Advice from Canpol's experienced mothers.
Heartburn develops during pregnancy because of the pressure applied on the stomach by the womb, and because of the leakage of gastric content. An increase in the level of progesterone causes the valve between the oesophagus and stomach to loosen, which allows the acid gastric content to seep to the oesophagus. It causes a burning sensation in the throat and sometimes chest pain. You can prevent heartburn by having several smaller meals instead of rare but large meals. Avoid greasy and spicy food. Have supper several hours before going to sleep. Drink a lot of water. Sleep in an elevated position - support your head with two pillows, or a pillow and a bolster. If the symptoms are severe, ask your doctor to prescribe you a safe antacid.
Nausea usually starts at around 5 weeks of pregnancy and often lasts until the end of the first trimester. I suffered from nausea mainly in the morning. Women who live under stress or in a hurry are especially subject to pregnancy sickness. Therefore, begin by slowing down.
If you were used to getting up and getting ready for work in a hurry, learn to wake up earlier. Don't get up immediately when you wake up. Have a small snack while still in bed. It can be a banana, dried almonds or ginger cookies (without sugar!). Ginger is said to ease nausea, therefore add it to your tea. Similarly to heartburn, if you suffer from nausea you should avoid greasy and large meals and prefer small, frequently consumed portions instead. Sweets are also not recommended.
In the beginning of pregnancy, hormones slow down the functioning of intestines, which makes the digestive process longer. Additionally, pregnant women often balance their iron levels with iron pills which can also cause constipation. Another possible culprit is sedentary (sitting) lifestyle.
In order to prevent constipation, I exercised a lot and went for long walks. I recommend the same to you, if your pregnancy is proceeding properly. Eat high-fibre foods: almonds, non-bloating vegetables, fruit, dark bread, rice, wholegrain cereals, dried plums. Drink plenty of water. Don't use laxatives. If a high-fibre diet doesn't help, consult your doctor.
Wind is caused by pressure applied on your intestines by the expanding womb. The symptoms are even worse if you consume bloating foods or eat in a hurry. Therefore you should find a peaceful moment for your meals and avoid the following food products: beans, dried peas, lentils, wheat-germs, brans, cabbage, cauliflower, spinach, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, aubergine, celery, raw carrots, raisins and apricots. You can also find these herbs helpful: marjoram, coriander, ginger and cumin, but consult your doctor first before taking them, as some of them are inadvisable during pregnancy (the can cause e.g. cramping of the uterus).
Anaemia, or iron deficiency, may occur in the second trimester of pregnancy. The doctor can diagnose it after performing a blood cell count. You must then balance your iron levels with a special diet; your doctor can also prescribe an iron supplement, which unfortunately often causes constipation. You will find large amounts of iron in red meat, especially pork and veal liver, soy, egg yolks, nuts, pumpkin and sunflower seeds, fish, buckwheat, oat flakes and parsley. Eat wholemeal bread instead of white.