Updated: Apr 4
During pregnancy, the body goes through changes in form of ailments, discomforts and irritations, which can either be mild or severe. The most common pregnancy ailments are nausea and vomiting, constipation, heartburn and cramps.
Severe ones are gestational diabetes, anemia, folate deficiency and so on. What you eat while expecting is so important as it helps to aid digestion, provide nutrients for you and the baby and ensure the smooth running of the body. It is therefore important to eat highly nutritious foods that contain nutrients such as fiber, protein, fatty acids. Here are some pregnancy ailments and what you can eat to prevent or cure them.
One of the common complaints made by pregnant women is constipation which is caused by various actions and reactions. But when it happens during the third trimester, then it might be as a result of the fetus putting pressure on the digestive tract.
Another cause of constipation is iron therapy, a treatment which meant for pregnant women with iron deficiency. When the iron therapy acts on the pregnant woman, it might lead to constipation. When constipation is left untreated, it could result in hemorrhoids, popularly called piles which could be a source of discomfort for a pregnant woman.
Women with such complications should focus on eating more food with high fiber content such as fruit and vegetables, cereals, whole grain bread to prevent constipation. Foods that contain natural laxative and they should increase their water intake but not more than eight glass. If you already stick to eight glasses and still have constipation, then there must be other underlying causes, and you should probably consult your doctor.
Nausea and Vomiting
Dehydration may be the result of nausea if not properly monitored. Nausea is most prevalent among women in their first pregnancy trimester. It may be severe in some women which may lead to weight loss.
During this period, it is important to drink a lot of water which will help to keep you hydrated. But drinking water should be around times when you’re less likely to throw-up. Remember that drinking water 30 minutes before or after eating will help in stopping nausea.
Eating fruits with high water content such as berries, grapes, oranges, watermelon, cucumber, and pineapple is advised. You can add a little bit of lemon to your water to encourage drinking and also, fruit and vegetable smoothies will help increase your water intake. You may also need to replace your whole milk with skim milk if you notice it contributes to nausea.
Eating frequent small meals (snacks), 4-6 times each day is also important to help you manage nausea. Keep crackers or your favorite cereals close to your bed so you can eat it first thing in the morning when you wake up.
You can also reduce the amount of time you spend close to the kitchen where you can see food and the smell of food will be strong. You can make a meal when the nausea is less severe, so you don’t throw up or feel sick while cooking. You should also eat when you feel a bit better.
Cramps during pregnancy can sometimes be painful and other times mild. They happen when the uterine muscles contracts. Various foods and fruits can help you reduce them. Avocado, for example, is one potent fruit that can help ease off a contraction.
How? It lubricates the lining of the uterus and makes contractions less severe. Other fruits that can help are banana, spinach, eggs, dark chocolate, and so on. You can also take a warm bath, do more Kegel exercises, and eat foods with high fiber diet so that your stools are not painful.
Heartburn is one of the side effects of pregnancy, which affects most women. It occurs probably because of the change in hormone levels which causes the lower esophageal sphincter to relax, making it easy for stomach fluids to spring back to the esophagus when it’s meant to have digested.
To reduce heartburn during pregnancy, you will have to make some adjustments to your daily diet. You will need to avoid eating fried and high fatty foods. Also, avoid eating spicy food and try eating your food slower. Don’t drink water while eating unless necessary. Keep the water until some minutes after you’ve finished your meal.
If you notice that you are peeing a lot since you got pregnant, don’t stress yourself over it. Frequent urinating occurs during pregnancy either during the first trimester when the hormones are changing or the third trimester when the baby’s head is resting on the bladder.
To reduce the number of times you urinate, cut out caffeinated drinks, and avoid drinking lots of water or any other type of drink in the night.
Also known as iron-deficiency anemia, this complication happens when a pregnant woman’s hemoglobin is less than 33 percent. Most women who get pregnant in short intervals are more exposed to the risk of anemia. They can transfer this low level of iron from mother to child and may cause the child to be born with low hemoglobin which might not be enough to take him/ her through the first three months.
Increasing your intake of iron can help combat this complication. Vegetables are the first food source to consider at this time. They are the housekeepers of blood and help in the production of hemoglobin in the body.
You should also increase your protein intake. Protein food sources must contain amino acids which help in the formation of globin. Finally, an increase in vitamin C food sources is required to aid in iron absorption. Oranges, orange juice, pineapple, papaya,
Folic Acid Deficiency
It is because of this deficiency that women are advised to increase their folic acid intake before conceiving to enable the body to get prepared to take care of fetus when they finally get pregnant. Women with multiple pregnancies are especially advised to increase their folic acid intake.
Folic acid helps to reduce neural tube defection of the fetus and also prevents what is called megaloblastic anemia, a condition whereby the bone marrow which is in charge of the production of the main blood cells in the body (red cells, white cells, and platelets) produces abnormal or premature red blood cells.
Pregnant women need to start taking foods that contain folic acid as early as the first weeks of pregnancy if they have not been taking it before conceiving. Alongside folic acid supplements, pregnant women should strive to eat foods with high folic acid contents such as green leafy vegetables.
There are also foods to help you feel better and clean your taste buds which will, in turn, increase your appetite for food since most women suffering from nausea and vomiting usually do not have the appetite to eat and that could cause a whole different complication if not attended to immediately.
When searching for foods to make you feel better, avoid eating vegetables with strong flavors such as cabbage and onions as they may end up worsening your condition. Also, avoid eating fried food as this will only worsen nausea. Fried foods that contain salts such as chips or cheese can be experimented with to see if the body will accept it.