Pregnancy is a beautiful time, but the symptoms? Not so much. The smell aversions, the shrinking bladder, the gas and indigestion, the swollen fingers and feet, the bleeding gums… Apparently, it’s all part of the fine print you agree to when you’re growing a brand-new person.
Thankfully, there are ways to deal with some of these less pleasant pregnancy side effects. Let’s break down three of the most common:
- Morning sickness
- Increased appetite
Morning sickness is one of the most notorious complaints from pregnant women in their first trimester. Don’t be fooled by its nickname: Although symptoms are usually worst in the morning, nausea and vomiting can strike at any time of the day. In severe cases, frequent vomiting can cause tooth sensitivity, bad breath, and brittle teeth.
Solution: Eat small meals or snacks every few hours. Bland, dry foods—think crackers, toast or dry cereal—can do wonders for an upset belly. The American Pregnancy Association also has more tips for fighting morning sickness, including taking Vitamin B6 supplements daily and wearing motion sickness bands. If you do vomit, remember to brush your teeth once you feel better.
Ready to hit the sack by 4 p.m.? It’s not unusual to feel tired when you’re pregnant, especially during the first trimester and in the weeks before birth. You’re carrying an extra person inside of you! Who wouldn’t be exhausted?
Solution: Get outside and get moving! An afternoon stroll will boost your energy, mood and smile. If you’re still feeling tired, rest. Ask for help with the housework so you can nap, adjust your hours at work so you can sleep in a bit longer or go to bed extra early.
Insatiable hunger is common during the second trimester of pregnancy because your growing baby is demanding more nutrients. This is also the time when pregnancy cravings kick in. While some women crave salty foods, many others turn into the cookie monster and devour every sugary item in sight, which can spell T-R-O-U-B-L-E for your teeth.
Solution: You may have heard the adage that you’re “eating for two,” but most pregnant women only need about 300 extra calories to provide the extra nourishment their baby needs. So go ahead and indulge occasionally but try your best to stick to healthy meals and snacks. Aim for protein, whole grains and plenty of fruits and veggies. Drink water to curb excessive snacking and to prevent dehydration and swelling.
After you get your pregnancy symptoms under control, make sure to ramp up your oral hygiene habits. Brush your teeth twice and floss once a day. It’s also important to schedule a dentist appointment during the first trimester, as pregnancy can increase your risk of dental problems.
Here’s to a healthy smile, body and baby!