Being a new mom is a daunting idea to consider, much more during these trying times, but an exciting one as well. There's a lot of adjusting that will need to be done, and a lot of things to learn, unlearn and relearn. Becoming a mother is something different people get "good" in different ways and at different paces, but even though we tell ourselves that (and other people tell us too), getting a feeling of being pressured can be almost inevitable.
As such, we try to learn as much as we can in the lead-up to the big day, and even after that. After all, something as simple as knowing some good home remedies for various things is a very "mom" thing to have, and it's incredibly helpful, too.
Here are some home remedies that a mom-to-be might find useful.
REMEDIES FOR ANEMIA
Anemia, simply put, happens when your body has a lack of healthy RBC's (red blood cells). Having a low red blood cell count is not a good thing, because a lack there may compromise how well oxygen is carried through your body. Pregnancy anemia is, therefore, something that needs to be dealt with as soon as possible, given you're pumping blood for two.
Now, pregnancy anemia isn't altogether simple to avoid in the first place, as about 50% of all women get anemia while pregnant. For one thing, the whole "you're pumping blood for two" situation results in your body carrying up to 40% more fluid in your veins, with a lot of the blood rushing to bring nutrients to your little one. It's even more likely to occur if your last pregnancy was fairly recent or if you're carrying twins or more. This usually manifests as excessive fatigue, shortness of breath, irregular or rapid heart rate, brain fog, and so on -- but a lot of the symptoms can be caused by other things, so get a proper diagnosis.
Fighting anemia calls for getting some more iron, vitamin B12, and folate in the blood. One way to do this is to up the protein intake, especially red meat. A single ounce of beef already contains 1.4mg of iron (an ounce of ground beef cuts that down to less than half), and the liver is also known to be high in the important mineral.
For vegetarians or women avoiding meat during pregnancy for any other reason, nonheme iron is present in vegetables like beans, spinach, and lentils. However, nonheme iron is harder for the body to absorb. Molasses -- used in gingerbread, and great for lattes -- gives up a lot of iron, potassium, and vitamin B6. Cut down on things like milk and most teas, because they actually inhibit iron absorption by half. Herbal remedies like tea using nettle, dandelion, and alfalfa are also recommended.
REMEDIES FOR CRAMPS
Yup, these are usually part and parcel of any pregnancy. There are many reasons cramps even come up -- from your body being low on potassium and calcium, putting on a lot of weight during the pregnancy, or happening to be carrying more than one baby.
Preventing or lessening the likelihood of having cramps can be done by maintaining a healthy diet that keeps a good level of those important nutrients -- magnesium, calcium, vitamin C -- in order to avoid running low. Magnesium is found in good quantities in dates, sweet corn, figs, apples, and green vegetables, while calcium is of course prevalent in dairy, salmon, dried beans, and sunflower seeds. Citrus fruits like oranges and lemons (and clementines) have lots of vitamin C, which can also be found in leafy greens and tomatoes.
You'll notice this is all meat-free, which is why vegetarian diets can reduce the frequency and severity of leg cramps.
Taking a warm bath before bed can also help unknot the muscles and help improve your circulation. Keep a hot water bottle or hot pack ready in case cramps come later in the night. Massaging the affected areas with aromatherapy oil is also a popular choice.
REMEDIES FOR MORNING SICKNESS
Ah, one of the less glamorous parts of pregnancy. Nausea and vomiting we call morning sickness really come from a steep uptick in pregnancy hormones in the body, which makes it quite common -- 90% of pregnant women have this happen to them. Specifically, the hormone called human chorionic gonadotrophin is mass-produced in the body, ensuring the baby's nutrition in the early weeks. This goes away because the placenta takes form and takes over. Simply waiting it out means you should stop encountering it about 14-16 weeks in.
It's normally nothing to worry about -- just keep hydrated, and monitor your weight to make sure it isn't dropping severely over time -- but you can do some things to keep it from getting too severe. Explore relaxation therapy and other complementary therapy. Some have reported success in using acupressure (a common relief move for nausea is pressing on a pressure point in the wrist -- about three fingers from the crease between your forearm and hand).
Also, try to modify your eating habits to the point of having small portions often rather than large servings less often. Your stomach will be more tolerant of plain food like pasta, rice, and potatoes. Your stomach's sensitivity may be more easily tripped by the common triggers, like spicy, oily, fatty, and fried food. Finally, keep well-hydrated, because if there's one thing that's absolutely surely lost in vomiting, it's fluids. Water, lemon juice, and any fluids you can manage to take and keep down should be helpful.