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Trials and Tribulations of Having a Baby

Food for Thought

Getting enough folic acid can drastically reduce the risk for babies developing neural tube defects such as spina bifida. So fill up on the green leafy veggies and get prenatal vitamin that supplies folic acid.

When embarking on the road to motherly bliss, some women glow and others, shall I say, turn green. I was one of the unlucky green women. Although agonizing and uncomfortable (to put it mildly), these lousy side effects, including constipation, nausea, water retention, and heartburn, are merely normal pregnancy occurrences and most certainly worth the beautiful end product.

The “Uh-Oh, Better Get Drano” Feeling

Most pregnant women experience the constipation blues at one time or another during the nine-month haul. Why does food tend to stop dead in its tracks before reaching its final destination anyway? Unfortunately, there are a bunch of explanations:

Sometimes, the increased iron can cause constipation, diarrhea, dark-colored stools, and abdominal discomfort. Be sure to increase your fiber and fluids and move around as much as possible.

Yes, it's true that the first three circumstances are completely uncontrollable, but let's focus on the last three: fiber, fluid, and exercise, which are quite controllable and can dramatically decrease your plumbing problems.

First, increase your dietary fiber by eating more fresh fruit, veggies, and whole-grain foods. Better yet, Read How Much Fiber Do You Need in Your Diet?for tips for boosting your daily intake of fiber. Next, drink a ton of fluids.

Ugh! That Nagging Nausea

Commonly known as “morning sickness,” the awful nausea and vomiting can occur at any time of the day, so don't be misled. One bit of reassuring news: although horridly unpleasant, it's normal and thought to simply be a side effect from the hormonal changes that take place during pregnancy. If you're on a first-name basis with your toilet, hang in there; the nausea usually disappears by week 14.

Here are some tips to help reduce the nausea:

Contact your doctor immediately if you have persistent vomiting, are losing weight, or are too nauseated to take in fluids.

What's All the Swelling About?

Edema is the uncomfortable swelling, or retention of water, that occurs primarily in your feet, ankles, and hands during pregnancy. As long as there's no increase in blood pressure or protein in the urine, edema is normal and unfortunately tends to get worse in the last trimester. However, there is no need to panic; most of this bothersome fluid will be lost during and shortly after your baby's delivery.

Get some relief from the effects of edema:

Oh, My Aching Heart

Contrary to the name, heartburn is actually a burning sensation in your lower esophagus that is usually accompanied by a sour taste. Although this dreadful feeling can happen at any time during your pregnancy, it's most common toward the last few months, when your baby is rapidly growing and exerting pressure on your stomach and uterus. What's more, during pregnancy, the valve between your stomach and esophagus can become relaxed, making it easy for the food to occasionally reverse directions.

Some simple remedies to ease heartburn:

Excerpted from The Complete Idiot's Guide to Total Nutrition © 2005 by Joy Bauer. All rights reserved including the right of reproduction in whole or in part in any form. Used by arrangement with Alpha Books, a member of Penguin Group (USA) Inc.

To order this book visit the Idiot's Guide web site or call 1-800-253-6476.

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