The early days of pregnancy are a mix of euphoria, terror and slight disbelief at the weird changes taking place in your body. From running to the loo every 10 minutes to hankering ice-cream at 10A.M, here’s what to expect from the early stages of pregnancy and handy ways to break through.
You’re absolutely zonked
Quite the catch-22 this one. Your body is screaming for sleep but every time you hit the hay, you experience heartburn, bladder interruptions or just general discomfort (you can quickly kiss tummy sleeping good bye). Some mums even report heightened anxiety and nightmares over approaching childbirth and motherhood that disturbs their slumber. What’s more, the flood of hormones the circulate your body, especially in the first trimester are also contributing to this unexplained fatigue.
The Fix: Pregnancy is a time to really tune into your body and rest when you can (hello naps) and avoid things like excessive amounts coffee or screen time right before bed. In terms of finding comfort, it’s best to rest on your side, and try wedging a pillow between your knees and under your tummy for extra support of lower backs and pelvic area.
You’re hit with morning sickness
Some women manage to breeze through pregnancy without morning sickness, others aren’t so lucky. Morning sickness can hit at any time of the day, and the actual cause is still a mystery (though it’s likely to be linked with rapid hormone fluctuations). The good news is, it doesn’t harm your bub and it usually settles by the second trimester. However, if you’re enduring extreme cases, it’s best to see your health professional.
The Fix: Always keep your fluids up, as vomiting can quickly dehydrate you. Likewise with eating at regular times, as nausea is exacerbated when blood sugar levels are low. Although eating may be the last thing you feel like doing, opt for something plain or bland like crackers or toast (even if you don’t really feel like it)
You’re battling constant headaches
Headaches, most likely caused by those pesky hormones, can be really debilitating. And when certain pain killers are off limits, it can be hard to know what to do.
The Fix: Once again, hydration is your greatest tool for combatting headaches, especially druing the day when it’s not so much of a pest to run to the loo. It can also help to rest or try relaxation methods like pregnancy yoga. If you urgently need some pain relief, chat to your health professional or visit Mothersafe for information about safe medication options.
You’re peeing like a pregnant woman
There’s a reason this is a saying. Constant weeing in the early stages is mainly due to hormonal changes, but it continues into later pregnancy as your growing baby starts to place pressure on your bladder. By the time you’re close to birth, you may even start to have the odd accident when you cough or sneeze – as your pelvic floor starts to weaken.
The Fix: Get started on those pelvic floor exercises ASAP. They’re as simple as sitting, standing or lying down and tightening the ring of ‘lady muscles’. Try to do ten slow squeezes and ten fast every day.
You’re craving weird food
Pregnancy is full of anomalies that scientists don’t fully understand – like food cravings. Some believe that we crave certain foods for our bub’s development, such as meat (for extra iron) or oranges (for vitamin C). However, some women face bizarre cravings that are yet to be explained.
The Fix: Well, just go with it. Although it’s important to stick to a healthy base of staples, like nutrient-rich veggies, quality protein and slow-releasing carbohydrates that keep your blood sugar levels steady. If you need ice-cream at 6am, then give yourself the odd ‘treat’. Chances are your confused taste-buds will settle down shortly.
Your mood is swinging like a yo-yo
Laughing hysterically one minute? Crying hysterically the next? Welcome to pregnancy. In fact, these jolting emotions can occur right up to 40 weeks. Yay. As you could guess, mood swings are due to hormones, which are working hard to support your baby’s development.
The Fix: Don’t let added stress or anxiety play a part in your fluctuating moods. You’ll likely be feeling sensitive and vulnerable, so reduce your load, have time to yourself, rest, take deeper breaths, have a bath and tell your family, partner or friends how to support you.
Feeling wobbly on your feet
This can happen to pregnant women if they stand too quickly or stay on their feet for too long. It’s due to surging hormones causing your blood vessels to relax, which makes them widen. Your growing baby can also put added pressure on blood vessels, adding to the cause.
The Fix: Avoid rapidly changing planes of motion. In short – don’t go from lying down to standing too fast or anything else that can cause blood pressure to drop, dramatically (burps, beware). It’s also wise to avoid being upright for too long. Later in pregnancy, switch to side sleeping, as lying on your back can make you feel dizzy due to the added body weight pressure placed on one of the largest veins. Finally, if you’re feeling faint on a regular basis, contact your health professional.
You’re struggling to shift a stool
Never a nice situation to face, but pregnant women often struggle with constipation. This is because your body does a wonderful job of passing on your nutrients and blood flow to your growing baby. This shift slows down your digestion and blood flow to your intestines. Taking iron tablets can also make the situation worse.
The Fix: Adding fibre to your diet can be a real saviour with speeding up the elimination process. Opt for things like fruit, veggies and wholegrain. Think roles oats, high fibre breakfast cereals, fruits (with skin), legumes, nuts and sourdough. Taking regular physical activity is known to boost bowl mobility (peristalsis). If these lifestyle changes are not working, speak to your doctor or midwife as the on-going condition can create huge discomfort and decreased appetite.