Tips and resources to support your birth!

Remedies for Minor Discomforts of Pregnancy

You may have thought about how wonderful it would be to be pregnant…how your skin would glow and your hair would grow!  So, you might be a bit surprised that growing a tiny human affects EVERY part of your body, and some of those changes are a bit uncomfortable.

BACK PAIN— can start at 20 weeks and last until your baby comes.

– try pelvic tilts, yoga, walking (at least 20 minutes), swimming
– maintain good posture while standing, walking and sitting
– avoid standing for long periods of time
– avoid slouching as this can cause the baby to get into a malposition (check out!)
– elevate one foot while standing
– avoid high heels, wear flat, well-supported shoes
– bend knees when lifting, keeping back straight
– roll onto your side prior to getting up from a lying down position
– use a pillow between your knees when sleeping
– keep weight gain to 30–35 pounds
– try a warm bath with 2 scoops of Epsom Salts or a heating pad on low or medium setting
– use of ‘prenatal cradle’ to support the abdominal muscles
– physiotherapy, chiropractic or massage therapy may be helpful
– alter your midwife of persistent back pain, or of any back injuries you may have suffered prior to this pregnancy
– SAFE MEDS: Tylenol, Motrin in 2nd trimester only


– use a soft toothbrush
– ensure regular dental hygiene, flossing (you can run your floss through a drop of Tea Tree oil to assist with any infection of the gums
– dental checkups are generally safe
– ensure a healthy diet of fresh fruits and vegetables
– increase Vitamin C with Bioflavonoids to 500— 1000 mg a day


– increase fluids, especially water
– have fluids prior to meals
– decrease dairy intake, increase high fiber foods (you may also use a fiber supplement)
– exercise such as yoga, stretching, walking
– 6 prunes a day or 2 cups of prune juice
– SAFE MEDS: Dulcolax stool softener, Colace, Metamucil, Citracel
– SAFE HERBS: Cautious use of Senna or Smooth Move tea. Psyllium supplements are safe in moderation


– eat regularly, with 8–10 grams of protein every 2 hours
– increase fluids, consider drinking 1 bottle of water by 10,12, 2, 4, and 6
– rest with a cool cloth on the forehead
– decrease stress and practice relaxation techniques
– consider massage therapy or chiropractic care
– keep a food diary, if headaches are frequent or chronic
– SAFE MEDS: Tylenol, Motrin in 2nd trimester only

*consult your doctor or midwife if headaches persist or if they are severe

HEARTBURN— from 20 weeks to term

– try dry crackers before you get out of bed
– avoid irritating, spicy or greasy foods
– eat smaller meals and eat more often
– chew slowly and thoroughly
– reduce, discontinue or change iron supplement
– sleep propped up
– try 1tsp of apple cider vinegar or lemon juice
– try papaya enzymes
– chew 6 raw almosts 75 times
– prop the head of your bed up 4 inches and never lie down after a meal
– SAFE MEDS: Zantac and occasionally, Tums (Tums is NOT good for frequent use!)

HEMORRHOIDS— What a Pain in the Butt! from 24 weeks to term

– daily kegel exercises (talk to your midwife for proper instruction)
– lie don and elevate hips and feet 10 to 15 minutes, 3 times per day
– avoid constipating foods and salty foods
– ensure fluid intake is adequate (8–10 glasses of water per day)
– SAFE MEDS: Preparation H and Tucks

*If your hemorrhoids are protruding, they will feel much better if you can tuck them back inside your anus, and then lay down and elevate your hips while tightening your glutes
*Consult your midwife if hemorrhoids persist or bleed

INSOMNIA— usually from 28 weeks to term

– exercise daily, a minimum of 20 minutes of walking
– get plenty of fresh air and sunshine
– eat meats early (full stomach = heartburn)
– avoid taking multi-vitamins before bed or during the late afternoon
– avoid caffeine
– have a warm bath with Epsom Salk, or take a dose of Calm (magnesium supplement)
– practice relaxation breathing exercises
– SAFE MEDS: Benedryl or 1/2 of a Unisom

*Consult your midwife if insomnia is not resolving

NAUSEA & VOMITING— usually lasts from 4 to 16 weeks, but can last longer

– discontinue taking prenatal vitamins with iron for the first 12 weeks
– continue taking 0.4mg of folic acid as a separate supplement during the first 12 weeks
– eat frequently, especially crackers, dry toast, cereal
– prepare foods with little odor
– avoid greasy and spicy foods
– take B6— 25mg, 3x a day
– snack just before bed
– increase rest
– try eating only one food at a time
– try eating 6 small meals rather than 3 large meals
– try ginger tea, peppermint tea, raspberry leaf tea
– try peppermint Altoids, or Ginger Chews
– try 250mg of ginger 4x a day
– try to eat a small amount of protein every 2 hours

*If vomiting persists, consult your midwife immediately

SWELLING— usually occurs after 28 weeks and may affect feet or hands

– elevate feet twice daily for 15 minutes at a time
– lie on your left side when resting and sleeping
– increase water intake and add fresh lemon
– change your position frequently to enhance circulation

*symptoms such as headaches, blurry vision, upper right gastric pain or rapid onset of swelling should be reported to your midwife immediately

VARICOSE VEINS— from 16 weeks to term

– wear maternity support hose
– try ice packs to affected areas
– exercise daily
– drink plenty of water
– lie down and elevate legs 10 to 15 minutes 3 times per day
– avoid sitting or standing for long periods
– ask about our Varicose Vein Massage Oil at your next visit

*Consult your midwife if you experience painful swelling, increased heat, redness, or tenderness

Although pregnancy aches and pains can make everyday life less fun, remember that pregnancy doesn’t last forever, and you are doing big work every day growing a new life.

Usually, almost always, the discomforts don’t mean anything terrible, and they are just your body adjusting to all the changes that the new baby is bringing.

This, too, shall pass.

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