Advice Column, Bonitas, Health

Your pregnancy – a comprehensive guide

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  • Category Advice Column, Bonitas, Health

Morning sickness remedies

The following information is to be used as a guide to and at the discretion of the end-user and should not replace a doctor’s opinion.

Relieving morning sickness often takes some trial and error before you find a method that works for you. Here are a few suggestions you can try to see if you find them helpful.

To find relief from a smell that is bothering your stomach try carrying a handkerchief or washcloth with a few drops of an essential oil in it that does not cause nausea, such as lemon. It may relieve morning sickness if you breathe into the handkerchief or washcloth, so you no longer smell the bothersome odour.

Eat smaller meals every two hours or so.

If you have morning sickness try eating cold foods as they have fewer smells that can make you feel sick.

Vitamin B6 and B12 taken regularly as advised by your doctor could help reduce your nausea and/or vomiting due to morning sickness.

Folic acid and pregnancy

The following information is to be used as a guide to and at the discretion of the end-user and should not replace a doctor’s opinion.

Neural tube defects are birth defects of a baby’s brain and spinal cord that occur early in a pregnancy. They can often be prevented when the mother takes folic acid just prior to getting pregnant and through the first part of the pregnancy. Because much of this time period occurs before a woman knows she is pregnant, and 50% of all pregnancies are unplanned, it’s recommended that all women of childbearing age have folic acid supplementation.

The recommended amount of folic acid intake is about 400 micrograms (or 0.4 milligrams) for women of childbearing age. For women who have had a pregnancy that resulted in a neural tube defect a higher dose is often recommended. Less folic acid is required at other life stages so check with your doctor to determine your exact needs.

First Trimester

The first trimester (weeks 1 to 12)

The following information is to be used as a guide to and at the discretion of the end-user and should not replace a doctor’s opinion.

The first trimester can be a difficult time for many pregnant women.  Some may feel great, while others may feel horrible.  Here are some of the changes you may experience during the first 3 months:

  • Nausea is normal in up to 85% of women; this may or may not include vomiting
  • Light spotting is normal and about 25% experience this during implantation
  • Tender breasts
  • Constipation
  • Increased vaginal discharge that is thin and milky white in colour
  • Increased fatigue
  • Cravings and aversions to certain foods
  • Increased urination
  • Heartburn
  • Mood swings
  • Gaining weight

Call your doctor right away if you experience any of the following:

  • Significant bleeding, cramping or sharp abdominal pain
  • Foul-smelling, green or yellow discharge
  • Severe nausea or vomiting
  • Severe dizziness
  • Too much or too little weight gain (more than 3 kg (6.5 lbs.) per month or less than 1 kg (2 lbs.) per month)

Second Trimester

The second trimester (weeks 13 to 27)

The following information is to be used as a guide to and at the discretion of the end-user and should not replace a doctor’s opinion.

Most women find the second trimester the easiest and most enjoyable.  Usually, morning sickness and fatigue fade and you start feeling like your usual self again.  There are many big changes that occur during these weeks, some of these include:

  • Growing breasts
  • Gum discomfort, swelling or bleeding
  • Increased pressure on back which can cause back pain
  • Nasal congestion and increased nosebleeds
  • Thin, milky white vaginal discharge continues
  • Increased urination, heartburn and constipation continue
  • Increased hair growth of current hair and in new places such as the face, arms or back
  • Headaches
  • Haemorrhoids
  • Flutters of movement can sometimes start to be felt around 20 weeks
  • Increased sensitivity to the sun
  • Stretch marks, spider and varicose veins may show up
  • Brown pigmentation on the face (“mask of pregnancy”) and a darker line down the abdomen (linea nigra, Latin for “black line”) may appear
  • Increased weight gain

Call your doctor right away if you experience any of the following:

  • Significant bleeding, cramping or sharp abdominal pain
  • Foul-smelling, green or yellow discharge
  • Severe nausea or vomiting
  • Severe dizziness
  • Too much or too little weight gain (more than 3 kg (6.5 lbs.) per month or less than 4.5 kg (10 lbs.) by 20 weeks)

Third Trimester

The third trimester (weeks 28 to 42)

The following information is to be used as a guide to and at the discretion of the end-user and should not replace a doctor’s opinion.

The third trimester can bring some uncomfortable symptoms as you prepare for the birth of your baby.  Here’s what to expect during this time:

  • Back pain
  • Braxton Hicks contractions
  • Increased breast size
  • Increased discharge from previous months
  • Fatigue
  • Increased urination, heartburn and constipation continues
  • Haemorrhoids
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Swelling in your feet, ankles and hands
  • Increased weight gain

Call your doctor right away if you experience any of the following:

  • Cramping or sharp abdominal pain
  • Foul-smelling, green or yellow discharge
  • Severe nausea or vomiting
  • Severe dizziness
  • Too much or too little weight gain
  • Pain or burning with urination
  • Sudden swelling in your feet
  • Contractions that are regular and get closer and closer together and more intense
  • Spotting or any bleeding

Nutrition

Good things to eat

The following information is to be used as a guide to and at the discretion of the end-user and should not replace a doctor’s opinion.

Good nutrition is essential for a healthy pregnancy.  Here are some ways to eat healthy during your pregnancy:

  • Take your prenatal vitamin
  • Eat a variety of foods each day
  • Eat more fibre (pasta, rice, fruits, veggies and cereals)
  • Eat more calcium (at least 4 servings of dairy products, green leafy vegetables, etc.)
  • Eat more iron (red meat, eggs, green leafy vegetables, beans/lentils, dried fruit and iron-enriched cereals and grains)

Bad things to eat

The following information is to be used as a guide to and at the discretion of the end-user and should not replace a doctor’s opinion.

Just as there are many foods that can help you have a healthy pregnancy, there are also foods that are bad to have during pregnancy.  Some of the foods you should avoid during your pregnancy are:

  • Alcohol
  • No more than 300 mg per day of caffeine
  • Saccharin- an artificial sweetener (found in some baked goods, soft drinks and ice cream)
  • Limit your fat and cholesterol intake
  • Soft cheeses (feta, brie, camembert, Mexican style cheese and any other unpasteurized cheeses)
  • Raw fish
  • Fish containing high levels of mercury (Shark, swordfish, king mackerel and tilefish)
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