Morning sickness: How to navigate the 'yuck' feelings of pregnancy
Discovering you are pregnant, particularly with your first baby, can be a really exciting time.
But as your body undergoes a series of mind-boggling changes brought on by a massive increase in hormonal activity, you soon realise that pregnancy “symptoms” can also make it an uncomfortable time.
Some mothers-to-be will bloom and bounce through the 9+ months of baby-growing, but others will endure a litany of ailments, and the most common of these in the first three months are: morning sickness, tiredness, increased frequency of urination (you wee more - a LOT more), and enlarged, tender breasts. You may also suddenly find that certain tastes and smells become unpleasant or accentuated, or you may have cravings for particular foods - often sweet.
Others that come up for repeated mention by mothers-to-be include mood swings - joy to tears in minutes - headaches, and bleeding. This spotting or breakthrough bleeding at the time when a period is normally due can mean that some women do not even realise they are pregnant yet, particularly when combined with other PMS-like symptoms of early pregnancy (cramping, tiredness, bloating...)
Some women find that their hands and feet are warmer than usual in the first weeks of pregnancy. This is because the blood vessels relax in order to reduce blood pressure. However, low blood pressure may also make you feel tired and light-headed. And if all that wasn’t enough to contend with, you may find it difficult to sleep, get spots and become constipated!
Hopefully, if you are experiencing any, or all, of the above you are one of the women who find symptoms reassuring as they “confirm” your pregnancy. And it is probable that you will be feeling both ill and elated at the same time. You may be nauseous all day every day, weeing on the half hour, and unable to stay awake past 8pm, but still feel on top of the world
Many women, however, find their early pregnancy symptoms very difficult to cope with at work. It can be particularly hard to keep your pregnancy a secret while running to the bathroom to throw up. Depending on your circumstances you may want to tell your immediate boss or a close colleague in confidence. And if you work in an area or occupation that may be hazardous to you and your baby, then you need to be moved to a different job during your pregnancy.
Our tips for those first symptoms include:
- Eat a dry biscuit, toast, or cracker before you get out of bed in the morning
- Wear sea-bands (acupressure wrist bands available in most chemists)
- Try and keep your fluid intake up, even if you cannot eat, but reduce intake after 6pm to avoid toilet trips during the night.
- Listen to your body. Rest, nap and sleep whenever you can.
- Wearing a soft cotton well-fitted bra, with thick-straps and without under-wiring, will reduce breast symptoms. Apply hot or cold flannels (or bags of cold peas!) to alleviate pain and tingling;
- Take up prenatal yoga or find a relaxation technique that suits you.
- Find more of our tips for morning sickness, breast pain and other pregnancy symptoms on our website
@bump2birth2baby Louise Ní Chríodáin is the co-author of ebook From Bump to Birth and After Birth - a guide to minding mother and baby which has just launched. Written with Margaret Hanahoe, Assistant Director of Midwifery at the National Maternity Hospital.