The intensity and frequency of pregnancy symptoms can vary. Some women are rarely bothered by symptoms while others experience intense symptoms for extended periods of time. For most women, symptoms are mild and can be alleviated by making lifestyle changes and using natural remedies.
Morning sickness is the most common pregnancy symptom, with more than 80 percent of women experiencing nausea during the first trimester. There are a few natural remedies you can use to minimize nausea and vomiting.
- Notice which foods make your morning sickness worse. For some women, certain foods will serve as a trigger, often caffeine, fatty or spicy foods. Avoiding these foods can greatly reduce nausea. It’s also best to eat small meals frequently, rather than large ones, and don’t go more than three or four hours without a snack.
- Be sure to eat meals high in protein and low in unhealthy fats. Some women find relief by adding more foods rich in magnesium to their diet, such as almonds, cashews, spinach, beans and avocado
- Ginger tea is a natural anti-nauseant that has been used for thousands of years in Chinese, Indian, and Arabian traditional medicine. You can buy ginger tea bags or simply put a slice of ginger in hot water. Ginger tea is better than drinking ginger ale because there’s more ginger in the tea and less sugar. Do talk to your doctor before consuming ginger on a regular basis if you already take blood thinners, diabetes or high blood pressure medications.
- Take B6. Taking 50 milligrams of B6 daily has been shown to help ease pregnancy-induced nausea.
As many as 35 percent of all women get hemorrhoids while pregnant. Several bodily changes during pregnancy contribute. Blood volume increases, which enlarges veins and hormonal changes can slow the return of blood to the heart, causing small veins to swell. The growing baby may press down on large blood vessels in the pelvis. Pushing or straining because of constipation, another symptom women often experience during pregnancy, may also worsen the situation.
Here are some remedies:
- If possible, avoid sitting for a long time. Take frequent breaks.
- Take warm baths or sitz baths to soothe the area.
- Avoid constipation during pregnancy by eating plenty of fiber from healthy natural sources such as fruits, vegetables, whole grains and beans. Drink plenty of water to stay hydrated. Take a daily walk. Twenty minutes a day of mild aerobic exercise can help keep you regular.
- Cool the area with witch hazel wipes or by applying witch hazel to cotton balls.
If hemorrhoids are still a problem, ask your doctor which kind of cover-the-counter medication is best.
Pregnancy headaches can be the result of hormonal changes, stress, fatigue or low blood sugar, so the best remedy for a headache may be learning how to avoid having them. Be sure to eat regular meals and drink plenty of liquids, include exercise in your daily routine, and get enough sleep.
You may also want to:
- Find healthy ways to manage stress and learn a relaxation technique, such as yoga, or enjoy the indulgence of a pregnancy massage.
- Track headache triggers. Certain foods or odors have been known to trigger migraines and you may be able to avoid them.
- If you do get a headache, lie down with a cool compress on your head.
Be sure to discuss the use of over-the-counter pain medications with your doctor. If you develop a severe headache that lasts for more than a few hours, be sure to call your doctor.
Many women develop heartburn for the first time when they are pregnant. The burning sensation in the throat and chest happens when surging pregnancy hormones relax the band of muscles at the neck of your stomach. Loosening this band of muscles allows stomach acids to flow back into the esophagus.
There are a few steps you can take to minimize heartburn.
- Don’t smoke. If you’re still smoking, quit now.
- Watch your weight, as excess weight gain can pressure your digestive tract.
- Avoid heartburn trigger foods such as fatty, spicy or acidic foods, caffeine. Eat small meals.
- Eat papaya. Some women have experienced benefits from eating papaya, which is rich in enzymes, as well as rich in vitamin A, magnesium and folate.
- Try eating almonds or drinking almond milk. Not only are almonds a good source of calcium but heartburn sufferers find they neutralize stomach acid. For a treat, you can make a smoothie with almonds milk, bananas and a touch of vanilla.
- Don’t eat too close to bedtime. Wait a few hours. If heartburn still bothers you at bedtime, prop yourself up on a few pillows.
If none of these tips help, talk to your doctor. You may have a more serious condition known as gastroesophageal reflux disease or GERD.
People normally pass gas about 18 times a day, but that incidence can go up while you are pregnant. You can blame it on the hormone progesterone, which causes your intestinal muscles to relax and slow down, allowing gas to build up. The same general rules to limit heartburn and nausea also apply to limiting excess gas. Eat plenty of dietary fiber, drink lots of water and exercise. Chew your food very carefully.
Stretch marks are caused by quick weight gain, such as the volume of weight gained during a few months of pregnancy. Ninety percent of all women get them during pregnancy and genetics may play a part in who gets them. Stretch marks predominantly appear on the stomach, which sees the greatest expansion, but they can appear anywhere fat is stored, such as the breasts, thighs, hips, and lower back. Starting out red or purple, the marks eventually fade but they never completely go away. You can minimize them in two ways.
- Maintain a healthy pregnancy weight.
- Apply moisturizing creams such as cocoa or shea butter, almond, coconut or olive oil and softly massage into your stomach or anywhere else the marks appear.
If you develop a bladder infection or persistent burning when urinating, talk to your doctor about the best medication. However, you may be able to prevent such bladder infections by drinking plenty of cranberry juice. Be sure to stay hydrated.
Many pregnancy symptoms can be treated with natural remedies. However, if you experience painful urination, vaginal bleeding or discharge, or a fever of 100.4 or higher, call your doctor.