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?
3 Early Signs of Pregnancy
1. 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)
2. 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)
3. 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.