Published November 30, 2011
Pregnancy can be a beautiful time in a woman’s life – but it isn’t always easy.
As a practicing specialist in obstetrics and gynecology, Dr. Manny Alvarez, senior managing health editor of FoxNews.com is well aware of the challenges that come with carrying a baby. He knows his patients have a lot of restrictions when it comes to what they can put into their bodies to combat common health issues many women face during pregnancy on a daily basis.
So he turned to Dr. Pina LoGiudice, an acupuncturist and naturopathic doctor at Innersource Health in N.Y. for some natural ways to make the pregnancy experience a little easier.
“Certain medications and over-the-counter medications are not recommended for expectant moms,” Alvarez said. “And morning sickness is usually a sign of a viable pregnancy, but dealing with nausea morning, noon and night could be a nightmare.”
LoGiudice said she has found taking a ginger capsule to be the most effective when dealing with morning sickness.
“And that could be a 250 milligram capsule, and I’ll recommend two of those, twice a day,” she said. “B6 is also a really great nutrient that could help your body metabolizing hormones, which will help minimize the nausea as well.”
Since the immune system is slightly lowered during pregnancy, women may be more vulnerable to colds, Alvarez said.
“Studies show that the more sleep you get, the better your immune system will be,” LoGiudice said. “I would also recommend a small dose of vitamin C when a woman has a cold. You don’t want to take too much of it because it can induce contractions, so I usually keep it at anywhere less than 500 mg. I love Neti pots, especially if there is a sinus infection. And doing saltwater gargles if you have a sore throat.”
As your body changes to make room for the baby’s growth, aches and pains in the legs, lower back and hips are pretty common, according to Alvarez.
“The first thing is definitely magnesium. That will actually help with restless leg syndrome or if you have any low back cramping,” LoGiudice said. “Calcium is quite wonderful because ... your body will cause more aches and pains because you're trying to build your baby, and so you yourself become deficient.
Acupuncture is phenomenal and safe for those low back pains or sciatica or that neck stiffness.”
But LoGiudice’s favorite for sore mothers-to-be? Massage therapy.
Additional blood and fluid can cause swelling, which is normal, Alvarez said, but it can make you very uncomfortable.
“The first thing I recommend is actually a parsley tea., which will help your body eliminate the fluid in the body so you're not so swollen,” LoGiudice said. “There is conflicting information about salt intake. You don't want to have too much, and of course you don't want to have too little. So you just want to be mindful about how much you're getting in your diet.”
If you are experiencing heartburn, LoGiudice recommended trying a papaya enzyme, chewing slowly and de-stressing.