So it’s my third time around and surely, I have some credits in OB-GYN “patient-ing” if there was a course! Let me share with you my usual pregnancy woes and remedies that I found very useful.
I was still breastfeeding SKY and was only contemplating lessening my pumping sessions when I learned about the pregnancy. I didn’t want to stop and knew from many BF advocates and real-life stories that it IS possible to breastfeed while pregnant. However, my morning sickness got the better of me. I was physically drained. I am on the petite side with an average weight of 103 lbs pre-pregnancy. Pumping at work, breastfeeding at night with no appetite and vomitting is not really a good combination for the demanding fetus in me. I had to stop and I did it rather quickly – in a month’s time. Though I did extend a couple more weeks because I kept getting engorged or when we didn’t know what else to do when SKY was being fussy.
The 2nd and 3rd pregnancy was plagued by morning sickness and this time, the vomitting extended until the 5th month. Though by the 4th month, the nausea was significantly less and only the vomitting persisted when the lingering taste in my mouth didn’t agree with me. Some things I did to abate the nausea:
1. Smell something you agree with. For me, it was anything citrus-y: calamansi, lemongrass, orange peel. If I was really dizzy, I would sniff amonia to get me on my feet. On the other hand, avoid scents that you don’t like, of course.
2. Don’t starve yourself. On this 3rd pregnancy, I found it really helpful to munch on Skyflakes plain at the first hint of hunger. I realized that the more hungry I got, the more nausea came.
3. Eat small meals. Always have healthy snacks on hand – nuts, fruits, raisins, cereals.
4. Avoid fatty and oily foods. For me, this goes hand in hand with #1. The smell of anything oily or fatty just doesn’t work with me.
5. Take your prenatal vitamins and iron later in the day. I made the mistake of drinking all my vitamins at breakfast when I was in my 1st trim with SKY. As morning sickness was something new to me then (as I never had it with my 1st born, NY), I ended up vomitting gloriously! Iron supplements are especially tough on the stomach for some reason so take this in the afternoon or at night.
6. Get lots of rest. If like me, you still have a 1-yr old who wakes up at night, get cat naps anywhere and everywhere. If your office has a clinic, this is the best time to take advantage of it. Otherwise, sleep at your desk! 🙂 If your boss is a man and doesn’t understand, give him the evil eye and say “No uterus, no opinion!”. As for the lady boss, any woman who has been pregnant will and should understand your predicament. Of course, make sure you complete your day’s goals as well.
For other tips on morning sickness remedy, click here.
After the morning sickness during the 1st trimester comes the constipation during the 2nd trimester. For some women, this comes earlier than the 2nd trim and for some comes only during the 3rd trim. For all my 3 pregnancies, they came at different times. If you’re OC about doing #2 at a certain time of day everyday(like me), a couple of things to remember: First thing about constipation is that you should never exert effort to move your bowels during pregnancy at any time or trimester! Second, a good balanced diet really helps improve this pregnancy torment. Here are some foods that helped me:
1. Eat fruits. Almost all our Philippine fruits are high in fiber but the most effective for me are: Papaya, Pineapple, Grapes. I need to eat 2 servings of papaya – a serving would be 2-3 “boats” – everyday (at breakfast and dinner).
2. Eat Oatmeal. I used to eat the readily available, instant Quakers oatmeal but as I made homemade baby food for SKY, I learned that the instant type has been processed so much that the benefits are minimal (plus it has added sugar which is another pregnancy restricted element) . I switched to Bob’s Red Mill Organic Old fashioned Rolled Oats (available at Healthy Options for P265 for 2lbs). The 2 lbs pack would last me 2 months or more so the price is good enough. Since it takes time to cook (10-15 mins on a stove top) and am usually on a rush every morning, I cook 1 cup in advance and put it in the ref. I only have to add a little water and pop it in the microwave for a good reheat and this batch lasts me 5 days.
3. Yogurt. Yogurt is healthy for anyone at any age (starting 1 yr old up). Though the effects of yogurt in bowel movement is not explicitly discussed by Dr. Sears in this article, I think it has something to do with the friendly bacteria present in it. Aside from that, yogurt is a good source of calcium which is essential in pregnancy. No need for fancy imported yogurt. Nestle Fruit Selection yogurt retails for about Php 25-26 for the 1 serving size. I buy the big one which is 4x more than the small one – it’s P108 in most groceries but I chanced upon one that sells it for P101. My kids and I all eat yogurt so buying the big one is worth it (plus buying in bulk equals less trash) .
4. Drink an adequate amount of water everyday. Water is good for you. It helps moves your bowel. Enough said. Dr. Sears recommends at least 8 x 8oz glass of water everyday. That’s about 2 litres of water (1 litre = 34 fl oz). And in tropical countries like ours, I would suggest more.
5. Prunes. I almost forgot about prunes. When I had it really bad with NY, I’d drink half a glass of prune juice. ACK! Let me warn you… it’s too sweet and sour at the same time. Try munching on the dried pitted prunes instead – it’s yummy to some extent – like dates or a big raisin.
For a more comprehensive list of constipation remedies, click here.
As the 3rd trimester sets in, I find myself getting bigger and heavier. The growth rate of my baby is now on a steep curve as it packs up fat for the outside world. New & other troubles during this time would be back, knee, foot pains, trouble in sleeping, trouble switching sides while sleeping or getting up from bed, walking,urticaria,cramps, frequent urination.. and the list goes on. Again, some troubles start earlier in the pregnancy and this post is by no means a standard (this is only my experience and it has been different in all 3 pregnancies).
Remedies for these? The thought that a little sweet smelling bundle of human awesome-ness is about to arrive 🙂 But seriously…
1. For body pains and aching joints. Try moving slowly and steadily – no one expects you to be nimble and speedy at this point. Try some stretching exercises while standing and raise your legs while sitting at your desk. Avoid sitting, standing and walking for long periods of time. The good thing nowadays is that they let cars with pregnant women park at the handicap slots in malls – I’ve tried Ayala malls (Trinoma, Market Market) and they do allow this; have not tried SM; Robinson’s Galleria does not.
2. Trouble sleeping. A nice foot and back rub before going to bed usually helps to keep me asleep through the night. Have not tried arometherapy/lavender oils but they say, it also helps.
3. Trouble switching sides in bed or getting up from bed. Pillows help a whole lot. At this point, you shouldn’t be sleeping flat on your back so it’s presumed that when you do lay down, you are on your side. Put a baby’s bolster pillow under your belly to support the weight. It will make picking up your belly to switch to the other side easier. When getting up from bed, ask help from your better half. Even if he’s sound asleep in the middle of the night and you need to get up to go the bathroom, wake him! – it’s the least he can do for putting that baby in your belly.
4. Urticaria. Urticaria is like a skin allergy except that in pregnancy, it isn’t really caused by anything. I got this during my 1st pregnancy and it was the worst! I was itching in the lower portion of my back, butt and back-side of my thighs. My skin felt immensely hot – almost feverish. I’m not sure if the heat was causing the allergy or the allergy was causing my skin to be hot. Either way it was uncomfortable, giving me sleepless nights. The only remedy I could do was rub ice on the affected portions. At one point, a dermatologist gave me oral steriods but I did not take them for more than several days.
5. Cramps. This can happen at any point in the pregnancy. Being a person who is predisposed to cramps (inheritting it from my father), I get cramps all the time regardless if I’m pregnant or not. The most common remedy would be eating bananas but as bananas are high in sugar, I don’t want to indulge on that while pregnant. What works for me is drinking milk or taking calcium supplements (if you’re lactose intolerant like me). I used to take Calciumade (Ca 600 mg, vit D2 5 mcg (200 iu), Mg 40 mg, Zn 7.5 mg, manganese 1.8 mg according to MIMS) for Php 6.5/pc at Mercury. Now, I take Kirkland Calcium Citrate (Vitamin D3 800 I.U. , Vitamin B6 10 mg, Calcium 500 mg, Magnesium 80 mg, Zinc 10 mg, Copper 1 mg, Manganese 1 mg, Boron 1 mg). The values for Kirkland is for 2 tablets (so you need to take 2 for one dose) but for Php 800 / 300 tablets, that’s only Php 2.66 /tablet.
6. Frequent Urination. There is no escaping frequent urination during pregnancy and this happens all throughout. As we all know, the dangers of stopping our urge to go is UTI; this is even more harmful in pregnancy as it can cause bleeding. So if you have to go, go. Go before leaving the house and go upon reaching your destination. Most malls nowadays have separate bathrooms for the handicap and pregnant people are also entitled to this – no long lines!
7. Swelling / Edema. “Manas” as I’ve been told is not normal in pregnancy (but others would say it is). It is a symptom of something wrong. It’s usually a sign of too much salt in the diet which is not good in pregnancy – it leads to preeclampsia which from my understanding is hypertension during pregnancy and can cause childbirth difficulties. Luckily, this is the only thing I didn’t get in my past 2 pregnancies and I hope not to get it this time around. My doctor just reminds me to avoid salty food and in my list, these are: french fries, fast food, canned foods, chips, chicharon, patis, suka, bagoong. For more information on swelling, click here. (Quick note: to know if you have “manas”, pinch the flesh above the bone/”bolt” on your ankle. If it indents, you probably are “manas” and should tell your doctor if he/she doesn’t check)
So that’s most of my pregnancy woes and remedies that aren’t really out of the ordinary. But just to put it out there for first time mommies or planning to be mommies, you can never be too prepared. If you’re experiencing any of these, make sure you take it up with your doctor – he/she could really give some good advice if not from personal experience and medical studies but from other patients as well. As a rule, never self-medicate! Always try the natural way to relieve anything. God bless!