Pregnancy is a wonderful time for many women and is considered one of the most exciting and pleasurable experiences we can have.
Many women ‘know’ when they are pregnant. This intuitive feeling is probably due to the early outpouring of female hormones, followed by the production of human chorionic ‘gondotrophin’ by fetal tissues as soon as the embryo achieves implantation. For other women, ‘mild symptoms’ may be the first signs of pregnancy.
Nausea and vomiting is thought to occur in approximately half of all pregnancies, usually between the sixth and sixteenth weeks. This is a rough guide as some can experience it as early as their last period, whilst for some, it can continue throughout pregnancy.
Although this is seen as a normal part of pregnancy, it can be extremely distressing and impact greatly on a women’s normal life. Some life-style changes can be helpful, and Victoria Busk, acupuncturist at Vidatherapy gives her patients the following advice:
“It is essential to avoid dehydration. Try to drink small amounts frequently. Soups are an excellent way to take in fluids, as well as herbal teas (ginger and peppermint) and carbonated drinks if belching helps relieve the symptoms.
Having small regular snacks will help balance blood sugar levels. Try to have something small every one to three hours, before hunger sets in. It is often helpful to give up the regular breakfast, lunch and dinner and instead spread food throughout the day…little and often is my motto!
Suggested foods – almonds, raisins, crackers, dried fruit, pasta, rice, pears, peaches, peppermints, unrefined white bread, potatoes, organic commercial baby food, yoghurt.
Odors – if you have developed a heightened sense of smell, try oil burners around the house with oils such as lemon, peppermint or grapefruit. You can also decant them onto a tissue and carry them with you.
Rest -There is a tremendous change taking place within your body so resting is definitely beneficial during this time. If you feel tired by 7pm, try to listen to your body and go to bed!
Constipation is another symptom that is considered a normality in pregnancy and is often due to hormones softening and relaxing the digestive tract, rendering bowel movements sluggish. Dietary factors and other self help measures can be very helpful at easing the symptoms. Hear are a few tips to follow:
- Try to increase fruit such as apricots, prunes, raisins and figs (which are also nourishing for the blood).
- Sunflower seeds, nuts and soaked linseeds can be sprinkled over food or carried as snacks.
- Six to eight glasses of room temperature water can be useful to soften the stool.
- Hot prune or lemon juice in water half an hour before eating.
- Light exercise such as walking will be helpful.
As well as these self-help measures, acupuncture can be an extremely supportive treatment, offering women a drug free alternative for a multitude of problems that may arise during pregnancy and childbirth. But if not for symptoms it also facilitates deep relaxation to calm the mind and release body tension, helping to make your pregnancy a much more fulfilling and pleasurable experience.
Victoria Busk BSc, LicAc, MBAcC, IEB, OCR, Acupuncturist at Vidatherapy Spa, Teddington.