Pregnancy Ailments and Some Natural Helps
In this post I am sharing some of the most common pregnancy ailments or complaints. I also hope to help anyone who is looking for natural comfort or relief from some of these ailments. I am not claiming to be a medical expert, just a woman who has done this a time or two and hopefully gained some wisdom. This post may contain affiliate links.
I hope you will indulge me over the next month or so. I am due with our baby in just four weeks!! Didn’t know I was expecting? You can read about it here. Pregnancy and childbirth are naturally on my mind. Therefore, I plan to share a few posts on the topic. I figure after doing this so many times, I have certainly gained some wisdom that could help another woman!
Every Woman is Different
This is a true statement. We are all different, and some of us have more severe symptoms or problems during pregnancy. However, I ask that if you are truly seeking help for some of your pregnancy ailments that you read these ideas with an open mind. Sometimes we take a “I am the exception” attitude. When the truth is we don’t want to make changes that might be a bit difficult or uncomfortable. Dietary changes are often hard, but they sure can help with many symptoms! Many times we want a quick fix and we don’t want to change!
I also want to say these are common pregnancy ailments, not severe issues. I know some women have major health issues, I am not speaking to those here.
Our Bodies Were Designed to Do This
This is the attitude with which I approach pregnancy and childbirth. I do understand that not everyone sees the woman’s body this way. However, this is truly my belief. I do not believe that pregnancy is a disease or an issue to be fixed. I believe that women were having children long before hospitals and medical intervention. Am I thankful that those things are in place in case of a true emergency? Of course! However, I believe that in the case of a healthy woman that intervention is usually not necessary.
I also believe that it is your responsibility to care for your body. The idea that “you can eat whatever you want” is a ridiculous notion. I remember when I was expecting my first, the girls I worked with had brought in a big box of doughnuts. I refused to eat one, they were shocked…”well, you’re pregnant, you can eat whatever you want!” I wasn’t that educated on nutrition at that point, but I knew that a sugar laden fried doughnut was not my best choice for nourishment!
The way you choose to care for yourself and your baby will have a direct impact on your pregnancy and on your birth experience. The Doctors can’t just fix everything for you. This is your body, and your baby. You get to choose the way to go. Many pregnancy ailments can be remedied or lessened with proper nutrition and care of yourself.
Now that I’ve got that out of the way, let’s talk about some common pregnancy ailments and ways I’ve learned (through 10 pregnancies) to deal with them.
Uggh….this is my biggest pregnancy ailment. I have terrible vericose veins in one leg. Heredity can usually be thanked for this issue. Although there are some factors that experts claim to make them worse. Pregnancy hormones and extra pressure combined definitely make the problem painful and unsightly during pregnancy.
Here is what I have tried, what has worked for me and what hasn’t.
Support Hose- Yuck, yuck double yuck!
I wore support hose for several pregnancies. They really do provide some relief from the pain associated with the pressure of varicose veins. They do of course only provide relief while you are wearing them. If you happen to be pregnant in the summer….just forget it. There was no way I was able to endure them through the heat.
Try Jeggings or Leggings
For this pregnancy I have been wearing these jeggings nearly non-stop. They are super comfortable and affordable. They do stay in place and fit snugly which really supports my legs. They do snag fairly easily, so I would say they are not the highest quality, but the for the price, I really can’t complain!
This is one that I have tried through the years. I have wanted so badly for them to work, but honestly I have seen very little improvement from the herbs that are touted to be the best for this issue. Some of the most common ones are Butcher’s Broom, Grape Seed Extract and Horse Chestnut Extract. I have tried specific blends created for vericose veins. Perhaps I don’t take enough?
When we moved to our current home 8 years ago, I was delighted to gain a swimming pool! My wish for every pregnant woman is that she would have access to a pool. Exercise in general improves circulation providing relief from the pressure of varicose veins. However, swimming is like a leg massage. The pressure from the water along with the increased circulation from exercise is a wonderful relief.
No pool? Then get out there and walk! It truly does help to get the blood flowing and not just pooling in your legs!
Castor Oil Packs
This is a messy remedy, but does provide some relief. Castor oil is also supposed to truly improve the veins. I am wanting to try this more as I have seen some benefit from castor oil. The idea is that you soak a flannel cloth with the oil and wrap your legs with it then wrap with plastic to protect your bedding and sleep with the pack on.
I have been slathering castor oil on my veins at night and I do feel relief from the pain associated with varicose veins. Therefore I truly believe this to be a good remedy.
This has given me the most relief out of everything. Once I started body brushing, I was able to go all day without the need for support hose. This was a huge accomplishment in my book. I have been faithfully body brushing for about 7 years and I highly recommend it for everyone. It improves circulation and exfoliates your skin. It has made my skin noticeably softer as well.
The method was outlined for me very well by Teresa Tapp of T-Tapp fame. You need a natural brush and dry skin. It may seem a bit abrasive at first, but it is so beneficial, and after some time will not be uncomfortable. This is the brush I use.
This is probably the most common pregnancy ailment, especially during the first 12-16 weeks. I remember my husband’s dismay with my first pregnancy. We would go to the grocery store, on the way home I would start to feel nauseous, by the time we got home, I was full on sick. I knew I needed to eat, but wanted absolutely nothing we had just bought. Actually I could think of NOTHING that I wanted to eat. What I learned is that I had gone too long without eating.
Eat Small Protein packed snacks every two hours
I used to eat crackers and fruit as snacks. While this may have helped with the nausea, the relief didn’t last long. Add in some cheese, yogurt, a few chunks of chicken, maybe a glass of raw milk. This will help you to make it for the two hours. Believe me I understand eating every two hours is a burden, especially when you have no appetite. I wish I had an answer to that dilemma! I still struggle at 36 weeks pregnant with staying on top of food! Growing a human takes a lot of protein and a lot of calories!! It is only for a time though! As a rule, 60-80 grams of protein a day, and 40 grams of carbohydrates for each meal.
Eat Before leaving bed
If you truly struggle with nausea in the early morning, try to keep a snack on your nightstand for morning time. My husband is the greatest, in the early weeks when I am really struggling, he will bring me scrambled eggs before he leaves for work! Eggs are my best friend throughout pregnancy. I eat them every morning and every night before bed. Protein Protein! To this I do want to add that store bought eggs are just not the same. I do not feel the benefit from eggs purchased at the store. If you can get a hold of some farm fresh eggs with nice rich orange yolks, you will most likely taste and feel the difference!
If scrambled eggs don’t work for you, or if you don’t have someone to bring them to you. Try some nuts, or a low sugar granola bar that is full of protein. Even a bit of dried fruit might help you to make it out to the kitchen to cook some breakfast.
Ginger is supposed to really help with nausea. I have not used this much, as I find that my problem is usually just needing to eat. However, if you are still nauseous even after eating, this might be a good thing for you.
Uggh, this pregnancy ailment can be the worst in the early weeks. Keeping yourself mentally stable is so important. This is not forever! I know there have been times when I have mourned the former energetic “me” as though she was gone forever, never to return! Hormonal drama? Perhaps.
Rest when you can
This is really the best way. If at all possible, give into the fatigue and take a rest. You are starting a mighty work in your body. It takes lots of energy! I have both worked outside of the home during pregnancy and I have been at home. It is especially difficult to rest when you work away from home. You may find that you want to go to bed at 7:00 in the evening. If you can swing it…do! If you are home, it can also be difficult especially if you have other little ones. Lie down with them at nap time if you can. Housework can wait. Take care of yourself.
This might sound contrary to the above paragraph, but there are times when you just need to give yourself a little push. Often in early pregnancy I think the symptoms feel almost like depression. Resting is good, but sometimes I just make myself get outside and go for a walk. This is even if I really don’t want to, I have never regretted it though. I always come back feeling better than when I left.
What? Didn’t I just tell you about food above in the nausea section? Yes, I did! What I have learned is that if I am not feeling super nauseous, but tired, I need to eat. It’s worth a try anyway! Grab one of those protein rich snacks and see if it helps!
There seems to be certain stages of the pregnancy where this is really bad for me. Other times, I don’t struggle at all. It is certainly a miserable pregnancy ailment!
Are you seeing a pattern here? Sometimes I will get heartburn when my belly is empty. I will have what I call empty belly burps. They burn and are miserable. I have learned that this is also a symptom of needing to eat.
I have learned that sugar is one of my main triggers for heartburn, especially in the evening. The best thing for me is to avoid it altogether. I handle this pretty well most of the time. Do I indulge sometimes and regret it? Why yes I do!
Yes, this also seems to make my heartburn worse! Too bad too! I am able to drink a cup in the morning, and that is about it! No more afternoon caffeine pick me ups during pregnancy. I always regret it if I do!
I am a lover of Mexican food. My husband and I usually sneak out on Friday nights to a local restaurant for a date. We have only been a handful of times over the last nine months. I just cannot tolerate it! If I make Mexican food at home, I use less seasoning and I add lots of rice to the meat. This seems to make it better for me!
Papaya tablets taken after a meal seem to help. I also take four or five tablets before bed.
Liquid Calcium Magnesium
This is by far the best remedy I have tried for heartburn. I used to buy this locally, but the store stopped carrying it. I wish I could remember the brand. For me it was important that it was vanilla flavored, not citrus. The citrus flavors never sat well. However, the vanilla helped immensely! I would just take a couple of swigs before bedtime. The magnesium is also helpful for sleep and bowel regulation.
I don’t have this issue during pregnancy, but have heard that it can be a problem. Here are some tips for constipation in general.
Are you seeing another pattern? Exercise is so incredibly important for your overall health. Not to mention, getting moving, helps to get things moving!
This is a big one in pregnancy as well! 8-10 glasses a day is the general rule. However, pay attention to your body. If you are constipated, have swollen ankles or have dark colored urine; you are likely not taking in enough water. The best way for me to keep up is to have a large 32 oz insulated cup full of ice water near me at all times. I just drink water all day long.
Don’t like water? Try brewing a jug of herbal tea. Raspberry tea is good during pregnancy. Just find one you like, you can even sweeten it lightly with honey and drink away!
I referred earlier to liquid calcium magnesium. This works wonders for keeping your bowels moving. Also, magnesium capsules work well too! If you find that you have restless legs at night, magnesium can also help with that!
This is a great supplement to take throughout pregnancy, and can often help keep things moving!
In addition, Vitamin C is just an overall great supplement during pregnancy. I recently learned that Vitamin C is vital to the development of the uterus, and having sufficient levels of Vit C can help the placenta to detach from the uterus after birth.
This can be alarming the first time you feel it! It is a sharp almost ripping pain down the lower sides of you belly into your pelvis. This is completely normal and just shows that those round ligaments are supporting far more than their usual load! While you may not be able to stop these from happening altogether, here are a few tips.
Try to Avoid Sudden Movements
A sudden reaching or stretching movement will often trigger a spasm of pain. Try to take it a bit slower and don’t over reach.
Avoid Over Exertion
In the section below, I give some exercise tips. Over working your body can cause those ligaments to be exhausted and in turn, they give you more grief!
This is totally my observation. I could find nothing scientific to back this up, and my midwife said she had never heard anyone make the connection. However, I am going to share it here, just in case I’m right. Also, consuming more water never hurt anyone. I truly believe I have more issue with this coming on when I haven’t had enough water. It seems to strike when I am just lying in bed without any sudden movements.
When you roll over in bed, do so slowly and with some thought. Shifting the weight quickly can really trigger those episodes!
Avoid Under Belly Pants
When I was younger and pregnant, I couldn’t tolerate full panel maternity pants. I wore underbelly pants the entire time. However, now that I have carried more children, things sit a bit lower…ahem. Anyway, I have found that under belly pants past the 2nd trimester really irritate those ligaments, causing more spasms of pain.
This seems to be one that affects most women at some point. With all the added weight we carry, it seems impossible to not feel the strain. For some this is worse late in the pregnancy. Here is what has helped me with back pain.
I am a firm believer in chiropractic care for the whole family. Not just for those with back problems. We start having our children checked and adjusted within days of their birth. Here is an explanation of a subluxation which is what a Dr. of Chiropractic can locate and either reduce or correct. This keeps your body functioning closer to 100%. Chiropractic care can also help to prepare your body for labor and delivery.
Taking ten or fifteen minute breaks throughout the day to get yourself horizontal is so incredibly helpful. Just getting the weight off of your back and out of your pelvis at different times during the day will help you to feel better at the end of the day!
Stretching and Hip Circles
Finding a few minutes every few hours to stretch your hamstrings and lower back will definitely help. This in combination with breaks throughout the day helps with the overall feeling of fatigue.
I know I have mentioned exercising twice already. However, this time I am going to tell you something that I did not know until recently. I always read that you can do any exercise during pregnancy that you did before pregnancy. While that may be fine advice for the protection of your baby, it is not the best advice for YOU! Yes, your baby is in your uterus safe and sound protected quite nicely! However, your body is NOT the same as it was before pregnancy.
I started running a couple of years ago. I decided that I was going to continue to run throughout this current pregnancy (my tenth child). At my 17 week check-up when I told my midwife that I was still running, she looked at me rather horrified! “Please Stop”…that was what she said. Then she proceeded to give me several stories of women who pushed themselves physically to keep up a strenuous exercise routine, only to find themselves with injuries or a prolapsed uterus.
Do you know what a prolapsed uterus is? Yikes! This article explains what it is. However, it fails to mention a few other causes. One thing to remember also is that recovery after pregnancy is VITAL to the healing of that pelvic floor. You can cause yourself to have a prolapsed uterus by not fully recovering after birth. You should not climb stairs for at least a week. You should not lift your baby in his or her car seat for several weeks. That lifting twisting motion of putting that baby in the car is very hard on your body. Exercise really should not be started until you are done bleeding after the birth. Even then, your hormones are not back to normal, and injuries are easier. A good sign that you are doing too much will be an increase in blood flow after you think you are nearly done.
Moderate Exercise instead
Walking is really one of the easiest and best exercises during pregnancy. A good 20 minute walk helps me mentally and physically. It is considered safe for most women and doesn’t cost a thing! Someone told me that it can also decrease your labor time!! Also, swimming as mentioned earlier is a dreamy way to exercise for the pregnant woman! It takes the weight off and just feels so amazing!!
Try not to worry about weight gain. I say that for a woman who is in overall good shape, eating a nutritious diet. I would say that I am that woman, and I gain at least 40 pounds with each pregnancy. My midwife assures me that my body is doing what it needs to do to maintain the pregnancy. For some women extra weight is necessary for estrogen production and also for nursing post-partum. Of course listen to your healthcare provider.
I Hope this was Helpful!
My hope is that you have gained a few things to try if you are seeking relief from pregnancy ailments. I don’t always have a great attitude about the limitations related to pregnancy. If you and I can just keep in the front of our minds that this is only temporary, it may help us! This is not your new “normal” you will be back to yourself in time! Plus you will soon get to meet this amazing new person that grew inside of you!! How exciting is that?
Disclosure: Any information given is my opinion formed through my own research. This information is not meant to diagnose, treat, prevent or cure any illness. Please do your own research regarding your health as you are responsible for your own decisions.
Even though I’ll never be pregnant again, a lot if this information can still be utilized. You look wonderful❤️
I had the worst nausea ever with mine and it got worse with each pregnancy. So much so that I can never do it again. I literally felt like I might die! But if someone else had told me that I would have just rolled my eyes and thought they were whining. Its so true about everyone being different!
Yes, it is so hard to have compassion for someone when you have never been through it yourself! So sorry that was your experience! I have a friend that came from a big family, and planned to have a large family herself. However, she too was sick, sick sick the entire pregnancy. She couldn’t hold anything down. She has four children now, and I don’t think we will be meeting any more!
That’s kind of you to say! It’s hard to see the truth in pictures….oh crap I am every bit as big as I feel!! Ha!
Congrats on your new little one!
Thank you Emily!
Congrats with the little one! I have 3 daughters. I always had tiredness, nausea and heart burn towards the end. I enjoyed the natural tips on your blog. I also lived in leggings the whole time. I did buy a pair of maternity jeans to try. Funny story, after my first one was born my fiance ended up wearing them by accident, it was a funny sight.
Ooops!! Thank you for taking the time to visit and comment!
Very well written and helpful! Thank you!
Thank you for visiting Alexa!
This is such a great resource for pregnant women. I wish I had known these things when I was pregnant with my four babies, especially about the nausea and fatigue. I suffered so much from them. I also ended up with premature labor with two of mine that required several hospitalizations. I wish that I had had this kind of knowledge back then. Great blog post!
Thank you Elise! I know, I feel like women are not getting the information they need to be healthy during pregnancy! Thanks again!
How did I not know that you were pregnant!
Yep, due soon too! Thank you friend!
Oh the pregnancy memories that this brought back (the good, bad, and the ugly 😉). It truly is a miracle growing another human. God bless. Take care.
Jen, yes, there certainly are some ugly parts! God bless you as well!
What amazing tips! And I hear you on the varicose veins :/ !!! I had to stop having babies after our second because I kept getting blood clots and, though blood thinners helped, it just wasn’t safe for me. I wish and have prayed otherwise, but that is the way for me.
And, your blog and pictures are beautiful! 🙂
Coming via Imparting Grace
Sarah, thank you for stopping by and taking the time to comment! I’m sorry for your struggles, the human body is so complex and there are just so many variables! Best wishes to you!