Pregnancy + Parenthood

How to Deal With the Early Effects of Pregnancy

3 min read
From morning sickness to fatigue, we'll explain how to deal with several of the early (and most uncomfortable) effects of pregnancy.
From morning sickness to fatigue, we'll explain how to deal with several of the early (and most uncomfortable) effects of pregnancy.

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For many birthing parents, pregnancy is an incredibly exciting time. But negotiating some of the early effects of pregnancy, on the other hand, can definitely fall in the “less than exciting” category.

Every person—and every pregnancy—is different. But there are some standard pregnancy effects (like nausea and low energy) that the majority of women† may experience at least once or twice before baby makes their debut. And if you don’t know how to deal with those occurrences, it can make pregnancy a real challenge.

So how, exactly, does someone deal with the pregnancy-related morning sickness and all the other not-so-fun pregnancy effects they might experience between now and the due date?

Digestive effects

Pregnancy increases levels of the hormone progesterone in the body. Progesterone loosens the muscles and ligaments in the body—including those in the intestines. This loosening can cause digestion to slow down, which can lead to one of the more uncomfortable effects of pregnancy—constipation. (2)

If someone is dealing with pregnancy-related constipation (and the bloating that may go with it), a diet full of high-fiber foods (including fruits like bananas, apples, and oranges; vegetables like broccoli and brussels sprouts; whole grains; beans and legumes; and nuts) can help move things along; aim for 25 to 30 grams of dietary fiber per day. Drinking plenty of water (10 to 12 cups per day) and getting daily exercise (even if it’s just a quick walk around the block!) can also help with regularity.* (3)

Pregnancy-related morning sickness

Morning sickness is a blanket term used to describe the nausea and vomiting that many people experience during pregnancy—and, unlike the name suggests, it can happen at any time of the day (morning, noon, or night).

The causes of morning sickness are a bit of a mystery; no one knows exactly why some get slammed with nausea during their pregnancy (especially during the first trimester), while others make it out scot-free—but it’s believed that the hormonal changes are a contributing factor.* (4)

Low energy

For many, the rapid change in hormones can play a large role in low energy. But as someone moves through the weeks of pregnancy into their second trimester and third trimester, there’s a whole host of other events (for example, carrying around the extra pounds from pregnancy weight gain, sleep disruption, or worry about the baby’s arrival) that may make them feel more tired than usual. (6)

If you’re feeling tired, sleep! Getting plenty of rest (which might mean an earlier bedtime or a mid-afternoon nap) is an essential part of feeling your best and keeping sleepiness at bay.

Remember: These are just another part of pregnancy

Pregnancy signs and effects aren’t necessarily the most enjoyable part of being pregnant. But if you’re dealing with these common occurrences, try not to worry too much. Many of these are just another part of growing a human—and they’ll all be worth it once baby arrives.

†As a health company that adheres to standardized nutrition research—which is often reliant on assigned sex at birth—we face some unique challenges regarding our gender-specific messaging. Our decision to use gendered terms is, unfortunately, a result of these limitations in nutrition research. In cases where complying with the binary distinction is necessary for scientific accuracy purposes, we want to make it very clear that we recognize a person’s gender identity might differ from their assigned sex.

††This content was created for informational use only, to share stories and provide education around this life stage. This information should not be read to recommend, endorse, or associate any specific products. Dietary supplements are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease or condition.

References:

  1. Healthline. 2015, September 8. 5 Safe Remedies For Constipation in Pregnancy.
  2. American Pregnancy Association. Pregnancy and Constipation.
  3. Mayo Clinic. Morning Sickness.
  4. American Pregnancy Association. Fatigue During Pregnancy.

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