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Holistic Solutions

Natural remedies for common pregnancy ailments


(REUTERS/Regis Duvignau)

Pregnancy is one of the most amazing times in a woman’s life, but sometimes the symptoms that come with it can make it uncomfortable. Even though some medications are considered safe to take during pregnancy, many can be avoided by using natural remedies instead. Some of the most common pregnancy ailments can be completely relieved with these simple remedies.

Morning sickness
Nausea during pregnancy doesn’t just happen in the morning and for many it can last well past the first trimester. Eating small, frequent meals that are high in protein can help ward off morning sickness by stabilizing blood sugar. Vitamin B6 has also been shown to reduce pregnancy nausea; adding foods high in this vitamin can help keep symptoms at bay. Foods rich in B6 include chicken, turkey, beef, salmon, yams, asparagus and broccoli. If dietary changes don’t help, try ginger. The American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists recommends nauseated mothers take 250 mg of ginger every morning and before going to sleep.  A soothing ginger tea can also be made – simply brew fresh ginger shavings in hot water.

Changing hormones, fatigue and blood sugar swings can cause frequent headaches during pregnancy. Regular exercise, getting sufficient rest and eating small, protein-rich meals to help stabilize blood sugar can help curb headaches, but if your head is pounding regularly you may want to consider acupuncture. A study done by the European Journal of Integrative Medicine found that women who received acupuncture treatments for pregnancy headaches showed significant improvements. Acupressure, reflexology and shiatsu are other alternative options that use specific points on the body to help treat frequent headaches.

These uncomfortable varicose veins that form in the rectum affect 20 to 50 percent of pregnant women. Pressure from the enlarged uterus and increased blood flow to the pelvic area can cause the veins to swell and itch. Aloe Vera, apple cider vinegar and coconut oil can all be applied directly to external hemorrhoids. These help soothe discomfort and can usually resolve the problem in a few days. A sitz bath with half a cup of apple cider vinegar can also instantly soothe the pain and itching. Witch hazel compresses act as an astringent and should also be used to keep the area clean.

Many women experience this burning sensation towards the last trimester as stomach acid gets pushed in the wrong direction by the growing uterus. The best attempt at prevention is to eat small meals and avoid spicy, greasy foods and too much citrus. If that doesn’t work there are plenty of other options. Aloe Vera juice can provide a cooling sensation – just make sure it is food-grade and safe to drink. Two tablespoons of apple cider vinegar mixed into half a cup of water can be taken directly after each meal to help prevent the onset of heartburn. Chewing on two or three basil leaves during heartburn can bring some relief as well as combat nausea and gas.

Swollen ankles
About half of all women will experience ankle swelling caused by increased pressure in the veins of the legs and pressure from the growing baby. The swelling typically gets worse as the day progresses, especially if you’re on your feet most of the day, and hot weather and fatigue can exasperate the swelling. Soaking swollen feet in Epsom salts or wrapping them in green or white cabbage leaves at the end of the day can help draw out excess fluid and relieve discomfort. Massaging the area with a mixture of coconut oil and cypress essential oil is particularly good for circulation but shouldn’t be used before the fifth month of pregnancy. Lavender oil can be used after 12 weeks and is a great oil to reduce fluid retention as well as help you feel relaxed and balanced.

Pregnancy can be hard on the body and no matter how much effort is made to prevent these ailments sometimes they can’t be avoided. Using these natural remedies at soon as you notice the symptoms may help you keep them at bay. Always remember to let your doctor know which symptoms you have been experiencing so they can watch for any serious conditions.

Jacqueline Banks is a certified holistic health counselor and busy mother.  Her focus is on helping other busy moms in all stages of motherhood keep themselves and their little ones healthy and happy.  She uses natural and organic solutions to solve individual health problems and promote clean living. Check out her website at