Health Benefits and Risks of Eating Pickles During Pregnancy

Pickle is one of the most craved foods during pregnancy and pregnant women are notorious for having weird cravings for foods like pickles and ice cream. While pickles aren’t the healthiest food you could eat during pregnancy, indulging in a pickle or two every once in a while isn’t likely to cause harm. Pickles have very less nutritional value. One ounce of pickle contains no amount of protein, fat or cholesterol and less than one gram of carbohydrates. This is less than 0.1 percent of the amount of carbohydrates you should ideally have on a daily basis while you are pregnant. Pickle juice does contain high amounts of vitamin C and sodium. It also contains very small amounts of potassium

Is Consuming Pickles in Pregnancy Safe?

Consuming pickles in limited measures when pregnant may not be harmful. But it is not advisable to make pickles a part of your everyday diet while pregnant. Overindulgence in pickles during pregnancy can lead to certain health issues. Moderation should be the guiding factor whenever you are tempted to reach for that jar of pickles.

Moreover, during pregnancy, it is crucial to pay special attention to your dietary intake for your health along with that of your growing fetus. Pickles don’t include much nutritional value. So, their consumption is best kept to the minimum. Further, you may also like to avoid consuming very spicy pickles.

Benefits you eating pickles in moderation:

Helps Maintain Proper Balance Of Electrolytes In Your Body: Potassium and sodium are the two main electrolytes in your body. These are minerals that help in conducting electrical transmissions in your body. When you are pregnant, your body starts retaining more amount of fluid. During these months, your baby’s needs from your body also increase. This causes an increase in your body’s need for an electrolyte.

Calories, Macronutrients, and Boosts Digestion: Pickles are thought to improve digestion and even the immune function to some extent. Pickles may contain healthy bacteria which prevents it from getting spoiled. So eating pickles can aid in multiplying the good bacteria in your digestive system which can help in combating a lot of digestive issues. Eating pickles isn’t likely to cause you to exceed your daily recommended calories during pregnancy and gain too much weight. Dill pickles are low in both calories and fat.

Vitamins and Minerals: Having fresh pickles of various vegetables and fruits may provide important vitamins like vitamin A, C, K and minerals like calcium, iron, and potassium which can lower your risk of falling prey to diseases during pregnancy by strengthening your immune system. Each pickle has about 25.4 micrograms of, or 32 percent of the daily value for, this essential vitamin. Dill pickles provide trace amounts of other essential micronutrients as well, such as calcium, potassium, manganese and vitamin A.

Risk To Your Unborn Baby And You From Excess Sodium Content In Pickles:

Sodium Considerations: The main problem caused by eating dill pickles during pregnancy comes from their high sodium content. This can negate any benefits that eating pickles may have during pregnancy. The high quantity of sodium can actually be very dangerous for both your unborn baby and you if taken regularly over a period of time. Each pickle has 595 milligrams of sodium, which is about one-third of your daily sodium need during pregnancy. Getting too much sodium can increase your risk for high blood pressure, and during pregnancy, it can make you more likely to suffer from swelling. Drinking plenty of water can help minimize this effect. Another option is to eat a low-sodium version of dill pickles instead because these pickles have only about 12 milligrams of sodium each.

Potential for Heartburn: Refrain from eating very spicy pickles as it can trigger dysentery and digestive problems like heartburn and acidity. Pregnant women sometimes have problems with heartburn because pregnancy causes your body to produce more of the hormone progesterone. This hormone relaxes the valve that helps keep stomach acid and partially digested food from backing up into the esophagus.

Food Safety Considerations: Eating pickle during pregnancy which is homemade may have traces of listeria bacteria that can be potentially dangerous for the pregnancy. While store-bought dill pickles are generally safe during pregnancy, you may want to stay away from homemade refrigerator pickles during pregnancy. The listeria bacteria can survive the process used to make this type of pickle and this type of food poisoning is particularly dangerous for pregnant women. It can cause premature delivery, stillbirth, health problems for the baby or miscarriage.

Having a little pickle is alright, as long as you are not overdoing it and it is not turning into a regular habit. Speak to your doctor when pregnant before consuming pickles and discuss how much and how frequently you can have pickles if you really crave for it, as well as your concerns regarding safety and likely allergic reactions.


The information, including but not limited to, text, graphics, images and other material contained on this website are for informational purposes only. The purpose of this website is to promote broad consumer understanding and knowledge of various health topics. It is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or another qualified healthcare provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition or treatment and before undertaking a new health care regimen, and never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website.

Prenatal Care

Prenatal care is the health care you get while you are pregnant. It includes your checkups and prenatal testing. Prenatal care can help keep you and your baby healthy. It lets your health care provider spot health problems early. Early treatment can cure many problems and prevent others.

Why is prenatal care important?

Prenatal care is an important part of staying healthy during pregnancy.  

Your doctor, nurse, or midwife will monitor your future baby’s development and do routine testing to help find and prevent possible problems. These regular checkups are also a great time to learn how to ease any discomfort you may be having, and ask any other questions about your pregnancy and the birth of your future baby and also will give you a schedule for your prenatal visits.

When do I need to start having prenatal care appointments?

You can start getting prenatal care as soon as you know you’re pregnant.

It’s actually best to see a doctor BEFORE you get pregnant, this is sometimes called pre-pregnancy care or preconception planning. But if that’s not possible, just begin prenatal visits as soon as you can.

As soon as you think you’re pregnant, schedule your first prenatal appointment. Set aside ample time for the visit. You and your health care provider have plenty to discuss! You might want to include your partner in the appointment as well.

How often should I see my doctor during pregnancy?

Your doctor will give you a schedule of all the doctor’s visits you should have while pregnant. Most experts suggest you see your doctor:

  • About once each month for weeks 4 through 28
  • Twice a month for weeks 28 through 36
  • Every week from the 37th week until delivery

If you are over 35 years old or your pregnancy is high risk because of health problems like diabetes or high blood pressure, your doctor or midwife will probably want to see you more often. You can also expect to see your healthcare provider more often as your due date gets closer.

What happens during a prenatal visit?

Your health care provider will ask many questions, including details about:

  • Your menstrual cycle and gynecological history
  • Past pregnancies
  • Your personal and family medical history
  • Medication use, including prescription and over-the-counter medications or supplements
  • Your lifestyle, including your use of tobacco, alcohol, and caffeine

Due date

Few women actually give birth on their due dates. Still, establishing your due date or estimated date of delivery is important. An accurate due date allows your health care provider to monitor your baby’s growth and the progress of your pregnancy, as well as schedule certain tests or procedures at the most appropriate time.

Physical exam

Your health care provider will check your weight and height and use this information to calculate your BMI. He or she will use your BMI to determine the recommended weight gain you need for a healthy pregnancy. Will measure your blood pressure, heart rate, and breathing rate and do a complete physical exam. He or she will check for any undiagnosed medical conditions. Will also examine your vagina and the opening to your uterus (cervix). Changes in the cervix and in the size of your uterus can help confirm the stage of your pregnancy. You might need a Pap test to screen for cervical cancer as well, depending on how long it’s been since your last screening.

Lab tests

  • Check your blood type
  • Measure your hemoglobin
  • Check immunity to certain infections
  • Detect exposure to other infections
  • Screening tests for fetal abnormalities

Lifestyle issues

Your health care provider will discuss the importance of proper nutrition and prenatal vitamins. Your first prenatal visit is a good time to discuss exercise, sex during pregnancy and other lifestyle issues. You might also discuss your work environment and the use of medications during pregnancy.

Other first trimester visits

Subsequent prenatal visits, often scheduled about every four weeks during the first trimester, will probably be shorter than the first. Your health care provider will check your weight and blood pressure, and you’ll discuss any concerns.

Near the end of the first trimester, by about nine to 12 weeks of pregnancy,  you might be able to hear your baby’s heartbeat with a small device that bounces sound waves off your baby’s heart (Fetal Doppler). You may check online for Fetal Dopplers

Remember, your health care provider is there to support you throughout your pregnancy. Your prenatal appointments are an ideal time to discuss any questions or concerns, including things that might be uncomfortable or embarrassing.

Also, find out how to reach your health care provider between appointments. Knowing help is available when you need it can offer precious peace of mind.


Your First Postpartum Period: What to Expect

There are many things to love about pregnancy. Another is that you’ll have at least nine months of freedom from your period. But after you deliver, you’re probably curious about what will happen with your menstrual cycle. After its months-long hiatus, your postpartum period might return with a vengeance—or a whisper—and stay that way for years.

When your period returns often depend on whether or not you breastfeed. And just like your life after baby, you might find your periods after pregnancy is somewhat different.

When will my period return?

There are several factors that affect the return of your menstrual cycle, but most women will experience their first period between six to eight weeks after childbirth if you are not breastfeeding Approximately 80% of non-nursing mothers will have their period by the time they are 10 weeks postpartum. Those who practice exclusive breastfeeding might not have a period the entire time they breastfeed. “Exclusive breastfeeding” means that your baby is receiving only your breast milk. But for others, it might return after a couple of months, whether they’re breastfeeding or not.

If this is not your first pregnancy, keep in mind that every pregnancy is different. Even if your period returned exactly six weeks after the birth of your first child, this does not mean your menstrual cycle will return at the same point with your second pregnancy.

If your period does return quickly after giving birth and you had a vaginal delivery, your doctor might recommend that you avoid using tampons during your first menstruation post-baby. This is because your body is still healing, and tampons could potentially cause trauma. Ask your doctor if you can return to using tampons at your six-week postpartum checkup.

Breastfeeding and Your Menstrual Cycle

Typically, women who are breastfeeding don’t get their periods as quickly because of the body’s hormones. Prolactin, the hormone needed to produce breast milk, can suppress reproductive hormones. As a result, you don’t ovulate or release an egg for fertilization. Without this process, you most likely won’t menstruate.

In most cases, the rule of thumb is that it’s perfectly normal to wait up until six months after you’re finished breastfeeding for your menstrual cycle to return. If you haven’t gotten your first period at this time, your doctor may prescribe a medication to jump start menstruation and ovulation.

First Period after Pregnancy

Your first period after pregnancy is likely to be more painful than what you remember. Part of this is due to the hormonal changes in your body from pregnancy and part of it is just due to the fact you haven’t been menstruating for quite some time. Your cycle will likely return to a more normal rhythm within a few months, although you should feel free to contact your healthcare provider if you are concerned. Occasional spotting within the first three to six months after your menstrual cycle returns is normal and does not indicate a problem.

Women who had endometriosis before pregnancy might actually have lighter periods after giving birth. Light periods can also be caused by two rare conditions, Asherman syndrome and Sheehan syndrome. Asherman syndrome leads to scar tissue in the uterus. Sheehan syndrome is caused by damage to your pituitary gland, which may be the result of severe blood loss.

Another problem that women often have after pregnancy is adjusting to the use of tampons.  This is because your body is still healing, and tampons could potentially cause trauma. Ask your doctor if you can return to using tampons at your six-week postpartum checkup.

What postpartum symptoms should I watch out for?

It’s important that you call a doctor if you experience any of the following symptoms:

  • soaking through more than one pad every hour
  • bleeding that’s accompanied by sudden and severe pain
  • a sudden fever                                                                                                           
  • bleeding continuously for more than seven days
  • Blood clots that are bigger than a softball
  • foul-smelling discharge
  • A severe headache                                                    
  • Trouble breathing
  • Pain while urinating                            

A return to your menstrual cycle is just one of the parts of recovery and returning to your pre-pregnancy body. In some, menstruation may be delayed due to the hormone increases associated with breastfeeding.

If anything seems out of the ordinary about your first period after pregnancy, contact your doctor. Excess bleeding or indications of infection are especially concerning for a new parent. Listen to your body and play it safe.


The information, including but not limited to, text, graphics, images and other material contained on this website are for informational purposes only. The purpose of this website is to promote broad consumer understanding and knowledge of various health topics. It is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or another qualified healthcare provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition or treatment and before undertaking a new health care regimen, and never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website.

Baby Kicks in the Womb

One of the most exciting moments in your pregnancy is when you feel those first little flutters of your baby kicking. These tiny movements reassure you that your baby is developing and help you feel closer to the little life inside of you.

Though the womb is a tight space in which to exercise, it turns out that those kicks are vital for the baby’s healthy bone and joint development.


Feeling a baby moving and kicking in the womb might be a weird sensation, but it’s simply a sign of healthy development. 


Fetuses begin moving in the womb about as early as 7 weeks, when they slowly bend their necks, according to a review paper published in the journal Ultrasound in Obstetrics & Gynecology. As the babies grow, they gradually add more movements to their repertoires, such as hiccupping, arm and leg movements, stretching, yawning, and thumb sucking. But the mom won’t feel the bigger movements such as kicks and punches until 16 to 18 weeks into her pregnancy when the baby is a bit stronger.

What Does the Baby’s Kicking Feel Like?

Pregnant women describe their baby’s movements as butterflies, nervous twitches, or a tumbling motion. At first, it may be hard to tell whether your baby has moved. Second- and third-time moms are more adept at distinguishing those first baby movements from gas, hunger, and other internal motions.

By your second and third trimesters, the movements should be more distinct, and you’ll be able to feel your baby’s kicks, jabs, and elbows. Babies in the womb are doing more than just kicking. By 15 weeks, the baby is also punching, opening and closing its mouth, moving its head, and sucking its thumb. A few weeks later, the baby will open and close its eyes. But the mother will feel only the major movements: kicking, punching and maybe big hiccups.

How Often Should I Feel My Baby Moving?

Babies tend to move more at certain times of the day as they alternate between alertness and sleep. They are usually most active between 9 p.m. and 1 a.m., right as you’re trying to get to sleep. This surge in activity is due to your changing blood sugar levels. Babies also can respond to sounds or touch, and may even kick your partner in the back if you snuggle too close in bed. Studies show that by the third trimester, the baby moves about 30 times each hour.

Should I Count My Baby’s Kicking? 

If you are counting, it helps to chart your baby’s kicks so that you can keep track of your baby’s normal patterns of movement. To count movements, pick a time when your baby is usually most active (often, this is right after you’ve eaten a meal). Get into a comfortable position either sitting down in a comfortable chair or lying on your side.

Opinion varies as to how to count your baby’s movements, but the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists recommends noting the time it takes for your baby to make 10 movements. You should feel at least 10 movements within a two-hour period.

Counting your baby’s kicks (and jabs and rolls!) is important because a change in movement in the third trimester is often the earliest sign of distress in a baby. When moms know what is normal for their baby, then they are more alert to potential red flags. We frequently hear from moms whose babies were saved because they noticed a change in their baby’s movement pattern and alerted their healthcare provider.

One study, published in 2001 in the journal Human Fetal and Neonatal Movement Patterns, found that boys may move around more in the womb than girls. The average number of leg movements was much higher in the boys compared to the girls at 20, 34 and 37 weeks, that study found. But the study’s sample size was small, only 37 babies, so Nowlan and her colleagues are hesitant to claim there’s a relationship between gender and fetal movement.

What if You Don’t Feel Your Baby Moving

If you haven’t yet reached 25 weeks and don’t feel your baby move, or you’re not sure that what you’re feeling is actually your baby, don’t panic. As your baby grows, you’ll be able to better distinguish his or her movements. You’ll also figure out at what times of the day your baby is most active. Some babies just naturally move less often than others.

A lack of movement also may mean that your baby is asleep. You may feel fewer kicks and jabs after the 32nd week as your baby gets bigger and has less room to move around in the uterus.

If you notice less movement during the day, Study suggests drinking a large glass of juice or a high-sugar drink and lying on your left side in a comfortable and quiet location. There is a good chance the baby will move with a sugar and hydration boost and wait for two hours to see if your baby’s movement becomes noticeable.

If your baby still doesn’t move within that two-hour period, you may contact your health care provider or obstetrician. You may get an ultrasound to make sure the amniotic fluid around the baby is normal and the baby’s muscle tone and reflexes are present. Your doctor may also put you on a heart monitor to carry out the ultimate test for your baby’s well-being.

Timeline of Baby Movement

Here is a guide to your baby’s possible movements.

Week 12: Your baby should start to move, but you probably won’t be able to feel anything, because the baby is still so small.

Week 16: Some pregnant women will start to feel tiny butterfly-like flutters. The feeling might just be gas, or it might be the baby moving.

Week 20: By this point in your baby’s development, you may start to really feel your baby’s first movements, called “quickening.”

Week 24: The baby’s movements are starting to become more established. You might also begin to feel slight twitches as your baby hiccups.

Week 28: Your baby is moving often now. Some of the kicks and jabs may take your breath away.

Week 36: Your uterus is getting crowded as the baby grows, and movements should slow down a bit. However, alert your healthcare provider if you notice significant changes in your baby’s usual activity. You should feel consistent movement throughout the day.



Mood Swings During Pregnancy and How to Cope

Pregnancy is a life-changing event full of physical and emotional changes. Understanding these changes will help you have a positive experience. Mood swings during pregnancy are common. You may be excited about being pregnant, but you can also be stressed or overwhelmed. You may have constant worries that contribute to your mood swings.

Mood swings during pregnancy are caused by a variety of factors, including your rapidly changing hormones, the physical discomforts of pregnancy, and the very normal worries of upcoming life change.

Here’s why you may experience emotional ups and downs during pregnancy and how to cope.

Pregnancy Hormones and Mood Swings

One big reason for pregnancy mood swings is your rapidly changing hormones. Specifically, estrogen and progesterone. Mood changes during pregnancy can also be caused by physical stresses, fatigue, changes in your metabolism. Significant changes in your hormone levels can affect your level of neurotransmitters, which are brain chemicals that regulate mood. Mood swings are mostly experienced during the first trimester between 6 to 10 weeks and then again in the third trimester as your body prepares for birth.

Many women look forward to pregnancy and motherhood at some point in their lifetime. But once you do become pregnant, whether the pregnancy was planned or not, your feelings may be different from what you expected. Women who anticipated feeling fearful may be surprised at ease; those who thought they were ready may suddenly feel unsure.

It’s not just estrogen that’s increasing. The hormone progesterone also rapidly increases during pregnancy, especially during the first three months. While estrogen is usually associated with energy (and too much of it associated with nervous energy), progesterone is associated with relaxation.


Remember to take good care of yourself, as you are the priority at the moment. In a few years, you might look back at these nine months and miss them greatly.


What Triggers Mood Swings  

Hormones trigger mood swings during pregnancy, but it’s not only the hormones. The discomforts of pregnancy can cause emotional distress as well. For example, morning sickness during the first trimester. Fatigue is another common early pregnancy symptom and one that can cause mood swings. No one feels well emotionally when they are tired, and you may feel really tired during those first months of pregnancy.

During the second trimester, hormones are still changing but much less so than during the first three months. Most women feel more energy and don’t have morning sickness anymore. Still, there are potential emotional triggers. For one, during the second trimester, the body shape changes really kick in. Some women can avoid maternity clothing during the first trimester, but by the second, the need for extra room is unavoidable.

During the third trimester, getting comfortable at night can be a problem. Fatigue and difficulty with sleep can lead to mood swings. Fears and worries about the upcoming birth can get intense during the last trimester, along with worries about becoming a mother (or worries about mothering another child).

How to Cope With All These Mood Swings

Although all of the above are normal, you can take measures to lessen your mood swings during this exciting but stressful time:

  • Stay physically healthy. Eat well, exercise and get plenty of rest. If you don’t feel well or are tired, you’re more likely to be anxious or upset.
  • Become informed. For example, attend prenatal and childbirth classes and read books about pregnancy. Knowing what to expect, hearing from professionals and meeting other parents-to-be can help to alleviate stress.
  • Share your thoughts and feelings with your partner, friends or family members.
  • Avoid overextending yourself with home or work commitments.

What should I do to treat my mood swings?

It is important to understand you are not alone. Mood swings are just another aspect of the pregnancy experience. Knowing that what you are experiencing is normal and somewhat expected may help you cope.

When should I seek professional help?

If your mood swings last more than two weeks and do not seem to get better, you may want to ask your health care provider for a referral to a counselor. More than 11 million American women are affected by depression each year. Depression is most prevalent in women during childbearing years but can occur at any age.

Check with your healthcare provider before taking any medication for depression or mood swings, including herbal remedies. Always consult your healthcare provider before taking any drugs, over-the-counter or prescription, during pregnancy.


The information, including but not limited to, text, graphics, images and other material contained on this website are for informational purposes only. The purpose of this website is to promote broad consumer understanding and knowledge of various health topics. It is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or another qualified healthcare provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition or treatment and before undertaking a new health care regimen, and never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website.


The Risks of Inducing Labor

Labor induction also is known as inducing labor is the stimulation of uterine contractions during pregnancy before labor begins on its own to achieve a vaginal birth. There are a number of reasons your obstetrician might want to induce labor before your due date or before they naturally start on their own. It may be that you’re overdue with no signs that you’ll be going into labor anytime soon, or that your water (meaning the amniotic sac of fluid your baby floats in and is protected by) has broken. A situation that puts him at risk of infection. (Breaking the amniotic sac in order to induce labor is called amniotomy.)

Sometimes inducing labor is the best thing for a mother or her child. But it’s not always necessary to rush things along. In fact, it can cause problems or even be unsafe.

Generally, inducing labor is safe, but there are risks:

  • Higher risk of a C-section. If induction doesn’t work, your doctor might decide to switch to a C-section instead. If after her water is broken a woman isn’t able to give birth vaginally, it will be necessary to deliver the baby via C-section. This is because once the amniotic sac is gone, the baby is more vulnerable to infection. A cesarean in an induced labor also is more likely if the baby is in a poor position for being born naturally or is in fetal distress.
  • Health problems for your baby. Women who are induced often have babies born a little early between the 37th and 39th weeks. Early babies can have problems with breathing and other things. They might have a higher risk of long-term developmental problems. Being born even a week or two early can cause a baby to be more likely to have more trouble breathing, eating, and maintaining a normal and steady body temperature, which often means he simply isn’t physically developed enough to be ready to leave the womb and will need special care in the NICU until he is.
  • Increased risk of infection. Breaking the amniotic sac can lead to infection if you don’t deliver within a day or two after induction. Some methods of labor induction, such as rupturing your membranes, might increase the risk of infection for both mother and baby. Prolonged membrane rupture increases the risk of an infection.
  • Low heart rate. The medications used to induce labor oxytocin or a prostaglandin might cause abnormal or excessive contractions, which can diminish your baby’s oxygen supply and lower your baby’s heart rate. This can lead to a fetal distress and makes labor longer and more painful for the mother.
  • Bleeding after delivery. Labor induction increases the risk that your uterine muscles won’t properly contract after you give birth (uterine atony), which can lead to serious bleeding after delivery.
  • Risk of Jaundice. Jaundice is an inability of the liver to break down red blood cells. In newborns, it’s caused when the baby’s liver simply isn’t yet mature enough to do this job. The result is an increase in the levels of bilirubin in the baby’s blood, bringing a tell-tale yellow hue to his skin and the whites of his eyes. Jaundice isn’t uncommon and it’s treatable, but it can mean a longer stay in the hospital.

Labor induction isn’t appropriate for everyone. Labor induction might not be an option if:

  • You’ve had a prior C-section with a classical incision or major uterine surgery  
  • The placenta is blocking your cervix (placenta previa)
  • Your baby is lying buttocks first (breech) or sideways (transverse lie)
  • You have an active genital herpes infection
  • The umbilical cord slips into your vagina before delivery (umbilical cord prolapse)

How long it takes for labor to start depends on how ripe your cervix is when your induction starts, the induction techniques used and how your body responds to them. If your cervix needs time to ripen, it might take days before labor begins. If you simply need a little push, you might be holding your baby in your arms in a matter of hours.

After the procedure

In most cases, labor induction leads to a successful vaginal birth. If labor induction fails, you might need to try another induction or have a C-section.

If you have a successful vaginal delivery after induction, there might be no implications for future pregnancies. If the induction leads to a C-section, your health care provider can help you decide whether to attempt a vaginal delivery with a subsequent pregnancy or to schedule a repeat C-section.


The information, including but not limited to, text, graphics, images and other material contained on this website are for informational purposes only. The purpose of this website is to promote broad consumer understanding and knowledge of various health topics. It is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or another qualified healthcare provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition or treatment and before undertaking a new health care regimen, and never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website.



Labor and Delivery Recovery (Postpartum Recovery)

You’ve finally put 40 (or so) weeks of pregnancy and long hours of childbirth behind you, and you’re officially a mother. Congratulations! Now comes the transition from pregnancy to postpartum, which brings with it a variety of new symptoms and questions.

Your delivery may have been complicated or easy. You may have had a cesarean birth (C-section) or vaginal delivery. You may have labored for a few hours or a few days. No matter what your delivery looked like, your body has been through a trauma just the same. It is going to need time to recover.

How Long Does It Take to Recover After Giving Birth?

Your postpartum recovery won’t be just a few days. Fully recovering from pregnancy and childbirth can take months. While many women feel mostly recovered by 6-8 weeks, it may take longer than this to feel like yourself again. During this time, you may feel as though your body has turned against you. Try not to get frustrated. Remember that your body is not aware of your timelines and expectations. The best thing you can do for it is rest, eat well, and give yourself a break.

If you’ve had a vaginal birth, you’re probably also wondering how long it will take for the soreness to go away and your perineum to heal. Recovery can take anywhere from three weeks if you didn’t tear to six weeks or more if you had a perineal tear or an episiotomy. Wondering if your vagina will ever be the same after birth? Not exactly, though it will likely be very close.

If you delivered by C-Section, expect to spend the first three to four days postpartum in the hospital recovering; it will take four to six weeks before you’re feeling back to normal. Depending on whether you pushed and for how long, you can also expect to have some perineal pain.

Here is more of what you can expect during your postpartum recovery

Abdominal pain. As your uterus shrinks back into its normal size and shape, you will feel pain in your abdomen (lower belly). These pains are called “afterpains.” Most of these pains will be dull, but some will be sharp. You may feel more of these pains as you breastfeed your baby. That is because breastfeeding stimulates a chemical in your body that causes the uterus to contract (tighten). For many women, applying heat to the area helps control the pain. Consider using a heating pad or hot water bottle. Your abdominal pain should ease up over time. If these pains get worse or don’t let up, you should call your doctor.

Baby blues. You are so excited and happy to bring baby home. The next minute, though, you are sad. It can be confusing, especially to new moms. Know that many women (70-80%) struggle with feeling sad the first few weeks after having a baby. It is commonly called the “baby blues” and is caused by hormone changes. It is nothing to be ashamed of. In fact, confiding in a friend of family member can often make you feel better. If these feelings last more than a few weeks or you are not able to function because of them, you could have postpartum depression. Postpartum depression is more serious than baby blues. If you have severe feelings of sadness or hopelessness, you should call your doctor.

Constipation. It is very common to be constipated in the days following childbirth. There are several things that could cause this. If you received any pain-relieving drugs in the hospital, they could slow down your bowels. If you had anesthesia (a pain blocker) for any reason, that also can cause it. Sometimes, postpartum constipation is brought on simply by fear. This is true especially if you have stitches because you had an episiotomy (a surgical cut between the vagina and anus to widen the vaginal opening for childbirth) or tore this area during delivery. You may be afraid of damaging the stitches or be afraid that a bowel movement will cause even more pain in that area. To help ease constipation, drink plenty of water and try to eat foods that offer a lot of fiber. In many cases, you may want to talk to your doctor about prescribing a stool softener (such as Colace or Docusoft). If you haven’t had a bowel movement by four days postpartum, call your doctor.

Hemorrhoids. You may have developed hemorrhoids (painful swelling of a vein in the rectum) during your pregnancy. If not, you may have gotten them from the strain and pushing during delivery. They can cause pain and bleed after a bowel movement. They also itch. You can get some relief from the pain and itching by applying witch hazel to your hemorrhoids. This is especially effective if you keep the witch hazel in the refrigerator. Your hemorrhoids should shrink over time. If not, contact your doctor.

Hormonal shifts. Besides fueling your mood swings (see “Baby blues,” above), hormones are also responsible for other postpartum symptoms. You may be sweating more, especially at night when you sleep. Just make sure that your sweating is not accompanied by a fever. That could be a sign of infection. Hormonal changes also cause hair loss for many new moms. This is only temporary. When your estrogen levels increase, your hair will return to its normal thickness.

Perineum soreness. The perineum is the area between your vagina and anus. Many times, this area will tear during childbirth. Other times, your doctor may have to make a small cut in this area to widen your vagina for childbirth. Even if neither of these things happened during your vaginal birth, you perineum will be sore and possibly swollen postpartum. You may feel discomfort in this area for several weeks. While you recover, sitting on an ice pack several times a day for 10 minutes will help relieve the pain. This is especially good to do after going to the bathroom. During the first week postpartum, also use a squirt bottle to rinse the perineum with warm water after using the toilet. Notify your doctor if your perineum area does not get less sore each day or you have any sign of infection.

Sore nipples and breasts. For achy breasts, try using a warm compress or ice packs and gentle massage. Also be sure to wear a comfortable nursing bra. If you’re breastfeeding, let your breasts air out after every nursing session and apply a lanolin cream to prevent or treat cracked nipples.

Stitches. If you have stitches due to a torn or cut perineum it will take 7-10 days to heal. The stitches will absorb over time. It is important that you keep the stitches from getting infected by gently cleaning them with warm water after each time you use the toilet. Do this by using a squirt bottle to rinse the area and pat it dry. Do not wipe the area with toilet paper or you could irritate the stitched area. No matter how eager you are to check the healing progress, try to keep your hands off the stitches. If the area begins to hurt worse or the stitches seem weepy, contact your doctor. It could be a sign of infection.

If you have stitches from a cesarean birth (C-section), these heal in varying degrees. The stitches in the skin should heal in 5-10 days. The underlying stitches in your muscle layer will take longer to heal. These won’t completely heal for 12 weeks. For the stitches that you can see, make sure to watch for any signs of infection. These signs include if the incision area is red, swollen, or weeping pus; or if you have a fever.

Vaginal bleeding and discharge. After you give birth, postpartum bleeding (this is called lochia) can last for up to six weeks. It will be just like a very heavy period made up of leftover blood, tissue from your uterus and mucus. Bleeding is heaviest for the first three to 10 days, then it will taper off going from red to pink to brown to yellowish-white. If you spot large clots or you’re bleeding through more than one pad every hour, call your doctor right away to rule out postpartum hemorrhage. During this time, tampons are off-limits, so you’ll have to rely on pads.

Water retention. You may be eager for that swelling you noticed during your pregnancy to go away. It won’t, though, for a while longer. Also known as postpartum edema (swelling), your body will continue to hold on to water because of an increase in a hormone called progesterone. You may notice the swelling in your hands, legs, and feet. It shouldn’t last much longer than a week after delivery. If it does or if it seems to get worse over time, be sure to tell your doctor.

Postpartum Recovery Checklist

Here are a few things you’ll want to make your postpartum recovery go as smoothly as possible:

  • Acetaminophen. It can help with perineal pain and overall aches.
  • Maxi pads. You’ll probably need these for at least a couple of weeks until postpartum bleeding lets up.
  • Ice packs. There are lots of ways to ice your perineal area from frozen padsicles to your standard lunchbox ice blocks (wrapped in paper towels, of course, to avoid frostbite).
  • Witch hazel pads. This is often used in combination with ice packs to ease vaginal pain and help with hemorrhoids.
  • Sitz bath. This little tub is designed for you to just sit and soak away the postpartum pain.
  • Peri or squirt bottle. You’ll use this to rinse off your perineal area before/after peeing as the area heals.
  • Cotton underpants. Go for the “granny” or hospital gauze underwear, comfort is much more important for now than looking sexy.
  • Nursing bras. Invest in a few comfy ones that fit you well.
  • Lanolin. The cream works wonders to prevent and treat cracked nipples.
  • Nursing pads. If you’re planning to breastfeed, these will help keep leaky nipples under wraps.
  • Lidocaine spray. It helps ease the pain of postpartum hemorrhoids.
  • Stool softener. In case you get stopped up, this can gently help get things going.
  • Postpartum recovery belt. If you think you might want one, the Belly Bandit or other similar belts can help keep things in place as your belly shrinks back to size.
  • Heating pad. This can help ease aches and pains in your breasts.

Things to consider

Pay attention to your body after giving birth. If something doesn’t seem right, it probably isn’t.

Just because you’ve made it through delivery, you are not necessarily out of danger for health complications. There are life-threatening problems related to childbirth that can happen days or weeks after delivery.

  • Postpartum hemorrhage is rare but can happen. If your postpartum bleeding is filling more than a pad every hour, you should contact your doctor immediately. Without treatment, postpartum hemorrhage can be fatal.
  • Headaches that are severe and don’t go away can also signal an underlying problem, especially coupled with high blood pressure. You could be in danger of having a stroke.
  • Deep vein thrombosis (a blood clot in a deep vein) is a somewhat uncommon problem (1 in every 1,000 pregnancies) that can occur during or after pregnancy. Symptoms include leg pain or feeling like you have a pulled muscle. Your leg may also be red and hot to the touch. Left untreated, these clots can break away and travel to your lungs. When this happens, it can be life-threatening.
  • Postpartum preeclampsia is rare and can develop within 48 hours after childbirth or as late as six weeks after childbirth. It is similar to preeclampsia (also called toxemia), which can occur while you’re pregnant. Both preeclampsia and postpartum preeclampsia cause your blood vessels to constrict (get smaller). This results in high blood pressure and also distresses your internal organs. Sometimes there are no obvious symptoms unless you are monitoring your blood pressure. When you do have symptoms, they may include a severe headache, swelling of your hands and feet, blurred vision, and sudden weight gain. If you suspect you may have postpartum preeclampsia, call your doctor immediately.

When to see a doctor

You’ll usually visit your doctor about 6 weeks after delivery. She’ll check your vagina, cervix, and uterus as well as your weight and blood pressure. Once you’ve gotten the all-clear from her, it’s usually fine to start having sex again (ask your doctor about birth control first) and to get back to an exercise routine.

Before your checkup, call your doctor right away if you have:

  • Heavy vaginal bleeding that soaks more than one pad per hour or vaginal bleeding that increases each day instead of decreasing
  • Passing large clots (bigger than a quarter)
  • Chills and/or a fever of more than 100.4°F
  • Fainting or dizziness
  • Painful urination or difficulty urinating
  • Vaginal discharge with a strong odor
  • Heart palpitations, chest pain or difficulty breathing
  • Vomiting
  • The incision from C-section or episiotomy is red, weepy (with pus), or swollen
  • Abdominal (lower belly) pain that is getting worse or new abdominal pain
  • Sore breasts that are red or feel hot to the touch
  • Pain in your legs with redness or swelling.

The information, including but not limited to, text, graphics, images and other material contained on this website are for informational purposes only. The purpose of this website is to promote broad consumer understanding and knowledge of various health topics. It is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or another qualified healthcare provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition or treatment and before undertaking a new health care regimen, and never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website.


The ULTIMATE Hospital Bag Checklist

Have everything ready to go when you’re 8 months pregnant, since you could go into labor at any time in the weeks before your due date. You may want to pack two small bags for the hospital or birth center: one for the items you’ll need during labor, and another for items that you won’t need until after you give birth.

Stay sane on delivery day by preparing your hospital bag ahead of time. Here is our complete list of stuff you won’t want to forget.


Smartphone and Charger. A camera or video camera with batteries, charger, and memory card. Someone has to document the big event! Some hospitals don’t allow videotaping of the birth itself, but there’s usually no rule against filming during labor or after the birth. If you plan on using your phone to take photos or video, make sure it’s fully charged and pack your charger. Note: Not all hospitals let you use plugs in the delivery room, so you might want to bring a battery-powered charger or another way to charge your devices that doesn’t require a plug.

Important Documents. Bring copies of your birth plan (if you have one), a picture ID, health insurance information, and hospital registration forms. Even if you’ve already registered at the hospital, some hospitals need to confirm your records before they can admit you.

Your birth plan (if you have one) and your insurance information.

Music. Take your iPod, MP3 player or a CD player and some CDs. Some hospitals provide their own CD players and iPod docks so you may ask what they will have available in your room. 

Hair Care Products. If you have long hair, you may want it tied up since it can get in the way during labor. It’s recommended getting the ones that don’t leave a kink in your hair. That way if you want to take pictures with your hair down after the birth, you won’t have a crease in your hair! (Avoid wearing clips in labor. They can poke you!)

Nursing Bra. Bring a nursing tank or bra (buy them at the end of your pregnancy most women are about that same size (postpartum) that’s comfy enough to sleep in.   

Sleepwear, Robe, and Underwear. A cotton nightie will be much more comfortable than a hospital gown. A robe will be handy for when you want to walk the hallways. Several pairs of undies are a must (briefs, maternity, or disposables like Depends) if you don’t want to wear the mesh underwear the hospital gives you after

Slippers and/or Heavy Socks. Keep your toes toasty and clean, whether you’re in bed or strolling around on the cold tile floor. Bring a pair that’s easily laundered, as they may get a bit dirty.

Birth Ball. These can really help you during labor. A peanut ball is particularly great for women that are preparing to have an epidural. Highly recommended. Just remember to bring a pump so your birth partner can inflate it for you if you didn’t come with it already inflated.

Lip Balm. Your lips can dry out quickly with all of the deep breathing that you will do in labor. Having some chap stick or lip balm will help.

Snacks and Drinks. First, make sure that your doctor/hospital will allow this. Most of the time they will only allow you to have ice chips when you are at the hospital in labor, but they may have sugar-free Popsicle there for you.

Cash and Change. Bring cash and change for snacks, gift-store runs, and any of your miscellaneous cravings. You not want the hospital food.

Relaxation Tools. A homemade hot pack (a sock filled with rice or beans) can bring you instant relief during active labor because it molds to your body and it can easily be warmed up in the hospital’s microwave. Other items to pack include: back massager, stress-relieving squeeze ball, and massage oil or lotion.

Toiletries. Deodorant, body wash, shampoo, facial cleansing wipes, toothpaste, a toothbrush, and moisturizer are necessities.

Extra clothes for Daddy/Partner. Had some Dad’s/partner’s change their clothes even when their partner is still in labor. They may think the room is too cold so they put on a jacket or a long sleeved shirt or they sweat too much because they’re nervous or working hard too so they need new shirts. Having some extra pairs of clean clothes is good to have on hand.


Homecoming Outfit for You. Here’s a hint: You’ll need loose, comfortable clothes to wear while you’re in the hospital and for the journey home. You’ll probably still look about 5 months pregnant, so skip your non-maternity skinny and pack your favorite maternity dress or leggings and a tunic. (Trust us: Not fitting into your going-home outfit is a bummer!)

Toiletries. Pack a few personal items, such as a toothbrush and toothpaste, lip balm, nursing pads (Bring a couple of packs disposable or washable), deodorant, a brush and comb, makeup, and a hairband or barrettes. Hospitals usually provide soap, shampoo, and lotion, but you might prefer your own.

Snacks. After many hours of labor, you’re likely to be pretty hungry, and you may not want to rely solely on hospital food. So bring your own crackers, fresh or dried fruit, nuts, granola bars, or whatever you think you’ll enjoy. A bottle of non alcoholic champagne might be fun for celebrating, too.

Postpartum underwear or disposable underwear. Don’t bring your nice, cute undies with you. You need big, cotton, breathable underwear. Some people even get Silhouette so they can easily toss them after using them. The hospital will have disposable undies, which some women find handy and others find gross since they are large, stretchy, mesh shorts.

Essentials to pack for your Baby  

Homecoming Outfit for Baby. Pack a newborn-size kimono-style shirt, with footed pants so you don’t have to bring socks. Make sure your baby’s outfit has legs (is not a baby “gown,” for example) so the car seat strap can fit between them. 

Car Seat. You can’t drive your baby home without one! Have a rear-facing car seat properly installed ahead of time and know how to buckle your baby in correctly. 

Blankets. The hospital will provide blankets for swaddling your baby while you’re there, but you may want to bring your own to tuck around your baby in the car seat for the ride home. Make it a heavy one if the weather’s cold. You may include: Burp cloths, Onesies, Baby hat/Bow, Nappies and Pacifier


10 Common Pregnancy Myths & Facts

It goes without saying that pregnancy is an exciting and equally confusing time. With just about everyone you know introducing you to new supposed truths about pregnancy, it is common for you to get lost and not know what to believe. While most myths about pregnancy cannot be backed up with facts, a few of them may be worth your consideration.


Common Myths about Pregnancy You Should Be Aware of

  • Myth: Pregnant women should not take a bath too often.

Pregnant women are often advised not to bathe regularly.

Fact: This myth has absolutely no foundation at all. Bathing keeps you clean and free of germs that may harm your baby. It is a good hygiene practice and should be followed during pregnancy just as you would follow it on other days.

However, do not take very hot showers as it could raise your body temperature and lead to developmental problems in the baby. As a general rule, avoid bathing in water hot enough to raise your body temperature over 102.2 degrees Fahrenheit. Water temperature of 98.6 degrees Fahrenheit is considered safe for pregnant women.

  • Myth: The shape of your belly can predict the gender of your baby. 

It is believed that if your belly is lying low then you will have a boy and you will have a girl if your belly is lying high. It is also said that a fast fetal heart rate indicates a girl and a slow fetal heart rate indicates a boy.

Fact: The elevation of the belly is entirely dependent on various physiological factors of the woman. Actually, stomach muscles stretch with subsequent pregnancies. So, if a woman’s belly is higher up, it probably just means she has strong abdominal muscles or it’s her first pregnancy.

  • Myth: Eat for Two During Pregnancy    

A popular notion present in most societies that you will be eating for two when you get pregnant.

Fact: A pregnant woman only needs to add a portion of extra calories to support the baby and not have meals that are made for two people. The exact quantity of calories depends on the weight, height, level of activity of the women, as well as the trimester of pregnancy. On average, women need to consume about 300 additional calories during pregnancy.

  • Myth: An Occasional Glass of Wine Is Okay During Pregnancy 

Some believe that drinking an occasional glass of wine is harmless during pregnancy and can have no bearing on your baby.

Fact: Alcohol should be avoided at all costs during pregnancy. This is because there has been no study about the quantity of alcohol that is considered safe when you are pregnant. A mother who has consumed alcohol during pregnancy may put her baby at risk of FASD (Foetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder). Babies of mothers who’ve consumed alcohol also have a higher chance of having congenital disabilities, brain, and cell damage.

  • Myth: You Shouldn’t Have Sex During Pregnancy

It is believed that sex during pregnancy can cause miscarriage or may even induce labour.

Fact: Sex does not induce labour. It is completely safe to engage in intercourse with your partner during pregnancy provided it is done in a position that does not put a lot of pressure on your tummy. Your baby is within an amniotic sac that keeps it well-protected. In addition to this, your cervix also has a mucous plug to help guard your baby against infections. Prostaglandins, substances in semen, plus the contractions that occur during sex, can hasten labor in some cases. Some doctors even prescribe it.

However, doctors may advise you against it if you have complications like placenta praevia, a dilated cervix, cervical insufficiency, ruptured membranes, abnormal discharge, and if you are at the risk of premature labour.

  •  Myth: Pregnant Women Shouldn’t Exercise

Exercising while pregnant can harm the baby and cause miscarriage or induce premature labour.

Fact: Moderate walking or swimming are excellent ways to stay healthy. It may also help you prepare for the delivery. Doctors often advise women to engage in moderate exercises for the same reason. However, it is important not to overwork yourself and seek permission from your doctor before engaging in any exercise.

  • Myth: Eating Spicy Food Can Induce Labour and causes blindness in babies.

It is believed that eating hot and spicy foods can lead to miscarriage and induce labour.

Fact: There is no evidence to support this myth. The only disadvantage of eating spicy food is the heartburn and gas that you may have to suffer through later. If you include a moderate quantity of spicy food in your diet during pregnancy, it will do you no harm. Medical experts agree that spicy foods are safe to consume during pregnancy. Spicy foods will not harm your growing baby and might even help your baby develop a taste for certain spices later in life. Although most spicy dishes are safe to eat during pregnancy, avoid dishes that contain undercooked meat, poultry or seafood; unpasteurized dairy products; and fish with high traces of mercury, including swordfish, shark, and mackerel. If you are eating out, ask the waiter about dishes to ensure your dish does not include these foods, which have been known to cause birth defects.

  • Myth: You Cannot Take Flights While Pregnant

Flying during pregnancy isn’t safe for the baby due to the radiation in the airport scanners and due to the long duration of some flights.

Fact:  It is true that long flights (over 5 hours) may cause problems especially if you are prone to blood clots. Hence, it is best to avoid long flights. However, if you are in good health and have a normal pregnancy, there is no reason why you shouldn’t be flying. Most airlines have restrictions on pregnant women during late pregnancy to prevent labour on the route.    

  • Myth: Pregnant Women Shouldn’t Pet Cats 

Pregnant women as asked to stay away from cats to prevent getting in contact with parasites.

Fact: While you will not have to stay away from cats, this is partially true. Cat feces contain a virus that may cause toxoplasmosis infection. Hence, it is best not to clean your cat’s litter to avoid exposure to the virus.

  • Myth: Your Skin Will Glow During Pregnancy

It is believed that pregnancy makes your skin radiant and gives you an evident natural glow.

Fact: The pregnancy glow myth has some truth to it. During pregnancy, there is increased blood flow in your body, which keeps your skin moisturized and nourished. This, paired with a surge in hormones can contribute to a healthier and brighter looking skin.

However, not every woman is lucky to experience this. Many women also face acne breakouts and other skin problems that may leave their skin looking and feeling worse. The consolation is that most of these conditions rescind after pregnancy.

There’s so much to learn about pregnancy and still many unknowns. If you are pregnant or plan on becoming pregnant, work with your doctor. They can help you come up with a plan for a healthy pregnancy and delivery and can answer any questions you have about symptoms, complications, and what to expect.


The information, including but not limited to, text, graphics, images and other material contained on this website are for informational purposes only. The purpose of this website is to promote broad consumer understanding and knowledge of various health topics. It is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or another qualified healthcare provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition or treatment and before undertaking a new health care regimen, and never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website.



What is HELLP Syndrome?

HELLP syndrome is a rare but serious condition that can happen when you’re pregnant  or right after you have your baby. There are still many questions about the serious condition of HELLP syndrome. The cause is still unclear to many doctors and often HELLP syndrome is misdiagnosed. It is named for 3 features of the condition:

Hemolysis: This is the breakdown of red blood cells. These cells carry oxygen from your lungs to your body.

Elevated Liver Enzymes: When levels are high, it could mean there’s a problem with your liver.

Low Platelet Count: Platelets help your blood clot.


It is often assumed that HELLP Syndrome will always occur in connection with preeclampsia, but there are times when the symptoms of HELLP will occur without a diagnosis of preeclampsia being made. About 4-12% of women with diagnosed preeclampsia will develop HELLP syndrome. Unfortunately since the symptoms of HELLP syndrome may be the first sign of preeclampsia, this is what can often lead to a misdiagnosed. The symptoms of HELLP may cause misdiagnosed of other conditions such as hepatitis, gallbladder disease, or idiopathic/thrombotic thrombocytopenic purpura (ITP), which is a bleeding disorder.


The cause of HELLP syndrome is unclear. Although it is more common in women who have preeclampsia or pregnancy induced hypertension (high blood pressure during pregnancy), some women develop HELLP syndrome without showing signs of these conditions.                        

The following risk factors may increase a woman’s chance to develop HELLP syndrome:

  • Having a previous pregnancy with HELLP syndrome
  • Having preeclampsia or pregnancy induced hypertension
  • Being over age 25
  • Being Caucasian
  • Multiparous (given birth 2 or more times)

In less than 2 percent of women with HELLP syndrome, the underlying cause appears to be related to LCHAD deficiency in the fetus.

A variety of genetic factors (both in the mother and fetus) have been found to play a role in the development of preeclampsia and HELLP syndrome. However, the condition is likely multifactorial. This means that several genetic and environmental factors likely interact to cause HELLP syndrome, and no one gene is thought to be responsible for the condition.   

Some women may have a genetic predisposition to developing preeclampsia and related conditions, such as HELLP syndrome. This means that certain genetic factors increase a woman’s risk to develop HELLP syndrome. However, many women with a genetic predisposition will never develop HELLP syndrome.


The most common symptoms of HELLP syndrome include:

  • Headaches
  • Nausea and vomiting that continue to get worse–(This may also feel like a serious case of the flu).
  • Upper right abdominal pain or tenderness
  • Fatigue or malaise
  • Nosebleed
  • Seizures

A woman with HELLP may experience other symptoms that often can be attributed to other things such as normal pregnancy concerns or other pregnancy conditions.

  • Visual disturbances
  • High blood pressure          
  • Protein in urine
  • Edema (swelling)
  • Severe headaches
  • Bleeding that doesn’t stop as quickly as usual    


If you have symptoms of HELLP syndrome, talk to your doctor. She’ll do a physical exam and tests to check for things like:

  • High Blood pressure                 
  • Pain in the upper right side of your belly
  • Enlarged Liver                             
  • Swollen legs
  • Liver Function                          
  • Blood platelet count
  • Bleeding into your liver


The main solution for HELLP syndrome is to give birth as soon as possible. This means your baby may have to be born early. The risks are too serious for you and your baby if you stay pregnant with HELLP syndrome.

Treatment may also include:

  • Corticosteroid medicine to help your baby’s lungs develop more quickly
  • Medicine for high blood pressure
  • Meds to prevent seizures
  • Blood transfusion        


There’s no way to prevent HELLP syndrome. Since HELLP syndrome is believed to be related to preeclampsia, staying vigilant about diet, exercise and a healthy blood pressure can only help. The best thing you can do is keep yourself healthy before and during pregnancy and watch for early signs of the condition. The following steps can help:

  • See your doctor regularly for prenatal visits.
  • Tell your doctor if you’ve had any high-risk pregnancies or someone in your family has had HELLP syndrome, preeclampsia, or other blood pressure problems.
  • Know the symptoms and call your doctor ASAP if you have them.   


The information, including but not limited to, text, graphics, images and other material contained on this website are for informational purposes only. The purpose of this website is to promote broad consumer understanding and knowledge of various health topics. It is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or another qualified healthcare provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition or treatment and before undertaking a new health care regimen, and never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website.