Being pregnant is, without a doubt, one of the most wonderful experiences of a woman’s life. However, some of the most common symptoms associated with pregnancy aren’t quite so wonderful.
Aside from the obvious weight gain, many women find that as the baby grows, they experience shortness of breath.
“This happens especially in the first trimester,” said Dr. Jackie Eghrari-Sabet, of Family Allergy & Asthma Care in Gaithersburg, Md. “Pregnancy hormones can speed up your breathing rate so you can feel like you’re panting. Also, as the baby grows, it can push up on your diaphragm and lungs, making you breathe faster, and if you have asthma, you may find the asthma gets worse. Go to doctor and take your medication, because if you don’t breathe, the baby doesn’t breathe.”
Also, is your nose stuffy? That’s caused by a condition known as rhinitis pregnancy. According to Dr. Jackie, “It makes the inside of your nose swell. However, you can get medication for that. You don’t have to suffer.”
If you break out in hives toward the end of your pregnancy, don’t panic. You’re not allergic to pregnancy. That’s caused by a very common condition called PUPPP (pruritic urticarial and plaques of pregnancy).
“It will go away when you deliver and can also be treated with antihistamines,” Dr. Jackie said.
What about those dark blotches on your face and that dreaded dark line snaking down your abdomen from your belly button? This is sometimes called the mask of pregnancy or the linea nigra. According to Dr. Jackie, “When you are pregnant, everything is growing so even the melanocytes (pigments) in your body start to pick up.” The pregnancy mask is more common in women of color.
Does everything you eat give you gastric distress? Since one of the things pregnancy hormones do is to relax muscles, this also happens in the stomach. The muscles that generally keep the acid inside your stomach where it belongs relax, causing GERD (reflux). To prevent that, avoid fatty foods, acidic foods and caffeine. Also, eat smaller, more frequent meals and don’t lie down right after eating or drinking.
Finally, many moms-to-be wonder if they can prevent food allergies in their babies by avoiding certain foods while they’re pregnant, i.e. peanuts and shell fish.
“Absolutely not,” said Dr. Jackie. “You can spare yourself the guilt. It doesn’t matter what you eat while you’re pregnant. If your child is genetically disposed to having a food allergy, sadly the child will.”