Most pregnant women will agree that the first
few months of pregnancy can be unpleasant; at
times, seemingly intolerable. You may experience
morning sickness, swelling in the legs and ankles,
abdominal pains, and cramps, heartburn, constipation,
fatigue, bladder problems, mood swings, and
more. Following are some tips to help you manage
some of these symptoms.
Morning sickness is probably the most common
symptom of pregnancy. "Morning sickness"
is somewhat of a misnomer, since the nausea
can occur at any time of the day. To help prevent
nausea in the morning, get out of bed slowly.
Try eating some plain crackers or dry cereal
before getting out of bed. Avoid warm temperatures
as heat can increase feelings of nausea. Keep
fresh air flowing by opening windows, or by
turning on exhaust fans.
Odors can also stimulate nausea. Cooking in
the microwave will emit fewer odors than cooking
in the oven or on the stovetop. Try eating something
salty before meals; avoid greasy or spicy foods,
and try not to drink fluids with your meals.
Also, spread your meals out throughout the day,
into about six smaller meals. Try taking your
prenatals later in the day, and ask your doctor
about vitamin B6 and ginger supplements. Sipping
fizzy water with lemon, or non-caffeinated teas
like peppermint and ginger, may help calm nausea.
Abdominal Pain or Cramps
Pregnancy exerts considerable stress on your
abdominal muscles, which can cause sharp pains
and cramps. To relieve these pains, try using
a warm heating pad. Strengthening your abdominal
muscles may help prevent this pain, but first
talk to your doctor about which type of exercise
is best for you.
Throughout your pregnancy, you may experience
some swelling. Wearing support hose can help
control weight gain in your legs and ankles.
Avoid standing for long periods of time. Wear
well-fitting shoes, or buy inserts designed
especially for pregnant women. Avoid diuretics,
as these will lead to increased swelling. Stay
off your feet as much as possible, and elevate
your legs when sitting. Lying down is usually
better than sitting.
To combat constipation, you should exercise
regularly, drink plenty of water, and eat lots
of fibrous foods such as fruits, vegetables
and whole grain cereals and breads.
Fatigue can come from sleepless nights due
to aches and pains, restless sleeping, or simply
too much stress. The most effective method for
dealing with fatigue is to get plenty of rest.
Take several naps during the day. Eat a well
balanced diet, including at least 300 extra
calories per day. Iron deficiency is a leading
cause of fatigue, so be sure to get enough (talk
to your doctor). Although it may seem counter-productive,
can often be relieved by exercising. Exercise
will be refreshing and will leave you feeling
Many of the remedies associated with nausea
will also help you deal with heartburn. Also,
avoid wearing tight clothing.
Bladder problems can be among the most bothersome
of pregnancy related issues. First and foremost,
drink plenty of water. Avoid junk food, refined
starches, coffee, sugar, tea, and foods high
in acidic content. Avoid using harsh soaps on
your genitals. Be sure to empty your bladder
and wash after intercourse. Wipe from front
to back after using the bathroom. Try to include
cabbage, leeks, and garlic in your diet. Drink
cranberry juice every day, and take a vitamin
Some women experience more symptoms than others,
but they usually lessen during the second trimester.
In general, be sure to get plenty of rest, drink
lots of water, exercise regularly after consulting
with your doctor, eat a well balanced diet,
and try to maintain an optimistic atttiude.
Susan Tanner is a wife and mother
of three. She is also the editor of pregnancy-guide.net.
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