Natural Remedies for Early Pregnancy Symptoms
Last week I talked about my first trimester pregnancy favorites; those few things I could not live without to survive those difficult first few months of pregnancy. But the things I mentioned aren't a cure-all, and every pregnancy, and every woman is different- what works for me may not work for you (but hey, it's worth a try!), and there are plenty of pregnancy symptoms and remedies I didn't mention in that post. As a certified prenatal health coach, I get asked a LOT by my pregnant clients, "What do I do if I... (am tired, nauseous, have a headache, am constipated...)??". Unfortunately, there isn't always a clear cut answer, and many moms don't want to have to rely on OTC medications (even pregnancy-safe ones, as limited as they are)- and further, sometimes THEY don't even work to relieve symptoms! Luckily, women have been pregnant, well, forever! So there are plenty of natural remedies for common early pregnancy symptoms. Today, I'm sharing my top 25 natural remedies for common early pregnancy symptoms.
Tiredness This is every newly pregnant mama's big complaint, right? I think this is a universal one we can all agree we suffer from. Rising hormones and massive changes in our bodies happening at a rapid rate means mamas get fatigued, and fast. Though beating tiredness entirely is impossible (though hope is on the horizon: many mamas feel a burst of energy after the 12-14-week mark), there are a few things we can do to manage the fatigue, naturally. 1. Take your prenatal vitamins regularly. Some of the tiredness mamas experience comes from an increased demand for nutrients in a mom's body. Baby uses a lot of nutrients, even right away- and as a result, we can end up lacking and tired. B-Vitamins, especially are crucial for baby and mama during these early weeks. Look for a natural food-based prenatal to meet all you and baby's needs. 2. Drink LOTS of water. With increased nutrient demand also comes increased fluid demand, as mama needs more water to keep up with increased blood volume. Aim to get at least 10 glasses of water a day, give or take- if your pee is straw yellow to clear, you should be good. 3. Get some pep from peppermint tea. Though excessive caffeine is out (research shows a mug of coffee or green tea, is fine), peppermint tea is pregnancy safe and can give you a natural energy boost, both from the smell and the taste. Bonus: it can help with pregnancy nausea, too. 4. REST, mama, rest! The best cure for pregnancy fatigue? Get some REST! Try getting to bed earlier, whenever you can- you might find yourself dozing as early as 8pm and that's fine, your body is growing another human- it needs that rest! Let yourself sleep in a little bit if you can, and grab a cat nap if you have a chance during the day.
Nausea/Morning Sickness Another major complaint from mamas is nausea, or morning sickness (or all-day sickness, for many mamas!). Rising hormones make nausea nearly inevitable, though some moms do leave the first trimester unscathed. If you're not one of the lucky ones (80% of us experience nausea in the first trimester), here are a few natural tricks to combat nausea and sickness during early pregnancy. 5. Get some magnesium. There are many theories on the root cause of morning sickness, and there seems to hold a link between magnesium deficiency and early pregnancy sickness. Either way, it can't hurt! Magnesium is safe during pregnancy- talk to your doctor or health practitioner for a dosage that's right for you. Natural Calm is my favorite. 6. Try taking B-6. Taking 25mg of B-6 every 6-8 hours has been proven to aid in reducing morning sickness. As with any supplements, talk to your doctor about what is best for you, and remember to get in a B-complex or ensure your prenatal has enough B-vitamins, as well, as they work synergistically with each other in the body. 7. GINGER- the age old nausea remedy, right?! Well, for good reason- it works! Try steeping sliced fresh ginger in hot water for ginger tea, sucking on natural ginger candies or chewing on crystallized ginger (my personal favorite). 8. Slip on an acupressure band. Acupressure bands, such as Sea Bands, have been shown to aid in nausea of all sorts- pregnancy nausea, included. They're non invasive and they just require a slip on the wrist. It can't hurt! 9. Sip on a tablespoon of apple cider vinegar or fresh lemon juice in a glass of water. Both ACV and lemon juice stimulate bile production, kickstarting the digestive process- slow digestion can cause pregnancy symptoms, including nausea.
10. Balance your blood sugar. This one is HUGE- it really should be #1. There are SO many reasons to balance your blood sugar in general, but drops in blood sugar (due to big spikes in blood sugar; pregnant women's blood sugar is naturally lower, as well, due to the increased needs of the growing baby) can cause waves of nausea and even vomiting in pregnant women. Though carbs can be comforting and all you want when you're feeling icky, try your best to balance them with protein and healthy fats to avoid those blood sugar spikes and drops. 11. Try some tea. Ginger or peppermint tea can be comforting and calming to nauseous belly. 12. Stick to mini-meals. If pregnancy nausea or sickness has you reeling at the sight of a big plate food, try mini meals throughout the day to maintain your nutrition and avoid that over-full feeling that may lead to a cycle of more nausea and sickness. It may also help balance your blood sugar, along the way.
Headaches Headaches are another common pregnancy symptom among women. Like most pregnancy symptoms, there usually isn't one specific cause- rising hormones and a changing body can do that! But there are still some ways you can work on managing headaches, sans-meds. 13. Sip water with electrolytes (coconut water works, too). Often time headaches result from mild dehydration, drinking water with added electrolytes or coconut water is a great first step at combatting pregnancy headaches. 14. Magnesium. Here's that mega-mineral, again! Magnesium is involved in over 300 processes in the body, and it's a natural muscle relaxant, so magnesium can be great for reducing tension-related pregnancy headaches. 15. Try a Hot or cold compress. Whatever feels best to you, mama! A hot or cold compress on the neck and temples can relieve a headache, fast. Better yet- use it when you're falling asleep. Rest is one of the best ways to reduce headaches- pregnancy or otherwise.
16. Acupuncture. If all else fails, and you're suffering from chronic headaches or migraines (I'm so sorry, Mama!) acupuncture has been shown to help relieve headaches during pregnancy.
Sore Boobs Yeah, I went there. Sore boobs are a REAL thing during pregnancy! It's not something I typically experience, during PMS or otherwise, so this was one of the first tell-tale pregnancy symptoms for me. There isn't much we can do to remove breast soreness, but we can relieve it, a bit. 17. Switch to a more supportive bra (but get rid of the underwire!). A supportive bra is cruical, because any sort of movement can aggravate soreness, as can underwire- so look for a soft, supportive nursing-style or exercise-style bra for relief. 18. Drink up (again!). I sound like a broken record- but simply staying hydrated is huge during early pregnancy (easier said than done when everything makes you nauseous, I know). Water retention can make breast tenderness worse, so make sure to drink water regularly to flush the system. 19. Switch that compress from your neck to your chest. A warm or cool compress can also help with the tenderness and soreness that comes with expanding breasts and increased hormones in those first couple of months.
Constipation You're doing great, digestion is awesome, you're ahem, going, once a day and then all of a sudden- nothing. Pregnancy hormones can do that to ya! Constipation is incredibly common during early pregnancy, and unfortunately most stool softeners are not recommended. Here are three solid ways you can relieve it. 20. Fiber + Water. These two go hand in hand. We've talked about needing extra water during pregnancy, and this is crucial- but fiber will help bind things AND move them along in the digestive track. Try adding chia seeds or ground flax seeds (2-4 tbsp a day) to your diet, and make sure you're getting lots of fiber-rich fruits and veggies. 21. That magnesium, again! There is a reason these things keep showing up- they're essential! As a natural muscle relaxant, 1-2 tsp magnesium citrate in water before bed can be an effective relief for constipation. 22. Get moving! Exercise is a simple and effective way to get things moving during early pregnancy. Go for a walk, a light jog or do your favorite workout. It might be uncomfortable at first, but trust me when I say it's worth it (for you and your baby). Bloating Ah, that infamous early pregnancy bloat. You know, the one that makes you look 5 months pregnant when you're pretty sure you're only 5 weeks? There isn't a whole lot you can do about pregnancy bloat- making sure to keep sodium in check and drinking a ton of water can help any water retention, as can fiber and magnesium to relieve constipation bloat, but much of that early pregnancy bloat simply comes from rising hormones and an expanding uterus. Here are three other ways to relieve that early pregnancy bloat. 23. Eat slowly. Digestion slows during early pregnancy (your body has more important things to work on), hence that constipation that can also contribute to bloat. Eating more slowly, and choosing those mini-meals throughout the day can help aid your digestive system by reducing the amount it needs to process at once 24. Avoid gassy foods and refined sugars. Chances are you're not craving broccoli and cabbage in those early weeks, but if you are, beware- these foods can cause extra bloat, especially with that slower digestion. Same for foods that ferment easily in the gut, like refined sugars. If you want something sweet, go for natural sweeteners like honey and maple syrup for your sweet tooth. 25. Try digestive bitters or enzymes. These long-lived natural remedies are not all pregnancy safe- so look for a pregnancy safe option, but bitters stimulate digestion, reducing bloat. Enzymes help your body process the food you eat better, and these are generally safe during pregnancy (as always, talk with your health care practitioner to confirm!). So there you have it! 25 of my best tips for relieving even the most uncomfortable early pregnancy symptoms. Now it's your turn: Have you tried any of these natural remedies for pregnancy symptoms? What has worked for you in the past or present? Share with us in the comments below or on Instagram!