228 chapter 10: Pregnancy
Aches and Pains in the Joints
A pregnant woman’s body gets soft and loose to make room for the baby to
grow and to get ready to give birth. Sometimes her joints also get loose and
uncomfortable, especially the hips. This usually happens during the last few weeks
of the pregnancy. It is not dangerous and will get better after the birth.
What to do:
• Rest the painful joints. Move a little from time to time so that the joints will not
get stiff, but your movements should be gentle.
• Applying cold or heat to the painful joint often reduces pain and makes
movement easier. Usually cold works best on hot, inflamed joints, and heat on
sore, stiff joints. Experiment to see which works best for you. If you cannot feel
hot or cold things against your skin, be careful not to burn or freeze yourself.
For cold: Use ice wrapped in a cloth or towel for 10 to 15 minutes.
For heat: Use a thick cloth that has been soaked in clean
hot water (squeeze out the extra water) and wrap it
around the sore joint. Cover the cloth with
a piece of thin plastic, and wrap with a
thick dry cloth or towel to hold in the heat.
When the wet cloth starts to get cool, put it
back in the hot water and repeat.
Or fill a bottle (ceramic, plastic, or glass)
with hot water, close it securely, wrap it in a
cloth, and hold it against the painful area.
Heat will help ease
sore and stiff joints.
• Take paracetamol (acetaminophen) for pain, 500 mg every 3 to 4 hours. But do
not take more than 8 tablets (4000 mg) in 24 hours (see page 350).
Many women find that as their belly gets bigger, it gets harder to control leaking
urine. During pregnancy, women with physical disabilities such as limited muscle
control and paralysis or loss of feeling in the lower body often have more problems
than other women with leaking urine.
As the baby grows and the mother’s belly gets bigger, the baby may push against
the bladder, leaving less room for urine. This can make urine leak out at times,
especially when the woman coughs or sneezes. Sometimes the urine comes out so
suddenly that it is hard to tell if it is urine or if the ‘bag of waters’ has broken. You
may be able to tell by the smell if it urine or not. If this happens, watch for other
signs of labor, and ask a health worker or midwife for advice.
A Health Handbook for Women with Disabilities 2007