I've been thinking about my own experiences with pregnancy, the experiences of friends and clients, as well as what I have read from birth and pregnancy textbooks. I decided to compile a list of some of the common complaints women go through that make pregnancy uncomfortable and share some of the information and tips I've learned.
I want to tackle the most common complaints: infections (yeast and UTI), digestive issues (constipation and heartburn), and emotional and hormonal imbalance (anxiety and/or depression). A lot of the solutions are basic and simple, as well as being effective helpers for other complaints.
Helping with Infections, four ways:
- Take Probiotics Here's an article from WebMD about why you should Eat your probiotics! Either in supplement form, or as part of your meals. If you are interested in eating probiotics, there are lots of options - sauerkraut, yogurt, kefir, and kimchi are all excellent and delicious options.
- Wear 100% cotton underwear Cotton is a very breathable fabric, so it let's your body air out and this discourages vaginal infections (or helps put an end to them).
- Drink at least 80oz of water daily Drinking water is one of the simplest ways to prevent and end UTI's. For some bizarre reason, I tend to drink significantly more water when using a water bottle than cups (am I alone in this?). I've been through three different water bottles in the past three years, and the Takeya water bottle is my favorite . We have had ours from 7 months, and it shows no sign of wear or tear.
- Air Out After showering, instead of getting dressed immediately, you can air out. There's the fast option, of using a hair blow dryer and drying yourself out with that. The slow option is to lay down with your legs relaxed and scroll through Facebook until you feel dry.
Relieving Digestive Issues, three ways:
- Walk and Squat Here's an article about walking and squatting for preparing for labor, but the solution also works for relieving constipation/moving things along; if you haven't already watched it, here's the Squatty Potty commercial. Here's an article about walking and constipation. One of the best resources about whole body movement and how it can benefit your digestion and more is Move Your DNA: Restore Your Health Through Natural Movement by Katy Bowman
- Drink lots of water (have I said that already??). Since constipation is related to dehydration in the colon, you need to make sure you are drinking lots of water. When your body is properly hydrated, less water will be withdrawn from the colon. Here's a informative article with additional information and suggestions.
- Examine See if you can recognize any patterns to your digestive issues - do you feel heartburn at a certain time of the day or after drinking or eating something? You can try keeping a food journal to keep track of your body's patterns. If you are experiencing heartburn, here is a simple handout I created about heartburn (and constipation). It has some suggestions you can discuss with your care provider.
Balancing Hormones, three ways:
- Exercise It can take awhile to find an exercise that you find pleasant but still has the benefits you need. Yoga and walking are some of the best exercises for pregnant women and can be easy to tailor to your needs and schedule. My favorite website for free yoga tutorials is doyogawithme.com, they have tons of ad free videos that don't cost money to watch. You can find many that fit your personal skill level and needs. Walking is also a really great exercise because you can walk for twenty minutes (or less) and can come away feeling better. Here's a post from Psychology Today and how walking can improve your mood and another one from Harvard Health about yoga and its mood lifting benefits.
- Share Talk to a trusted friend about how you are feeling, post in a supportive online forum, or write in your journal. (Message me if you want recommendations for supportive Facebook communities).
- Draw I wrote a blog post about creating positive affirmations. While they certainly aren't a cure-all, creating and reviewing your positive affirmation can help a lot with negative thoughts you might be having. Affirmations for Pregnancy has cards that you can purchase with affirmations on them. However, I think the process of writing and illustrating your own affirmations can be very healing and help cement the positivity.
++ If you are feeling consistent anxiety or depressive thoughts, talk to your care provider! This is not unusual and there are many paths that you can take to provide balance. I have a few upcoming posts planned about anxiety and depression during pregnancy, so keep your eyes open for that.
Going through my own pregnancy and postpartum experiences, I have had a lot of opportunities to pay attention to myself. I've experienced all of what I have listed here (and more!) and I have had to learn (and relearn) that my body is unique. For example I didn't really have heartburn when pregnant with Hugh, but when I was about 18 months postpartum, I had it every day for months. It was so horrible. What helped was I stopped eating after 8 and I cut down on bread, meat, and sugars. If I missed any of those, I was sure to pay for it. I tried to think of that experience as a way to connect with my body and learn my unique nuances.
Take time to listen to your body! Try some of these suggestions (or someone else's suggestion) and see how your body responds.
As with everything, contact your care provider about any concerns you have about what you are experiencing and what they recommend you implement. The information provided here is meant as suggestions or ideas, and are not to be taken as treatment.The links I share are either for products I have used or have been used by colleagues. I am an Amazon Affiliate, which means if you click and purchase any of the items I have linked, I receive a small percentage of the sale at absolutely no cost to you.