SolveYourProblem Article Series: Pregnancy
Pregnancy: Everything You Need To Know



Common Pregnancy Symptoms:
Here's Help To Get You Thru

Feeling awful? If you are in your first trimester of your pregnancy, then it is likely that you have all the common ailments, nausea, mood swings, tiredness, backaches, headaches, and sore breasts. You are not alone and it does get better. Think of your symptoms as proof that you are having a healthy pregnancy. The more awful you feel, the healthier your baby will be after it is born. Some women are very lucky to not feel bad at all and deliver healthy babies, but most women have to do a bit of suffering.

The hormones, HCG and progesterone, seem to be the culprits for the pregnancy maladies. The HCG is secreted by the implanted embryo and stimulates progesterone production. The more HCG and the more progesterone, the more symptoms you are likely to have. Once the placenta takes over, progesterone production HCG drops and the worst symptoms seem to go away. When levels of the hormone cholecystokinin increase in pregnant women, it increases the efficiency of digestion by making better metabolic use of food within your system. The unpleasant side effects contribute to:

  • Low blood sugar
  • Nausea
  • Dizziness
  • Delayed emptying of the stomach
  • After-meal sleepiness


Avoid nausea triggers, such as cooking food, and cleaning out the litter boxes, or any other smell that might trigger a gag reflex. Often normal things that never bothered you before will make you run to the bathroom now, such as body odors, leftover food in the fridge, coffee, gasoline, solvent fumes, garbage, scented cosmetics and toiletries.

Have "designer" days. As much as possible, design your day to avoid the known triggers. Plan ahead and try to know what makes you feel worse and what makes you feel better. Go shopping and run errands during the part of the day that you are less likely to get sick and have the most energy. Donít over do it either, that can trigger getting sick or more fatigue.

If you start the morning off sick, you are likely to stay sick all day. Set a tray of easy-to-digest favorites at your bedside. Eat before your feet hit the floor. When you awaken to go to the bathroom in the middle of the night, treat your belly to a nibble or two. Continue to munch all morning, carrying your nibble tray around with you, even in the car, work, or stores. Better to look like a pig than get sick everywhere.

Eat nutrient-dense foods, such as avocados, kidney beans, cheese, fish, nut butter, whole-grain pasta, brown rice, tofu, and turkey. If peanut butter is too strong, try almond or cashew butter, and spread it thinly on crackers, bread, apple slices or celery sticks. Avoid spicy, fatty, or sugary foods; they can cause nausea and heartburn. Try to get as much protein as possible with out having to eat large meals that can make you sick.

Avoid letting your saliva hit an empty stomach. An empty stomach is hypersensitive to saliva, and nausea will soon follow. Line your stomach with milk, yogurt or ice cream before eating a saliva-stimulating food (such as salty foods, or dry foods such as crackers). Try peppermint candies or gum to help nausea but not on an empty stomach, that could make it worse. Eat foods with a high water content to ease dehydration that aggravates nausea, such as fruits.

Take prenatal vitamins with your biggest meal to prevent nausea. Vitamins can be a big trigger of nausea-unless they are taken with a large meal. Also try taking it at night before bed, so that you will be asleep once it is digested.

Eat high-energy foods. Complex carbohydrates act as time-release energy capsules, slowly releasing energy into your bloodstream and helping to keep your appetite satisfied. The main food group represented here is grains (rice, corn, wheat, oats, barley), found in breads, cereals, pastas, and crackers. Make yourself eat. No matter whether you feel like it or not, eat something. If you don't eat, you will get an acid-filled stomach and low blood sugar. Nibbling on anything that makes you feel good to prevent an empty tummy.

Get out and see the world. Visit friends, go to a movie, rest, take a walk, or go to a park with friends. Any change of scenery may provide a stomach-settling distraction and get you out and about.

Drive, don't ride, many women find the have an increase of nausea when riding in the car as opposed to driving.

Reduce stress. Prenatal researchers feel it's better for a baby in utero to be spared a steady barrage of stress hormones, and stress can increase your nausea cycle. Try acupressure and/or acupuncture. Both Eastern and Western medical practitioners have found a trigger point on the inner aspect of the wrist, which if stimulated, may relieve nausea and vomiting associated with pregnancy and other conditions.

Dress comfortably and wear loose clothing. Many women find that anything pressing on their abdomen, waist, or neck is irritating and nausea triggering

Position yourself for comfort and prevention. Heartburn is another common part of the nausea-pregnancy package. This burning feeling, which is caused by reflux of stomach acids, occurs more frequently during pregnancy. For heartburn, keep upright or lie on your right side after eating.

Sleep it off. It's fortunate that the extreme need for sleep coincides with the morning sickness phase, this way you can just stay in bed. So precious is this rest that you will want to ensure that sleep goes on as long as possible.

Have one last meal before retiring, preferably of fruit and long-acting complex carbohydrates (grains and bland pasta). Take chewable calcium tablets, which act as antacids, before retiring or upon awakening.

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