Maternity Common Health Issues

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Avoiding constipation

To help prevent constipation, you can:

  eat foods that are high in fibre, such as wholemeal breads and cereals, fruit and vegetables, and pulses such as beans and lentils – read more about having a healthy diet in pregnancy

  exercise regularly to keep your muscles toned – read more about exercise in pregnancy

  drink plenty of water

  avoid iron supplements, which can make you constipated – ask your doctor if you can either manage without them or change to a different type

Avoiding cramp

Regular gentle exercise in pregnancy, particularly ankle and leg movements, will improve your circulation and may help prevent cramp. Try these foot exercises:

  bend and stretch your foot vigorously up and down 30 times

  rotate your foot 8 times one way and 8 times the other way

  repeat with the other foot

  avoid iron supplements, which can make you constipated – ask your doctor if you can either manage without them or change to a different type

Skin and hair changes in pregnancy

Hormonal changes taking place in pregnancy will make your nipples and the area around them go darker. Your skin colour may also darken a little, either in patches or all over.Birthmarks, moles and freckles may also darken. Some women develop a dark line down the middle of their stomach. These changes will gradually fade after the baby is born, although your nipples may remain a little darker.

If you sunbathe while pregnant, you may find you burn more easily. Protect your skin with a high-factor sunscreen and don't stay in the sun for a long time. Read more about keeping skin safe in the sun.Hair growth can also increase in pregnancy, and your hair may be greasier. After the baby is born, it may seem as if you're losing a lot of hair, but you're just losing the extra hair you grew in pregnancy.

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