Side-Effects of Pregnancy
Diet and morning sickness
Momma Said There'd Be Days Like This
During my first pregnancy certain odors were triggers for potential barfing. For example, I love to cook with sesame oil but could not be in the room with it while I was pregnant with my oldest daughter. Instead, I pretty much lived on bland soda crackers—they're all I could keep down.
Morning sickness refers to periodic episodes of nausea common during the early months of pregnancy. It can happen at any time of day (or night), but generally ends around the third or fourth month.
Pregnancy is not without very real—and sometimes very annoying—symptoms. Particularly during a first pregnancy, your hormones will very likely treat you to such wonderful experiences as the legendary morning sickness. Your body is preparing itself for the process of gestation. Each person has a different threshold for tolerating nausea but for some it can be quite debilitating. It usually settles down after a few weeks but sometimes can plague you throughout the entire pregnancy.
And by the way, although it's commonly called morning sickness, you can experience nausea at any time of day or night. A good way to ward off the queasies is to stick to bland foods like soda crackers or dry toast. Fluids also help. If you are actually vomiting, make sure you replace your fluids and electrolytes with drinks designed for that purpose. Gatorade or other sports drinks can help.
Restricting your diet to accommodate your morning sickness can be tough—especially if old favorites of your prepregnancy days are now triggering the nausea response. Just keep in mind that this, too, shall pass. And promise yourself a great post-pregnancy reward of all the foods you're denying yourself now.
So many physical changes happen when you are pregnant that it sometimes feels as though you're only renting your body and are at the mercy of an absentee landlord. During your first trimester you will very likely feel greater fatigue than you have ever felt before.
Listen to what your body is telling you. When you are tired do your best to catch a nap. If you're working during your pregnancy, even a few minutes with your head down on your desk can make a big difference—you might want to put a co-worker on “snore alert,” just in case. Don't try to overcome the drowsiness with caffeine; it is not good for you or your baby.
A nine-month pregnancy is usually divided into three 3-month-long periods, called trimesters. Certain changes or symptoms—like morning sickness—are commonly experienced in particular trimesters but not in others.
Even if you're one of the many lucky ones who don't have to deal with morning sickness, you'll probably still find your food preferences changing. For some reason, foods you might not have been crazy about before can start to taste incredibly delicious. (For me it was Japanese food, but you should skip the sushi—it's not recommended during pregnancy.)
You may even experience that old stereotype of pregnancy: food cravings. Don't feel guilty! Although there's no hard-and-fast scientific proof, many doctors believe that some cravings are actually your body's way of telling you what you need. For example, a craving for very salty foods may indicate that your body is in a stage of doubling the volume of blood in your uterus to accommodate the needs of the baby—a process that depletes your system of its normal complement of salt.
Excerpted from The Complete Idiot's Guide to Motherhood © 1999 by Deborah Levine Herman. 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.
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