Are you excited about your pregnancy but now you feel tired, nauseous, and have headaches?
Not every woman’s body and experience in pregnancy is the same. But, it is common, normal, and part of growing a new babe inside of you that at some point, one will likely experience some discomforts during pregnancy. I promise, mostly everything that happens during pregnancy will go away once you are no longer pregnant.
Yes, just when you felt incredibly excited about being pregnant, suddenly it seems all you want to do is sleep. All you can think about is when you can get back into bed and sleep some more. Life can consist of activities entered around your next nap.
This can often be a first sign of pregnancy. Huge changes and fluctuations in your hormones levels and metabolism are the cause of this. For most women, this usually will improve dramatically as you enter your second trimester.
How you can overcome fatigue during pregnancy
- Allow yourself rest as often as you can. Your body is taking on a big job and it needs you to listen as often as your life will allow. Take time to acknowledge your body’s cues and rest or take little naps as often as you can.
- Keep really well hydrated. Hydration is incredibly important for not just dealing with fatigue, but water can help with avoiding headaches, too.
- Focus on eating frequent, small meals. Eat nutritious meals that are high in protein.
- Because early pregnancy can come with dips in blood sugar and low blood pressure, be sure that you are taking in sufficient amounts of iron during your pregnancy. This will help with fatigue. Ask your care provider for a good iron supplement that will not make you constipated.
- Get lots of fresh air and gentle exercise
Complementary therapies for dealing with fatigue
Citrus oils: Peppermint, Grapefruit (my personal fav), Bergamot or Lemon. You can diffuse these in your room, or, add to an unscented carrier oil and rub into your temples, chest, or into your feet.
And most of all, it’s totally okay and totally normal to feel like being so tired is a drag. It doesn’t mean you’re not excited about your pregnancy, it just means that being tired IS a drag. Visit with friends for lunch and leave your evenings free to rest and rejuvenate. Growing a baby is hard work. It will get better, I promise.
If you are experiencing headaches in early pregnancy, it is likely due to changes in the level of progesterone in your body, but also a relaxing of your blood vessels. As a result, these changes in your blood vessels can have a direct effect on your neck and head: As they relax, they fill with blood and can trigger headaches.
A note about headaches in pregnancy
While it is normal to experience headaches early on, always be sure to mention this to your care provider. If this is occurring for you later in pregnancy, it could be related to an elevated blood pressure, so be sure to mention it when you have a visit with your provider.
Finding relief from headaches during pregnancy
- Keep well hydrated. You will notice this is a very important suggestion in all things pregnancy related. Always drink lots of water. Every day.
- Increase your protein intake
- Avoid caffeinated beverages, and sugar.
- Get fresh air, and be sure to take walks daily, if possible.
- Low lighting and cool compresses can help relieve the pressure in your head.
Complementary therapies for managing headaches
- Peppermint Oil: Use just a few drops on a cotton pad and inhale.
- Lavender Oil: This is lovely for relaxation and can be diffused in your room or added to a carrier oil.
- Chiropractic Care: Many women find this to be an extremely beneficial mode of healing and health maintenance, especially in pregnancy and leading into birth. Going for an adjustment can help release tension in the head and neck.
- Acupuncture: Another modality that brings women great relief with pregnancy ailments, including headache.
Nausea, vomiting (otherwise know as “morning sickness”)
Another difficult and potentially challenging part of early pregnancy for a lot of women is varying degrees of nausea and/or vomiting. Unlike the common reference name for this symptom, the sickness does not occur only in the morning. Any pregnant woman who has been through this will tell you it can last all day.
Nausea is caused by an increase in hormones, flooding your blood. Your digestion process slows dramatically so that as much absorption as possible may occur. At the same time, your sense of smell is heightened, and nausea can be triggered easily. This usually (but not always) resolves itself by the second trimester.
What you can do about nausea
- Avoid any smells that can trigger you
- Try to eat small meals, many times a day. Try to avoid letting your stomach become empty because it can then be extremely acidic and further aggravate the nausea and vomiting. Aim for easy foods that are high in protein. Avoid any spicy or rich foods. Soups are great. Miso soup is wonderful (simple protein). Find your go-to food and stick with it, if it works.
- Keep well hydrated with water. Put lemon slices in your water because this helps your body to absorb the hydration from the water and, in turn, can help settle your stomach. Smell the lemon while it is in your drink and inhale deeply.
- Drinking teas with peppermint and/or lemon & ginger is excellent. Ginger can help tremendously in easing nausea.
- Allow yourself rest and relaxation. Your body is good at telling your what it needs during this time. If you can, allow it to take the lead. Rest, hydrate and relax as much as possible.
- Keeping plain crackers by your bed is a great way to fend off the just-woke-up-empty-stomach-nausea. Eat a few crackers before even lifting your head off the pillow. Little bits in your stomach all the time. Use this idea to carry small and easy to digest foods in your bag and everywhere you go.
Complementary therapies for nausea
Acupuncture: Women find this helps in balancing their digestion and bringing great relief.
If your nausea is accompanied by great amounts of vomiting, please be sure you are hydrating even more. The risk of dehydration is very real and something you want to avoid. Be sure to be communicating well with your care provider. If you have severe nausea and vomiting, you may have a condition related to pregnancy called hyperemesis gravidarum.
The good news about these “top three” discomforts is that most women report these symptoms improve as pregnancy progresses! Hang in there moms!