On the first blog on pregnancy woes, we have covered on the natural remedies pregnant mummies can use for nausea, back pain and swelling. In this blog, we will cover more natural remedies you can use for other common pregnancy problems as well:
- Muscle cramps
- Sleep problem
Once again, we would like to remind you that it is advised by obstetricians, gynecologists and certified aromatherapists that using essential oils should be avoided during the first trimester as they might cause uterine contractions or affect your baby in their early development stages. This includes by using products that contains essential oils or by diffusing it.
Although it is much safer to use essential oils during the second and third trimester of pregnancy, it is still advised that you seek advise from your obstetricians to avoid any further unwanted complications during pregnancy.
You may refer to the first part of the blog for the list of essential oils that may be used during the second and third trimester of pregnancy and the essential oils you should completely avoid.
Natural Remedies for Constipation
Constipation often occurs in pregnancy due to the increase in progesterone hormone, which causes relaxation of body muscles, including the intestines. Moreover, slow moving intestines means slower digestion, therefore, causing constipation. During pregnancy, you must be cautious of the over-the-counter medicine or drugs you can use. Below, you can find several natural ways to help with constipation.
1. Increase fibre intake
Consuming food with high fibre helps prevent constipation. Not only that it helps with constipation, high fibre food also supplies women with antioxidant and vitamins. It is suggested for pregnant women to consume 25 to 30 grams of dietary fibre daily. You can increase your fibre intake by adding vegetables, beans, peas, lentils, prunes, bran cereals or by having wholemeal bread for breakfast or snack. To make eating healthy more fun, you can also chop up some fruits to make yourself a delicious bowl of fruit salad.
2. Do not binge eat
It is recommended for expecting mummies to break daily food intake 5 to 6 smaller meals a day as it will help with constipation relief. Eating food in small amount allows stomach to digest food without working overtime, hence allowing food to transfer to intestine and colon smoothly. Binge-eating or eating large meals can overload the stomach, making it harder for the digestive system to process.
3. Stay hydrated
Carrying another life inside you just means that you need double care. Double the snacks, double mood swings, double the hunger and also, double the hydration needed. It is important for pregnant women to stay hydrated and that it is recommended for you to double your daily water intake. Pregnant mommies should drink at least eight glasses of water a day. Staying hydrated will keep your bowels soft and move smoothly through digestive tract.
We know you’re thinking that carrying a human in your belly makes it harder for you to exercise as you usually did before. You couldn’t jog in the park or do your favourite intense body combat. You don’t have to worry about running while carrying your bump. Instead, you can try take a long walk at the park, go swimming and there are also classes for prenatal yoga. If you have been actively exercising before getting pregnant, you can just reduce the intensity of your workout during pregnancy. Regular physical activities can help reduce constipation and exercising stimulates your bowel. It is suggested for expecting women to exercise 3 times a week for 20 to 30 minutes a day.
5. Essential Oils
For the mummies who use essential oils, you can also use essential oils to ease constipation. Instead of applying directly, you must always remember to dilute essential oils first, either with carrier oils or body lotion. Add only 1-2 drops of essential oils into your chosen carrier oil or lotion and lather it on your belly clockwise. Use essential oils that contains enzyme as it will promote better digestion and stimulate digestive juices. Some essential oils can also stimulate bowel movement, subsequently ease digestion. The essential oils you can use to cure constipation are:
- Bergamot essential oil
- Grapefruit essential oil
- Lemon essential oil
Natural Remedies for Muscle Cramps
Muscle cramps are normal during pregnancy. Over 50% of pregnant women experience cramps and a majority claims their cramps occurred in the legs. However, cramps can also occur in your lower back, abdomen, feet or hands. Cramp in pregnancy may be caused by your legs becoming tired from carrying around the extra weight, especially in the final few weeks. This weight puts added pressure on the veins in your legs and lower body. This can develop congestion in the pelvis, which prevents your circulation from working efficiently.
1. Maintain a healthy diet
Cramps during pregnancy can also be caused by lack of vitamins or nutrition in the body. You can increase your intake of magnesium, calcium and vitamin C into your meal. A vegetarian diet or a diet made up of mostly vegetables and fruits may reduce the frequency and severity of your cramps.
2. Stretch your limbs
Before exercising, you should always remember to stretch and warm up your muscles properly. Even if you are only going to swim, cramps can occur underwater too and it can be fatal. Therefore, it is important for you to stretch your muscles properly, but careful not to pull a muscle! This action can also act as a minor exercise for you. For example, by doing shoulder rolls may help ease the tense in your shoulders and rolling your feet will make it easier for you to walk around without feeling any pain or ache.
3. Heat or ice compress
Sometimes, cramps occur when you are away from the comfort of home, perhaps when you are shopping for your new baby. Keep at least one pack of air-activated heat pack in your bag and pressed it lightly on the cramp area. You can also purchase yourself a bottle of cold water and pressed the cold bottle on the area for a few minutes.
4. Epsom salt bath
It is said that Epsom salt is a pregnant woman’s best friend. This nature’s gift has been used not only relief pain and aches but also has been used to treat many pregnancy woes for centuries. You just need to mix two cups of Epsom salt into your bath and soak for 12 to 15 minutes. The minerals from the salt will help to relax your muscles and will alleviate any cramps or pain.
Natural Remedies for Sleep Problem
There are many who find it difficult to get quality sleep at night. Pregnant women are one of those people. As if the nausea, back pain, swelling and moodiness aren’t bad enough, many of our expecting mommies experience sleep disorder. Here are several tips you can commit to improve your sleep quality at night.
1. Wear comfortable sleepwear
Sometimes, what we wear comfortably to sleep tonight may not be comfortable tomorrow. It is the same with expecting women. It is highly recommended for you to opt for loose and warm sleepwear at night as it allows airflow to your skin, which may make you feel more comfortable to sleep later. So, put on your best oversized sweater, palazzo pants and perhaps the infamous baju kelawar (kaftan) before you go to bed.
2. Find the right sleeping position
The best position to sleep in depends on the trimester you are currently in. It is well known that by 20 weeks, it is highly recommended for you to sleep on your sides as sleeping on your back will not promote proper circulation in your body.
3. Limit caffeine intake
Everyone knows caffeine stimulates energy and especially to a pregnant mother, it works double the effect. When ingested, caffeine stimulates the mother’s and the baby’s nervous system. If taken before a few hours bedtime, it will highly likely keep you and your baby awake through the night. Who could actually sleep in peace when your baby is doing somersaults in your womb at 2AM? It is best to follow the rule of thumb that suggests to not take any caffeinated drink or food after 12pm.
4. Limit liquid intake before bed
It is definitely important to stay hydrated but over-hydrated is not something you would be grateful for either. Drinking too much before bed might wake you up multiple times at night to go to the toilet. Instead, about 2 to 3 hours before bed, limit your water intake and go to the toilet before you sleep. You can keep a glass or bottle of water on your nightstand so that you won’t have to go to the kitchen to get yourself a glass.
5. Have some light snacks
Ever feeling restless at night and your stomach growls as loud as the cricket outside? That’s normal as hunger will keep anyone awake! No, no, we do not mean you should have a slice of cake from the fridge before bed. Instead, opt for healthier snack options such as yogurts, crackers, fruits or nuts about 2 hours before bedtime. After all, it is too much of a hassle to wake up in the middle of the night and search through your fridge for something to eat.
6. Adjust air quality
Air quality and temperature often affects one’s sleep quality. Whether it be too warm or too cold, too dry or too humid, a little too much of something always makes it harder for us to sleep at night. Hence, it is important for you to adjust the air temperature in your bedroom so you can sleep better at night. If it’s too warm, turn on the air-conditioner; if it’s too cold, simply use your ceiling fan and if you need a humidifier or dehumidifier, turn those on too.
7. Lavender essential oil
Literally everyone who uses essential oils knows that when you have trouble sleeping at night, lavender essential oil is your best bet. It has been proven in many studies and feedback from countless essential oil users that lavender essential oil help improve their sleep quality. So you can diffuse lavender essential oil at night, make a lavender pillow spray or apply the diluted essential oil on your pulse before you go to sleep every night.
Natural Remedies for Fatigue
Fatigue and tiredness is another common issue faced by many pregnant women. It can’t be help, especially when you are carrying an extra weight on you and almost everything becomes too much of a burden. However, there are still ways to get rid of tiredness.
1. Get plenty of sleep
Just like children, pregnant mothers are suggested to have at least 8 to 9 hour sleep at night. Any less during the night will definitely affect your energy as well as your mood during the day. Also, if it ever gets tiring during the day even after enough sleep at night, listen to your body and rest. You are allowed to take naps for 15 to 20 minutes.
2. Eat energy food frequently
Processed food and many junk food can drain your energy. Eating more fruits and vegetables, food that contains high in carbohydrates and proteins, however, will help to keep you energised through the day if taken correctly.
3. Exercise regularly
One of the main causes of fatigue is irregular exercise. This is due to the fact that your muscles are not being used often which cause lack of adrenaline production. Taking a long walk or swimming for 20 to 30 minutes three days a week is enough to keep your body energised.
4. Essential Oils
Apart from helping you to relax, some essential oils can also keep you energised and get rid of fatigue. The essential oils that can help with fatigue are:
- Orange essential oil
- Marjoram essential oil
- Eucalyptus essential oil
- Ginger essential oil
You can either diffuse these oils or apply them to your body after diluting them with carrier oil. In some traditional practice, ginger oil is commonly used by midwives in their prenatal massage for pregnant women and it is known to relax the muscles and boosts energy.
These natural remedies may not help all the pregnant ladies out there but it worth a try. If any of the usually common pregnancy problems seem serious, always consult with your obstetrician immediately and seek advice from them before deciding to use any essential oil.
Once again, congratulations to all the mummies-to-be and may you have an easy pregnancy ahead! You are all superwomen!