Pregnancy Kicking Your Butt?


High Country Doula co-owner, and certified Health Coach, Allison Rollans talks about pregnancy woes and realistic solutions that actually help.

Perhpas you've dreamed of being pregnant for so long, and now you are feeling miserable with nausea, constipation, etc. You wonder how you can make it through the next couple of months til you get to hold your baby? You think there is no remedy that will work. No solution to the discomfort and challenge of this pregnancy!

As a mother of three, I have dealt with nausea and back pains during pregnancy & as a health coach I have assisted pregnant moms of all shapes and sizes with these common symptoms of pregnancy.  

Keep these helpful tips in mind if you or someone you know are experiencing those not so nice parts of pregnancy.

Number 1.  Nausea

Oh the joy! I can remember spending mornings afraid to move or stray to far from a bathroom.

Our beautiful hormones, low blood sugar & some say ‘nutritional deficiencies’ are likely why some of us are miserable in those early months and some of us for longer. If you have mild nausea in your first or second trimesters try some of these options to soothe yourself.

  • Small, frequent, protein-rich & fruit/vegetable-rich meals can help stabilize our blood sugar and doesn’t overload one’s digestive system. Keep crackers by the bed to eat before you get out of bed. Morning can bring on low blood sugar and with it; nausea.

  • Nutrient rich foods like whole grain toast/crackers (dry is best), plain yogurt, apples with a nut butter are good choices.

  • Allow for morning-time to unfold slowly.  

  • Teas like Ginger, Peppermint/Spearmint, Red Raspberry & Chamomile can be soothing.

  • Opening windows and getting some fresh air or getting outdoors and taking a walk may help.

  • Have your provider check to be sure your iron and B6 levels aren’t low. These can cause or worsen morning sickness.

  • Acupressure/Acupuncture are great for nausea. Contact us for a good recommendation for local practitioners.

  • Avoid strong odors or irritating smells.

Number 2.  Muscle Cramps

Another huge challenge during pregnancy can be muscle cramps. Waking up from sleep with a muscle cramp several nights a week can be tiring. That story about feeling healthier than ever (during pregnancy) from your friend, is not your story. Possible options for relief from muscle cramps found below.

  • Walk, swim, prenatal (or gentle) yoga (don’t point toes)

  • Full body massage - (High Country Doulas’ Prenatal Massage therapist is the bomb)

  • Calf stretching - gently stretch your calf (not with your full body weight)

  • Slow lunges (before bed) can reduce frequency

  • Warm moist heat is helpful. Rice sock heated in microwave (always check to be sure it’s not too hot)

Number 3.  Heartburn/Indigestion

Heartburn! oh man, this one can be a doozy! If you've got it, you loathe eating because you know how awful you are going to feel afterwards. With some changes many women find relief from the tips below.

  • Pay attention to the foods you eat and their effects on your body, and avoid those that worsen your symptoms.

  • Apple Cider Vinegar or lemon (1 Tsp) in a glass of water (warm even better)

  • Ginger or Chamomile tea

  • Drink H20 in between meals and less during. Good hydration can alleviate many ills.

  • Eat dinner 2-3 hours before bed.

  • Wait 15-20 minutes before lying down after meals.

  • Avoid soda & caffeine; they can exacerbate it.

  • Smaller, frequent meals and eat slowly.

  • If your heartburn persist don’t hesitate to ask your provider for help.

Number 4.  Back Pain

This might be something you have experienced prior to pregnancy or your first introduction to it. Low and mid-back pains can happen when your center of gravity shifts as the baby grows. Also if you are sitting a lot for your job and your posture suffers that can bring on sciatica and back pain. Exercise strengthens our muscles and improves our posture if done correctly (we love sharing correct prenatal exercises).

  • First let’s examine your posture. Think yoga pose and heart centered and chest open to allow all that calming oxygen. For help with this consider sitting on an exercise ball part of the day instead of that desk chair. At home you can still on one instead of that couch that makes you slump and recline. Let’s take the weight of the baby off your spine.

  • Prenatal yoga gives you the tools to alleviate your pains (with great poses) and prepares you with some great positions and body awareness for your labor. Ex. - Cat/Cow, Knees to chest.

  • Prenatal Exercise that strengthen the abdominals, back and pelvic floor muscles.

  • Prenatal Massage - many pregnant women swear by these.

  • Chiropractic care - ask us for a great local recommendation.

  • Acupressure/ Acupuncture care - ask for a local recommendation.

  • No Heavy lifting - squat to pick up things off the floor.

  • Foods high in Calcium/Magnesium can calm muscles and diminish pain - fresh green veggies, apples, figs, wheat germ, seeds/nuts (esp. Almonds)

Number 5.  Constipation (& Hemorrhoids)

This can be caused by wrong food combinations, too much red meat, iron supplements, dehydration, lack of exercise, inadequate fiber intake.  Hemorrhoids will occur is constipation is not addressed due to the straining of the tissues. If you’re struggling with this issue, try some of these tips:

  • Allow time in your day for a consistent bowel movement. Don’t let yourself down by putting it off until later. Just still awhile...

  • Put your feet up on a stool or squatty potty while going #2. This allows your body to be in a more natural elimination position.

  • Exercise is invaluable in the body’s elimination process.

  • Abdominal massage (w/ your favorite essential oil in a carrier oil like coconut). Massage beginning at the lower right abdominal area and moving up, cross the body horizontally right above the belly button, on the left side slowly move down and toward center following the large intestine. [Great to know for babies who become constipated or have excess gas]

  • Warm sitz bath.

  • Slowly increase fiber intake along with water intake. Avoid refined and processed foods such as white flour products - breads, cake, pasties,pancakes. Whole Grain products such as bran muffins, whole wheat bread, brown rice, oatmeal & popcorn provide more fiber and are less constipating.

  • Warm water/herbal teas sooth system and help with elimination.

  • Foods such as prunes, prune juice (½ juice, ½ H20), whole fruits such as - pears/apples/figs.

  • Essential Fatty acids such as salmon and/or flax oil.

  • For Hemorrhoids - Tucks Medicated pads with Witch Hazel, lemon juice or Drugstore Witch Hazel to reduce swelling and bleeding. Address the constipation and improve the hemorrhoids.

  • If you experience extreme constipation or severe hemorrhoids seek your provider's advice.

Number 6.  Emotional Ups & Downs

Our body is going through so many intense hormonal changes during and after pregnancy. First you need to be aware that this is normal and healthy. If you are having suicidal thoughts, feeling severely depressed or fatigued however, contact your health care provider immediately.

Some common ways other mothers have found help with these ups and downs are…  

  • Talk to other pregnant moms (not compare yourself to their Facebook posts).

  • Being honest with what your needs are to those around you.

  • Talking to someone who can lend unbiased support such as a doula or counselor.

  • Give yourself the Edinburgh Postnatal Depression Scale - contact someone if you score is 11 or more. This is a tool and does not determine your complete emotional state. A qualified doctor or counselor is best to support you and let you know what path will be best for you to be yourself again.

  • Reach out to other mothers or friends when you are feeling isolated and stuck and home with baby. Or, if you are ready, meet another mother out for a friend date.

I hope these tips helps you when dealing with some of these common pregnancy challenges. If you are struggling with more severe symptoms or challenges, be sure to contact your provider as soon as possible to be sure you (& your baby) have the care you need.

Reach out to us if there is anything at all we can do to help make your pregnancy, birth, or postpartum experience better.