Pregnancy Symptoms & Natural Remedies

The shifting hormones during early pregnancy can often result in symptoms, such as headache, morning (aka all-day) sickness and unpleasant heartburn and so on… Below are  four of the most common pregnancy symptoms + a list of natural solutions that can help relieve them.

{Morning Sickness}
  • Drinking plenty of water is key as dehydration will only worsen the nausea. If plain water is hard to drink, add slices of fresh lemon, lime, cucumber or mint to add some flavour.
  • Supplement with vitamin B6 (also called pyridoxine). The vitamin B6 is a proven and effective natural treatment for mild nausea. It worked for me for a little while but as my hormones kept rising the nausea worsened and the B6 wasn’t enough. Talk to your health care professional about what dosage is best for you.
  • Sea bands are another fantastic natural method to relieve nausea and other motion sickness. Get them at your local health food stores or order them here.
  • Ginger tea, dried ginger or small pieces of fresh ginger root are all well recognized for their anti-nausea effects. Try my Cleansing GLOW Smoothie, which is bursting with flavour and includes raw ginger and lemon, or this Papaya Ginger Dressing, which can help relieve nausea while also helping you overcome the vegetable-aversion many experience during early pregnancy.
  • Smelling the peel of a lemon or orange is a common remedy for morning sickness in Mexico and is very effective for some women. I also found that sucking on a fresh lemon or squeezing fresh lemon juice into a glass of water gave me some relief. Hot water with lemon is also great for the liver, which is a key organ during pregnancy.
  • A high protein, low carbohydrate diet is another effective way to reduce nausea caused by morning sickness. “Empty”, starchy carbohydrates and sweets cause our blood sugar to spike and them crash, which as result often worsens the nausea. Protein, healthy fats and complex high-fiber carbohydrates, on the other hand, promote a steady release of energy as well as stabile & balanced blood sugar levels. Try it out for 3-4 days and see if you feel a difference.
  • Steer clear of caffeinated drinks, such as coffee, tea, cola as all these affect the blood sugar levels, which only exacerbates the nausea.
  • Avoid sugar and refined foods, including fast foods, white breads, candy and all soft drinks/diet sodas. Cutting out sugar is beneficial on so many levels and can absolutely help keep morning sickness at bay (you may notice it often worsens after eating sweets). Moreover, too much sugar is, aside from morning sickness, also often the culprit of recurrent UTI’s, yeast infections and pregnancy acne.
{Headaches}
  • Pregnancy headaches are most commonly caused by all the wild hormonal changes that occur and though it may seem counterintuitive, light exercises and relaxation techniques are very effective natural remedies for relieving these.
  • Taking a magnesium supplement is not only effective for relieving headaches. It will also help prevent muscle cramps, keep blood pressure normal and plays an important role in regulating normal blood sugar & insulin levels. Good food sources of magnesium include nuts, seeds, spinach and oat bran. Add a big handful of raw spinach to your smoothie or drinking a warm glass of almond milk with a little cinnamon and honey to boost your daily magnesium intake.
  • Adequate water is essential, as dehydration will only worsen headaches.
  • Make sure to avoid or limit sugar leaden, refined foods and caffeinated beverages as all these can increase the frequency and intensity of headaches.
  • Stay away from foods containing aspartame, an artificial sweetener closely linked to headaches.
  • If headaches are associated with sinus congestion, cutting down or completely eliminating dairy products can be very helpful since dairy products can increase mucous production and make it worse. If you do cut down on dairy, however, make sure to get enough calcium from other dietary sources such as nuts, seeds & green leafy vegetables.
  • Mint teas, including peppermint and spearmint, have soothing effects on the stomach muscles and can, besides settling an upset stomach, help reduce nausea
{Tiredness & Fatigue}
  • Rest up. Your body is busy and some women simply experience more tiredness and fatigue than others.
  • Make sure you’re taking a good pre-natal vitamin. Nutrients, including the B vitamins, magnesium, zinc & iron, all play essential in energy production.
  • If you’re struggling to sleep despite being tired try drinking a cup of chamomile tea ½ hour before bed. (see tea post). A warm bath with a few drops of lavender essential oil is also good for bringing on sleepiness.
  • Avoid caffeinated beverages (coffee, tea & soda).
  • Eliminate sugar and other refined foods, such as white breads, cakes, soda, candy etc. Sugar exhausts the liver, suppresses the immune system, contribute to mood swings and is only going to make you feel more exhausted and unmotivated.
  • Make sure to eat your last big meal at least 3-4 hours before going to bed. This gives your body a chance to properly digest your food before you go to bed as a heavy meal close to bedtime can disrupt quality of sleep.
{Heartburn & Indigestion}
  • Herbal teas, such as peppermint, ginger, fennel & chamomile are all great as they help improve digestion while also having a soothing effect on the stomach.
  • Eating some pineapple and/or papaya 15 mins before a meal can help boost the digestive enzymes and improve digestion.
  • Taking 1-2 tbsp apple cider vinegar before a meal can also boost the digestive enzymes
  • Coconut water is a natural acid neutralizer and can help relieve the burning and discomfort caused by pregnancy heartburn. Make sure to go for a good quality 100% natural, unrefined variety.
  • Always eat small, frequent meals and avoid large meals, especially at night.
  • Avoid lying down up to 2 hours after a meal and raise the head of the bed with a couple of pillows if the discomfort is present during the night hours.
  • Avoid heavily fried, spicy & fatty foods, which can all worsens the symptoms of indigestion and heartburn. Chocolate is also known to worsen heartburn for some.
  • Avoid alcohol as even very small amounts can exacerbate heartburn.
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