First Trimester Pregnancy Symptoms: How to Deal with the Discomforts
byJulie ChristensenMay 14, 2014
Photograph by Creatas Images/Creatas/Getty Images
Early pregnancy is a time of rapid change, both emotionally and physically. Slow down and listen to your body. That will alleviate some of the physical discomforts of the first trimester, and help you prepare for late pregnancy and childbirth. Adapt a healthy diet and get plenty of exercise and rest everyday.
Overwhelming fatigue is a completely normal response to the tremendous changes your body is undergoing to nurture your baby. Try to find even 15 to 20 minutes in the afternoon for a quick cat nap. Go to bed early—no later than 10 p.m., suggests physician Aviva Jill Romm, author of the 2003 book, "The Natural Pregnancy Book." Getting the rest you need should relieve other common symptoms of early pregnancy. Your digestion will improve, you'll feel more emotionally balanced and you may even feel less nauseous, says Romm.
Easing that Queasy Feeling
Hormonal changes can cause nausea, which can be set off by strong smells, an empty stomach, oily foods, or stress. It will help to eat small frequent snacks with high-quality carbohydrates and protein. Whole-grain crackers with cheese, hummus or peanut butter will do. Eat frequent small meals and carry a snack with you. Sip ginger ale or ginger, chamomile or peppermint tea, suggests Romm. Talk with your doctor if the nausea is so severe that you can't keep food down.
Constipation will be a problem throughout the pregnancy. Pregnancy hormones slow bowel activity and tone, and the growing baby puts pressure on the rectum and intestines. Iron deficiency can cause constipation, as well as some commercial iron supplements. Eat a diet heavy on whole-grains, fruits and vegetables, particularly leafy vegetables. Replace red meat and fatty cheeses with poultry and low-fat yogurt or cheese, and drink eight cups of water a day. Exercise can also help relieve constipation. Take a moderate walk everyday, suggests pediatrician, Alan Greene, author of "From First Kicks to First Steps," published in 2004.
A Soft Approach to Heartburn
Progesterone, the hormone that softens the smooth muscles around your uterus, also slows digestion. It's just one factor that can leave some expectant mothers with heartburn. Eat small, frequent meals and just say no to spicy foods at meal time. At night, place a few pillows under your head so your upper body is slightly elevated while you sleep suggests Romm. If you need to snack, eat a handful of raw almonds before meals. They contain cyanogenic glycoside, which improves digestion.
Rosemary, Lavender and You
You may notice your breasts are sore or tingly, or feel heavy in response to hormonal changes. You'll need to wear a supportive bra when you're up and about, and go without one when you're resting. When you bath, get warm water to rise above your breasts. Romm suggests combining a few drops of lavender or rosemary essential oils in almond oil and massaging that over the breasts. Lavender and rosemary are both known to have a relaxing effect.