15 Dec Pain management During Pregnancy
Pain management during pregnancy
Pregnancy is an immunocompromised state and pregnant women are prone to pain. Pain in pregnancy can be caused by non-obstetric causes which are very common. And most women feel fear about the use of drugs during pregnancy.
Mild discomfort and pain can be managed with simple exercises, but if uncontrolled then over-the-counter medications can be considered. Along with OTC medications, some herbal medications would have beneficial effects too e.g herbal tea. HERBAL TEAS show positive health effects on the human body and contain multiple health effects. They do not contain any sedatives or caffeine, like other teas. Generally, these are made from dried leaves, flowers, and fruits, therefore, are not contraindicated in pregnancy.
Types Of Pains In Pregnancy
Pregnant women usually face musculoskeletal and rheumatologic pain which can be of the following types:
- Lower Back Pains
- The most common presentation in pregnant women is lower back pain. It affects almost half of the pregnancies and is sometimes considered normal. However, obstetricians usually rule out other factors e.g previous history of lower back pain, previous history of pregnancy-induced lower back pain, and strenuous exercise.
- Mechanical strain due to a large uterus, increasing weight, and increased gravitational load can result in lower back pain.
- This pain can be managed with preventive measures and pregnancy-related education. Women who are physically active before pregnancy face fewer symptoms during pregnancy.
- Joint Pains
- Healthy pregnant women can present with joint pains due to musculoskeletal changes. However, these joint symptoms may be worse if she has any previous illness like SLE or rheumatoid arthritis.
- It should be remembered that pregnancy is rarely associated with new-onset diseases.
- This type of pain is managed by controlling the underlying disease.
- Pains From Nerve Compression
- Hormonal changes in pregnancy are associated with tissue edema that can compress nerves and result in certain conditions like carpal tunnel syndrome.
- This type of pain is usually managed with activity modification, splints application, and taking NSAIDs. In extreme cases uncontrolled with other measures, surgical decompression may be considered.
- Pelvic Pain Due To Pregnancy
- Different types of hormones are released during pregnancy to cope with changes. A hormone named relaxin is produced to relax the pelvic ligaments and is thought to be associated with pelvic pain during pregnancy. Relaxing helps move joints and widens the pelvis that can be painful.
- This type of pain is managed by patient education regarding exacerbating factors and their control e.g strenuous exercise and mechanical load.
- Abdominal Pain Due To Nerve Compression
- Abdominal pain in pregnancy can be due to multiple reasons e.g originating from any organ. Anterior abdominal-wall size increases in pregnancy that results in stretching of nerves in the abdominal wall and causes pain. Pregnancy is associated with changes in the chest and abdominal wall due to uterine growth which can result in compression of nerves under the skin.
- Pain In Ribs
- Ribs are interconnected with intercostal muscles which are supplied by intercostal nerves. As the uterus enlarges during pregnancy it results in stretching over intercostal nerves that cause pain in the ribs.
Over The Counter Medications
There are two main groups of most commonly used analgesics during pregnancy are:
- Non-Opioid Painkillers
- These include aspirin, acetaminophen, and NSAIDs.
- Acetaminophen is generally safe in all trimesters in standard doses. It does not increase the risk of congenital anomalies or other adverse effects.
- Low-dose aspirin has positive effects and is relatively safe. But remember that it has the potential risk of maternal and fetal bleeding.
- NSAIDs relieve pain and do not have teratogenic effects during the first three months of pregnancy. But consult your healthcare provider for long-term use.
- Opioid Painkillers
- These include codeine, morphine, and meperidine.
- These drugs have been used by pregnant women for years in standard doses to relieve pain. They do not cause any teratogenic effects but neonates can develop dependence, may show withdrawal.
- They should be used with special care after discussion with your healthcare provider.
The bottom line is pain killers above mentioned can be used in therapeutic doses for pain control in pregnancy. Along with these medications, HERBAL TEAS may provide soothing effects as they have anti-inflammatory and antioxidative properties. They do not contain caffeine or any opiates harmful to the fetus.
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