When you’re pregnant, you want to be careful about everything you put in your body because it’s also passing to your baby. That includes medications and certain supplements.
It’s tough though, because pregnancy is likely a time when you’re experiencing quite a few symptoms, and you could really use the help of medications.
There are certain drugs like Zantac, which pharmacies started pulling in 2019 because the FDA said they’d found low levels of cancer-causing ranitidine in these medications, that you should avoid. In fact, this is one that should be avoided not just when you’re pregnant, but perhaps forever based on these recent findings.
Then, there are those medications that may be more confusing. For example, you shouldn’t take over-the-counter pain medicines like aspirin and ibuprofen. You also shouldn’t take Pepto-Bismol or decongestants containing pseudoephedrine or phenylephrine.
When you’re pregnant, your doctor or health care provider should go over all the different medicines that may be unsafe.
If you’re dealing with certain common symptoms, you may want to speak with your health care provider about potential natural alternatives, including the following.
Nausea and Morning Sickness
Nausea and morning sickness are frequently symptoms of pregnancy and can be so severe they become debilitating for some women.
The deal with nausea and morning sickness, consider the following natural strategies:
- Keep something like dry crackers beside your bed and eat a bit before you get up each morning.
- Use ginger tea to combat nausea. Ginger has something called oleoresin that can prevent nausea.
- Try to have small, healthy snacks throughout the day. Protein-based snacks can be best, such as pumpkin seeds or nut butter on toast.
- Try to use a vitamin B6 supplement.
- Use peppermints or ginger lollipops when you feel sick.
- Some women find that aromatherapy helps when they feel nauseous because our sense of smell is linked to our sense of taste. Scents that can help with nausea include ginger, lemon, and mint.
When you’re pregnant, you may experience heartburn, and it may be the first time in your life you have.
Heartburn, or that burning feeling behind your sternum, is the result of your hormones fluctuating. There is a hormone called progesterone that is believed to relax the valve located between your esophagus and stomach.
That can then lead your stomach acids to splash up.
First, try to identify and avoid things that exacerbate your heartburn, such as acidic foods like tomatoes and citrus fruit. Chocolate, fizzy drinks, and mint can also be heartburn triggers.
Don’t lie down for at least one to two hours after you eat, and think about taking a walk after you eat dinner.
Having warm milk with honey can help you sleep and simultaneously soothe heartburn.
Interestingly, chewing sugar-free gum may also help because it can stimulate your saliva, which can then neutralize the acid.
Constipation and Hemorrhoids
When you’re pregnant, you may be more prone to hemorrhoids because of swollen veins located in the rectum or anus. This is especially true in the third trimester, and it’s common also to experience constipation when pregnant which can in turn worsen hemorrhoids.
The following are natural ways to deal with these symptoms:
- Make sure that you get enough fiber in your diet. Fiber-filled foods include fruits and vegetables, whole grains, beans, chia seeds, flaxseeds, and prune juice. If you’re worried that your diet doesn’t include enough fiber, consider using a supplement.
- Drink a lot of water.
- Soak in a warm bath for a few minutes every day. You can also use a sitz bath.
- Use dye and fragrance-free toilet paper and moisten it before use.
- Use witch hazel wipes on your bottom.
- Sit on a donut pillow to take the pressure off your rectal area.
- Use an ice pack if you’re feeling pain.
Headaches are very common during pregnancy as well, and they can be mild or severe. For some women, headaches become detrimental to their quality of life. The reason for the headaches is often because of changes in hormones, and they’re most commonly experienced during the first and third trimesters.
The hormonal changes you’re experiencing increase your blood volume, which is one of the big reasons for headaches during this time, although there are other headache triggers as well.
Try to stay very well-hydrated to help with headaches. If you get a headache, you can also lie down with a cold compress. A cold compress can tighten your blood vessels which become expanded during a headache or migraine and lead to the pain.
Ginger is helpful not only for morning sickness but also for headaches, so ginger tea may pull double-duty as a natural pregnancy remedy.
Try to take naps during the day when you can.
Prenatal massage is another way you might alleviate headaches. You can let your massage therapist know that you’re having headaches, and they can focus on techniques to relieve that pain.
Omega-3 oil is a natural supplement that you can take when pregnant that can reduce inflammation and may help reduce how severe your headaches are and how long they last.
Lemon juice can flush toxins, boost your blood circulation, and improve your vitamin C levels, all of which can help with headaches.
Eat small meals throughout the day to prevent headaches and try to include protein each time you eat.
Finally, anxiety is also a symptom many women experience when they’re pregnant, and you may not want to or be able to take prescription anxiety medicine.
Focus on natural ways to reduce anxiety, such as yoga or meditation.
Try to be physically active if you’re able because this can help boost those feel-good mood-boosting brain chemicals. For example, taking a walk, stretching or swimming are ways you can get active even when pregnant.
Try to find opportunities to see friends or loved ones, and talk about things that may be causing you stress. Emotional support is extremely important to all of us, but especially when you’re pregnant.
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