Pregnancy can be a wonderful and exciting period of your life. But it can also come with some unpleasant symptoms that can make you feel very uncomfortable. Among the most common ones are nausea, fatigue, and cravings. These are what this guide will focus on.
If you are experiencing nausea, fatigue, or cravings, you are not alone. These symptoms affect a lot of women especially in the first trimester. Here are some tips on how to cope with them and enjoy your pregnancy journey.
Nausea, also known as morning sickness, can occur at any time of the day or night. It often begins one to two months after you become pregnant. It is caused by hormonal changes that affect your sense of smell, taste, and your digestive system.
Some women feel nauseous throughout their pregnancy. Others only have it for a few weeks or months. To deal with nausea, you can try the following:
- Eating small, frequent meals and snacks that are bland, dry and low in fat. Avoid spicy, greasy or acidic foods that can trigger nausea.
- Drinking plenty of fluids, especially water, ginger ale, lemonade or herbal teas. Avoid caffeine, alcohol and carbonated drinks that can irritate your stomach.
- Taking prenatal vitamins with food or at night. Some vitamins, especially iron, can cause nausea if taken on an empty stomach.
- Keeping some cookies, nuts or dried fruits by your bedside and eating them before you get up in the morning. This can help settle your stomach and prevent low blood sugar.
- Wearing acupressure wristbands or using aromatherapy with ginger, peppermint or lemon scents. These can help reduce nausea by stimulating certain points or nerves on your body.
- Getting some fresh air and avoiding strong odors that can make you feel sick. Open a window, use a fan or go for a walk outside if possible.
- Taking a nap or resting when you feel tired. Fatigue can worsen nausea, so try to get enough sleep and relax during the day.
If your nausea is severe or interferes with your daily activities, talk to your doctor about medication options that are safe for you and your baby.
Fatigue is another common symptom of pregnancy that can make you feel very tired and sleepy. It is often related to a high level of the hormone progesterone, which helps prepare your body for pregnancy. It can also be caused by lower levels of blood sugar, lower blood pressure and increased blood production.
Fatigue usually peaks in the first trimester and then improves in the second trimester. However, some women may feel tired throughout their pregnancy. To deal with fatigue, you can try:
- Eating a balanced diet that includes complex carbohydrates, protein, healthy fats and iron-rich foods. These can help provide energy and prevent anemia, which can cause fatigue.
- Drinking enough water and avoiding caffeine, which can dehydrate you and disrupt your sleep cycle.
- Taking short naps during the day if you feel sleepy. Aim for 15 to 30 minutes of rest in the early afternoon, but avoid napping too close to bedtime.
- Going to bed early and getting at least eight hours of sleep at night. Follow a regular sleep routine.
- Exercising moderately for at least 30 minutes a day. Physical activity can boost your mood and energy levels, as well as improve your blood circulation and oxygen delivery to your baby.
- Asking for help from your partner, family or friends when you need it. Delegate some chores, errands or tasks to others and don’t be afraid to say no to unnecessary commitments.
If your fatigue is persistent or accompanied by other symptoms such as dizziness, shortness of breath or palpitations, consult your doctor.
Cravings are a strong desire for certain foods or flavors that may seem unusual or irresistible during pregnancy.
They are influenced by hormonal changes that affect your appetite and taste buds. Some women crave sweet or sour foods, while others crave spicy or bland foods. There are even cases of women who crave non-food items such as dirt, clay or ice. This is called pica and it may indicate a nutritional deficiency.
To deal with cravings, you can try:
- Eating a balanced diet that includes a variety of foods from all food groups. This can help you get all the nutrients you and your baby need and prevent cravings.
- Indulging in your cravings occasionally and in moderation. There is nothing wrong with satisfying your cravings as long as they are not harmful to you or your baby.
- Finding healthier alternatives or substitutes for your cravings. For example, if you crave ice cream, you can try frozen yogurt or fruit sorbet instead.
- Drinking water or chewing gum when you feel a craving coming on. This can help distract you and reduce your hunger.
- Avoiding triggers that may cause or worsen your cravings. For example, if you crave pizza when you see a commercial on TV, you can change the channel or turn off the TV.
- Talking to your doctor if you have pica or crave non-food items. This may indicate that you have low levels of iron, calcium or zinc in your body. Your doctor can prescribe supplements or dietary changes to correct this.
Pregnancy symptoms can be challenging and frustrating. The good news is that they are completely normal and a sign that your body is working hard to grow and nurture your baby. With the tips and tricks outlined above, you should be able to cope with nausea, fatigue and cravings and make your pregnancy more enjoyable and comfortable. At the end of the day, it is all about listening to your body and trusting your instincts! Good luck!