How to Naturally Manage Common Ailments Of The First Trimester
From the moment you get a positive pregnancy test your whole world changes! Excitement, fear, worry, most women run the gauntlet of emotions. It can be hard to even believe or conceptualize that you are actually pregnant because you still feel like your normal self. Then suddenly it hits. The morning sickness and fatigue. Why did no one warn you about this? One of the hardest parts about being pregnant for some women is that they can no longer use their go to medicines. It is a time in life when you are forced to try a more natural approach. It is a good idea to have your natural tool kit stocked for any aliment that pregnancy may throw your way.
In today’s blog we are focusing on the first trimester. Stay tuned for how to naturally manage the concerns of the second as third trimester as well as dealing with colds/flus and other illnesses during pregnancy.
The First Trimester
Did you know that up to 80% report some level of nausea in the first trimester? Many of my patients have said I don’t know why they call it morning sickness when it happens all day! Approximately 40% of women also experience vomiting and 20% of women continue to experience some level of morning sickness beyond the first trimester. This is no laughing matter.
5 Ways To Combat Morning Sickness Naturally
- Eating Smaller and More Frequent Portions- For some women fluctuations in blood sugar can trigger their nausea. Eating more frequently helps to combat these fluctuations.
- Deep Breathing Before Eating- Taking 5-10 deep belly breaths, the kind where your stomach goes out not your chest, before eating helps to shift your body to the parasympathetic (or rest and digest state). This helps to prepare the stomach for food and can reduce symptoms of nausea
- Ginger- Taking ginger at a dose of 250 mg up to 4 times a day was shown by Motherisk to have no associated fetal risks and helps reduce nausea. Ginger can be taken in a capsule, in the form of ginger chews or can be grated and made into a tea that can be sipped throughout the day
- Pyridoxine (Vitamin B6)- Taking vitamin B6 at a dose of 25 mg 3 times a day has been shown to reduce the frequency of nausea and vomiting. Vitamin B6 can also be helpful for energy
- Acupuncture- Acupuncture is my go to for women who’s nausea and vomiting has not responded to the above mentioned treatments. One acupressure point that can be helpful is PC 6. It is the point that is stimulated with Sea-Bands, directly above the wrist.
Many women are surprised at how tired they are during the first trimester. Some of this fatigue can be attributed to the hormonal changes associated with pregnancy.
Top 5 Causes of Fatigue in the First Trimester
- Iron Deficiency- Anemia is common in the first trimester. Taking a high quality prenatal vitamin can help. Foods that are high in iron include: red meat, spinach, lentils, sesame seeds and swiss chard
- Vitamin B12 Deficiency- Vitamin B12 deficiency is associated with weakness and fatigue and can also cause tingling in the nerves. Foods that are high in Vitamin B12 include: meat, poultry, fish, eggs, and nutritional yeast.
- Stress- Finding out you are pregnant, even if it was intended, can be a very stressful event. Stress increases your cortisol which can result in fatigue. Deep breathing, self-care, and gentle exercise can help to reduce stress
- Poor Nutrition- A lack of protein or overall calories can result in fatigue. In the first trimester caloric needs increase by 300-400 cal. Women should be eating 75 g of protein/day to keep energy up
- Poor Sleep- Stress and increased urinary frequency can lead to a poorer quality of sleep. Try to avoid drinking for 2 hours before bed and implementing stress management techniques.
Did you have morning sickness? How bad was it? Post in the comments below
To Your Health,
Dr Alexis practices at Living Science Wellness Centre in Stittsville. She is currently accepting new patients. To book your appointment call 613.836.7901.
Naturopathic Medicine is covered by most extended health insurance benefits.