Your body goes through tremendous changes as you progress through your pregnancy. Unfortunately, these changes can result in a variety of unpleasant symptoms. Below are some of the most common pregnancy symptoms and some suggested remedies. If any of your symptoms become worse, don’t respond to remedies, or cause you worry, talk to your doctor.
Nausea and Vomiting
About 80 percent of pregnant women experience nausea to some degree. About half also experience vomiting. Even though it can happen at any time of day, it is commonly referred to as morning sickness. These symptoms usually go away at around 16–20 weeks. To ease nausea and vomiting, try these remedies.
- Rather than fewer large meals, eat frequent small meals throughout the day. Avoid letting yourself get hungry, which can make nausea worse.
- Eat bland foods that are higher in carbohydrates and low in fat, such as crackers, bread, rice, potatoes, and pasta.
- Drink plenty of water to stay hydrated. Take small sips to help prevent vomiting.
- Avoid foods or smells that make you feel sick.
It’s common to feel tired or exhausted during pregnancy. This is especially true during the first trimester when your hormones are changing and during the third trimester when you’re carrying extra weight. Try to get as much rest as possible. Closer to the end of your pregnancy, it might be difficult to get a good night’s sleep. Experiment with different sleep positions and pillows. Many women find comfort sleeping on their side with a pillow under their belly and/or between their knees. Sleeping propped up in a near seated position against some pillows is another option.
Hormonal changes during pregnancy can cause your bladder to fill up more quickly, which means you’ll need to pee more often. This symptom will continue and may even get worse as your pregnancy progresses. Unfortunately, there’s not much you can do about this. Just be sure you always have a bathroom close by.
Your changing hormones may cause your breasts to become larger and feel tender, painful, tingly, or heavy. They may also change in appearance. To help alleviate breast tenderness, try these remedies.
- Wear a supportive, comfortable bra.
- Sleep in your bra.
- Put breast pads in your bra to protect sensitive nipples.
- Take a warm bath or shower.
The hormonal changes in your body can also cause mood swings, heightened emotions (good and bad), depression, and/or anxiety. Take care of yourself and manage your stress levels. Get plenty of sleep, eat well, exercise, and try to do fun things. We understand this is a stressful time for you. If you find that your emotions are getting out of control or are too difficult for you to deal with, talk to your doctor or a professional counselor, or you can always give us a call.
Cravings and Food Aversions
Don’t be surprised if you experience cravings for specific or unusual foods. As long as the foods you’re craving are not harmful, it’s okay to give in within reason. On the other hand, you may also find the smell or taste of a particular food totally repulsive, even if you used to enjoy it. It may even make you nauseous. You can’t control these symptoms, so it’s best to simply avoid any of these foods entirely.
Many women experience heartburn (also known as acid reflux or acid indigestion) during pregnancy. Heartburn is a burning sensation in your chest caused by stomach acid seeping up into your throat. Heartburn is more common during the second half of pregnancy, and it usually comes and goes until your baby is born. Here are some ways to help manage your heartburn.
- Avoid food and beverages that commonly trigger heartburn, such as carbonated drinks, caffeine, chocolate, acidic foods, processed meats, and foods that are spicy, minty, acidic, fried, or fatty.
- Avoid eating big meals and drinking large quantities of fluid at once.
- Eat at least two or three hours before bedtime to allow proper digestion.
- Try chewing gum after eating to increase salivation and neutralize stomach acid.
- Sleep propped up against pillows in a near seated position to ease digestion and keep stomach acid down.
- Certain over-the-counter antacids can ease your heartburn. Check with your doctor to ensure they’re safe to use during pregnancy.
Many women get headaches or migraines during pregnancy. If you’re suffering from a headache, try these remedies to cope with the pain.
- Place a warm or cold compress on your head or neck.
- Lie down and rest in a dark, quiet room.
- Take a warm or cold shower, whichever feels better.
- Practice relaxation techniques, like deep breathing, meditation, yoga, or massage.
- Your doctor may be able to recommend an appropriate pain medication that is safe to take during pregnancy.
Back pain is more common towards the end of your pregnancy as your baby grows bigger and puts more pressure on your lower back. Try these remedies to help alleviate your pain.
- Place a warm or cold compress on your back.
- Gentle exercise, stretching, and/or massage can help relieve stiffness and pain.
- Lay on your side with a pillow between your knees.
- Practice good posture and wear comfortable shoes.
- Avoid lifting anything heavy; always ask for help if you need it.
Higher hormone levels during pregnancy can make you constipated. This can be alleviated by drinking lots of water, exercising, and eating plenty of high-fiber foods. If your problem is severe, your doctor might recommend a mild stool softener.
While it may be alarming, bleeding during pregnancy is common. About 20 percent of women experience some form of light spotting or bleeding during the first trimester. If your bleeding is incessant, heavy, or accompanied by cramping, contact your doctor right away as it might be a sign of a more serious complication.
Many women experience random uterine contractions after about 24 weeks. During a contraction, your uterus will contract and your belly might feel tight. These are commonly referred to as Braxton-Hicks contractions, and they are usually relatively painless. They are different from true contractions you will feel during labor. True labor contractions are painful, occur at regular intervals, and increase in frequency and intensity as labor progresses. If you’re unsure if your contractions are true labor, contact your doctor right away.