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Dealing with the Pregnancy Discomforts

Morning Sickness
Nausea, commonly known as morning sickness, usually begins 4-8 weeks into the pregnancy and might strike at any time during the day (or evening, for that matter). Morning sickness is caused by a number of factors such as stress, fatigue, and elevated levels of particular hormones that irritate the digestive system. 

Limit yourself to smaller, more frequent meals, making sure that you keep your stomach neither empty nor too full as both extremes tend to exacerbate queasiness. Keep yourself well hydrated, avoid fatty, spicy or fried foods, try to reduce your stress levels, and rest more frequently. A high protein diet rich in complex carbohydrates can also help reduce morning sickness.

Sluggishness and lethargy are an expected part of the pregnancy package and directly result from the stress and changes that your body is experiencing. How quickly an expectant mother recovers her vitality is different for everyone, however most women will begin to feel better by their second trimester. If you continue to feel fatigued after your second trimester and are worried, consult your doctor to rule out any possibility of underlying causes such as anemia or depression. 

Going to bed earlier, taking short afternoon naps, simplifying your schedule, following a healthier diet, and adopting a moderate daily exercise routine are all things that you can do to boost your energy levels. Your surroundings might also be contributing to your tiredness; make sure your home is well-lighted, well-ventilated and quiet enough to be conducive to relaxation and comfort.

Constipation during the early stages of pregnancy is often the result of high levels of progesterone hormones which slow the movement of food through the digestive track. Severe constipation can lead to hemorrhoids, but this rarely results in any serious problems and usually the hemorrhoids go away soon after the baby is born. However, if you experience rectal bleeding or are in severe pain you should visit your doctor. 

You can prevent and alleviate constipation by increasing your daily intake of high-fiber foods, drinking 6-8 glasses of water each day, exercising regularly, and taking over-the-counter fiber supplements recommended to you by your doctor. Drinking natural laxatives like prune juice can also help in this situation. You should also never delay going to the toilet when you feel the urge to do so.

Lightheadedness and even fainting are not unusual and can occur during any pregnancy stage, since more blood is being pumped to your uterus and legs, which when coupled with the pressure of an expanding uterus on your blood vessels can lead to faintness. Other causes of dizziness may be low blood sugar levels, dehydration, or lack of proper air circulation within the room you're sitting in. 

Avoid getting up abruptly from bed or a seated position, add some protein to your daily diet, eat frequent and smaller meals, drink at least eight cups of fluids a day, and make sure your home is well-aired. Try sleeping on your left side at night for some relief, and avoid sitting in one position for too long. You should keep your doctor informed of your condition to ensure that it is not the result of some other underlying problem such as anemia.

Heartburn and Indigestion
Heartburn partly occurs when the ring that separates the esophagus from the stomach is relaxed, which in pregnant women usually results from the high levels of progesterone hormones. The relaxation of this ring allows stomach acid to rise up and irritate the sensitive esophageal lining, causing bloating and a burning sensation. 

To alleviate heartburn you will need to keep your weight down within reason, eat smaller and more frequent meals, and avoid eating directly before going to bed, smoking, caffeine, alcohol, chocolate, processed meats, spicy food and fatty foods. You can also ask your doctor to prescribe an antacid; never take any type of medication or supplement without consulting your doctor first.