Pregnancy is an exciting time as you prepare to bring your bundle of joy into the world. Many women spend time during pregnancy “nesting” and getting the home and the nursery prepared for the new arrival. There are many exciting things to look forward to during pregnancy like baby showers and hearing that first heartbeat. Sometimes, pregnancy comes with unwanted physical symptoms, like nausea, fatigue, back pain, and swelling of the legs and feet. Here are some things to consider to ease your discomfort while preparing for baby.
Keep Your Belly Happy
Odd food cravings, being too hungry, and not being hungry are all common things women report they experience during pregnancy. Your body is supporting and helping baby to grow so nutrition is important. If low appetite is an issue, consider small meals. Eating a large meal may not be appealing during this time, so keeping snacks on hand may help you get the nutrition you need. In a hurry? Keep your purse, work bag, or car loaded with healthy quick snacks like trail mix, nuts, or dried fruit.
Having odd cravings like pickles on top of ice cream? Many women have cravings for all sorts of foods while pregnant. Many of these cravings are considered normal. If these cravings start to get more intense and your hunger level is up, you may want to check with your healthcare provider to make sure you’re getting enough nutrition and that your body isn’t lacking any vital nutrients.
Tame the Nausea
Feeling nauseous easily? Nausea is common for many pregnant women, especially during the first trimester. There are several things you can try to manage the nausea. Acupressure wrist bands are a safe, non-pharmaceutical and non-invasive way to help nausea symptoms. These bands have a small round bead on them that apply pressure to a specific point on the wrist. This pressure spot on the wrist can help calm the stomach for nausea due to pregnancy, travel/motion sickness, chemotherapy, etc. These bands can be worn for up to two days at a time. Apply these bands when you feel nauseous. Or, if you know your nausea is worse at a certain time of day, like the morning, apply them before bed to try to help make the morning nausea better.
Sipping on ginger tea or other ginger products like ginger chews can be helpful for some women with nausea. Ginger is warming in nature and this could help calm the stomach. If sipping on something sounds like too much when you’re nauseous, how about smelling some mint? Mint essential oil has a calming, cooling scent. Taking in a few deep breaths of mint essential oil could calm your mind and calm your stomach.
Rest Swollen Feet
Mild swelling of the feet and ankles happens to many women during pregnancy. Standing for long periods can make this worse. Try to take breaks from standing when possible. Putting your feet up throughout the day can help circulate fluid and reduce the appearance of swelling. Another great technique that could be helpful is dry brushing. Dry brushing involves using a body brush to lightly brush the skin from the feet up the legs. This can gently stimulate lymphatic flow and could help reduce swelling. And, as a bonus, it could help exfoliate dry skin, too!
Relax an Aching Back
Back pain is something that can occur or intensify in pregnancy, especially in the later stages. Gentle stretches throughout the day could help ease some muscle tension in the low back. Also, gentle exercise such as walking could be helpful. Exercise and stretching can be done safely during pregnancy, but make sure to check with your healthcare provider before beginning any new exercise routine.
There are many topical products available for muscle pain. These can contain many different ingredients and can be natural or contain small amounts of pharmaceuticals. Be sure to check the label before grabbing a topical to apply for back pain. For example, the ingredient methyl salicylate, found in several muscle pain topicals, is related to aspirin. In high amounts this ingredient may not be safe to use during pregnancy.
Sleep for Fatigue
There a lot of demands on your body during pregnancy and your energy level can feel like it’s taking a hit. Fatigue affects many pregnant women during pregnancy and sometimes the fatigue may feel worse than other times. Taking short naps and resting when you can throughout the day can be helpful. Try to keep naps short so that it doesn’t interfere with your sleep at night. Also try not to over schedule yourself when possible. You may fatigue easier than you used to so try to say no to doing too much during the day.
Also, getting quality sleep at night could help your energy level during the day. Keeping a daily sleep routine of going to bed at the same time and waking at the same time may help. If you have trouble falling asleep, guided imagery or guided meditation focused on sleep can be helpful. These can help slow your mind down so that both body and mind are tired and ready to sleep. There are many apps available to download for guided imagery/meditation content.
Remember that taking care of yourself is always important, especially when you’re pregnant. Talk with your healthcare provider if your side effects are affecting your daily life and overall health.
Be sure to contact your healthcare provider before trying any new natural product. If you’d like to learn more about natural products and therapies, visit the ProMedica Natural Wellness Shop website.
Kylie A. Study, M.Sc, MSTOM, Dipl.OM is a licensed acupuncturist and natural wellness practitioner at the ProMedica Natural Wellness Shop in Sylvania, Ohio.