The A-Z of natural remedies for common health complaints in pregnancy

Pam Stone's following guidelines will help you in the treatment and prevention of some common health complaints that may be encountered during pregnancy.

Many of the symptoms that you may suffer during pregnancy are a direct result of changes to hormone levels or the effects of the developing foetus.

Then there may be other conditions, such as a cold, that can strike at anytime, but where you need a more cautious approach with regard to treatment whilst you are pregnant. Overall good nutrition is the foundation of a healthy, stress-free pregnancy.

Although your body may tell you it specifically craves certain things and rejects others, try to maintain a balanced diet that includes a wide range of foods. Focus on vegetables, fruit, wholegrains, fish and chemical-free products as much as possible. Avoid coffee and alcohol and limit processed foods and sugar.

Colds and flu

If you feel signs of a cold or the flu, reach for vitamin C. However, ensure you use a low-acid buffered form that won’t irritate the tummy. Look for bioflavonoids in a vitamin C formula as well, as these cofactors increase the utilization of vitamin C and also act as tissue strengtheners and as such strengthen blood vessels walls. As explained under “Nosebleeds”, bioflavonoids are a great aid during pregnancy, when tissue can become softer and weaker.

There is also a mineral formula called Celloid® Cold Tablets that is suitable and effective to take during pregnancy. It contains minerals which have an anti-inflammatory and decongestant action. Taken with vitamin C, in regular doses while symptoms last, this can be a most effective treatment for colds, and one that you may decide to keep in the cupboard for use whenever needed afterwards as well!

Some women seem to have a permanent cold during the last few weeks of pregnancy due to the action of hormones in the bloodstream softening and swelling the mucous membranes of the nose and sinuses. The Celloid® Cold Tablets, supported by extra vitamin C, may help to relieve some of the congestion.

Constipation

This common and uncomfortable complaint is caused by pressure on the bowel from the growing uterus. Relaxation of the colon caused by increased hormone levels can contribute and dehydration and lack of fibre will worsen the condition. Constipation is a major factor in developing haemorrhoids.

Try to avoid constipation by increasing your water intake, eating fresh fruit, prune juice, fresh figs when available, vegetables and wholegrains. Take a brisk walk every day if possible and include other forms of exercise such as swimming or yoga.

Cramps

A painful cramp in the calf muscle that wakes you during the night usually signifies the need for more calcium or magnesium. Try either Blackmores Bio Magnesium or Total Calcium formula. Sometimes both are needed, as calcium and magnesium work together and both can become deficient during pregnancy. Exercise, stretching, yoga and massage will increase circulation and ease cramping.

Heartburn or indigestion

Sometimes it can feel as if the growing foetus is commanding all the room in your abdomen, leaving little room for normal digestive processes. As the uterus gets larger, it puts pressure on the stomach and this can cause heartburn and reflux.

Relaxation of stomach valves also occurs from the release of the hormone relaxin. It is usually worse in the last trimester but can affect some women throughout the entire pregnancy. Avoid fatty, spicy food and eat small frequent meals rather than three large ones. Try not to eat late at night and avoid lying down immediately after eating. Use extra pillows at night to prop yourself up.

Yogurt with added acidophilus bifidus is often beneficial and can also help relieve bloating, flatulence and constipation. Herbal teas of peppermint, fennel and chamomile are recommended. To give relief from burning irritation take Blackmores Acid-Eze powder, which contains Slippery elm and peppermint. Blackmores Acid-Eze contains no aluminium hydroxide, has a pleasant peppermint taste and coats the lining of the stomach to naturally protect it without interfering with stomach acid levels.

Insomnia

Often the cause of insomnia can be due to cramps or restless legs. Other causes can be related to anxiety or general discomfort due to size in the later part of the pregnancy. Relaxing baths and massage will help your muscles unwind. Avoid overstimulating T.V., books, food, or even conversations before going to bed. Try listening to relaxation tapes, or quiet music. Replace tea and coffee with chamomile and lemonbalm tea. Insomnia can be a symptom of a calcium deficiency so supplement with a balanced calcium supplement that contains vitamin D for absorption. Always take your calcium supplement at night to maximise absorption.

Morning sickness

Avoid cooking odorous, fatty, spicy food and have small frequent meals that contain protein. Consume carbohydrates that are easy to digest. Include bitter greens, lemon juice and artichokes in the diet plus infused herbal teas of chamomile, peppermint, fennel, ginger and dandelion root. In a clinical trial ginger was found to be effective in relieving constant vomiting and nausea. 25mg of vitamin B6 twice daily has been demonstrated by clinical research to reduce symptoms of nausea. Try Blackmores Morning Sickness Formula which is based on this research. Magnesium can be useful if there is anxiety and stress.

Nosebleeds

Like some other symptoms, these can arise as a result of higher hormone levels causing swelling to mucous membranes and congestion in the nasal area. A Bioflavonoid Complex may help by strengthening blood vessel walls. Also extra vitamin C, in a formula such as Blackmores Buffered C, may help. Avoid blowing the nose too hard if you have a nosebleed and apply gentle pressure on either side of the upper part of the nose.

Varicose veins

Varicose veins and haemorrhoids are caused by increased weight gain and pressure on the bowels from the growing uterus. They are also caused by the relaxation of the blood vessel valves due to the release of the hormones relaxin and progesterone. Poor nutrition and constipation also contribute to their development so include plenty of fibre and fluid in the diet.

Exercise is extremely important, so include walking or yoga everyday. Elevate your legs when sitting and practice pelvic floor exercises to assist circulation. For extremely painful throbbing legs medical-grade support stockings will give relief.
Eat plenty of vitamin C and bioflavonoid-rich foods such as citrus fruits, buckwheat, grapes and blueberries, and supplement with Blackmores Bioflavonoid Complex. Include the nutrients calcium, magnesium, vitamin E and silica to strengthen connective tissue, decrease spasm and pain.

Yeast infections

These also can be more prevalent during pregnancy. They can usually be kept under control by avoiding sugar and white flour and taking an Acidophilus Bifidus supplement.

For further advice on managing your health when pregnant, email Pam at http://www.blackmores.com.au/expert/ask_expert_step1.asp or phone 1800 803 760.

Always read the label on products, use only as directed and if symptoms persist see your healthcare professional.

 
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