Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Abdominal Pain

The March of Dimes outlines the usual "normal" causes of abdominal pain in pregnancy here.  They also list times when you should be concerned and you should call your doctor as well as some ideas for relief.

All pregnant women can benefit from a few measures that also help relieve some of the symptoms and may even prevent some abdominal pain.

  1. Exercise - get out and walk.  Besides helping with bowel health (reduce constipation, relieve gas), it's good for the vitamin D you get from the sun.  A daily 15 minute walk will give you what you need of that nutrient.  It's also good for emotional health, boosting seratonin in the brain (an important neurochemical that helps ward off depression) and women have been shown to have improved labor progress when they have regularly exercised in pregnancy.  
  2. Drink water - staying hydrated is essential in pregnancy.  Dehydration can sometimes go unnoticed and yet can cause preterm labor.  Especially with warm weather coming it is important to sip, sip, sip.   Keep a refillable water bottle handy.  Some plastics are not recommended, especially when exposed to heat so try one of the new types such as stainless steel or aluminum.  If purchasing a plastic bottle be sure to look for a sticker or label that reads “BPA free."  (Click here to find out where and why plastic bottles have been banned.)  The thin plastic bottles are best if used as a "one time use only" drinking container. Check the recycling number on the bottom to determine which plastic bottles are safe: try to avoid numbers 3, 6 and 7 when possible. Go here for detailed information and useful pictures.  More info here.
  3. Avoid abrupt and sudden movements - even jumping out of a chair can cause strain on ligaments.
  4. Try a warm bath or "cozy" (bean, corn or rice bag warmed in microwave) or heating pad on low setting, wrapped in towel.
If you don't get relief from abdominal pain, call your health care provider.

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