You’re pregnant, working full-time, taking care of family and friends, dealing with a pandemic, and struggling to balance it all while feeling exhausted and trying to survive morning sickness. Sound familiar? If you’re nodding your head going, “Yes, OMG I’m dealing with all of this” you’re not alone, but you’re probably feeling pretty stressed. Could it be possible that all these high levels of stress are causing your difficult pregnancy symptoms?
What are normal symptoms in pregnancy?
There are normal discomforts that come with pregnancy – morning sickness, fatigue, headaches, back pain, heartburn, and more. You’ve probably heard your friends, family, and doctors saying that what you’re feeling is just par for the course. However, this is not always the case. Sometimes there’s a different underlying cause that’s not being addressed, especially when difficult symptoms continue beyond an expected time or become debilitating.
What is the impact of stress?
Experiencing high levels of stress over a longer period of time is called chronic stress. This condition can actually cause a lot of the same symptoms associated with pregnancy, such as:
- Nausea and digestive issues
- Difficulty concentrating
- Aches and pains
- Feeling irritable
- Mood swings
- Constantly thinking or worrying. Can’t shut your brain off
- High blood pressure
In addition to all this, chronic stress in pregnancy can cause preterm labor and impact your baby’s health.
These symptoms can often be mistaken for normal pregnancy ailments. But they can also, in turn, cause more stress and create a cycle of anxiety tied to physical health issues. What you feel is valid and there is a reason behind it.
If you’re experiencing difficult pregnancy symptoms due to chronic stress, there are ways to relieve these symptoms, feel healthier, and enjoy your pregnancy.
Common Plus Size Pregnancy Discomforts
Pregnancy, while a wonderfully joyous time, can also be full of stress and physical discomforts. Our bodies are drastically changing by the moment to accommodate the little life growing inside. If you were expecting that gorgeous pregnancy glow, only to be spending a lot more face time with your toilet, you are not alone. I thought I would feel like a goddess, but instead I had extreme nausea, fatigue, and aches and pains. Also, as a plus size mom my discomfort was even higher because of the extra weight I gained during pregnancy. What I didn’t know then was that there are solutions that could have helped ease these discomforts. So, here are 3 common plus size pregnancy discomforts and the remedies to help you.
Ah, yes. The oft-spoke about morning sickness. Some are lucky to not experience much nausea or vomiting in the first trimester. If you’re not one of those people (I feel you), here are some things you can do:
- Eat small, frequent meals. (Tip: we often crave carbs when we’re nauseous. Opt for whole wheat or whole grain options to avoid simple, sugary carbs. Plus, whole grains have more fiber! See below for why that’s an added bonus)
- Take vitamin B6. Several studies have shown that this essential B vitamin significantly decreases nausea and vomiting in pregnant women. In fact, vitamin B6 makes up 50% of the ingredients of a popular prescription for nausea and vomiting for pregnant women, Diclegis. **Ask your doctor before taking any supplements**
- Wear motion-sickness wristbands.
- Sip clear fluids. Sugar-free flavored or plain seltzer is a great go-to. I LOVED using my S’well bottle during pregnancy. It kept my drink cold all day long. Luckily, S’well is having a Labor Day Sale: 25% off sitewide! Valid 9/2-9/6. Take advantage while you can!
Baby is growing, which means you are too! Our muscles are being stretched and pulled in all different directions and the baby is getting heavier every week, so it’s only natural to be feeling achy. You don’t have to grin and bear it. You deserve to be as comfortable as possible. Here are my suggestions:
- Prenatal yoga. If you can, prenatal yoga classes help keep our muscles strong, our bodies balanced, our stress lower, and our muscles stretched. **Ask your doctor which types of exercise are right for you and your pregnancy**
- Prenatal massage. Get pampered, mama! After the first trimester, it is generally considered safe to get a prenatal massage from a qualified masseuse. Or ask your partner or friend to give you a light massage.
- Belly support. As your belly grows, we can start to feel more back and ligament pain. Buying a belly band or having your doula or midwife assist you with belly wrapping (either with cloth or tape) can help your body better support your baby’s weight, and ultimately, help ease those pains.
- Drink more water. Hydration helps those crampy muscles.
- Warmth. A warm bath or compress on the area that’s bothering you could help give you relief
- Maternity pillow. This is worth the investment. The further along we get, especially in the third trimester, the more uncomfortable we may feel and the harder it is to sleep at night. Having a maternity pillow to cradle your belly and cushion between your legs, taking the pressure off your spine, can make your nights, and days, more comfortable.
Our babies need a lot of room, which means our intestines have much less room. Constipation can cause A LOT of discomfort in your lower belly. The bloating, the cramping – the struggle is real. Here are my tips to get things moving:
There are many solutions and alternatives to try to ease common plus size pregnancy discomforts. Sometimes it’s a matter of trial and error, but the most important thing is helping you be as comfortable as possible.