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Common Discomforts in Pregnancy

December 15, 2017

We all have that one friend who loves being pregnant. They never have any complaints and they just don't understand the misery some women feel in pregnancy.



So if you are one of those ladies, this post is NOT for you!



Pregnancy comes with a number of "discomforts," though we all know it can be completely miserable!



Nausea and Vomiting 

You know the most common discomfort expressed is morning sickness. Though the term morning sickness couldn't be farther from the truth. So let's throw that phrase out the door and get real. Nausea and vomiting can occur all day and all night. And it bites!


It can be so bad that some women can't keep any food or drink down. That can become very dangerous for you and your baby. So notify your midwife or doctor if you have gone 24 hours without any food or water.



Low blood sugar is usually the culprit for the nausea. Maintaining your blood sugar all day is key in controlling your nausea. Your blood sugar drops the lowest in the early morning hours while we sleep so when you wake up, try having something bland at your bedside to help bring up your levels before you even get out of bed.


Even just sipping on a fizzy lemon drink can help!



There is a combination of over-the-counter medicines vitamin B6 and 1/2 unisom tablet (a sleep aid) that some women find comfort with, plus the unisom helps you sleep.


Diclegis is a FDA approved prescription that offers an extended release of the these two medications offering huge relief for my patients, including me! Your midwife or doctor has to prescribe this medication and ask for a coupon. Diclegis is a category A medication meaning research has been done and studies did not find any harmful effect to human babies. That's huge! 


Other anti-nausea prescriptions exist, however they come with unwanted side effects like constipation and have been known to cause harmful effects to your baby.



Peppermint and ginger are natural remedies that can help ease nausea. These flavors can be used in a tea, essential oil (by aromatherapy or applied topically), hard candy (to suck on), etc. can really help take the edge off of your misery.


You have pressure points on the inside of your wrists and wearing sea-bands can help relieve your nausea.



Increase water intake and dietary fiber. 


If you have not pooped in over 5 days, then you need to contact your midwife or doctor to discuss options, especially if you have tried drinking more water and eating more fiber. There are fiber supplements OTC you can buy, but remember these are not options for long-term use. 


Sometimes desperation calls for desperate measures. Digital impaction or sticking your finger up your rear-end and removing your poop yourself. Be gentle, use gloves and wash your hands afterwards. 



Gas and Bloating


Many women complain of gas or feeling bloated. Try laying on your left side for a period of time. Remember because of your hormone changes, air and food are slower to move through your GI tract, causing a back up. Try OTC options, also remember these are for temporary use. Finding a good probiotic may help solve the problem.




Sigh. Heartburn. Such a horrible discomfort. Avoid dairy!!! Sometimes milk or ice cream "soothes" the burn, however it will worsen the problem in time. There are many options you can try OTC, talk with your midwife or doctor first. You may also try white apple cider vinegar. Sounds awful, but when you're so miserable, sometimes you'll try anything. Burns going down your espophagus, but then "extinguishes" the fire in no time. Add 1-2 tbsp vinegar to a cup of water.




Headaches can intensify in pregnancy due to your hormone changes. Maintain your blood sugar levels and stay well hydrated with water. Dehydration can lead to horrible headaches.



Comfort measures you can try at home besides food and hydration, include: 


restful sleep

dark, quiet room

cold compresses

essential oil blends, apply to your forehead or use as aromatherapy





With your body changing every day, sleep can become harder and harder to come by. 

Every so often I'll have a patient crying to me about how exhausted she is and could I prescribe her a sleeping pill. That's when I begin my discussion. I have a problem with prescribing sleeping pills to pregnant women, especially at the end of their pregnancy. The sleepless nights are mother nature's way of preparing us for the long nights ahead with your new baby. You are going to be exhausted as a new mom and you can't take a pill when your baby is here. I then proceed talking about natural remedies or comfort measures she can try.



-Chamomile or lavender oils, teas, aromatherapy.

-Meditation and prayer before bed.

-Read a light book.



-Try a cup of warm milk, but not too much, because then you'll be waking up to pee later on.

-Turn your phone off and don't look at it, especially if you wake up during the night.



Cold-like Symptoms


Now that you're pregnant, your immune system is suppressed. It can definitely lead to more head colds. Some symptoms may include: cough, nasal congestion, mild aches or pains.


Try a neti pot to rinse out your sinuses.

Use a humidifier.

Warm bath.

Tylenol (take your temperature before taking any pills. You don't want to mask a fever.)



If you experience any difficulty breathing with a cough or nasal congestion, then please contact your midwife or doctor. Also, if your phlegm is green and your symptoms have been lasting longer than 10-14 days (like most viral head colds) and symptoms are getting worse, then call right away. Sometimes simple virus colds can lead to bacterial infections and may need antibiotics. We really want to avoid bronchitis or pneumonia.




Hemorrhoids are very common in pregnancy. Check out my recent post on hemorrhoids here.


Mild Diarrhea 

Stay hydrated. Try rubbing peppermint oil under your nose or on your belly. Peppermint can help settle your stomach. Probiotics may be helpful. There are some OTC products you can try, but avoid the pink stuff.



Warning: There are some ingredients in Pepto-bismol that can effect your baby.



Call your midwife or doctor immediately if you have been having diarrhea for more than 24 hours, especially if you have had a fever. 



These are just a number of discomforts when experience in pregnancy. Believe it or not, after your little one arrives, you'll begin to forget how miserable you were and want another one. 




But for now, know that you're not alone. Many women are suffering from these issues. You're not the first and certainly not the last. Keep going! Many of these will pass in time, usually once your baby is here. 



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© 2017 by Carlie A. Yearsley, CNM, WHNP, DNP