It’s natural for mums-to-be to experience some aches, pains and other symptoms during pregnancy. After all, your body is busy making another person! There are some things you can try to alleviate some of the usual complaints and we’ve covered the most common ones here. But if you’re worried about anything, do ask your midwife or doctor.
Tiredness is very common during the first weeks of pregnancy - along with mood swings caused by changing hormone levels. You'll be glad to know that it usually wears off after the first 12 weeks or so. Just go with it and rest as much as possible. Put your feet up and read a magazine or enjoy a nice, long soak in the tub.
Eating foods that release energy slowly helps too. This avoids the pattern of having a burst of activity and then a slump when your blood sugar levels fall. Spreading your meals over five or six smaller ones throughout the day will also help with that post-meal tiredness you’d experience after three larger ones.
Staying hydrated is also crucial to staying awake, so keep your water levels up. A good rule of thumb is to try and drink 8-12 glasses of water a day.
Lots of mums experience constipation during pregnancy. To help avoid or relieve it, you’ll need plenty of fibre in your diet. Include lots of fresh and dried fruits, raw and cooked vegetables and wholemeal cereals such as bread, rice, pasta and pulses. Water is important too, so try to drink a glass at regular intervals throughout the day.
Probiotics and prebiotics are essential for maintaining a healthy digestive system. You'll find probiotics in yogurt-based foods and prebiotics in wholegrains, bananas, asparagus, artichokes, garlic, onions, tomatoes and chicory. There are also many prebiotic and probiotic supplements available, although it’s best to check with your healthcare professional before taking any of these during pregnancy.
Some bleeding, or 'spotting', during the first trimester of pregnancy is not uncommon and it will not harm your baby. To be on the safe side, you should always consult your doctor if you are worried - particularly if you are experiencing period-type pains.
Some women feel really nauseous during pregnancy while others don’t experience any sickness at all. Fennel tea, ginger tablets, dry biscuits or crackers can help to relieve the symptoms, or you can ask your doctor, midwife or pharmacist about trying an acupressure wristband.
Eating little and often can also help. Try nibbling on these snacks:
- Dry crackers
- A few dried apricots
- Ginger biscuits
- Dry toast
- Organic sunflower and pumpkin seeds
- Crunchy vegetables with a hummous dip
Bleeding gums don’t necessarily mean you have a vitamin deficiency. With changing hormone levels, a woman's teeth are more at risk during pregnancy so bleeding gums can just occur. That's why it's important to have regular dental check-ups. The good news is that dental check-ups and treatment are free during your pregnancy and for a year after the birth!