70 Pregnancy and Childbir th
Swollen veins (varicose veins)
Blue swollen veins in the legs and around the vagina are
called varicose veins. They are caused by the weight of the
growing baby. They can become quite large and painful.
Women with swollen
veins should try to
put their feet up
when they can, and
wrap their legs if the
swelling is very bad.
What to do:
• Try not to stand up for too long. If you have to stand, walk
in place or move your feet and legs. When you are sitting
down, put your feet up as often as possible.
• Be sure to walk every day. If you have a disability and
cannot walk, ask someone in your family to help move and
exercise your legs.
• If the problem is severe, wrap your legs with cloths.
Begin wrapping at the ankles and work up to just
below the knee. The bandage should be tighter
around the ankle and looser further up the leg.
Take off the bandages at night.
Constipation (difficulty passing stool)
Pregnancy makes the bowels work more slowly. This can make
the stool harder, so it is more difficult to pass.
What to do (these things also help prevent constipation):
• Drink at least 8 glasses of liquid every day.
• Get regular exercise.
• If you are taking iron tablets, try taking only one a day with
fruit or vegetable juice. Or skip a few days.
• Eat plenty of fruits, vegetables, and foods with fiber—like
whole grains and cassava (manioc) root.
• Do not take laxatives. They only solve the problem for a
short while and then you need to take more.
Hemorrhoids are swollen veins around the anus. They often
itch, burn, or bleed. Constipation makes them worse.
If you have
hemorrhoids, sitting in
cool water can help
with the pain.
What to do:
• Sit in a basin or pan of cool water to relieve the pain.
• Follow the advice above for preventing constipation.
• Soak some clean cloth in witch hazel
(a liquid plant medicine) if you can
find it, and put it on the painful area.
• Kneel with your buttocks
in the air. This can help
relieve the pain.
Where Women Have No Doctor 2012