Pregnancy is proof that your body is amazing and can do brilliant things! Of course
this means dramatic changes to your body, many of which can cause discomfort. This
is compounded by the fact that it is generally recommended to avoid the use of many
otherwise everyday conventional remedies, including pain medication. This is where
natural remedies can be of great assistance, but still should be used with caution.
Below are a range of common problems, either particular to pregnancy or more common
during pregnancy, along with some ideas to help with managing them. There are also
some links to useful resources.
Use With Caution - Even Natural Products!
While there are many pharmaceutical products which should be avoided during pregnancy,
there are also quite a few natural products which should also either be avoided,
or used with caution as different points during pregnancy. For example, while the
herb rosemary is perfectly safe in the sort of quantity which you might eat, rosemary
essential oil should be avoided during pregnancy, as it is too stimulating. Please
click here to see the specific details regarding our products and pregnancy, as well
as some wider advice concerning use of aromatherapy and herbal remedies when you’re
No-one knows for certain what causes morning sickness, although it’ is believed to
be connected to increased levels of oestrogen and human chorionic gonadotrophin (hCG).
While it’s commonly known as ‘morning sickness’, it can happen any time of day or
night. It tends to be worse during the first trimester, and many women find is starts
to calm after week 20 or so. There are plenty of things you can do to help:
Making sure you get plenty of rest is important during pregnancy anyway, but it may
also aid your symptoms.
Making sure you eat a healthy, balanced diet is of course vital - you’re building
a baby right now and your body needs the right building blocks to do so! However,
certain dietary choices can help reduce the nausea. Eating something high in protein
before bedtime can help regulated your blood sugar, which can help calm the queasiness.
Making sure you eat something plain first thing in the morning before you even get
up might seem like the hardest thing in the World, but might make a big difference.
Try putting a couple of plain crackers or crispbread in a grip-seal bag and leaving
it on your bedside table for morning.
A lot less hassle than it sounds, most chemists and even big supermarkets carry travel
sickness bands which you wear on your wrists which are based on the principles of
acupressure. They’re inobtrusive and cheap, so definitely worth trying.
Vinegar or Lemonade
Some women swear by a teaspoon of cider vinegar in a glass of warm water, which is
a lot less nasty than it sounds! Equally, some swear by flat lemonade. Sprinkling
a little sugar into lemonade and stirring quickly is a good way to get the bubbles
The scent of bergamot, peppermint, orange, lemon, grapefruit, lavender or lime can
be beneficial in calming nausea. It’s probably best to put a little on a handkerchief
than using a diffuser the first few times as, if it doesn’t agree with you, it’s
easier to move a handkerchief than a whole room! Our bath range has some relaxing
natural options with these oils, too.
The best herbs for nausea are ginger or peppermint. Any form of ginger will do, whether
it’s ginger beer, ginger biscuits, crystallised ginger - whatever works for you.
Some people find chewing on a mint leaf useful, or a cup of peppermint tea. We make
a soothing tea specially for pregnant mums - why not give Morning Guaran-Tea a try?
No-one likes being told that something that is seriously bothering them is ‘mind
over matter’ - it sounds horribly smug! However, a long hot bath or meditation can
help you take control and kick the sickness into touch.
Many ladies swear by Vitamin B6, but do not exceed the recommended dose and talk
to your healthcare provider if you are unsure.
Tiredness is part-and-parcel of having a baby - after all, think of all the extra
work you’re body is having to do - it’s effectively moonlighting in construction!
This is most likely to be worst in the first couple of months and the last couple
of months. However, there are a few things to try that may lessen the exhaustion:
Anaemia Check Anaemia (iron deficiency) is common in pregnancy, can be diagnosed
with a simple blood test and is easily treatable. If you’re very tired, see your
healthcare provider, who will be able to make sure you have enough iron. A diet rich
in leafy green veg, blackcurrants, and lean red meat will help prevent anaemia in
the first place.
It sounds like a really obvious answer, but making sure you get plenty of rest is
I know this seems to come up all the time, but there’s a reason for that! Eating
as well as you can is really important, with plenty of fresh fruit and veg. Make
sure you have some protein with every meal. Food is your fuel, and running out of
fuel is the fastest way to feeling sluggish!
Water Dehydration is responsible for a lot of fatigue. Make sure you drink 8 decent-sized
glasses of water each day if you can, and space them out.
Aromatherapy Citrus oils, as well as being helpful in dealing with morning sickness,
can also be helpful in combating tiredness. Please see our specific advice about
aromatherapy in pregnancy here.
Constipation is common in pregnancy, because your body has increased levels of the
hormone progesterone, which slows down the action of your intestines, leading to
sluggish digestion. The longer the that waste sits in the large intestine, the more
liquid is removed from it, which can lead to harder movements and a more difficult
and uncomfortable time on the loo. There are plenty of things you can do to help
reduce the impact of this. Here are just a few suggestions:
Make sure you drink plenty of water - at least 8 glasses per day, as dehydration
can make constipation worse.
Fibre is your friend! There are two types of fibre - soluble and insoluble, and it’s
the insoluble type that is of particular use here. Good sources are lentils, wholegrains,
oats, beans, wholemeal and granary bread, pulses and fruit with edible seeds, like
tomatoes and strawberries.
Cut the caffeine
Caffeine is a diuretic - which removes water from the body, and can make constipation
worse. If you’re suffering, keep coffee, tea, chocolate and cola to a minimum.
Gentle exercise can help kick-start a sluggish digestive system. A gentle walk, tai
chi, yoga or just simple stretching can all be beneficial.
Senna is a very popular herb for treating constipation, and is available widely.
It’s known for it’s gentleness, but should be avoided in pregnancy. A more suitable
option is dandelion tea, which can be drunk daily.
Citrus oils such as sweet orange or bergamot, mixed with a carrier oil (you only
need a tiny amount of essential oil - 2-3 drops per spoonful of carrier) and gently
massaged into your tummy may help. Alternatively, massage your tummy in the bath.
Be gentle, though!
Back and Pelvic Pain
As well as all the things which might otherwise cause you back pain if you weren’t
pregnant, there are additional factors in pregnancy; and over half of pregnant ladies
will suffer back pain during their pregnancy. There are three broad types of pain
- true back pain; pelvic girdle pain (which is the type which tends to be brought
on by pregnancy), and sciatica. Sciatica is rare, with less than 1% of pregnant ladies
suffering sciatica in pregnancy. Much more common is pelvic girdle pain (PGP), which
is experienced by up to half of all pregnant women. As your baby grows, you are carrying
additional weight, which may affect your back. In addition, your gait or posture
may change, and your body itself is changing, with your pelvic girdle widening in
preparation for childbirth. Treating pelvic girdle pain is very different from typical
back pain. If you are unsure of the type you have, see your GP or other healthcare
Support belts can help spread the weight of your growing baby to take some of the
pressure of your back and tummy muscles. In addition, maternity wedge and ‘sausage’-shaped
pillows can be used to support your tummy when you’re lying down.
Physiotherapy Particularly with pelvic girdle pain, physiotherapy may be beneficial.
Your GP can advise and refer you for treatment.
Softly, softly Sleeping on a softer surface can be useful with PGP. Try using a mattress
topper, or putting a spare duvet under your sheet.
Exercise With PGP, regular pelvic floor exercises can help, as can regular gentle
movement. Rest regularly, and don’t overdo it.
TENS Transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS) is a method of pain relief
which delivers a tiny electrical current through the skin to stimulate the nerves.
It can be a safe and effective pain relief method, and is often used during labour.
TENS machines are available to hire or buy online or from many pharmacies or even