By now most you are most likely starting to feel some relief from the morning sickness and fatigue that has plagued you during your first trimester. Just when you think you are going to be feeling like your old self again, these second trimester surprises can pop up: Leg Cramps, Urinary Tract Infections and Headaches.
I know what you are thinking, you had always heard that the second trimester was smooth sailing! For some women it is, but for many their ailments just change form. Rest assured though that many second trimester complaints are easily managed by naturopathic medicine. In today’s blog, I will go over the best natural treatments for Leg Cramps, Urinary Tract Infections and Headaches
The Second Trimester
The leg cramps I am talking about here are the kind that make you jump out of bed screaming in the middle of the night. I have had multiple patients who would have to stop dead in their tracks, unable to walk, the cramps were so bad. So why do these intense leg cramps happen? Leg cramps tend to start between 22-24 weeks because that is the time when the baby’s skeletal growth really takes off. The baby is needing more calcium and magnesium to form its bones and takes from the mother’s stores. If mom’s stores are not sufficient she will begin to experience intense leg cramps. These cramps can be easily remedied by supplementing with calcium and magnesium. It is important to always discuss dosages and supplements you are taking with your health care provider. Magnesium must be discontinued by 36 weeks, as it can decrease the strength of uterine contractions.
Urinary Tract Infections
During the second trimester there can be a lot of hormonal changes to the urinary tract. In addition, a growing uterus presses on the bladder, preventing its complete emptying. Urine that stays in the bladder for an extended period of time can become a source of infection.
Top 5 Ways To Reduce Your Risk Of Urinary Tract Infections
- Drink Plenty of Water- helps to flush out bacteria. Aim for 1.5-2L/ day
- Unsweetened Cranberry Juice- Cranberry juice disrupts the ability of the bacteria to adhere to the urinary tract
- Wiping from Front to Back- Prevents bacteria from the anus from spreading to the vagina and urethra
- Probiotics- Provide “good bacteria” which makes it more difficult for the bad bacteria to adhere to the urinary tract
- Avoid Drinks That May Irritate the Bladder- Coffee and citrus juice can cause bladder irritation that can be mistaken for the symptoms of a urinary tract infection.
How to manage headaches during pregnancy is often of the greatest concern to my patients. Headaches are one of those ailments that often get “fixed’ by popping an Advil or Tylenol which is not the best choice when pregnant.
Top 5 Headache Remedies For Pregnancy
- Stay Hydrated- Dehydration is a leading cause of headaches. Aim for 1.5- 2L of water/day
- Magnesium- If your headache is caused from tension, magnesium can help to relax the muscles
- Acupuncture- Helpful for both migraine and tension headaches
- Cool Compress- Applied to the back of the neck can help ease pain
- Avoiding Mucous Forming Foods- If you have a sinus type headache, avoiding foods that cause more mucous like dairy, banana and avocados can help to relieve some pressure.
Did you experience leg cramps? Post in the comments below
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To Your Health,
Dr Alexis practices via telemedicine. To schedule your appointment, click here.
Naturopathic Medicine is covered by most extended health insurance benefits.