16 Natural Remedies for Pregnancy Changes and Body Discomforts

Healthy Pregnancy Diet Menu Plans

A healthy diet during pregnancy can ensure optimal health for the mother and fetus. Women only need around 300 extra calories during pregnancy, and a well-balanced pregnancy diet should include:

  1. Carbohydrates from whole grain sources and fruits and vegetables
  2. Protein from beans, nuts, seeds and hormone-free animal products like meat and dairy
  3. Healthy fats such as olive oil, avocados, and the fats that occur in nuts, seeds, and fish

Quick GuideEarly Signs & Symptoms of Pregnancy

Early Signs & Symptoms of Pregnancy

Natural remedies for pregnancy changes and body discomforts facts*

*Natural remedies for pregnancy changes and body discomfort facts medically edited by: Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD

  • A number of body changes can occur during a healthy, normal pregnancy that may be surprising or at times uncomfortable.
  • Colostrum is the first milk produced by the body. Some women notice colostrum in late pregnancy as a discharge from the nipples that begins in the third trimester.
  • Backache and sciatica are common pregnancy complaints that occur due to pressure from the expanding uterus.
  • Fatigue and sleep disturbances are a source of discomfort for many pregnant women.
  • Other physical discomforts sometimes experienced by pregnant women include
  • Fortunately, there are a number of self-care tips that can help alleviate these common sources of discomfort during pregnancy.

Introduction to natural remedies for pregnancy changes and body discomforts

Everyone expects pregnancy to bring an expanding waistline. But many women are surprised by the other body changes that pop up. Get the low-down on stretch marks, weight gain, heartburn and other "joys" of pregnancy. Find out what you can do to feel better.

Body aches

As your uterus expands, you may feel aches and pains in the back, abdomen, groin area, and thighs. Many women also have backaches and aching near the pelvic bone due the pressure of the baby's head, increased weight, and loosening joints. Some pregnant women complain of pain that runs from the lower back, down the back of one leg, to the knee or foot. This is called sciatica (SYE-AT-ick-uh). It is thought to occur when the uterus puts pressure on the sciatic nerve.

What might help:

  • Lie down
  • Rest
  • Apply heat

Call the doctor if the pain does not get better.

Breast changes

A woman's breasts increase in size and fullness during pregnancy. As the due date approaches, hormone changes will cause your breasts to get even bigger to prepare for breastfeeding. Your breasts may feel full, heavy, or tender.

In the third trimester, some pregnant women begin to leak colostrum (coh-LOSS-truhm) from their breasts. Colostrum is the first milk that your breasts produce for the baby. It is a thick, yellowish fluid containing antibodies that protect newborns from infection.

What might help:

  • Wear a maternity bra with good support.
  • Put pads in your bra to absorb leakage.

Tell your doctor if you feel a lump or have nipple changes or discharge (that is not colostrum) or skin changes.

Constipation

Many pregnant women complain of constipation. Signs of constipation include having hard, dry stools; fewer than three bowel movements per week; and painful bowel movements.

Higher levels of hormones due to pregnancy slow down digestion and relax muscles in the bowels leaving many women constipated. Plus, the pressure of the expanding uterus on the bowels can contribute to constipation.

What might help:

  • Drink eight to 10 glasses of water daily.
  • Don't drink caffeine.
  • Eat fiber-rich foods such as fresh or dried fruit, raw vegetables, and whole-grain cereals and breads.
  • Try mild physical activity.

Tell your doctor if constipation does not go away.

Fatigue, sleep problems

During your pregnancy, you might feel tired even after you've had a lot of sleep. Many women find they're exhausted in the first trimester. Don't worry, this is normal! This is your body's way of telling you that you need more rest. In the second trimester, tiredness is usually replaced with a feeling of well being and energy. But in the third trimester, exhaustion often sets in again. As you get larger, sleeping may become more difficult. The baby's movements, bathroom runs, and an increase in the body's metabolism might interrupt or disturb your sleep. Leg cramping can also interfere with a good night's sleep.

What might help:

  • Lie on your left side.
  • Use pillows for support such as behind your back, tucked between your knees, and under your tummy.
  • Practice good sleep habits such as going to bed and getting up at the same time each day and using your bed only for sleep and sex.
  • Go to bed a little earlier.
  • Nap if you are not able to get enough sleep at night.
  • Drink needed fluids earlier in the day so you can drink less in the hours before bed.
Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 12/5/2016

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