Managing the Early Symptoms of Pregnancy
Hooray, you're pregnant! That wonderful, joyous moment when you find out you're expecting a baby. For many women though, that elation soon turns to struggles and difficulties in coping and managing with early pregnancy symptoms. Before some women even have a positive pregnancy test, they may actually just 'know' and 'feel' pregnant from certain symptoms they're experiencing.
Nausea is a very common symptom and is due to the pregnancy hormone human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG). For me, it was one of my earliest symptoms at around 5 weeks, just a few days after I found out I was expecting. So my excitement at finding out I was pregnant was quite short-lived as I spent most of my waking day trying to not be sick!
TIP – eat little and often, stick to plain foods, wear compression bands, eat ginger and consider anti-sickness medication.
Your breasts are likely to undergo certain changes and this can happen quite early on. You may experience tingling, pins and needles, tenderness and they may also become bigger as well. This is again a result of those lovely pregnancy hormones starting to prepare your body for breastfeeding. It’s certainly a ‘look-but-do-not-touch’ stage!
TIP – wear a non-wired, well-fitting and supportive bra.
Spotting is common in the early stages of pregnancy and is also known as an implantation bleed. This occurs as the embryo implants into the lining of the uterus. You may see a few spots of blood in your knickers or it may seem very much like a period.
TIP – if you’re worried about how much you’re bleeding then speak with your GP or your give local early pregnancy unit a call for some advice.
Many women experience food aversions in early pregnancy and this can sometimes last right up until when your baby is born. Common foods to ‘go off’ of include red meats, fish, eggs, coffee and milk.
TIP – stick to what you know you can tolerate and take pregnancy vitamins to supplement those essential nutrients and minerals you may be missing out on.
You may find that you have a newly found super power in smelling! This heightened sense of smell is thought to be related to a mother’s instinct kicking in early on as a way of protecting her baby from external threats.
TIP – try to avoid cooking hot meals, carry a tissue with you to hold to your nose and also suck on mints to help dissipate certain smells
The female body undergoes huge, mind-blowing changes during pregnancy and it is busy growing and developing a brand new human. It's no wonder that many pregnant women experience extreme tiredness and fatigue, especially during the early weeks as it adapts to these changes.
TIP – allow your body and mind time to rest as often as you can and don’t push yourself too hard. Seek help and support from loved ones and friends.
Pregnancy hormones slow your body’s natural processes down early on as its focus shifts to growing your baby. Sadly, your bowel habits aren’t let off the hook and constipation is a very common symptom!
TIP – eat high-fibre foods (e.g. fruit, veg, beans and lentils), keep hydrated with lots of water and avoid iron supplements if possible as this can aggravate the problem.
In order to bring you some light and laughter in and amongst the struggles of early pregnancy, a few old wives' tales for you! If your right breast is bigger than your left, your pillow is to the north when you sleep and you crave salty food then you're expecting a boy. If your left breast is bigger than your right, your pillow is to the south when you sleep and you crave sweet foods then you're expecting a girl. Of course, the only fool proof way of knowing the sex of your baby is to see when they're born! However, it's always fun to hear the opinions and guesses of others if you are expecting a surprise.