Management Of Pregnancy
( Originally Published Early 1900's )
General Rules-Constipation—Piles—Hardening the Nipples-Swollen Breasts—Varicose Veins—Falling Forward of the Womb—Obstinate Vomiting-Difficulty in Passing Urine, &c.
Proper Treatment of Pregnancy —The proper treatment of pregnancy consists for the most part in paying increased attention to the laws of health. A pregnant woman requires a full allowance of rest, and should therefore be careful to avoid late hours. She should take plenty of outdoor exercise whenever the state of the weather permits; and, while avoiding all unnecessary strain, such as the lifting of heavy weights, or reaching things from a height, she may engage In the lighter duties of her house, not only' without risk, but with actual gain of health and strength. Her food should be taken with the utmost regularity, and should be plain and simple in its nature. Good new milk should form a considerable part of her every-day diet. Stimulants are entirely unnecessary, except when taken under special medical direction.
As the abdomen enlarges it is of the utmost importance that the clothing should not be tight. A foolish regard for appearances has led many a woman into most lamentable mistakes on this point;
During pregnancy the mind should be attended to as well as the body. All unnatural excitement is to be carefully- guarded against, and distrcssing eights arc to bc especially shunned.
Action of the Bowels.—Great care must be exercised to ensure a daily action of the bowels. An excellent plan is to set apart a certain hour of the day for attending to this function, whether the desire for relief be urgent or not. Perhaps the most convenient time for most people is immediately after breakfast. By following this simple rule, a habit is established which will go far to obviate the necessity for aperient medicine. When such medicine is required, it should be of the simplest possible kind; for example, a compound rhubarb pill, or a little castor-oil. When constipation is associated with piles, the aperient chosen should be a tea-spoonful of sulphur in a little milk every morning, or a similar quantity of the compound liquorice powder made into a paste by mixing a little water with it; and the patient should be instructed to make her daily visit to the water-closet immediately before retiring to bed for the night. By these means the aching pain which, under such circumstances, is apt to follow every action of the bowels, may be considerably diminished. Injecting half a pint of cold water into the bowel, immediatly before the bowels are moved, often proves highly serviceable. Should the piles become inflamed or unusually painful, the patient must keep her bed for a day or two, and bathe the parts with warm water from time to time. Where these measures are required, however, the medical attendant should be consulted.
The nipples, especially in first pregnancies, should be hardened by bathing them daily during the last month or two with a mixture of equal parts of eaude-Cologne and water, in order to render them less liable to crack and become sore and painful on the application of the child. Inflammation and abscess of the breast often originate in cracked nipples.
Sore Breasts. — When the breasts become swollen and painful, they should be frequently fomented with flannels wrung out of hot water, and, in the meantime, should be supported, as in a sling, by a broad handkerchief passing under the arm of the affected side and over the opposite shoulder.
Sometimes the veins of the legs, thighs, and lower part of the body become swollen and uncomfortable. Under these circumstances, the patient should lie down as much as possible every day, and at once discontinue the use of tight garters.
In women who have borne many children, the abdominal walls are apt to become relaxed, and the pregnant womb, being insufficiently supported, is then in danger of falling forward, so as not only to produce deformity, but to prove a hindrance during labor. A flannel binder, or one of the abdominal belts sold for the purpose, should in these cases be constantly worn during the daytime.
Now and then the sickness, already alluded to as a common accompaniment of the early months of pregnancy, becomes so troublesome and incessant as to cause serious loss of strength. Under such circumstances consult a physician.
The Urine.—Towards the end of pregnancy it is not at all unusual for there to be some difficulty in passing urine, and for the desire to pass it to become very frequent. Should these symptoms, however, occur during the earlier months, and especially during the third and fourth, a medical man should be consulted; as they may be due to a displacement of the womb, which requires immediate attention.
Troublesome heartburn, diarrhoea, palpitation, persistent neuralgia, salivation, itching or swelling of the external parts, swelling of the face or ankles, all require prompt attention, and if severe, the personal care of the medical attendant.