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Although the state of pregnancy is a normal one, it triggers many changes, not only in the womb, but also throughout the female body. Most of the changes subside quickly after the birth of the child, some of them persist through life. A mother usually goes back to normal within thirty to forty days of the end of her labor. There are also some minor ailments which trouble expectant mothers like nausea, headache, pain in the breasts, palpitation, the desire to eat strange substances like charcoal or earth, disorders of the bladder, valvular pruritis, fever etc. None of these conditions is fatal. But a woman is likely to worry because of certain changes which are taking place in her body and which give rise to uncomfortable symptoms. The maladies and their symptoms can be easily dealt with, unless, of course, they are the offshoot of some more serious ailment. In this section we shall mention some of the commoner ailments of pregnancy.

Headache: The headache of pregnancy is generally due to constipation and a mild laxative should meet the need. The best would, of course, be a glycerin suppository, but one Amla preserved in sugar or a tola of Gulkand (confection of Rose Petals) taken with warm milk at bed-time. Coriander rubbed in water into a paste should be applied to the forehead.

Pain in the Breasts: The process of lactation (formation of milk), particularly during the first pregnancy, may be painful because the veins in the breast become engorged. Fomentation with warm decoction of Poppy head Bark and flowers of Butea Frondosa would quickly relieve the pain. It is better to avoid pain-killers in such cases.

Techycardia: The development of the foetus may, sometimes, give rise to techycarda. The palpitation may start on the slightest exertion; in some cases, even the blood pressure may go up. If there is constipation accompanying the spells of palpitation, it should be relieved first. Apple preserve (2 tolas) wrapped in Silver Foil taken twice a day should help. The mother-to-be should also be advised to eat sparingly so that the stomach is not overloaded and no flatulence is allowed to form.

Nausea and Vomiting: Most expectant mothers have a feeling of nausea, particularly in the beginning of the pregnancy and in most cases it is the first sign of pregnancy of the woman has missed her periods. She is generally nauseated in the mornings (morning sickness is merely a euphemism for nausea of pregnancy). A mixture of Gulkand and Lime Sharbat or Pomegranate Juice should be given to her. If that does not help, the remedies for nausea should be administered.

Craving for Strange Substances: Some pregnant women have a craving for strange substances like charcoal or earth. Some of them may exhibit a strong desire for exotic foods rarely eaten in the family. If the craving for strange substances cannot be checked, she should be asked to purge her bowels and should then try to concentrate on the need to bear healthy child-and that can only be done if she controls her palate. She should be advised to munch some parched gram when the craving has her in its grip.

Retention of Urine: During the final stages of the pregnancy the weight of the foetus in the uterus presses upon the urethra and there is a small constriction. A doctor or a clever midwife may be able to deal with this situation by inserting two fingers into the vagina and lifting the uterus a little, relieving the pressure. But if no medical aid is available, milk and water may mixed in equal proportions and drunk; alternatively, rive may be eaten with milk. No strong diuretic should be given.

Frequent Urination: If there is a tendency to frequent urination, particularly in the beginning of the pregnancy, equal parts of milk and water may be drunk. It the condition is found near the time of labor, nor medication is required. It is better to let nature take its course.

Valvular Pruritis: Some women experience intense itching in the genital tract during pregnancy. They should avoid spices and condiments and take a bland diet. A warm water douche should be given and the genital tract painted with a solution of Camphor in Rose Water.

Fever: If a pregnant woman gets fever, she must be treated with greater care. Any strong medicines given to bring down the fever in this state are likely to have a harmful effect on the foetus. If there is constipation present, a milk laxative is indicated; a bland, easily digestible diet should be prescribed. In cases of malaria, the minimal dose of quinine should be given.

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