How to deal with some common problems in the last phase of pregnancy

Lower back/pelvic-girdle pain

More than half of all pregnant woman experience lower-back or pelvic-girdle pain. Many feel the pain increasing towards the end of the day – at which point they also feel they are retaining fluid. Some pregnant women feel pain in one side only, or only on the front of their body by their pubic bone. Others are in pain front and back. Many pregnant women also experience muscle tension in their buttocks, abdomen and pelvic-floor muscles.

Relief:Using a cold pack is a good idea if you are in pain. Wrap the cold pack in a cloth and place it where you are most sore for 15-20 minutes. Strengthen your body by doing exercises every day, and make sure you stretch often. Take some breaks in the course of the day, and change your position regularly. Straighten up whether you are standing, walking or sitting.

Calf cramps

It is quite common for pregnant women to experience cramps in their lower legs. Cramps are caused by violent contractions of your muscles, in this case calf muscles.

Relief:Magnesium helps against getting cramps. Vegetables, nuts and whole meal products are a good source of magnesium. Stretch your calf muscles several times daily. Additionally, exercises help improve your circulation.

Water retention (edema)

Women differ as regards how much water they retain during pregnancy. Subjective experiences of retaining water may also be quite different from woman to woman. Some pregnant women feel that they “swell up”, particularly during the last phase of pregnancy. Their hands, feet and face swell.

Relief:You can alleviate this by taking a rest on your back or your side with your feet propped up. You can also buy support stockings from the pharmacy.


Heartburn is a common complaint in the second half of pregnancy when the baby takes up more room, pressing upwards.

Relief:Eat biscuits with milk and avoid spicy or rich food. Some use antacids in the form of effervescent powder or chewable tablets to neutralize stomach acidity. Lemon juice can make heartburn worse. Try orange or grapefruit instead. Some feel they benefit from chewing almonds.

Varicose veins

Varicose veins, or enlarged blood vessels, start because blood circulation in your legs becomes poorer during pregnancy, both because the uterus presses against the blood vessels in your pelvis, and also because your veins become more dilated than they would normally be. Blood collects in your legs and this result in swelling.

Relief:You can counteract this by elevating the foot of your bed by pushing a block of wood under each leg at the bottom of your bed. In the course of the day you can perform exercises to improve your circulation and perhaps wear support stockings.

Nausea and severe vomiting

It is perfectly normal to experience nausea and vomiting during the last trimester. Some pregnant women vomit so frequently that they lose weight and/or their sodium-water balance is affected. In case of severe vomiting it is good to consult your doctor.

Relief:Ginger, Peppermint, Almonds, Raspberry juice, Acupressure and Reflexology are believed to help.

Exercises to improve circulation

These exercises will relieve swelling and soreness in your abdomen and legs, calf cramps, hemorrhoids and constipation. These exercises work well followed by your pelvic-floor exercises – after childbirth as well.

  1. Lie on your back with your knees bent and the soles of your feet against the floor. You may want to place a cushion under your buttocks. Take three to five deep, calm breaths.

  2. Lift your buttocks, then lower them back towards the floor – five to 10 times. You could perhaps try shaking your pelvis while your buttocks are in the lifted position.

  3. Lift your right leg towards the ceiling and bend and stretch it at the knee – 10-15 times.

  4. Keep your leg stretched towards the ceiling and bend and stretch your foot at the ankle 10-15 times. Lower your leg, give it a bit of a shake and place the sole of your foot back against the floor. Repeat with your left leg.

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