Pregnancy is a wonderful and miserable time. You may suffer from nausea, back pain, fatigue, constipation, leg cramps, sciatica, swelling, sleeping and heartburn. Fortunately, there are natural ways to deal with these issues. Please remember to consult with your doctor before trying any at-home remedies.
If you are one of the unfortunate women to get nausea during pregnancy, there are natural ways to at least lessen the severity of it. See our morning sickness and nausea aid shopping guide for a complete list of options.
- Many women swear by natural ginger, in the form of fresh ginger, ginger candies, dried ginger, ginger ale or ginger tea. Try Earth Mama Angel Baby’s Morning Wellness Tea or make your own all-natural ginger tea:
- Remove the skin and chop a fresh piece of ginger.
- Add one tablespoon of chopped ginger to 8 oz. of water in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil and then cover and simmer for approximately 20 minutes.
- Pour tea through a strainer to remove the ginger pieces and serve with honey (optional).
- Sour candies, lemon drops or mint candies/gum are known to help ease nausea.
- Mint and raspberry leaf teas can be effective.
- Some women have found relief from eating or smelling citrus.
- Another trick some use is to sip vinegar mixed with warm water and honey.
- Drink a lot of fluids, eat frequently (six small meals a day), and eat a lot of protein and complex carbohydrates. Don’t let yourself get hungry because fluctuations in blood sugar levels can cause nausea. Eat a cracker or two before you get out of bed in the morning because your blood sugar levels tend to be really low at that time.
- Take your prenatal vitamins at night before you go to bed because they tend to aggravate morning sickness, and try vitamins high in B6, which can relieve some nausea.
- Acupressure provides relief for some moms-to-be – try Sea-Bands or Relief Bands, which are elastic bands worn on the wrists that put pressure on acupuncture points on the inner wrist. Or you could try acupuncture, meditation or hypnosis. Just make sure to check with your doctor first.
- Get plenty of sleep! Being exhausted can actually aggravate morning sickness.
Back pain is another unavoidable side effect of pregnancy.
- If you have the money for them, prenatal massages are a great way to deal with the pain.
- Less costly alternatives include hot showers or warm baths, using ice packs or heating pads, and lots of stretching exercises.
- It is important to have strong abdominal muscles to combat back pain so work some ab exercises into your routine.
- Good posture is essential to avoiding back pain, especially for moms who spend a lot of time sitting.
- Prenatal yoga classes can be a great way to improve your posture and strengthen your abs.
Being tired is a fact of life when you are pregnant. Fatigue is especially difficult when you can’t resort to caffeine to keep yourself alert. When you’re tired, it is easy to convince yourself that you can’t exercise or cook a healthy dinner. Keeping up an exercise routine is invaluable when it comes to fighting fatigue. Make sure you consult with your doctor about what exercises are safe while pregnant. And you may not have taken a nap since you were a child, but now is a perfect time to resume naptime (and you’ll want to continue the habit once the baby is born). Acupuncture is another alternative for easing fatigue.
Getting stopped up is another inevitable and uncomfortable part of pregnancy. The most natural way to deal with constipation is to drink a ton of water and eat foods with a lot of fiber. Organic dried fruit can be effective and some brands even have added fiber. Talk to your doctor before using stool softeners or supplemental fiber.
Leg cramps usually appear during the third trimester. The best thing you can do to prevent cramps is try to keep off your feet and keep them elevated whenever possible. Dehydration might also be another cause of leg cramps so drink plenty of water. If you do get a leg cramp, resist the temptation to point your toes and instead pull your toes back for relief.
Your sciatic nerve connects your legs to your spinal cord. As your baby grows, your uterus may press against this nerve resulting in a painful condition called sciatica. The pain often presents as a sharp or aching pain that starts in the lower back or buttock and shoots down the back of your leg sometimes all the way to your heel. The best way to deal with sciatica is to avoid spending too much time on your feet and use heating pads or warm baths to ease the pain. Prenatal massage and prenatal yoga are two more effective ways of dealing with sciatica.
Some women have a tendency to retain water like a sponge while pregnant. The resulting swelling can happen all over your body or confine itself to certain areas like your hands, feet and ankles. Foot massages might be useful, but talk to your doctor first especially during the third trimester as foot massages may trigger contractions. Soaking your hands and feet in ice water could help too. Lying on your left side while sleeping may act to reduce swelling by easing pressure on your kidneys and liver. And drink plenty of water – believe it or not, keeping hydrated can actually help to ease swelling.
Sleeping is difficult when you are pregnant. It is hard to get in a comfortable position when you have a baby pressing on your various body parts. You are pretty much forced to sleep on your side. And things like nausea and heartburn can make it almost impossible to sleep soundly. Go to sleep at the same time every night and wake up at the same time every morning to get your body in a pattern and ease restlessness. Full-length body pillows are a great solution because they can support your changing body – just put one end between your legs and then use the other end to support your arm. Check out this list of all-natural pregnancy pillows.
Heartburn is a pain – literally. It can happen throughout pregnancy and sometimes feels like you are about to go into labor. Laying down after you eat is the best way to trigger heartburn so wait an hour or so for your stomach acid to settle before going to bed. When you do go to bed, sleep sitting up or with the head of your bed propped up. Eat smaller meals and avoid foods with a lot of acid, like tomatoes. Drinking a lot of milk may help ease the symptoms of heartburn, especially before bed.