The first trimester of pregnancy can be a confusing and difficult time for some women. Your body is experiencing so many changes, physical and hormonal which impact you in a way like nothing else. Though most women are not showing until well after the first trimester there are massive unseen changes going on inside your body. Some of these changes can cause extreme discomfort. You have to be careful about using over the counter medication to relieve symptoms like morning sickness, cramping, bloating, diarrhea, constipation and heartburn. Normally these would be simple to cure, but now not only do you have to contend with the discomfort, they are more difficult to relieve because so many things can affect the growth of the fetus during the first trimester. Professional health care providers list the following guide lines for relief of bothersome and uncomfortable symptoms that are common during the first trimester of pregnancy.
Morning sickness: Everyone knows about the commonly experienced nausea and vomiting associated with the first trimester of pregnancy. To eliminate morning sickness don’t let your stomach get completely empty. Try to eat small meals throughout the day. Ginger tea is recommended as a natural herbal remedy to relieve symptoms of nausea and vomiting and is considered safe to use during the first trimester. Sucking on hard candy can also help relieve nausea because it keeps the saliva glands active in between meals and helps reduce acid build up in the stomach. Avoiding smells and foods that increase the feeling of nausea helps as well as eating a few non salted crackers or pieces of toasted bread which help keep something on your stomach and soak up excess stomach acid.
Heartburn: The evil twin of morning sickness, heartburn is a common symptom during the first trimester. First avoid any foods that you have previously experienced heartburn with before the pregnancy. Ginger tea and lemon tea are recommended for natural heartburn relief and are considered safe to use during the first trimester. Try to avoid eating anything about two hours before bedtime since this is when most patients report the worst time for heartburn due to the fact that they are lying down prone which increase heartburn. Avoid lying down immediately after eating. Eating yogurt or milk may help relieve symptoms of heartburn. Drink plenty of fluids and avoid heartburn inducing foods such as caffeine, alcohol, chocolate, fried foods, garlic and onions. Also try to avoid foods high in natural acids such as tomatoes and peppers. Try sleeping with your upper half of your body slightly raised to keep acid down in your stomach. Another commonly used remedy is a tablespoon of honey mixed with a glass of warm milk. Avoiding smoking as this increases stomach acid content.
Fatigue: Many women report increased fatigue during the first trimester of pregnancy. Try to get extra rest whenever possible by taking short naps or going to bed a few hours early. Cut back on strenuous physical activity and keep a steady short exercise routine. Cut back or eliminate extra responsibilities and unnecessary social commitments. Eating properly is also a great help to fight fatigue. Some fatigue is due to improper diet while pregnant. Eat foods high in iron and protein and avoid stimulants such as foods and drinks with caffeine in them. Severe fatigue may be due to anemia, a lack of iron in the blood and the health care provider may prescribe iron tablets. Also remember to take your prenatal vitamins, they help ensure you have the nutrients you need in your body to support the fetus in its growth and help you to avoid fatigue due to nutrition deprivation.
Tender breasts: Breast tenderness is due to your body preparing itself to care for the new baby. Wearing a supportive bra or sports bra may help to alleviate some of the tenderness.
Constipation: During the first trimester of pregnancy constipation is a commonly reported symptom by many women. To avoid constipation drink plenty of clear fluids especially early in the day. Try to eat on a regular schedule and eat balanced meals. Eat foods that are high in fiber such as high fiber fruits, leafy vegetables and whole grain breads and cereals. Also ask your doctor about fiber supplements. Mild over the counter medications and laxatives may be useful but should be discussed with your health care provider first.
Lower back pain: This is almost a given for women during any stage of pregnancy, but especially so during the first trimester. This is because the body is experiencing tremendous physical change in perpetration for pregnancy and delivery. The abdomen muscles are stretching and pulling and joints and muscles throughout the body are loosening to adjust for the additional stress of carrying the baby. Maintaining good posture is important towards avoiding lower back pain. Sitting straight, walking straight and avoiding slumping helps with preventing lower back pain. Sit with your feet slightly elevated off the floor, uncrossed legs and try to get up and stretch frequently. Avoid lying on your back when sleeping. Try laying on your side with a pillow between your legs for support. This will reduce pressure on your back. Wear low heeled or no heeled shoes to avoid stressing muscles in your lower back caused by your center of gravity shifting to adjust for the newly added weight. Do not lift heavy objects and if you must lift something use proper lifting techniques by bending the knees and keeping the back straight while lifting. Avoid lifting items over your head as this may strain back muscles. Some over the counter medications that contain acetaminophen are probably OK to use while pregnant, but before self medicating always check with your health care provider and discuss the medication. Severe back pain can be treated with a visit to a chiropractor or massages and the use of certain oils. Make sure to check with your health care provider before using oils or having massage therapy.
Nasal problems: many women report nasal problems during their first trimester, snoring, runny noses, congestion, sinus problems, coughing and sneezing. This is called pregnancy Rhinitis and occurs in about 20% of all pregnant women. The nasal passages become inflamed and irritated causing symptoms that are similar to an allergy though with no apparent environmental factors. To avoid or alleviate symptoms of pregnancy Rhinitis, drink plenty of fluids to avoid dehydration which irritates the nasal lining and sinuses, increase the humidity of your home by using a humidifier, avoid environmental irritates like cigarette smoke, try sleeping with your head propped up and exercise moderately. Over the counter nasal sprays, antihistamines and oral decongestants can be used but always check with your health care provider first to make sure the product is considered safe for use during pregnancy.
Swollen feet and ankles: Often a comment ailment during the first trimester of pregnancy, alleviate swollen feet and ankles by sitting with your feet propped up for 10-15 minutes before resting, wear low heeled or no heeled shoes and try to limit long periods of time spent walking or standing. If problems with swollen feet and ankles continue this should be discussed with your health care provider because they can be symptoms of other serious health problems.
Increased Urination: Pregnancy comes with quite a few changes to the body. One of these changes is the expansion of the uterus which puts pressure on the bladder and can cause a need to urinate more frequently. Drink fewer fluids in the evening to avoid frequent late night trips to the bathroom and urinate whenever you feel the need to avoid urinary tract infections.