Growing a human is exhausting work — it’s no wonder that fatigue is one of the most commonly reported pregnancy symptoms! All that extra growth means that mom’s body is working overtime, and as such requires more nutrients than ever before in order to support healthy development of her baby.
Let’s look at the different symptoms of pregnancy during each trimester, and how overall good nutrition can help lessen their severity.
Common Symptoms of Pregnancy in the First Trimester
Like fatigue, nausea is another pregnancy symptom that most women experience. Also known as “morning sickness,” this discomfort occurs any time of day, and at any time during pregnancy — though it is more common in the first trimester as a result of sudden increases in certain hormones.
One way to reduce nausea is to eat smaller, more frequent meals. Focus on getting adequate levels of protein — anywhere from 70 to 100 grams total daily. Research has also found that ginger root can help treat nausea. Enjoy ginger hard candies, a cup of warm ginger tea, or ginger capsules.
Finally, research from Rydbom: Maternal needs in pregnancy: symptom, timing, and management, GrowBaby, 2018, has shown that vitamin B6 can be helpful in reducing nausea during pregnancy.
Fatigue can be a challenging pregnancy symptom, but the Rydbom research found that focusing on your nutrition is a proven way to help give you the energy you need to make it through your day. Emphasize protein and iron-rich foods in order to give your body the building blocks it needs.
Another important factor for fighting fatigue while pregnant is sleep hygiene. Stick with a consistent sleep schedule, and don’t feel guilty about taking a short nap or two during the day if you need it. Make your bedroom a sleep oasis by investing in some blackout curtains, keeping the temperature cool, and only using your bed for sleep.
For additional nutrient support, research has shown that getting enough carnitine, iron (combined with vitamin C for absorption), as well as vitamins A and B can all help to lessen the feeling of fatigue during pregnancy. Our Nurture by Metagenics Prenatal contains these important nutrients, and more, to give your growing bundle of joy everything necessary for proper development.
Mood imbalance and increased emotional response are other common symptoms in early pregnancy that can be supported through nutritional means. Getting enough essential fats — whether through a diet rich in cold water fish, or supplementing with a product like Nurture by Metagenics Fish Oil — is one solution. Pregnant women need an additional 400 to 550 mg of omega-3 PUFAs (EPA and DHA) daily, of which about 225 mg should be DHA.
Getting enough inositol as well as B vitamins is also helpful for balancing mood swings in early pregnancy, according to the research by Rydbom. Turmeric has also been shown as beneficial, and is a spice that is easily added to meals. Another way to help boost mood is aromatherapy — lavender and chamomile have been shown to be safe and effective during pregnancy.
Hyperemesis is just medical speak for lots of vomiting. Hyperemesis gravidarum (HG) is a pregnancy complication characterized by severe nausea, vomiting, weight loss, and possibly dehydration.
In more severe cases, such as that experienced by Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, hyperemesis requires hospitalization for administration of IV fluids and medications to control the nausea and vomiting. For less severe bouts of frequent vomiting, studies have shown ginger root to be a very effective treatment option.
Common Symptoms of Pregnancy in the Second Trimester
If you find it hard to keep your legs still during the second trimester of pregnancy, you’re not alone. About 10-34% of women experience restless legs while pregnant.
Research has shown that eating a variety of magnesium-rich foods such as dark leafy greens, nuts, and seeds can help, as can electrolyte replenishment beverages. You might also consider a magnesium supplement like Nurture by Metagenics Magnesium Glycinate, which provides 100 mg of magnesium per serving.
Muscle cramps are another common complaint during the second trimester, but eating a diet containing plenty of vitamin C-rich foods can help reduce cramps. Some top food choices include citrus fruits, strawberries, and colourful bell peppers.
Many painkillers are off limits to pregnant women, which makes dealing with increased headaches during pregnancy a challenge.
There are some nutritional ways to help lessen headaches, including eating hydrating foods like fruits and vegetables, ensuring adequate fluid intake, and supplementing with CoQ10, carnitine, riboflavin (vitamin B2), and magnesium.
Between the increased hormones and the increased size of the baby, constipation is something that most women experience at some point in their pregnancy. Ensure you’re getting adequate fibre and fluids to help keep things moving smoothly.
Foods such as kiwi fruit or pears can help relieve constipation, as can ensuring adequate phytonutrient intake and foods rich in prebiotics and probiotics like Nurture by Metagenics Daily Probiotic or Nurture by Metagenics Acute Probiotic.
Another effective, natural treatment for constipation during pregnancy is magnesium. Just 500 mg daily can help ease constipation. Also known as nature’s tranquilizer, taking it at bedtime can help you fall asleep more quickly — which is great for those expectant-mamas experiencing general discomfort or restless legs.
Common Symptoms of Pregnancy in the Third Trimester
On top of the symptoms mentioned in the first two trimesters, heartburn is another pesky symptom that can occur towards the end of your pregnancy. Hormones relax the valve between the stomach and the esophagus, leading to heartburn.
Eating small, frequent meals and avoiding fried foods, citrus fruits, chocolate, and spicy foods can help to prevent heartburn. Taking a probiotic supplement containing the Lactobacillus acidophilus strain can help ease heartburn and reflux symptoms. You can find Lactobacillus acidophilus in our Nurture by Metagenics Daily Probiotic.
Iron Deficiency Anemia
If you’re dealing with iron deficiency anemia, you might find you’re more tired than usual. For most women, their prenatal vitamin contains enough iron to help them meet their daily recommended intake, but iron supplementation may be required if your levels are low.