Easing early pregnancy symptoms: Part 2

By: Life's Choices|November 6, 2020

Last week we shared Part 1 of our tips on easing early pregnancy symptoms, from morning sickness to pelvic pain and everything in between. If you missed it, you can read it here.

Here are a few more of the common symptoms you may experience as you progress in your pregnancy, as well as some tips in dealing with discomfort (taken from the Bright Course classes we offer to new moms).

Disclaimer: Because each pregnancy is different, be sure to contact your medical provider if you have any concerns. Your medical team is there to help you navigate the many changes your body will be going through.  

HEARTBURN

Heartburn is a sharp burning pain that is first felt in the stomach and then rises up into the throat. When you are pregnant, your body produces a hormone to relax your muscles. This allows your pelvic bones to spread. It also slows digestion and relaxes the muscle that keeps the digested food and acids in your stomach, stopping it from re-entering the esophagus. This is made worse by the uterus pressing up against your stomach.

What May Help:

  • Eat five or six small meals a day instead of two or three large ones.
  • Don’t eat foods that cause gas like beans, cabbage, raw broccoli, etc. Also, stay away from greasy and spicy foods.
  • Eat at least an hour before lying down.

NUMBNESS AND TINGLING

As the uterus grows, it rests on certain nerves, which can result in numbness and tingling in the legs, the toes and sometimes the arms. If you feel a sharp pain in your butt that extends down your leg, perhaps even to your toes, then the sciatic nerve is involved. This is usually not serious and will go away after the baby is born.

What May Help:

Gentle massage, soothing baths, stretching and making sure to vary your sleep positions can all help to mange some of these symptoms.

SKIN CHANGES

When you are pregnant, you produce hormones that affect certain areas of your skin. You may get brownish, uneven blotches around your eyes, above your eyes and cheekbones, or over your upper lip. These marks usually disappear or fade after pregnancy when hormone levels return to normal.

Many women notice a dark line running from the top to the bottom of the abdomen. Stretch marks are sometimes the most distressing thing about pregnancy, especially for teenagers. However, they are a normal part of pregnancy. Their severity depends on the elasticity of your skin.

They occur on the abdomen and sometimes on the breasts, thighs, and butt. No cream, including cocoa butter, will help prevent stretch marks. It is your skin’s ability to stretch, not how soft it is, that affects the stretch marks.

What May Help:

While most stretch marks fade and turn silver on their own, there are some prescription creams that can help diminish stretch marks after pregnancy. See your doctor if you have concerns.

SWELLING AND VARICOSE VEINS

Swelling is normal during pregnancy. It occurs most often in the legs. It is caused by the growing uterus putting pressure on the blood vessels that carry fluid from the feet and ankles. Too little protein in your diet may also cause your body to retain fluid. If you have swelling in your hands and face, notify your doctor, as this can signify another problem.

Varicose veins are swollen veins that appear most often in the legs but can also appear near the vagina. They are caused by pressure from the weight of the baby on the veins. They tend to occur more often if you have to stand or sit for long periods of time.

What May Help:

  • Elevate your legs whenever possible
  • Lie on your side in bed
  • Don’t wear anything that binds your legs, such as tight stockings on your ankles
  • Exercise daily

SHORTNESS OF BREATH

You may feel short of breath as the baby grows and fills up your abdomen. As your baby grows inside your uterus, it expands and takes up room in your abdomen.

What May Help:

  • Exercising good posture by standing up straight will give your lungs more room to expand.
  • Sleeping propped up on your left side is the best position for circulation.
  • When you feel breathless, slow down because rushing makes your lungs and heart work harder.

Talk to your medical provider about your symptoms and concerns as well. 


At Life’s Choices we offer many resources to help you prepare for and manage the changes your body will be going through in the months ahead. Our Bright Course classes allow you to learn about pregnancy, parenting, and relationship issues.

These simple classes are available in our office or virtually and allow you to earn points to spend on baby items in our boutique. If you are interested in learning more, contact our office, and we will be happy to help you get started.

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