Being pregnant is a beautiful experience. The thought of life flourishing and growing inside you is nothing short of a miracle. However, it is no easy journey. You undergo several changes, both physically and mentally. Although these changes are no longer an issue after your baby is delivered, they can make the nine-month experience challenging. Fortunately, you’re not the only mother to experience these discomforts! Knowing what to expect and the effective ways to deal with them helps you better navigate through the journey ahead. With that said, here are common discomforts you may encounter during your pregnancy and effective ways of dealing with them.
- Nausea and vomiting
A common discomfort experienced by most expecting mothers is nausea and vomiting. According to the NHS, eight out of ten women experience nausea and vomiting during pregnancy. Although experts are still researching the cause of these symptoms, several have attributed it to the body’s response to the hormonal changes accompanying pregnancy. Unfortunately, constantly feeling sick (nausea) or being sick (vomiting) is uncomfortable and inappropriate in certain social situations. If you experience this discomfort during your pregnancy, you can reduce its effects in several ways. For instance, instead of going hungry, you can eat your meals and snacks in smaller portions throughout the day. Eating foods high in carbohydrates and avoiding greasy foods (no matter how tempting) is also a great idea. You should also consider taking peppermint, chamomile, and spearmint teas.
- Constant fatigue and difficulty sleeping
Let’s face it— carrying a new life in your belly is exhausting! Constant fatigue is a common issue expecting mothers may undergo, especially in the first trimester of their pregnancy. This may be due to high blood pressure, the building of the placenta, hormonal changes, and high blood sugar levels. Despite this fatigue, trying to sleep can be a challenge. Other issues, such as trips to the bathroom, kicks from the baby, or the weight of your pregnant stomach, can make sleeping difficult. You can consider doing activities such as a warm bath, massage, or listening to music to help you relax to induce sleep. If the weight of your belly causes discomfort during sleep, you may want to know how to use a pregnancy pillow to get better sleep. Frequent naps throughout the day are another effective way of dealing with the fatigue and troubling sleeping. By taking frequent naps, you can catch up on lost sleep, ensuring you get sufficient rest. The truth is, while you struggle to sleep during such times, you may consider taking sleeping pills or medications that induce sleep. However, it is advisable to consult your healthcare professional to ensure this is safe or explore other options.
Heartburn is an uncomfortable burning sensation in the upper or mid-chest area, neck, and throat. The hormones your body produces during pregnancy can prevent the valve at the stomach entrance from closing as it should. Additionally, the growing baby can cause your uterus to press against your stomach. This causes acidic content in the stomach to move up the oesophagus causing acid reflux or gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD). Eating slowly and avoiding spicy food is a great way to control this issue. Also, drinking fluids and often exercising also keep you from the discomforts of heartburn during your pregnancy. It is also advisable to avoid laying down immediately after meals. When you sleep, the digestion process is slowed down. Therefore, going to bed right after eating will prevent your stomach from properly digesting your food. This, in turn, leads to indigestion, which causes heartburn, acid reflux, or GERD.
You should also be careful of the medications you take to ease heartburn. Although antacids are usually a great medication to help with heartburn, you should consult your doctor to ensure it is safe for you and your baby.
Another common discomfort associated with pregnancy is backache. During your pregnancy, your body gets ready to deliver your baby. In this regard, your ligaments become softer and stretch. This can cause a strain on your pelvis and lower back, causing backache. One effective and simple way to deal with back pain is by staying off your feet for long hours. You should also choose comfortable flat shoes— you can do without your heels for this short period. You should also consider incorporating anti-inflammatory foods such as kale, nuts, and proteins into your diet to ease the pain. Exercises are also a great way to ease backache. During a workout session, you increase the blood flow to the softer tissues and muscles in your back, reducing stiffness. Fortunately, your pregnancy doesn’t take you away from enjoying a good workout session. Several exercise routines are safe for you, no matter how far along your pregnancy.
You may be taking frequent visits to the bathroom when you’re pregnant, but that would be for entirely different reasons. During pregnancy, your body produces the hormone progesterone, which thickens the uterus lining. However, this hormone can affect the efficiency of your gut, making you irregular. Additionally, the combination of medications and supplements you take during this period can affect your bowel movements. Fortunately, instead of taking your laxative, which could be harmful, there are more natural ways to ease constipation, making you more regular. For instance, you can add high-fibre foods like fruits, vegetables, cereals, and nuts. Drinking water is another natural way of easing your bowels, so keep this in mind. Water plays the role of washing out toxins from the body. It helps clean the gastrointestinal tract, easing constipation.
Closely linked to constipation is haemorrhoids, as it is usually an effect of the former. Haemorrhoids, or piles, are swollen and inflamed veins around the rectum that can cause itching, aching, or sores. As mentioned earlier, one of the causes of piles is constipation, making it a common discomfort most pregnant women experience. The pressure from your growing baby against the veins in your uterus and the strain from carrying the extra pregnancy weight can also cause piles. Sitting for long periods, often when you’re pregnant, can also lead to haemorrhoids. Simply preventing or managing constipation (using the tips above) is an effective way of preventing haemorrhoids. Taking a warm bath, applying an ice pack, or a cloth with witch hazel on the affected area can also help you treat piles. Kegel exercises have also proven to be an effective way to relieve the discomfort of piles because they strengthen pelvic floor muscles.
7.Swollen ankles and feet
It is fair to say that every pregnant woman would probably undergo the discomfort of swollen ankles, feet, and fingers. While some of the discomforts you may experience last during short times in the stages of your pregnancy, this discomfort can last from the beginning to the due date! The swelling occurs due to the body’s retention of extra fluid in the body which is produced to protect the growing child. This can distort blood flow through your body, causing the blood to accumulate in your lower extremities and causing swelling. Compression socks can help relieve the ache in your swollen legs by increasing the pressure in your legs to move the excess fluid onto your blood vessels and improve circulation. Elevating your feet when you rest and spending less time on your feet is another effective way of easing pain. You should wear shoes that fit well, as tight shoes may worsen the case. The shoes should also give good support or include shoe inserts suitable for pregnant women.
It is no secret that you may crave some interesting things during pregnancy. In some cases, these are food cravings which could be regular foods such as pickles, biscuits, snacks, etc. You could also be craving an interesting combination of foods— which you may not eat on any other given day. Besides food cravings, you are also likely to experience pica. You may have cravings that are not food-related, such as dirt or clay.
Your cravings can be an effect of the hormonal changes your body undergoes during pregnancy. Experts also believe that cravings result from nutritional deficiency and a heightened sense of smell and tension.
However, giving in to your cravings can harm you and your unborn child. For instance, you are likely to gain unhealthy weight, causing health complications such as high blood pressure and increasing the risk of congenital disabilities to the unborn child. There are several ways to deal with cravings to avoid their negative effects. Eating meals and snacks regularly ensures you don’t get too hungry, allowing you to binge on unhealthy options. You should also prepare these meals in advance to ensure they are readily available when needed. Sleep also plays a significant role in curbing or managing your cravings, as the lack can produce hormones that may trigger you to eat more. Sometimes you may feel hungry, but all you need is more water. Therefore, it is advisable to consume more water to ensure you are well-hydrated and satisfied.