These are natural remedies that might ease your suffering.
The symptoms ease by the start of the second trimester, but some women endure it throughout their pregnancy. Get help if you have severe morning sickness or “hyperemesis gravidarum” (excessive vomiting during pregnancy).
“Severe vomiting may cause dehydration resulting in electrolyte imbalances where you may need to go to the hospital for IV fluids,” notes Dr Nau’shil Randhawa of the National University Hospital (NUH) Women’s Centre.
Because of the pressure that your ever-growing uterus is putting on the stomach, the acids tend to go up the oesophagus, causing pain or discomfort around the chest.
* Studies show that taking vitamin B6 improves nausea. Do consult your doctor before changing your vitamin intake.
* The gingerol in ginger contains anti-inflammatory properties that can neutralise stomach acids. Suck on hard ginger lollies, chew crystallised ginger, or grate fresh ginger into soups and salad dressings.
* Carry a bottle of pregnancy-safe scents like mint, lemon and ginger to combat smells that make you feel queasy.
* Reduce stress with deep breathing and meditation. “Prenatal yoga is the perfect fix-all for my nausea and mood swings. It also helps me sleep well,” says Anne Chin, 31, who is eight weeks pregnant.
* Sip herbal teas like ginger or peppermint tea instead of taking breath mints, which are high in sugar or contain chemicals that may have a laxative effect. As herbal foods can be a grey area in pregnancy nutrition, consult your ob-gyn.
* Avoid spicy, high-fat or salty fare, as well as large meals. Opt for saltine crackers, yoghurt or warm milk with toast.
* Don’t drink while eating. Drink water between meals — electrolyte and fizzy drinks can be helpful. Skip beverages containing caffeine as it has a diuretic effect and may increase your risk of dehydration.
* Wear acupressure wristbands to reduce morning sickness. Acupuncture has also been shown to elevate one’s mood, banish headaches and back pain. Check first with a practitioner trained in treating expectant mothers. Some pressure points — especially on the feet — can cause uterine contractions and induce labour.
Heartburn makes it difficult to get a good night’s rest. This is because the hormone that relaxes the muscles during pregnancy also relaxes the stomach muscles that keep the gastric juices out of the oesophagus. Because of the pressure that your ever-growing uterus is putting on the stomach, the acids tend to go up the oesophagus, causing pain or discomfort around the chest.
* Keep your head elevated at night. Try an ergonomically-designed wedge pillow which gently slants your body upwards to prevent further acid reflux.
* Eat small, frequent meals throughout the day ― slowly. Rushing causes the acids to rise quickly.
* Neutralise acidity with alkalising foods. Try almonds, avocados and garlic. Avoid alcohol, coffee, tea, sugar, mint, citrus fruits, chocolates, and spicy or greasy foods.
* Exercise regularly, but don’t go overboard, especially in the third trimester.
* Drink water instead of carbonated drinks and sparkling water. Take little sips throughout the day, and especially between meals.
* Avoid bending over or lying down after eating, as these postures can push your stomach contents back up. Take a stroll after meals.
Haemorrhoids are itchy bulges in the veins around your bottom. It occurs in the third trimester when your expanding uterus puts increased pressure on your pelvis. It’s common to experience constipation, which can cause or worsen haemorrhoids because of the straining during bowel movements.
Fortunately, haemorrhoids go away on their own after delivery. Seek help if the pain becomes unbearable or there’s bleeding.
* Take fibre such as fruits and veggies, flaxseeds, prune juice, chia seeds, whole grains and beans.
* Drink water to help keep things moving.
* Take a sitz bath in warm water for relief. Sit in a warm tub for 10 to 15 minutes a few times a day. Or apply ice packs or cotton wool soaked in witch hazel to the affected area. An astringent, witch hazel shrinks inflammation and reduces itching.
* Don’t sit or stand for long periods. Sit on a doughnut-shaped pillow to ease pressure on your bottom.
Fatigue is common, especially in the first and third trimesters... Change your lifestyle and try not to schedule too much activity.
Fatigue is common, especially in the first and third trimesters, and may be made worse by hormonal changes, nausea, vomiting and poor sleep. Change your lifestyle and try not to schedule too much activity. If you experience fainting, breathlessness or heart palpitations, see a doctor.
* Get adequate rest.
* Increase energy levels with daily walks and gentle exercises. Stay sufficiently hydrated.
* Avoid caffeine and sugary snacks which give you a temporary, but unhealthy boost.
It’s not unusual to experience headaches in the first trimester. Triggered by hormonal changes, blood-sugar swings, lack of sleep and fatigue, they tend to disappear in the second trimester.
Get help if you develop a severe headache towards the end of your pregnancy, especially if there’s swelling in the hands and feet, sudden vomiting or blurred vision, as these are signs of preeclampsia. This is a pregnancy complication characterised by high blood pressure and signs of damage to another organ system like the liver or kidneys.
* Eat small, frequent meals. Steer clear of artificial food additives like monosodium glutamate (MSG).
* Lie down and place a cool compress on your forehead.
* Get enough rest. Make sure you are well hydrated.
* Deep breathing or yoga may help.
* If it’s neck- or back-related, see an antenatal physiotherapist.
Be alert to these signs of danger
Take swift action if you spot these warning signs, Dr Nau’shil Randhawa advises.
Lack of foetal movement As the pregnancy progresses, a mother will grow accustomed to her own baby’s pattern of movements, says Dr Nau’shil. But if there is reduced or no foetal movements, consult your obstetrician immediately, she advises. “Reduced or no foetal movements may be a sign of placental dysfunction,” she adds.
Bleeding Get medical help any time you experience vaginal bleeding. “Heavy bleeding warrants immediate assessment as it may compromise the well-being of the mother, baby or both,” advises Dr Nau’shil. “It may be due to a low-lying placenta or placental separation,” she adds.
Intense abdominal pain Dr Nau’shil advises that you seek help if you experience abdominal pain. “It may be due to urinary stones, gallstones or inflammation of the appendix,” she notes.
Watery discharge or contractions This is when your “water breaks” or your amniotic sac has ruptured, as you approach the end of pregnancy. “Watery discharge may indicate a rupture of the amniotic sac around the baby, which could lead to potentially serious infection,” says Dr Nau’shil. It may also lead to preterm labour, she adds. If you suddenly feel contractions at between 24 and 36 weeks, go to the hospital as contractions are potential signs of preterm labour. It could be harmless Braxton-Hicks contractions, but consult doctor, just to be sure.
Check out these stories, too…