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Step Away From the Medicine Cabinet: Natural Cures For Pregnancy Problems

May 12 2014 - 1:16pm

For all of its joy and excitement, pregnancy comes with its unique set of discomforts. While you may be used to popping an Extra-Strength Tylenol or Benadryl at every symptom, once you're growing a little person inside you, it's generally recommended to stay away from the meds. While we always advocate asking your doctor about anything pertaining to your and your baby's health, the following recommendations offer gentle, natural solutions that shouldn't cause much controversy. Read on, and feel better, mama!

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A Stuffy Nose

Nasal congestion during pregnancy is quite common, as heightened levels of estrogen and progesterone increase the flow of blood to your body's mucous membranes (including the nose). It also increases your chances of getting a nosebleed, so carry tissues whenever you can!

What You Can Do: Blow your nose frequently but gently. Instead of an over-the-counter nasal spray, which could be harmful to you and your baby, WebMD recommends creating your own saline solution with salt, baking soda, and warm water [2].

Morning (Make That All-Day) Sickness

For many moms-to-be, extreme hormonal changes translate to nausea (and the term "morning sickness" is a total misnomer, by the way — it can strike any time, day or night).

What You Can Do: Ginger is a commonly used natural remedy for nausea and upset stomach. Steering clear of greasy, fried foods and sipping on cool, clear liquid throughout the day can be effective preventatives, and you may want to ask your ob-gyn about a vitamin B6 supplement.

Back Pains

With your uterus expanding to 1,000 times its normal size during pregnancy, plus the extra weight you're carrying around, it's no wonder that most expectant moms experience back pain at some point.

What You Can Do: You can use a heating pad or hot water bottle for comfort, or, better yet, indulge in a warm bath. Sleeping on your side, with a pillow between your legs, can also help alleviate aches.


Hormonal changes, plus those prenatal vitamins you're popping, make constipation a frequent complaint among moms-to-be. The increasing pressure from your uterus doesn't help matters either.

What You Can Do: Adding more fiber to your diet and drinking warm fluids (especially in the morning) can be good preventatives. Frequent exercise and staying active also help.


If headaches seem to be a frequent issue, the Mayo Clinic suggests tracking your meals and activities [3] for a few days to pinpoint the triggers that may be causing them. Managing stress, eating smaller and more frequent meals throughout the day, and prioritizing sleep can all be helpful habits.

What You Can Do: Once a headache strikes, medicine-free remedies can include resting in a dark, quiet room with your eyes closed; applying gentle pressure with a cold compress at the back of your neck (or a warm compress to your face, eyes, and temples); and massage.

Heartburn or Indigestion

If you've never experienced the discomfort of heartburn before, there's a chance that pregnancy will be your introduction. Changing hormone levels slow down your digestion system, and an expanding uterus can crowd your stomach, pushing acids upward, according to WebMD [4].

What You Can Do: Don't lie down right after eating, and when you do sleep, keep the head of your bed elevated. Eating small meals more frequently and slowly can also help. This is one case in which your doc may approve Tums, Maalox, or Mylanta — just ask first.

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