Pregnancy can be a time of joy and excitement. But your changing body may leave you with a frown. Fluctuating hormones can lead to tummy troubles, back pain, constipation, a constant need to pee, and many other nagging discomforts.
Here’s how to manage some of the most common pregnancy symptoms.
Nausea and Vomiting
Surging pregnancy hormones can make you feel sick to your stomach. You may feel nauseous or throw up as soon as you awaken. But don’t let the term “morning sickness” fool you. Nausea and vomiting can occur at any time of day during pregnancy.
- Take a daily multivitamin as soon as you become pregnant. This may help ease morning sickness. If you feel sick when you wake up, eat dry toast or crackers before you get out of bed.
- Do not eat foods that are very spicy, acidic, or high in fat.
- Eat small, bland snacks (such as dry crackers) throughout the day to prevent swings in blood sugar levels.
Morning sickness usually goes away after the 4th month of pregnancy. Call your doctor if you cannot hold down food or water, or you are losing weight. Severe morning sickness may require a hospital stay.
Many women have relentless heartburn during pregnancy, especially during the last 3 months. As the baby grows larger, the womb may push on your stomach. This can cause stomach juices to move backwards.
- Eat small, frequent snacks instead of several large meals.
- Do not eat spicy, fried, or acidic foods.
- Do not lie down after eating.
- Place several pillows under your head when sleeping on your back.
- Ask your doctor or nurse if over-the-counter heartburn medicine is right for you.
The baby growing in your womb is putting a lot of pressure on your bladder . As pregnancy progresses, it is common to feel like you always have to “go.”
- Avoid drinks that contain caffeine, such as coffee, tea, and soda. (Decaf is ok.) Too much caffeine can make you urinate more. It can also lead to constipation and dizziness.
- Do not drink too much before going to bed. (However, you should get plenty of fluids during the day.)
Constipation and Hemorrhoids
It is common to have constipation during pregnancy. Straining too hard to have a bowel movement can lead to itchy, painful, swollen veins in your anal area. These are called hemorrhoids.
- Drink plenty of water and non-caffeinated fluids. This helps stool move more easily through your intestines.
- Make sure you are getting plenty of fiber. Choose whole grain foods, fruits, and vegetables. This type of diet is also healthy for your growing baby.
- Get plenty of exercise. Ask your doctor or nurse which exercises are safe during pregnancy.
- If you have hemorrhoids, tell your doctor or nurse. There are creams you can buy to ease the pain and itchiness.
As your baby and stomach grow, the muscles in your back and stomach have to work harder than ever. Weak stomach muscles, relaxing ligaments, and awkward sleeping and sitting positions may all contribute to back pain.
- Always bend using your knees.
- Do not lift anything heavy.
- Avoid high heels. Wear comfortable, low-heeled shoes with good arch support. Do not wear flat shoes.
- Place a stiff board between your mattress and box springs if your bed is too soft.
- Sleep on your side with a pillow between your knees for support.
- When standing for a long time, place one foot up on a stool or box or other object.
- Ask your doctor or nurse about back strengthening exercises that are safe to do during pregnancy.
- Consider a supportive garment like a belly band.
Fatigue is very common during pregnancy. After all, you are growing another person inside you – that is a lot of work! You will probably feel the most tired during the first 8 to 10 weeks, as your body adjusts to the pregnancy changes.
- Take frequent naps.
- Make sure you are getting enough to eat and are following a healthy diet.
- Make sure you get regular, moderate exercise (such as walking).
- If you cannot sleep, talk to your doctor or nurse about ways to improve your sleep. But avoid caffeine. Too much caffeine can make other pregnancy discomforts, such as nausea, constipation, and frequent urination, worse.
If you are expecting, Good Samaritan Hospital is proud to offer a state-of-the-art maternity facility with a highly-trained obstetrical team available 24 hours a day. Find out why Good Samaritan is the hospital of choice for maternity care in our community by calling (408) 559-2011, or to take a tour of our birthing center, call (408) 559-BABY.