Your joyful disbelief at seeing those two little pink lines can last for weeks – it all depends on when morning sickness and the body aches set in! Every picture of pregnant women in magazines and websites shows them happy and glowing but that’s only half the picture.
Your body changes to accommodate the life you are carrying within you so you can expect to face a slew of discomforts and aches. The good news is that there are ways to make your pregnancy a little more comfortable.
How to Stay Comfortable While Pregnant
1. Snack to Reduce Morning Sickness
Morning sickness is like waking up with a hangover every single day for 3 months straight! The nausea, vomiting, headache and fatigue can slowly strip away your joy and anticipation of being a mother, but it doesn’t have to because there are several steps that you can take to reduce morning sickness.
Keep a box of crackers on your nightstand so that you can snack on a few as soon as you wake up. Stay propped up in bed for a while until the nausea diminishes. Another simple way to tame your tummy troubles is to have several small meals throughout the day instead of fewer large meals.
2. Keep your feet elevated to stay comfortable at your desk
Before, you were able to spend hours at your desk in front of the computer but that changed when you got pregnant. A simple way to get comfortable at your work desk is to invest in a footrest that will keep your feet elevated.
Keeping your feet elevated helps to improve your circulation (keep in mind that your heart is now pumping blood for two) which means that you won’t feel stiff and achy when you get up from your chair. In addition to using a footrest, make sure that you get a chair where you can sit all the way back as this will help you get through your workday with minimal discomfort.
3. Eat dark leafy greens to prevent fatigue
Pregnancy cravings can cover everything from simple PBJ sandwiches or chocolate to more bizarre choices such as pickles with marshmallows and buttermilk with sardines! While it’s okay to indulge yourself occasionally, it is important that you follow a healthy pregnancy diet that contains plenty of dark green veggies.
Leafy green veggies such as spinach, kale and dandelion greens are high in iron which will help to prevent anemia – one of the most common causes for fatigue during pregnancy. You can also include Swiss chard and collard greens in your salads as they are high in iron as well as folate which is an important pregnancy nutrient.
4. Use a pregnancy belt to reduce back pain
First time mothers often think that pregnancy pain is limited to labor but this could not be further from the truth. While pregnancy is an amazing experience, all 3 trimesters come with their own share of aches and pains. If you’re suffering from back pain, the first thing you should know is that you are not alone – studies show that 71% of women suffer from low back pain during pregnancy.
The second thing is that pregnancy belts or belly bands are designed to support the lower back and abdomen which drastically reduces back pain. The third thing is that these belts are soft but sturdy and you can wear them under your clothes throughout the day which will make it easier for you to go about your regular daily activities.
5. Use a pregnancy pillow to help you sleep
If you’re used to sleeping on your back, you might find it a little difficult to adapt to a new sleeping position but as your baby grows, you will need to sleep on your left side to ensure that the blood supply to your baby is not obstructed.
Don’t wait until you hit the 20-week mark to change your position; instead, start sleeping on your side as soon as possible so that you have time to adjust to the change. A pregnancy pillow is a great investment as it will help to cradle your belly and allow you to sleep comfortably through the night.
Don’t have a large dinner and avoid drinking liquids for 2 to 3 hours before your bedtime so that you are less likely to wake up during the night.
6. Exercise daily to prevent joint pain
Most of us associate exercise with muscle pain and body aches so it’s difficult to imagine that exercise can help to avoid these problems. However, according to health experts at Whattoexpect.com, regular low-intensity exercise improves muscle strength and flexibility which helps to prevent body aches.
Swimming and water aerobics are among the best pregnancy exercises as the water supports your body and takes the pressure off your joints.
7. Elevate your torso to prevent heart burn
The main function of the hormone progesterone during pregnancy is to provide an ideal environment for the baby. However, the elevated level of this hormone also causes the valve between the stomach and the esophagus to relax which is why pregnant women often suffer from frequent heartburn.
Elevate your head and torso by placing books beneath the legs of your bed as this will help to prevent the backflow of stomach acids and prevent heartburn. Some pregnant women also find that natural remedies for heartburn such as papaya enzyme and apple cider vinegar provide immediate relief. However, you should consult your doctor before you make any changes to your regular diet and routine.