Safe remedies for common symptoms during pregnancy
Pregnancy brings with it anticipation, hope, and awe of the miracle of life. Unfortunately, it can also bring heartburn, insomnia, calf cramps, congestion, hemorrhoids, anxiety and headaches. Wellness expert, Josie Bouchier, shares her natural remedies.
As an acupuncturist who specializes in women’s health, I want to share some of my favorite safe and effective practices that you can easily do at home to either prevent or treat all of these unpleasant pregnancy related symptoms.
Heartburn and Reflux:
- Drink warm water with fresh lemon juice before you eat. This will stimulate your digestive enzymes and increase the acidity in your stomach in order to digest food more optimally.
- Eat natural yogurt. Yogurt contains good-for-you probiotics that can improve your digestion and soothe heartburn and reflux.
- Chew your food thoroughly. Chewing secretes saliva, which buffers stomach acid.
Calf Cramps and Restless Leg Syndrome
- My personal favorite, highly pleasurable and effective way to treat Restless Leg Syndrome is to have an orgasm! It’s speculated that the release of orgasm-related dopamine might play a role in the alleviation of symptoms.
- Try a Chinese herbal liniment called Dit Da Jiao, which was traditionally used to heal martial arts injuries. It works wonders for calf cramps and Restless Leg Syndrome.
- Eat foods rich in magnesium, such as pumpkin and sunflower seeds, millet, quinoa, almonds, spinach, Swiss chard, black beans, yogurt, peanut butter, oatmeal, soy, banana, and dark chocolate (yes!).
- Minimize what we call “Damp” forming foods in Chinese medicine such as dairy, sugar, spicy food, fried food, nut butters, orange juice, alcohol, ice water, cold and raw foods.
- Increase Damp resolving foods such as pears, grapefruit, grapefruit juice, peppermint tea, garlic (if tolerable), horseradish (if tolerable), digestive enzymes, probiotics, and warm, cooked foods.
Headaches and Migraines
- Put a dab of lavender essential oil on your temples.
- Brew a strong cup of black tea, and drink it as quickly as you can to prevent full-blown migraine if you feel one about to start.
- A warm foot bath or gentle foot rub will bring Qi and Blood down from your head into your feet, relieving any type of headache or migraine.
- Place a cool compress on your forehead, the back of your neck or on the top of your head, wherever it hurts the most.
- Eat a small, Yin nourishing snack before bed such as whole grain crackers, cheese, turkey, fig, date, apricot, banana, a small glass of warm milk or milk alternative.
- Wear an eye mask or darken your shades. It’s important to sleep in a very dark room to maintain healthy sleep cycles
- No screen time 1-2 hours before bed. Try reading a book or magazine instead.
- Enjoy a foot bath. Fill a pot with warm water and relax while soaking your feet for 20-30 minutes. The warm water will activate certain acupuncture points on the feet and ankles that help with falling and staying asleep.
Haemorrhoids and Constipation
- Make sure you are eating plenty of fiber such as dark leafy greens, whole grains, raw or lightly cooked veggies, and fruit with the skin still on.
- Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate. Drink half your body weight in ounces of purified water every day, or at least 64 ounces.
- To treat constipation, try adding foods into your diet such as peas, cabbage, figs, bran, asparagus, pumpkin, sweet potato, cucumber, spinach, bananas, prunes, apples, pine nuts, and carrots.
- To relieve temporary constipation, mix 2 teaspoons of honey in warm water first thing in the morning on empty stomach.
- CAUTION: Avoid herbal and over-the-counter laxatives as they can stimulate labor.
Anxiety and Stress
- Try Bach Flower Remedies, which you can safely take during pregnancy to address specific emotional imbalances as well as relieve general stress and anxiety.
- Lavender essential oil is wonderful to add to foot baths, dab on your temples, sprinkle on your pillow, or simply take a whiff when you are feeling stressed.
- In Chinese medicine, your entire body is represented on your ear. Massaging your ears will give you the same effects as a full body massage, and you can do it anytime, anywhere.
- Breathing deep into your belly, instead of shallow chest breathing, can instantly flip the switch in your nervous system from feeling stressed to feeling rested and relaxed. In fact, deep belly breathing works faster than any drug to stop the flood of stress hormones in your body.