By Fiona O’Farrell BA(Hons) LicAc. ND PREGNANCY is a wonderful time, but for many it brings some unpleasant side effects. As most women prefer to avoid taking medications during this precious time, more and more are turning to natural therapies to alleviate a host of pregnancy ailments. Heartburn Eating little and often will help alleviate heartburn and ensuring your stomach is never too empty nor too full. Fatty foods, caffeine, chocolate and fizzy drinks can all aggravate heartburn, as will eating late in the evening. Slippery Elm Bark effectively neutralises stomach acid and dried papaya is an excellent snack for those suffering with heartburn as it has the double benefit of containing digestive enzymes as well as helping prevent excess stomach acid. Anxiety and Insomnia Did you know, increased agitation, anxiety and insomnia can indicate a simple mineral deficiency? Magnesium and calcium are key minerals needed for restful sleep and relaxation. Taking 500mg of calcium and 250mg of magnesium (the 2:1 ratio) daily will have a wonderfully calming effect on the nervous system. Caffeine should be avoided as it directly stimulates the production of stress. Morning Sickness Acupuncture is extremely effective in treating morning sickness and most women would notice considerable improvement in 2-3 sessions. In Traditional Chinese Medicine, morning sickness is considered to be an imbalance of the digestive and stomach energies and, depending on the type of imbalance, certain foods will help different people. If you feel very warm with intense thirst, avoid spicy foods and ginger, instead drink peppermint tea and eat cooling foods such as cucumber, melon and pears. If you are feeling cold, tired and vomiting clear fluids, ginger will help you. Try to eat warm, bland foods such as porridge with honey and soups and avoid cold drinks. If you notice you are producing a lot of saliva or phlegm, avoid dairy products, sugary snacks and greasy, fried foods. Constipation Fluid intake is essential to keep constipation at bay, but always drink room temperature or warm drinks, as cold drinks weaken the digestive energy. Start the day with a cup of hot water and lemon juice. Exercise will increase circulation and ease digestive sluggishness. Restless Legs and Leg Cramps If you find you are getting persistent restless legs or leg cramps, often worse at night, it may indicate you have a vitamin or mineral deficiency. Sub-optimal levels of iron, magnesium, calcium, folic acid and sodium can all lead to leg cramps and restlessness. Take a wholefood multivitamin and increase these ‘all-rounder’ foods in your diet: green leafy vegetables, seeds, dried apricots, molasses, apples, dates, figs, beans and pulses. The homeopathic tissue salt Mag Phos can be very helpful for leg cramps – and try to eliminate coffee. Sinusitis In Traditional Chinese Medicine, pregnancy is considered a time when ‘damp’ ailments such as congestion, water retention and swelling are commonplace and avoiding foods that are considered ‘damp’ in nature, such as dairy products, peanuts, orange juice, bananas, sugars and sweeteners and greasy foods will alleviate symptoms. Bleeding Gums Increased oestrogen production during pregnancy can make your gums soft, swollen and prone to bleeding. However, it can also indicate a deficiency in calcium and vitamin C. Increasing your intake of green leafy vegetables, kiwi and citrus fruits will help. Taking the homeopathic tissue salt Ferr Phos can safely reduce bleeding and inflammation.
- This article appears courtesy of the CNM (College of Naturopathic Medicine) Newsletter. April 2012. The College offers a whole host of naturopathic programmes and, if you were thinking of up-skilling yourself or even dreaming of a change in career, then CNM would be well worth getting in contact with. For more information log onto email@example.com