How to Treat Common Pregnancy Complaints Naturally

Solutions for suffering mamas-to-be!
pregnant woman yawning
© Can Stock Photo / nd3000

Pregnancy can feel magical. Finding out you're pregnant, watching your belly grow, and feeling your baby move all make for an exciting time. But then, as the weeks go by, the less glamorous symptoms of pregnancy begin, and you may suddenly start to wonder, why am I doing this? Thankfully, there are many natural remedies for pregnancy ailments.

Morning Sickness

This is often one of the first signs of pregnancy, beginning at about week six, and can be accompanied with vomiting. Sadly, morning sickness isn't just limited to the morning; in fact, it can happen at any time of day. The good news is that it usually only lasts until the end of the twelfth week, leaving you feeling amazing for the 2nd trimester.

What you can do 

  • Keep your blood sugar levels balanced by eating every 2-3 hours.

  • Have protein with each meal (e.g. chicken, fish, beans, nuts/seeds, eggs).

  • Make your own ginger tea. Grate a half inch piece of fresh ginger into a mug. Top with boiling water. Let it steep for 5-10 minutes. Strain the ginger out of the mug. Add fresh lemon or honey.

  • Try the ‘Seabands’. These bands rest on an acupressure point called PC6 in Chinese medicine and have been shown to relieve nausea.

  • Consider supplementation with vitamin B6 (speak to a licensed health care practitioner to find the right dose for you).

Constipation

This commonly happens to pregnant women, even to those women who usually have regular bowel movements. Hormonal changes, pressure on the bowels from the womb, and possibly the iron in your prenatal supplement can all be contributing factors. I don’t recommend straining, as this can cause hemorrhoids (another ailment you want to avoid!). Laxatives are not allowed in pregnancy as they irritate the uterus, possibly causing mild contractions.

What you can do 

  • Increase dietary fibre. Think: ground flax seeds, whole grains, beans, beets, berries, and carrots.

  • Try oatmeal for breakfast. Not only is it high in fibre, it's rich in silica, which maintains the elasticity of our veins (decreasing your chances of getting hemorrhoids!).

  • Increase your water intake. Aim for at least two litres per day.

  • Move every day. Walking briskly for 30 minutes can help to stimulate the bowels.

  • Take a probiotic daily. Increasing the friendly bacteria in your gut is a great way to improve your digestive health.

Heartburn

Heartburn affects a lot of moms-to-be. Progesterone, the hormone that relaxes muscles in pregnancy, also relaxes the stomach valve that keeps acid out of the esophagus. Plus, as the uterus grows, it pushes up on the stomach, forcing acid into the esophagus. The good news is that as the baby drops towards the end of pregnancy the symptoms get better, and after the baby is born, symptoms resolve.

What you can do

  • Eat small meals throughout the day and avoid eating right before bed.

  • Avoid greasy foods that irritate the stomach.

  • Eat papaya or pineapple after meals. They are both digestive aids with naturally occurring digestive enzymes.

  • Before dinner have one teaspoon of apple cider vinegar in a glass of warm water. This is a wonderful digestive aid, pregnant or not.

  • After a meal enjoy a cup of fennel tea. It can soothe the irritation of the digestive system.

Muscle Cramps

Muscle cramps, leg spasms, or Charlie horses are another common concern in pregnancy. They typically happen at night, which can be quite frustrating. They can be due to lack of circulation or a magnesium or calcium deficiency.

What you can do

  • Stretch your legs before bed. It gets the circulation moving and prevents any lactic acid build-up.

  • Enjoy a massage. This is a great way to increase circulation to your legs.

  • Take a calcium/magnesium supplement. Not only does this supplement reduce spasms, but it supports bone health for both you and the baby.

  • Try a cup of nettle leaf tea. An all-time favourite herb of mine, this tea is rich in calcium, magnesium, potassium, iron, and nourishes the body wonderfully. Consider drinking a cup daily. 

Bladder infections

Bladder infections, also known as UTIs, are a pregnancy annoyance. The uterus sits directly on top of the bladder, and as the uterus grows, the increased weight can block the bladder from draining the urine out completely. This becomes a perfect environment for the infection to grow.

What you can do

  • Drink lots of water.

  • Eliminate refined sugars.

  • Empty your bladder frequently.

  • Take a probiotic daily. You need to keep your body flourishing with good bacteria. I recommend you take this supplement throughout your pregnancy.

  • Make your own cranberry juice. Boil a bag of frozen cranberries in a pot of water. Simmer for 10 min. Let it cool. Blend. Store in glass jars in the fridge. Drink 1 cup daily. Shake before pouring.

 

As always, I recommend you speak with a health care professional before starting something new. Pregnancy is an amazing time, and the connection between mom and baby is a bond that begins in the early stages of pregnancy and will continue for many years to come. Let’s keep it a healthy one, so, as a mom-to-be, you can enjoy all it has to offer.