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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 expecting.

 

Morning Sickness

 

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:

 

Rest

Making sure you get plenty of rest is important during pregnancy anyway, but it may also aid your symptoms.

Diet

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.  

Acupressure

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 out.

Aromatherapy

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.

Herbal Help

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?

Relax!

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.

Vitamin B6

Many ladies swear by Vitamin B6, but do not exceed the recommended dose and talk to your healthcare provider if you are unsure.

 

Tiredness

 

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.

Rest

It sounds like a really obvious answer, but making sure you get plenty of rest is vital.

Diet

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

 

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:

 

Water

Make sure you drink plenty of water - at least 8 glasses per day, as dehydration can make constipation worse.

Diet

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.

Exercise

Gentle exercise can help kick-start a sluggish digestive system. A gentle walk, tai chi, yoga or just simple stretching can all be beneficial.

Avoid Senna

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.

Aromatherapy

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 provider.

 

Support Yourself

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 supermarkets.

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