MINOR DISCOMFORTS OF PREGNANCY
The practical nurse is an invaluable member of the health care team when
working with pregnant patients. Being knowledgeable and capable to support the
patient and to give her advice to make her more comfortable is very important during
the pregnancy. Since the patient is carrying a new life within her, her body must make
certain adaptations to his presence. These adaptations of the body can be very
annoying, and by your intervention, you may help the new pregnant patient to carry her
pregnancy more comfortably and safely. Do be aware that all patients do not
experience all of the discomforts (Table 8-1) and some patients pass through the entire
antepartal period without any complications of this type.
DISCOMFORTS RELATED TO THE GASTROINTESTINAL SYSTEM
a. Nausea and Vomiting (Morning Sickness).
(1) One of the most common discomforts of early pregnancy is possibly due
to high levels of humanchorionic gonadotropin (HCG) or progesterone, cultural
expectations, emotional factors, and hypoglycemic reaction as a result of increased
basal metabolism due to the 24-hour a day fetal and maternal body functions, especially
after a period of fasting (from night to morning).
(2) Nausea and vomiting usually appear early in the first trimester (6 to 8
weeks) and subsides by the end of the 12th week of pregnancy.
(3) This is most bothersome in the morning when a woman awakes and the
stomach is empty. Some pregnant women may experience this sort of discomfort at
other times of the day.
Nursing interventions consist of advising the mother to:
(a) Eat a high-protein snack at bedtime if it's a hypoglycemic attack.
(b) Eat crackers or a piece of dry toast before getting up (keep by
bedside if possible).
Eat frequently spaced, small meals of high-quality (protein) foods.
(d) Sip a hot drink before arising.