- Women's Health
Pregnancy Symptoms & Relief: Part II
This is part two of my pregnancy symptoms and relief hub series. This series covers the most common symptoms of pregnancy. Each hub covers five separate symptoms and ways to naturally relieve them.
There are tons of symptoms in pregnancy. Some are common and some are not so common. Some are experienced by many and some are experienced by few. I'll try to cover as many as possible in this series and give a nice amount of tips for relieving each of them naturally. I will explain what they are and how they're caused, as well as any potential dangers.
This hub covers food cravings & aversions, forgetfulness; faintness, light-headedness and dizziness; heightened sense of smell and vaginal spotting and/or bleeding.
Food Cravings & Aversions
Every woman experiences some food cravings during pregnancy. They also face some sudden aversions. Sometimes the cravings and aversions are quite unusual. Even fathers-to-be can experience sympathy cravings and aversions. Food aversions can be random or they can be toward something you previously enjoyed. An aversion may by your body suggesting that, that food may not be beneficial or may even be harmful. The same goes for cravings; they can be something you previously were repulsed by or they can be random. Cravings are usually your body telling you it needs something. It's your body's way of naturally keeping you on the right track. Your body knows what it needs but that doesn't always mean you'll crave something healthy to get it. For example, your body may know it needs more calcium, but instead of a craving for milk, you end up with a craving for ice cream! Or you may be lacking in magnesium, so you develop a craving for chocolate. Most cravings and aversions lessen or disappear by the second trimester, especially with the proper nutrition and elimination of toxins. If it doesn't this may be something emotional you should address. Also if you start craving random, non-edible things, like dirt, this may be a condition known as PICA. Call your midwife or doctor if you experience PICA type cravings as these may represent a more serious deficiency which can be dangerous.
Relief for Food Cravings and Aversions:
Proper Nutrition - Make sure you're getting everything you and your growing baby need. Food based prenatal vitamins are good place to start, but make sure your diet is nutrient dense and free of toxins. Eliminate the processed food and try to eat as much organic as possible to avoid GMOs, Pesticides, etc.. There are many healthy diets out there from Vegan, to Paleo, to Tradition (Weston A Price style). Find what works for you and be aware of any food sensitivities. I recommend seeking out a health coach to help guide you and keep you on track.
Distraction - Sometimes distracting yourself can stop the cravings for a little while. Occupy your mind with something else. Take a walk or read a book. Thinking of something else can help you forget about a craving. However, sometimes it's best to just indulge a little. You may be craving something your body needs. You wouldn't want to deprive your body of an essential nutrient.
Substitution - If you have aversions to foods you need or previously enjoyed, find other foods that can take it's place. For example, if you suddenly hate oranges, find something to substitute them with that will still give you your Vitamin C, like Pineapple (or any yellow or orange fruits/veggies). There's lots of options, but steer clear of synthetic vitamins. You can fill in any holes in your diet with supplements, but speak to your health coach or nutritionist to figure out what you might need.
Note: It's okay to indulge once in a while, just make sure you're getting the best quality foods. We practice 90/10 or 80/20. Tis means eat healthy 80 or 90% of the time and indulge 10-20% of the time. There are healthy snack options that taste great though. And if you make it yourself, you can "healthify" any recipe by swapping out the bad stuff like white sugar for the good stuff like honey, coconut palm sugar or stevia for example.
Ah Baby brain... This is like a fog over your memory. You may forget appointments or why you came into the kitchen. Like most symptoms pregnancy (baby) brain is caused mostly by those lovely hormones. Plus your brain-cell volume decreases in the last trimester of pregnancy, hence why the forgetfulness only increases as you become more pregnant and persists into the postpartum faze while your hormones balance themselves out. This is supposed to be temporary, your brain will go back to normal a few months after the birth. However, many of us moms wonder if that's really true sometimes. But perhaps that's just what happens when you become everyone's reminder list. Who needs an iPhone when mom's around?
Relief for Forgetfulness:
Don't stress - Stress will only make the forgetfulness worse. Let things roll off your back. I know this is hard, but it's either this or forgetting you left the stove on.
Write it down - Best way to stay on top of things when you're pregnant is to keep a little notepad in your pocket. Write down appointments, tasks and anything you think is important to remember. If a notepad doesn't work for you, keep a checklist of some kind on the fridge. Those little marker boards work great for this!
Electronic organizers - Use your phone, laptop or any electronic device to help you keep track and stay organized. I find my phone is great as it has a task list, calender, alarm clock and address book. I put my appointments in the calender as soon as I make them, I put important tasks in the task list and I have alarms for everything from waking up to taking my vitamins.
Do less - Plain and simple. Reducing the number of things you need to do throughout your day will help you focus better. The more tasks you have the more tasks you'll forget. Perhaps this might help; without being pregnant our brains can only hold seven pieces of information in our short term memory at a time, so limit your chores/tasks to seven a day. Maybe a little more or less, depending on what you feel you can handle. Your spouse or family can help by picking up the slack, if you ask them to.
Humor - Have a sense of humor about pregnancy (baby) brain. No sense in getting upset about it.
Keep Up The Nourishment: Often proper nutrition can prevent this symptom all together. Again speak to your health coach or nutritionist about any supplements to fill the holes in your diet.
Herbs & Oils: I love essential oils. i recommend Rosemary or Rosewood for mental clarity. Add a few drops to your bathwater or in an oil burner and just breathe. Herbal teas can be great for relieving many symptoms of pregnancy. Red Raspberry Leaf tea is wonderful for expectant moms. Just try to use organic as much as possible.
Heightened Sense of Smell
Heightened sense of smell is extremely common during pregnancy. Most women become more sensitive and reactive to the smells around them. Once again, the pregnancy hormones are to blame for this interesting symptom. Estrogen makes the sense of smell heighten. Sometimes a heightened sense of smell leads to morning sickness, though this wasn't the case for me.
Relief for Heightened Sense of Smell:
Cook what you can stand - Cooking and eating only what you can tolerate to smell, will decrease the chances of a negative reaction to the smells of certain foods. This may be in alignment with any aversions as well.
Open windows - Opening your windows will help filter the smells in your home. For example, having them open whilst cooking is a brilliant idea.
Wash your clothes often - Wash your clothes more often as fibers tend to hold onto smells for longer periods of time.
Unscented/lightly scented products - Invest in lightly or unscented detergents, toiletries and other products. Sometimes even just choosing a naturally scented product can make all the difference. Avoid synthetic scents as they not only may trigger this symptom but are also quite toxic to the body.
Ask for a little consideration - Don't be afraid to ask your friends, coworkers, family and spouse for a little consideration. Ask them to lighten up the perfume or to go smoke somewhere else. Remember, consideration and compassion are not always innate in people.
Surround yourself with goodness - Try to surround yourself with the scents that you do like and that make you feel good. Mint, ginger and other herbs soothe nausea. Keep some scented candles in the house or essential oils and incense you can burn. Lavender oil and Nag Champa are my favorite oil and incense to burn. Sometimes the good scents can overpower the bad ones.
More Hubs on Pregnancy & Parenting
Faintness, Light-headedness & Dizziness
Dizziness or vertigo (a feeling of being unsteady or disoriented) often make moms-to-be feel as if they're going to fall or faint. In the earlier stages of pregnancy this symptom may be caused by your body not yet producing enough blood to fill your expanding circulatory system. Later in your pregnancy it could be caused by your uterus increasing in size and putting pressure on your veins. This reduces blood flow to your brain. Dehydration and low blood sugar also causes dizziness, faintness and/or light-headedness. This is common symptom but if it persists, or if you actually faint, call your midwife or doctor. Use common sense when you experience this symptom: no driving, exercising, or handling dangerous tools/appliances.
Relief for Faintness, Light-headedness and Dizziness:
Lay down - Lying down can help stop dizziness or faintness in it's tracks. Elevating your feet increases the blood flow to your brain.
Sit down - Sit down and put your head in between your knees. You won't be able to do this later in pregnancy but in ther earlier stages, it's easier. This can help get rid of vertigo.
Prevention - Don't get up too quickly. Eat protein at every meal. Eat right and eat often. Carry and snack on healthy pregnancy foods. Drink plenty of water. Dress light or in easy to shed layers to keep from overheating. No tight-fitting clothes, scarves or hats.
Massages: This can improve your circulation which can prevent this symptom all together.
Preventative Exercise: Don't do this while experiencing the symptom. Do this as a preventative measure. Exercise increases blood flow and improves circulation.
Vaginal Spotting or Bleeding
Vaginal spotting can be normal in a healthy, "normal" pregnancy. If you are high risk, however, this may be a symptom of something more serious. Spotting is brownish or pink and bleeding is typically bright red. Pay attention to the amount of blood you see, this can determine whether or not it's normal spotting or abnormal bleeding. In the earlier stages of your pregnancy the spotting is caused by the implantation of the newly fertilized embryo into your uterine lining. Sometimes you might spot after intercourse due to the increased sensitivity of your cervix. In the late stages of your pregnancy you may see blood streaked mucus which might indicate that your mucus plug has loosened and/or fallen out which means its almost time for labor. Now vaginal bleeding, on the other hand, can be a bad sign. It's rarely ever benign. Bleeding can be a sign of many complications including placenta previa or miscarriage. Whether you're spotting or bleeding, it's important to let your midwife or doctor know.
Relief for Spotting and Bleeding:
Call your midwife or doctor - There's not much you can do about this symptom. Get some pads or pantie liners and call your midwife or doctor. Only your midwife or doctor can truly give you recommendations for this symptom because there's so many factors that play into it.
Which symptom did you suffer from or are you suffering with the most?
© 2011 Skylar Spring