Tips for Common Pregnancy Ailments

Photography: Brandi Johnson

By Kari van der Heide

loved being pregnant. I had been looking forward to it for so long. I was proud of my belly and felt extremely happy with our little bean growing inside me. I was so ecstatic that even the morning sickness (that lasted all day, for nine months), heartburn, back pain, restless legs and leg cramps couldn’t get me down. Trust me, I felt horrible every time I had to throw up at work or couldn’t sleep because of the pain in my back or because my legs were being absolutely ridiculous. But these ailments were also a daily reminder of the miracle that was growing inside my belly. So I coped. And I wrote everything down. Every bit of discomfort, when it occurred and what remedies helped. So hopefully some tips will help you cope as well!

First of all, if you are reading this and you are pregnant: congratulations! I don’t know your story, but I wish you and your baby health and happiness. I hope my experience will help you. Please note that I am not a doctor, midwife or gynecologist. So if you experience pain, bleeding or have doubts about what you feel, please contact your doctor!  

When I wrote down everything I experienced during pregnancy, I did so for two of my best friends. I did not know I was going to start a blog almost two years later. I just wanted to be able to help my friends, if they ever decided to get on the baby train. So, Nadia and Saskia, this one’s for you

0-3 Months of Pregnancy

It’s a boob thing…
So the first I noticed was kind of amazing, having been a very modest cup B for fourteen years. My breasts grew pretty much instantly. I waited way too long to buy a new bra. Don’t do that. Buy a new bra, now. Another weird thing I experienced was itching nipples. Yeah… sorry no remedy, just a ‘I feel yah sister’, if you are scratching your nipples right now.

Another weird thing I experienced was itching nipples. Yeah… sorry no remedy, just a ‘I feel yah sister’, if you are scratching your nipples right now.

Let me sleep!
I was soooo tired those first months. I could sleep pretty much anywhere, anytime. For someone who has had a sleeping disorder for over ten years this was kind of epic. The only advice I can give you is: give into it. The fatigue will disappear in your second trimester. It takes tremendous energy to build a tiny human. Your body is working extremely hard. Let it do its job. By resting.

I have to pee…again.
It will only get worse the bigger your baby gets. Just rest in the fact that you are going to pee and pee and pee a LOT for the next couple of months. Don’t try and ‘train’ your bladder. That’s harmful and can cause an infection. If you suspect an infection, immediately contact your doctor.

So hungry, so nauseous
I had the unfortunate experience of being nauseous 24/7, for almost nine months. A little consolation: morning sickness usually disappears in the second trimester. And if it doesn’t, it will the second you have given birth. I especially hated throwing up at work (O, those were some meetings!) and not being able to find ANYTHING to eat, even though I was so hungry. I ended up having a lot of ‘go-to foods’. Every few weeks I would have found something that didn’t make me nauseous. I would binge on these foods until they did and then find something new. Three tips: 1) Listen to your body, but try to make sure you don’t miss out on all the vital vitamins, minerals and oils. 2) Walk. Walking worked like nothing else to beat the nausea. 3) Bring a toothbrush everywhere you go.

3-6 Months of Pregnancy

How am I supposed to sleep with this thing?
My sleeping bliss disappeared in my second trimester. As soon as my belly started to grow I could not find a comfortable position. I searched the web for hours trying to find the perfectly shaped pillow. Something I could slide underneath my belly. (I did not find it, so if you decide you want to fill this gap in the market, send me an e-mail, I have Ideas.) Here is what helped me get comfortable: lying on my left side, one pillow between my knees, another cropped underneath my belly and one in my back. Your partner is just going to have to scoot over. And a hard matress is definitely better than a soft one!

I’m so flexible
Your belly, uterus, pelvis, everything is being stretched to the max. That’s bound to cause some discomfort. Round ligament pain feels like menstrual cramps – like a jabbing pain in your lower belly. If it hurts a lot, for a long time or comes back every few minutes call your doctor. Otherwise, try changing positions or rub your belly with pregnancy oil. I used and loved the one from Weleda.

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