Pregnant women suffer from complaints that are usually harmless but can cause discomfort. Read here about complaints that are typical in the first trimester and what causes them.
Nausea: Mainly caused by the surplus production of the pregnancy hormone hCG. A differentiation is made between normal nausea and severe, prolonged nausea. Severe nausea generally involves vomiting several times a day over a period of several weeks. Here are some ways to ease nausea:
- Try to eat smaller portions more regularly, i.e. 5 to 6 times a day.
- For a while, eat only foods that you really enjoy, but avoid fatty, very spicy, sour and fried dishes.
- Keep simple snacks, such as rusks, dry biscuits or crispbreads, on your bedside table and try to eat a little straight after you wake up, then lie still for around 20 to 30 minutes before getting up.
- Drink plenty of water or unsweetened tea.
- Ginger helps calm your stomach, so ginger tea or ginger tablets may help.
- The smell of lemons, oranges, grapefruit or peppermint tea can work wonders against nausea.
- Ask your doctor to prescribe vitamin B6 or multivitamins against nausea.
- Iron can affect digestion, so only take iron supplements if blood tests indicate you suffer from iron deficiency.
- Acupressure bands worn around the wrist (available in chemists and pharmacies) can help; they were developed to prevent seasickness, but they’ve also proved effective against morning sickness.
- Alternative therapies such as aromatherapy (with citrus oils) or homoeopathy can also help – consult a qualified therapist with experience in treating pregnant women.
- Take time to rest and relax as stress and tiredness can exacerbate nausea; if need be, take a day off work.
Severe nausea over longer periods: If the nausea has a serious impact on your daily life, talk to your gynaecologist. There are medicines available to make sure you don’t dehydrate and to ensure your body gets sufficient nutrients. But remember: it’s important to consult a doctor before taking any medicines. In some cases, traditional Chinese medicine (TMC) can help ease severe nausea.
- Mood swings: The overproduction of hormones can take you on a roller-coaster ride of joy and anxiety. Talking openly with your partner, friends or other pregnant women can help ease your mind.
- Tiredness: Hormones and metabolism play a role here because your body is working flat out. However, tiredness can also be an indication of low blood pressure or iron deficiency. Don’t feel bad about going to bed early and taking regular breaks during the day.
- Bleeding gums: The hormonal changes mean that the lining of the mouth is susceptible to inflammation. To prevent this, floss regularly, use fluoride toothpaste and have your teeth cleaned regularly by a dentist or dental hygienist.
- Breast tenderness: Typical symptom of growth; the mammary glands are preparing for breastfeeding.
- Frequent urination: Increased blood flow during pregnancy stimulates kidney activity, which increases the production of urine. Additionally, the growing foetus presses against your bladder.