81can empty it properly. Then youwon’t need to pass water again quiteso soon.If you have any pain while passingwater, or pass any blood, you mayhave a urine infection which willneed treatment. Drink plenty of water to dilute your urine andreduce irritation. You should contact your GP within 24 hours.Sometimes pregnant women areunable to prevent a sudden spurt of urine or a small leak when theycough, sneeze or laugh, or whenmoving suddenly or just getting upfrom a sitting position. This may betemporary because the pelvic ﬂoor muscles relax slightly to prepare for the baby’s delivery.The growing baby will increasepressure on the bladder. If you ﬁndthis a problem, you can improve thesituation by doing exercises to toneup your pelvic ﬂoor muscles (seepage 16). Ask a midwife or obstetricphysiotherapist (see pages 62 and 63)for advice.
Piles, also known as haemorrhoids,are swollen veins around the backpassage which may itch, ache or feelsore. You can usually feel thelumpiness of the piles around theback passage. Piles may also bleed alittle and they can make going to thetoilet uncomfortable or even painful.They occur in pregnancy becausethe veins relax under the inﬂuenceof pregnancy hormones. Piles usuallygo shortly after delivery. If you suffer from piles you should:
eat plenty of food that is high inﬁbre, like wholemeal bread, fruitand vegetables, and you shoulddrink plenty of water – this willprevent constipation, which canmake piles worse;
avoid standing for long periods;
take regular exercise to improve your circulation;
sleep with the foot of the bedslightly raised on books or bricks;
use an ice pack to easediscomfort, holding this gentlyagainst the piles, or use a clothwrung out in iced water;
if the piles stick out, push themgently back inside using alubricating jelly;
ask your doctor, midwife or pharmacist if they can suggest asuitable ointment;
consider giving birth in a positionwhere the pressure on your backpassage is reduced – kneeling, for example.
Hormonal changes taking place inpregnancy will make your nipplesand the area around them go darker. Your skin colour may also darken alittle, either in patches or all over.Birthmarks, moles and freckles mayalso darken. Some women develop adark line running down the middleof their stomachs. These changeswill gradually fade after the baby hasbeen born, although your nipplesmay remain a little darker.If you sunbathe while you arepregnant, you may ﬁnd you tanmore easily. Protect your skin witha good, high-factor sunscreen.Don’t stay in the sun for very long.Hair growth is also likely toincrease in pregnancy. Your hair mayalso be greasier. After the baby isborn it may seem as if you’re losing alot of hair. In fact, you’re simplylosing the increase that occurredduring pregnancy.
If you sometimes can’t helpwetting or soiling yourself,you can get help.Incontinence is a verycommon problem. It canaffect anyone, sometimesduring and after pregnancy.In many cases it is curable,so if you’ve got a problemtalk to your doctor,midwife or health visitor,or ring the conﬁdential Continence Foundationon 020 7831 9831(9.30a.m.–1p.m. Mon–Fri).