin area, and thighs often appear. Many women also have backaches and aching near the pelvic bone due the pressure of the baby's head, increased weight, and loosening joints.

To ease some of these aches and pains try:

  • Lying down
  • Resting
  • Applying heat

If you are worried or the pains do not get better, call your doctor.

Breast Changes

A woman's breasts increase in size and fullness during pregnancy. As the due date approaches, hormone changes will cause your breasts to get even bigger in preparation for breastfeeding. Your breasts may feel full and heavy, and they might be tender or uncomfortable.

In the third trimester, some pregnant women begin to leak colostrum from their breasts. Colostrum is the first milk that your breasts produce for the baby. It is a thick, yellowish fluid containing antibodies that protect newborns from infection. If leaking becomes embarrassing, put nursing pads inside your bra.

Try to these tips to stay comfortable:

  • Wear a soft, comfortable maternity or nursing bra with extra support.
  • Wash your nipples with water instead of soap. Soap can dry and irritate nipples. If you have cracked nipples, use a heavy moisturizing cream that contains lanolin.

Dizziness

Many pregnant women complain of dizziness and lightheadedness throughout their pregnancies. Fainting is rare but does happen even in some healthy pregnant women. There are many reasons for these symptoms. The growth of more blood vessels in early pregnancy, the pressure of the expanding uterus on blood vessels and the body's increased need for food all can make a pregnant woman feel lightheaded and dizzy.

To feel better follow these tips:

  • Stand up slowly.
  • When you're feeling lightheaded, lay down on your left side.
  • Avoid sitting or standing in one position for a long time.
  • Eat healthy snacks or small meals frequently.
  • Don't get overheated.

Call your doctor as soon as possible if you faint. Dizziness or lightheadedness can be discussed at regular prenatal visits.

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