Pregnancy is the most joyous period for mothers-to-be. They dream of welcoming their new born in the world and prepare making plans of the baby’s nurture and growth. While pregnancy brings the happiness, it is also accompanied with certain discomfort which can ruin the spirits of the mother who is not prepared to cope with it. Pregnancy involves great changes in your body chemistry and physiology, and with it comes the pain of adjusting to these changes.
The following is a list of some of the discomforts faced by pregnant women and how to deal with them in an easy way, leaving you free to enjoy this wonderful and magical time:
1. Nausea and vomiting
The first trimester will see you battling with what is commonly called morning sickness but is really nausea and vomiting that can come on at any time of the day. A host of factors are believed to cause this. The foremost among which is the rapid increase in the levels of two hormones, human chorionic gonadotropin and estrogen, both of which play critical roles in early pregnancy.
The most effective way to battle morning sickness is to keep a light snack such as fat free cookies or biscuits by your bedside. When you awake in the morning, before leaving bed, help yourself to a small bite and then stay in bed for 15-20 minutes. Train yourself to get out of bed slowly, sitting up for a while before rising, as this will also reduce the nausea you may experience.
Other steps that you should consider include avoiding foods and odors that makes you feel nauseous. As the pregnancy stage progresses, you would start detesting some foods. This is but natural; hence the best way is to avoid them. Revise your diet to exclude spices, oily and greasy food, acidic foods, and processed food that take longer to digest. Ensure that you are drinking enough water. Sipping at regular intervals is better than gulping glassfuls down at a time. Watch out for exhaustion since tiredness can trigger nausea more easily. Get adequate rest. Watch out for non food smells that make you nauseated, such as perfumes or aftershaves and incense, and make adjustments so that you are not exposed to them. Chamomile tea has been found to be effective in many cases, but it often varies from person to person.
2. Breast soreness
During the first and third trimesters, your breasts undergo several changes as it prepares for the task of providing breast milk to the newborn. Your nipples and areola will darken and you will start noticing the appearance of more veins, sometimes with a bluish hue to them. You may also notice some discharge from your nipples. Your breasts will feel sore and heavy as they grow in size and firmness. All of these are natural to the process of pregnancy and are not cause for any alarm.
Choose your bra carefully. It should be one that offers firm support without being too tight. You may find that your old bras are too tight during this time and may need to get new ones. Opt for cotton or other natural fibers instead of synthetic ones, avoiding ones that have seams near the nipples or underwiring.
Since you will be secreting milk as you go on to breastfeed, and since you will have a gradual increase in breast size from early pregnancy to delivery, this may be a good time to consider getting yourself maternity bras or nursing bras that not only offer greater support but also come with features that can accommodate breast pads to soak up excess milk secretions or open partially to facilitate nursing. You may want to consider wearing a bra when you sleep at night to help with the soreness. Keep your nipples clean with warm water. Avoid soaps and other products that can cause dryness or irritation.
The process of creating and nurturing the development of a new life inside you is not a small accomplishment. You are bound to feel sapped and fatigued as you struggle to meet your and your developing child’s nutrition and rest needs. First trimester fatigue can be an overwhelming experience as you are suddenly unable to muster up the energy needed to complete tasks that you ordinarily breezed through. The one fail-proof solution to fatigue of pregnancy is nothing but rest.
Be lenient to taking rest, even at odd hours, and do not feel guilty. Cut out all activities that are not essential, especially socializing, late night television, and entertaining. Cut out all caffeine intake. Get to bed early. Plan your morning activities in such a way that you can sleep in till a little later. Look out for a chance to catch 15 to 20 minute power naps during the day. Make sure you rest for at least 30 minutes after your afternoon meal with your legs up. Find yourself a comfortable place to rest in. Keep a chair or a stool handy, if you are doing work that needs standing, such as cooking or supervising, and any time that it is not essential, sit yourself down. Break any activity you undertake into small pieces and rest for a while and then resume your work.
Try and ensure a balanced diet and adequate hydration. Get some moderate exercise on a regular basis. An early morning or late evening walk is especially useful as are yoga postures suitable for pregnancy. If your fatigue is not addressed in spite of all these steps, get your iron levels checked, and step up on your supplementation after consulting with your physician.
There are several factors that come together to make constipation a terrifying and persistent problem during pregnancy. The hormone that supports the function of a pregnancy is progesterone, and this hormone affects smooth muscles like those of the intestine by relaxing them, causing peristalsis (the wavelike motion of your gut that transports your feces out to the colon and expels it) to slow down. The altered physiology of the body also results in restricted exercise, and lowered intestinal activity. Iron supplements which are so necessary for the healthy progress of the pregnancy also leads to constipation. As your pregnancy advances, your growing uterus applies pressure on the rectum, further adding to your constipation woes.
The steps you can take to address this include increasing your fluid intake, your fiber intake, regular moderate exercising such as walking or swimming, and bowel discipline. Try and consume liquids in every way possible, from fruit juice (prune juice works like magic for constipation) to soups, from herbal teas to buttermilk. Add whole grain cereals and bread, leafy green vegetables, beans, oats and wheat bran, and fresh fruits to your diet. Get into some form of gentle exercise on a regular basis, such as yoga, walking, or swimming. Listen to your bowel, and go to the toilet when you have the urge. It is likely that you will feel an urge after you eat; do not ignore it. Avoid straining when on the pot.
If all of these steps do not alleviate your constipation, you may want to discuss with your physician whether you can switch to a supplement that has a lower level of iron in it, or whether you may need to take OTC fiber or stool softening agents suitable for pregnancy.
5. Frequent urination
Increased rate of blood flow in pregnancy leads to greater amounts of blood being cleaned out by the kidney, leading to larger volume of urine to be excreted. In the course of your pregnancy, your volume of blood increases drastically to almost one-and-a-half times of what you would normally have, which automatically means that much more urine to be excreted. As your uterus enlarges, it reduces the space available for other organs in your abdominal cavity, squeezing the bladder, and reducing its capacity to retain a full volume, and hence, the urge to go sooner than you would have thought. Lying down to sleep at night further adds to the trouble as the fluids that you may have retained in your legs find their way into the blood and from there into the kidneys.
While there may not be a way to (or any prudence in wanting to) prevent this important detoxification process, there are steps that you can take to make it more bearable. Steer clear of diuretics such as coffee, tea, caffeinated beverages, and alcohol, as these will lead to greater amount of urine production, apart from their being harmful to the fetus. Many pregnant women end up cutting back on fluid intake to address this issue but that is a wrong track to take, as adequate hydration is essential. Instead, you may want to slow down on your hydration as you go into the evening hours so that frequency of nighttime urination is reduced. Leaning forward when you urinate will help you empty your bladder more completely. Urinary frequency during pregnancy can be an issue at the workplace. Speak with your supervisor and explain the situation to him or her so that there are no misunderstandings.
The attendant troubles of pregnancy are unavoidable, but with a little care and attention, and some basic and small changes to your lifestyle, you can cope with them with greater comfort and confidence. Here’s hoping that these tips will lead you to overcome your discomfort and enjoy a happy and safe pregnancy.