Congratulations, although perhaps as pregnancy symptoms settle in and begin taking their toll in those first few weeks you may feel as if condolences were more in order.
You’re up and down emotionally and physically and you’re mentally drained.
You feel as if you’ll puke if you so much as look at a plate of scrambled eggs, but you’d gladly trade your up-coming first born for eggs Benedict. see also : How Much Weight Gain Is Normal?
Yup, that’s pregnancy alright!
Don’t worry, the difficulty of the first few weeks doesn’t last, but that isn’t the end of your pregnancy woes.
It’s been said that if pregnancy were comfortable no one would ever want to go through labor!
Trust me, by the end of those magical 9 months you will be more than willing to bid a fond farewell to pregnancy, swapping it for labor and motherhood on the other side.
It is not my intent to sound gloom and doom about pregnancy, or at least the prospect of being comfortable during it.
I very much enjoyed every second of each of my pregnancies.
But I did have to employ a few coping skills to prevent pregnancy and comfort from becoming mutually exclusive terms.
With a bit of patience and the right “know how” you’ll be well equipped to deal with pregnancy symptoms and can have a comfortable pregnancy.
Pregnancy Symptoms 1: Nausea
Nausea and morning sickness are the grand-daddy of all early pregnancy symptoms.
Not all women experience morning sickness, while others wonder why something that makes them ill at every time of night and day is dubbed ‘morning’ sickness.
If you don’t feel ill, count your blessings and enjoy it.
If you are numbered among the ranks of nauseous and vomiting moms to be, hang in there and know this is temporary and manageable to a greater or lesser degree.
There are many, many tricks to easing morning sickness. Not all of them will work for you, but some of them will.
Keep trying new tricks and retrying ones that previously failed because as pregnancy progresses the rabbit you pull out of your hat to help you cope will also need to change.
Eating small meals frequently throughout the day helps many morning sick mommies.
This is because feelings of nausea are heightened by fluctuations in blood sugar levels.
Eating small meals at regular intervals helps hold blood sugars at a steady level, preventing nausea.
To help your blood sugar steadying efforts, add a protein source to each and every meal or snack. Many small, easy or on the go type foods are high in sugars.
Whether the sugars come from complex carbohydrates or the natural sugars in an apple or orange, the effect is the same: an increase in blood sugar, followed by a low.
Healthy snacks like whole grains and fruits are better than candies, but they still kick this cycle into motion. Protein will come to the rescue. Nausea
Proteins from nuts, meats or eggs and dairy digest slowly, providing a much more stable stream of sugars to the blood. Adding protein will maintain blood sugar levels and smooth out the peaks and valleys of a sugar rush.
This will make your tummy much happier.
When your belly is already upset you can help settle it by drinking a mint tea. Some moms likewise report a nice mint gum to be a nausea life saver.
Chewing fresh ginger, or adding it to foods will also help. Ginger has long been recognized for its positive effects on the digestive tract.
It can work wonders during pregnancy. Avoid ginger candies, ginger ale or ginger teas however, as these tend to have not much ginger in proportion to the added sugars and can actually make things worse.
Opt for fresh ginger root instead. You can find this in most any grocery produce section.
The last and very secret weapon against morning sickness is a coke.
I don’t mean the generic term ‘coke’ some use to describe any cola-type soda.
An actual brand name coke is what is really needed.
Part of this fizzy elixirs’ formulation is a tummy calming additive. This does not mean moms in waiting can chug down cokes from the can in the dozens.
Think of it as strictly medicinal coke. Serve it in a juice glass with lots of ice, and drink it slowly over the course of an hour or more.
The flatter, the better!
Believe me on this one; it really works.
Pregnancy Symptoms 2: Fatigue
Pregnancy symptoms of fatigue will plague the first trimester, diminishing in the second only to return during the third.
One of the best ways to combat the sleepies is to get plenty of rest, but how you get it is important. Your body likes routines.
They make it feel secure and able to cope knowing it will get the rest it needs at a predicable time each and every day.
To this end it is important to get to bed and arise from it at the same time each night and morning.
Establishing this discipline can be a challenge, but in the end you will be glad you turned out the lights and dragged yourself out of bed at the same time when you sail right through 3 pm with plenty of pep.
Regular bedtime habits are turbo charged when exercise is added to the mix.
Exercise regularly and your energy levels will increase in unbelievable amounts. It might not make sense, but exercise is an energy source, not a drain of it.
When all you feel capable of doing is melting into the couch, strapping on those tennis shoes and going for a brisk walk will clear your head and renew your energy…
… in a way no amount of television ever will!
Pregnancy is the time to perfect the art of the power nap.
When getting a predictable 8 hours and hitting the gym just don’t cut it, have a lie down.
Hitting the sheets for 20-40 minutes in the middle of the day is a great luxury. And pregnancy is one of those times when it is actually encouraged.
Napping can also help mitigate other pregnancy symptoms like nausea and headaches.
Lastly, try for less TV. Television actually makes getting real rest more difficult, resulting in a more exhausted you.
If you are so tired you really can’t do anything but sit on the couch, toss the remote out of reach and take a nap. Watching TV for a couple of hours only results in lost time and more lost energy.
Pregnancy Symptoms 3: Back Pain
As baby grows, the added bulk and weight up front will take a toll in back. Back pain is one of the very common pregnancy symptoms and complaints.
Fortunately, it is also one of the most treatable pregnancy symptoms.
There is much you can do in the way of wardrobe to help. If back pain is an issue, forget the cute but not so great for your body strappy heels.
Choose a supportive shoe instead. I am not advocating pregnant moms to turn their backs on foot fashion.
Just choose fashion that is married with proper support. It can be done and your back will thank you.
In addition to better footwear, you can invest in a belly brace.
This handy undergarment acts like a support bra for your swelling belly. It takes some of the pressure off an aching back and adds comfort to a sore belly at the same time.
If at all possible limit the amount of time you spend on your feet.
Standing can greatly exacerbate back pain. When you are on your feet, placing one foot on a short stool will help.
Exercise, when done right, can also greatly relieve back pain. High impact activities like running or aerobics classes are not the best choices.
Yoga and swimming, however, will work wonders.
Yoga especially will stretch and strengthen not only the back but other core supportive muscles as well. The ‘cat/cow’ yoga posture is most helpful.
You may find doing a set of 20 each night and morning will help get the baby weight off your back and relieve discomfort very effectively.
The pregnancy body is a touchy thing.
It no longer likes what was once the best thing in the world. To this end, sitting in your favorite couch or chair is no longer doing your back any favors.
Women who forsake the couch for a cross legged sit on the floor find their back much relieved.
In bed at night, sleeping with the right support is likewise critical.
Placing a pillow between the knees and rotating the hips so your belly rests entirely on the bed instead of hanging from your back will take the weight off your lower back.
This will allow it to rest up for the next day’s duties.
A visit to your friendly neighborhood Chiropractor is also a great way to pamper your aching back.
These docs are experts in all things spinal. You will get the relief you need in one simple crack!
Pregnancy Symptoms 4: Stretch Marks
When it comes to stretch marks, there is good news and bad news. The good news is that some women are protected by genetics.
Their skin just stretches happily for miles and miles to cover that baby belly no matter how quickly it pops out there. The bad news is, some women are not so lucky in their genes.
There is not much you can do to change the genetic composition of your skin.
That does not mean you just have to roll over and let the stretch marks take over.
You can combat these little beasts in several ways. First and foremost, a well hydrated skin is more able to stretch without marking.
To this end drink up and bring on the lotion.
The massaging action of rubbing the lotion in is as important as the actual application itself.
Use lotion night and morning and after your showers, and allow your skin to absorb it all before getting dressed. This may add an extra 5 minutes to your routines, but the results are worth the time.
In addition to the rubbing massage and lotion, it is important to swap out your shower soap. Choose a moisture rich body gel instead.
Pregnancy Symptoms 5: Head Ache
Does your head hurt?
That could be one of the pregnancy symptoms as well. Since you are with child, popping a few tranquilizing pain killers and waiting for it to pass is not an option.
When headaches strike, take a quick note of how much water you’ve had that day.
A headache could be your body’s way of drawing your attention to hydration needs. Drink enough water, and you will find headaches lessen or disappear altogether.
If you have had a regular coffee habit which you gave up for baby’s sake, your head might just be bearing the brunt of it.
One of the most common causes of pregnancy headaches is caffeine withdrawal.
The effects are temporary and will go away over time as your body gets used to the idea of skipping the daily cup of joe.
If you want to give your aching head a break, you can sip a bit of coffee to take the edge off as you wean yourself from coffee more slowly.
Headaches can also be caused by a lack of something in your routine, other than coffee.
Are you getting enough sleep? Are you getting enough food to avoid sugar crashes?
Headaches could be your signal to get to bed or eat more leafy greens.
Frequent headaches could also be caused by high blood pressure.
Your doctor should be keeping a close eye on your BP, but report any headaches that just don’t go away just the same.
For more tips on easing your suffering from headaches, click the link below:
Pregnancy Headache Coping Tips
Pregnancy Symptoms 6:
Shortness of Breath
Pregnancy can take your breath away, both literally and figuratively.
Those 3 minutes spent waiting for the test to tell you if the pitter-patter of little feet is headed your way is only the first time pregnancy will leave you gasping for air.
As the baby grows you will find yourself heaving and sucking air just singing or climbing the same set of stairs in your home that you have climbed a zillion times a day for the last seven years!
It’s just one of the pregnancy symptoms, and it has nothing to do with atrophy.
Adding baby’s oxygenation needs to your own makes air a premium during the nine months you spend in waiting.
In addition to an increased need for O2, to handle baby’s needs your blood volume also doubles making your lungs work overtime just to hand out air to all the blood flowing through them.
Short of having the baby, there is no way to completely relieve your shortness of breath.
But you can do much to keep your body and baby in the fresh air without hyperventilating.
First off, taking it easier is not the answer.
The less you exercise those breathing muscles and expand your lung capacity, the less there is available for you to use. Exercise increases air in the body.
Of course hopping on the treadmill and cranking the dial up to 10 will not be the best method of breath preservation.
Try yoga instead.
Not only is this exercise low impact and perfect for even the most ardent couch potato, it will increase breath awareness and find those extra bits of space hiding in your torso.
Both of these elements will ease breathlessness.
Next, you may have to work on your posture, girl!
Slouching is not only unattractive, but it will also leave you short of breath.
Taking the time to sit a little taller will amaze you. A scrunched spine equals a squished mid-section and that means less room for everything including air!
Helping your baby sit properly in the womb can also help. Encourage baby to be a lung friendly little nipper by doing your pelvic tilts.
Pelvic tilts are a simple exercise that gets baby out of the abdominal cavity and sitting more lightly on the lungs.
Pelvic tilts are done with your hands and knees on the floor. Next just tilt the hips forward allowing your baby belly to relax downward, creating a dip in your spine.
Next, tilt the pelvis backward bringing the back to neutral.
The last breath saver, aside from delivery, will occur in those last few big weeks of pregnancy when the baby drops.
Your baby will not exactly fall out, but it will drop into your pelvis relieving your lungs from bearing the brunt of his space requirements.
Pregnancy Symptoms 7:
One of the biggest pregnancy stereotypes depicts moms running to the potty so often they just barely emerge from said loo, before they turn heel and head back inside.
If you thought your only choice was to just deal with it you are only partly right.
With the kidneys working on warp speed to clear your system of anything and everything waste or waste-like… And a rapidly disappearing space for your bladder…
… you are going to wee-wee more often than the rest of the non-pregnant population!
Time will help.
In the second trimester hormones level out and your kidneys likewise mellow in their obsessive need to clean, so your need to tinkle will correspondingly decrease.
This respite doesn’t last long because the ever increasing size of baby, and some tot’s persistent belief that your bladder exists solely to amuse them, will reacquaint you with your bathroom at more frequent intervals.
Give your body a break and lay off the diuretic substances like caffeine. Caffeinated beverages, like other diuretics, make the body drain of fluids.
Guess where one of those exit venues is?
That’s right, your bladder!
Pregnancy Symptoms 8: Heartburn
If you don’t have Tums or a similar antacid in every pocket, then you just don’t know the fun that pregnancy can have with heartburn.
Some women have heartburn so badly that Rolaids become the finishing touch to most every meal.
You can tame heartburn by drinking a bit more milk.
The combination of proteins, calcium and other nutrients (namely potassium and magnesium) are a natural way to settle stomach acids.
There is no need to carry Tums if you pour one more glass of milk.
You can also change a few eating habits to help digestion. see also : Types Of Pregnancy Complications
It is proven that a happy tummy is one that is filled slowly with well chewed bits.
Take your time and linger over your meals, chewing each morsel with care.
You will find you have less heartburn because you have done more to kick off the process of digestion right by starting at the beginning: your mouth.
If remembering to chew like your mama taught you to do (and, by the way, like you soon will be encouraging junior to do) isn’t enough, then you should look into a few tweaks to the diet itself.
Avoid spicy foods.
Leave off the acidic foods, even really healthy ones like citrus.
You can get your vitamin C elsewhere, and the decrease in heartburn makes passing on the OJ easy.
Other common foods to increase heartburn are Italian foods with tomato sauces and fried foods laden in grease.
To get some excellent tips on getting relief from heartburn during pregnancy, click the link below.
Tips to Manage Heartburn During Pregnancy
Pregnancy Symptoms 9: Varicose Veins
Are your legs looking more like a road map than those tan, sexy posts that look like they just walked off a ZZ Top video?
Varicose veins happen, and pregnancy is one of those life events that create an inroads for them.
The extra blood volume and dilated veins creates the perfect storm of blown and collapsed veins.
You can fight the fight, but genetics is a big player as to whether or not varicose veins will be part of your pregnancy.
To minimize the impact you can retrain yourself to sit in a more circulation friendly way.
Don’t cross your legs and, even better, you should haul your pregnant belly off the couch and sit criss-cross applesauce on the floor instead.
Placing a pillow just under your sit bones will give you a slight tilt that prevents your feet from falling asleep. Sitting this way is very comfortable and works to stop varicose veins from forming.
If you choose to maintain a seat off the floor don’t cross your legs. This cuts off circulation which contributes to varicose troubles.
Using a pair of tat hose will give your legs extra support as well as relief from the pain caused by varicose veins.
You can get tat hose, which are really a pair of really tight socks, at most stores.
If you need a tip ask your midwife for local supplier.
Pregnancy Symptoms 10: Mood Swings
Have you been nicknamed a diva or princess storm cloud?
Mood swings are one of the most common of the pregnancy symptoms.
Most pregnant mommies have their fair share of mood swings. Some mood changes are so sudden and severe they startle even themselves.
One minute you’re fine, the next you are beset with a maniacal laughter that morphs to heartbroken weeping at the drop of a hat. Just another one of the pregnancy symptoms yourself (and others!) must contend with.
There is no danger in these wide swings in mood, unless you really can’t control them and you are left feeling apathetic, helpless or hopeless.
If you are experiencing these feelings, it’s possible you could be suffering from depression during pregnancy. If this is the case, click here for some useful advice about pregnancy depression.
Current research suggests that keeping a watchful eye on your moods during pregnancy can help you catch and even prevent post partum depression.
This is because often the ‘post partum’ portion of depression only references the timeframe during which the depression was first diagnosed.
The first mood helper is sleep.
Getting those z’s really will help you restore your moods to a less turbulent state. Pregnant women suffering from pregnancy depression Put yourself to bed at the same time each night and arise each day at the same time.
This will help your body develop a healthy, mood friendly, frame of mind.
You should eat well too.
Getting the veggies and fruits you need alongside whole grains and lean meats will make you healthy from the inside out.
Foods in the right colors, in the right amounts sustain hormone levels and create mood lifters.
The mood swing’s natural enemy is serotonin, or the happy chemical in the brain.
Getting a solid 8 hours of sleep, plus a power nap, along with a balanced meal can support the production of serotonin, but sometimes they are not enough.
If you find you need a bit more help coaxing those serotonin levels high enough to combat your uber-moodiness then it is time to get to the gym.
Brisk exercise signals the body to release happy hormones and increase energy levels.
Exercise will also keep depression at bay, increase deep REM sleep and help boost healthy appetites.
Lastly, and you read it here, if your moods are swinging from right and back to center it is time to get a massage!
Relaxation will help you release the stress each and every expectant mother carries around inside her.
Getting that stress handled in a neutral pampering way will feel very good, and help cure your mood swings to boot.
That little fact will have your hubby pony up the money for a massage therapist willingly and happily.
(Mood swings affect him, too)
Pregnancy Symptoms 11: Cravings
In today’s grocery store it is not difficult to fill any craving: want watermelon in December?
Need ice-cream and hoisin sauce?
Hit the freezer and international sections.
If your cravings are bizarre food combinations, that’s no problem.
Eat ice-cream and anchovy’s to your heart’s content.
Non-food cravings are different altogether and one of the pregnancy symptoms that needs controlling.
If laundry starch or that red clay in the back yard suddenly become delectable to you, you’ve got what are known as pica cravings, and that is a problem.
First off, don’t indulge these non-food cravings.
Not only does dirt taste bad, but no matter what your cravings are telling you, it could be hazardous to your health.
Laundry starch and chalk are not for the belly.
Pica is often caused by severe malnutrition or a deficiency in certain nutrients.
For example, women who craved ice or red clay were often found to have an iron deficiency while low calcium levels were found in women who salivated at the thought of chalk.
Instead of chowing down on the dirt, think about what minerals or nutrients could be missing from your diet and focus a meal plan on getting those.
(Iron is found in lean red meats, and calcium is to be had abundantly in spinach)
You should also talk to your doctor for additional support for you and your baby.
Pregnancy Symptoms 12:
Braxton Hicks Contractions
Not all contractions are preterm labor.
Many mommies experience ‘practice’ contractions beginning as soon as 16 weeks. These uterine warm-ups are called Braxton-Hicks contractions.
They differ from labor contractions in several ways. First and foremost, they do not result in the birth of the baby.
They are just your uterus’ way of getting a bit of exercise before it counts. Just another of the many pregnancy symptoms.
Braxton Hicks contractions also feel different.
While some women would argue that these contractions are anything other than comfortable, the vast majority of women agree that these tightenings really aren’t anything to be worried about.
They feel like a sit-up type tightening of the abdomen that you can’t release when you want to.
Real labor contractions might start out feeling like the Braxton hicks variety, but they soon get stronger and fall into a reliable pattern.
They also do not stop or change as a result of your activity levels.
Braxton Hicks contractions will change with your activity levels or in response to a big drink and a snack.
Braxton Hicks also feel different.
These warm-up contractions don’t utilize the entire uterus. Your uterus may feel tight all over, but the actual working muscles are only part of what will be at work with regular labor contractions.
A classic labor contraction starts with a sensation of tightening originating in the back and spreading in a belt like line until the entire uterus is contracting.
It feels like a large charley horse or extremely bad menstrual cramps.
The feeling is quite different from the tightening of a Braxton Hicks contraction.
Pregnancy Symptoms 13: Swelling
Are your favorite strappy shoes a distant memory as your hammy, fleshy feet resemble flippers more than toes?
Have you officially become a member of the kankle society?
Pregnancy symptoms involving swelling is a result of your body storing water.
You can do much to keep it at bay.
First off, get enough water!
If your body knows it will always have the water it needs it will be less likely to hoard it.
Next, salt is not your enemy, sort of.
The high sodium content of prepackaged foods will make anyone, pregnant or not, retain water.
So skip the boxed, pre-fab foods and eat fresh foods of your own cooking creation. The meals do not need to be gourmet, just fresh.
These foods you can salt to your taste-bud’s delight because by preparing foods yourself you have cut more than 90% of the sodium content of most pre-packaged foods found in baggies and boxes on the inner isles of grocery store shelves.
Nixing the pre-made foods and salting to taste will ensure your body has the balance it needs of salty electrolytes in each cell.
The high sodium content in pre-made foods will throw this balance out of whack, creating a need for more water in each cell to lower sodium levels.
Swollen ankle city!
You may also need to dedicate part of each day to getting out of the heat, putting your feet up or otherwise ‘kicking’ it in a cool relaxing place.
Taking the pressure off your feet and allowing the body to cool down helps mitigate swelling.
A long dip in your local pool does the trick quite nicely in coping with this pregnancy symptom.
While some swelling is normal, not all swelling is safe. Extreme swelling of the feet, to the point an ankle bone is a mere memory is not safe.
Swelling in the face and hands is also a sign that things are not going well.
Lots of swelling, especially in the face is a sign of toxemia, a potentially fatal pregnancy complication.
If swelling sets on suddenly, will not go down and is very severe on your feet, hands and face, call your midwife or OB.
It could just be the packet of ramen noodles you just ate, or something more ominous. In this case, however it is better to be safe than sorry.
Pregnancy Symptoms 14: Constipation
While pregnancy might enlarge your veins for better nutrient delivery and send your kidneys into a full manic episode for better waste removal…
… it interacts with your bowels in a very different way.
Have you been a bit sluggish lately with your regular daily constitutional?
Yep, just another of the pregnancy symptoms talking.
Your bowels slow down as a result of the body trying to ring every possible bit of nutrition from your food and they also become dilated.
This can add up to flatulence and constipation if you aren’t careful.
Trust me, no matter how attractive the glow of pregnancy might make you feel, there just isn’t anything pretty about a swollen, gassy woman.
And irregularity does nothing for mood swing moderation.
One culprit, aside from pregnancy, in the induced chill-axing attitude your bowels have adopted is the iron in your prenatal vitamins.
Iron can help rust you up good and tight.
It also creates havoc higher up in the intestinal system as it exacerbates morning sickness and nausea.
Ask your prenatal care provider for ideas about how to get your iron, without the mega doses found in a prenatal vitamin.
There are vitamins that meet pregnancy needs without overloading the bowels with iron.
If you are constipated or merely flatulent, fiber is your new best friend.
You should aim for 25-35 grams of fiber each day.
This might seem like tall order, but when you consider a slice of whole grain bread can have as much as 7 grams of fiber per slice, it isn’t too hard.
For regularity’s sake, forsake white grains that have been stripped of most of their fibrous content.
Also be certain to get your 5 servings of leafy greens in addition to 3 servings of fruit each day.
If you do this your fiber needs will be met.
If you opt for a fiber supplement in either pill or powder form, be certain to increase your water intake.
Insufficient water intake can lead to constipation in the first place, but adding fiber and not upping your water intake will really make you one unhappy camper.
If after all this, you still don’t feel totally comfortable in your body the way you did before baby turned you into a duplex, remember this: you are a duplex.
Your body will not feel the same until you again become a single tenant dwelling.
Be patient with the changes and focus your mind on the positive things that are also happening.
Feeling baby move is magical and will go a long way to dispelling other grief caused by pregnancy.
Lifting your focus from the sometimes unpleasant pregnancy symptoms to the enjoyable ones will make all the difference in your comfort, contentment and enjoyment of pregnancy.