Congratulations! You’re beginning an incredible journey to become a mum. In these 9 months, you’re going to experience many exciting changes – both emotional and physical. There might be times when you feel simply overwhelmed. There are moments when you’re tired, worried and stressed, but other moments when you’re full of joy and energy. No matter what you’re feeling, keep your hopes up! You can do this.
Remember that to take care of your baby’s health, you must take care of your own health. Be good to yourself. Trust your instincts, lean on your hubby for support, and learn as much as possible.
You Are Feeling:
Excited and emotional. There’s a new life growing inside you, which means that your own life is about to change. Due to elevated hormone levels, your mood fluctuates frequently, up one moment and down the next. As the emotional and physical changes can’t really be controlled, just go along with them and be reassured that all pregnant women go through such metamorphosis on varying levels. It’s normal to feel overjoyed about carrying a unique baby while also feeling less than enthusiastic about an unsettled stomach, exhaustion, gassiness, and other unpleasant symptoms of pregnancy.
You might also feel vulnerable, cautious, scared and worried. The rate of miscarriage is highest during the first trimester. That’s why many pregnant women don’t announce the good news – except to their hubbies and closest family members – until they’re past the first three months. If this is the case for you, you might feel rather ill at ease about concealing such big news. There are times when you want to burst out and share it with all your friends, and other moments when you’re anxiously trying to hide the more obvious symptoms like vomiting. Don’t feel too guilty about skipping weekly drinks with your girl friends; they’ll understand and be more than supportive once they learn the real reason.
No matter the circumstance, don’t stress out too much. It may be hard to believe at times that you’re really pregnant (after all, your belly isn’t showing yet), but as your baby grows and your body changes month by month, this reality will be easier to wrap your mind around. In the meantime, embrace the start of this miraculous journey.
Remedies for Common Complaints:
You may experience periods of extreme tiredness. Don’t be concerned if you’re unable to stay awake past 9 PM or if you’re visited by a strong urge to nap at your work desk. This is perfectly normal in early pregnancy; in fact, it’s your body’s way of telling you to slow down and rest more – for your own good and your baby’s! Here are ways to deal with fatigue in early pregnancy:
1. Listen to your body’s cues. Even the workaholics among us will agree that it’s tough to get everything done, meet all the deadlines, attend every after work event along with social gatherings and parties, run a hundred errands, and finish all the chores when you’re not feeling your best. It can amount to too much when your body is already under the strain of fatigue.
Now is the time to be easier on yourself. It’s okay to slow down your pace. Listen to what your body is telling you. If you feel overworked, foggy, nauseous, moody, or tired, take a break. Relax, the world isn’t going to fall apart.
2. Get more sleep. Go on, head to bed earlier even if it makes you feel like an old grandma. It’s not easy to grow a human being. You need as much rest as possible, so if you’re typically a night owl, it’s time to change your routine. And sleep in as much as possible. Don’t feel guilty about waking up a bit later on weekends. You’re not being lazy – you’re simply replenishing some energy as your body uses up a ton of strength to build the placenta and make a cozy, secure life-support system for your baby.
If possible, take brief naps throughout the day. Even a 15 minute nap will help. If you’re working, find a quiet and unoccupied conference room during lunch hour to snooze or get some shut-eye in your car. Just make sure to set an alarm so that you don’t oversleep. If you’re staying at home and craving a quick nap, the best thing to do is curl up on your sofa. For longer naps of an hour or more, ease right into bed.
3. Delegate work. Ask for help. If there are too many tasks to juggle, sit down with your hubby and ask him to take over some of them. He should be more than happy to help. You might be used to micromanaging, but remember that projects can be completed just as efficiently when you delegate wisely. This will also help scale back the stress, which your baby is sure to appreciate.
4. Take a short walk. It may sound counterintuitive, but sometimes the solution for a foggy head and tired limbs is a quick stroll. Getting a move on could be a rejuvenating, de-stressing experience. Just don’t overdo it; you’re not racing – you’re simply getting in some light exercise. Not only is it refreshing, but it could also boost mood-elevating endorphins.
Morning sickness doesn’t just happen in the morning. You’ll soon learn how misleading the term is when you experience vomiting and nausea at any time of the day – in the morning, afternoon, or evening. Minimize queasiness by trying these remedies:
1. Certain foods and smells are common triggers; take note of what makes you feel nauseous and avoid them as much as possible. Many pregnant women find that the smell of leftovers in the fridge, pungent cooking smells like fried garlic, onions, and fish, as well as whiffs of garbage and perfume will turn their stomachs.
2. Nibble on stomach-friendly snacks. Graze on small, nutritious and easily digestible meals throughout the day instead of downing the traditional hefty breakfast, lunch and dinner. Going for hours without food may cause low blood sugar which is also a trigger of morning sickness nausea – not to mention, if you don’t eat, you’ll suffer an acid-filled stomach. Avoid this by keeping some snacks on your nightstand (to munch on before you rise out of bed) and in your car and office.
What are some good food choices for combatting morning sickness? Crackers, healthy smoothies and yogurts, and bland carbs such as bread, grains, pasta, cereal, rice, porridge, and noodles. Shun spicy, high-fat foods such as fries, fried chicken and ice cream as well as high-fiber, gas-producing vegetables such as cabbage, which, though healthy, is harder to digest and is likely to cause discomfort for a sensitive stomach.
3. Make sure you’re hydrated. All that vomiting could cause dehydration, which is a serious consequence of morning sickness. A pregnant woman’s blood volume increases by 40%, so consuming extra fluid is vital. Aim for eight 8-ounce glasses of liquid a day, and remember that it doesn’t have to be solely water if it doesn’t sit well in your stomach. Additional options include ginger ale, coconut water, herbal teas (mint or chamomile are soothing), and 100% natural juice. Eating watermelon counts, too, since each bite contains 92% water.
4. Take ginger, vitamin B6 or vitamin B12. Many women have found that these help reduce queasiness and nausea. Taking ginger capsules or drinking ginger root tea is a safe way to soothe your stomach. Just be sure to check with your doctor and ask for the recommended dose before taking any over-the-counter supplements.
5. Eat your prenatal vitamin with a bigger meal. If you feel sick after eating your prenatal, you’re in good company. This is a common complaint among many pregnant women, and the best solution is to eat your prenatal with a larger meal.
Your breasts may feel fuller and slightly sore. Thanks to pregnancy hormones, your breasts will increase in size – which isn’t exactly something to complain about! But if you feel some discomfort, get a comfortable, supportive cotton bra. Check out some maternity bras. Later on as your belly expands, you might also want to browse some maternity underwear. In the meantime, enjoy warm, relaxing showers and give yourself gentle breast massages.
Now, as you are more settled in your pregnancy, it’s time to work on your pregnancy to-do list. Find out what you should or should not be doing in the early stage of your pregnancy.
By Jenny Tai