Coping with Common Discomforts During Pregnancy


Fatigue, headaches

During your first trimester, you may experience extreme fatigue. By the second trimester, your body will probably have adjusted, and you may feel full of energy. By the third trimester, however, you may feel exhausted again and need more rest. There's no cure for this; your body is just reflecting the strains being put on it. These are things you can do to help combat work fatigue:
  • Retire early—Never mind the undone chores you see all around you.
  • Try to reduce worrying—Making an effort not to worry about work and home concerns can relieve the tension that builds up during the day.
  • Delegate responsibilities—If you're in a position to delegate responsibility when the pressure becomes too great, do so. Most coworkers will understand and be cooperative, so don't feel guilty about doing it.
  • Learn your daily rhythms of alertness and fatigue—Do your strenuous or creative work during alert times; rest during tired periods. Take a short nap every day during your lunch hour. If you don't have a room to retire to, rest your head on your desk or find an empty conference room or lounge you can use. If possible, ask your employer to reduce your hours temporarily if you just can't keep up near the end of your term.
  • Combat anemia—Anemia can result in tiredness, weakness, and fainting. Add more iron-rich foods to your diet, such as lentils and green leafy vegetables. Doctor-recommended iron tablets can help as well.
Headaches are extremely common during pregnancy. They may be caused by hormonal changes over which you have little control. But you may alleviate the problem by doing the following:
  • Rest—Sit in a dark, quiet room with your eyes closed. Try meditation, yoga, or other relaxation techniques until it passes (see Stress Reducers for Working Moms-to-be).
  • Breathe fresh air—Avoid stuffy, overheated, smoke-filled rooms. Step outside, if possible, for a breath of clear air.
  • Eat regularly—Little or no food over a long period causes your blood sugar level to drop. Excessive caffeine can cause headaches as well.
  • Try to reduce stress—Whenever possible, avoid unnecessary stressful situations and find ways to control the stress you cannot avoid.
  • Take calcium—Calcium tends to quiet your nerves and ease a headache. If the headaches are regular, take up to four 450-milligram calcium tablets a day. If you suddenly develop a severe headache, call your doctor. It could indicate the onset of toxemia.
  • Cut down on your salt intake—Especially during pregnancy, too much salt can cause headaches and high blood pressure.

  • Use cold compresses—Place a cold, moist cloth on your forehead or on the back of your neck. Add a few drops of essential oil of lavender on your washcloth.
  • Use liniments—Rub peppermint oil, Tiger Balm, or white flower oil into your temples, or drink peppermint tea.
  • Take nonaspirin pain relievers—Get your doctor's approval first.


More on: Work

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© 2005 by Marla Schram Schwartz. Excerpted from The Working Woman's Baby Planner with permission of its publisher, Sourcebooks, Inc.

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