pregnancy

Top tips for a healthy pregnancy

by Chloe Best

There has been a boom in celebrity pregnancy announcements in 2017, with Rosie Huntington-Whiteley set to welcome her first child with Jason Statham, while both Amal Clooney and Beyoncé are pregnant with twins. Although the celebrity mums-to-be all have an unmistakable glow, there are some common side effects that they – and other expectant mothers – may suffer during pregnancy. Read on for tips on how to have a healthy pregnancy, from overcoming morning sickness to beating back pain…

Beyonce-pregnant

Beyonce is one of many celebrities who has recently announced her pregnancy

Morning Sickness

It's one of the most common complaints in pregnancy, with almost 90% of women experiencing some form of morning sickness. Although it is known as morning sickness, it can occur at any time of the day or night. Dr Marilyn Glenville, the UK's leading nutritionist and author of Natural Alternatives to Sugar says: "Morning sickness can definitely eased by regulating your blood sugar levels. Make sure that you eat little and often, using complex carbohydrates as snacks to keep your blood-sugar levels up. Suitable choices include rice cakes, wholemeal bread, rye crackers and any whole, unrefined products."

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Alternatively Vitamin B6 has been found to be very helpful in reducing the attacks of nausea and vomiting. A theory as to why it works is that morning sickness may be caused by high oestrogen levels, and vitamin B6 is helpful in clearing excess oestrogen from the body by optimising liver function.

Dr Marilyn Glenville adds: "Ginger is a traditional remedy for morning sickness, and it can be extremely effective, as confirmed by a 1991 double-blind clinical trial. It can be taken in the form of supplements, capsules or herbal tea. Another good method of taking ginger is in lemon and ginger tea. If you are having trouble keeping fluids down, sweeten the tea with a little honey or maple syrup and freeze as ice cubes to suck as required."

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Cravings

pregnancy-cravings

From chocolate and pickles to spicy foods and ice cubes, most pregnant women experience cravings. Nutritionist, Cassandra Barns says: "Don't skip meals, especially breakfast, as this can lead to cravings later in the day for sugary and carbohydrate-rich foods. Make sure your meals contain a serving of a protein-rich food such as meat or fish, cheese or yoghurt, seeds and nuts, or beans and lentils: protein can help to slow down absorption of sugars and starches into the blood and lessen cravings later on."

Swollen Limbs

It's not just your tummy that grows while you're pregnant, for many women their hands and feet also swell during their pregnancy. Kimby Osbourne, leg health expert at Activa UK, explains: "Pregnancy can obviously affect the legs and feet as there is a lot more pressure and weight on them during this time. Common problems incurred by pregnant women include swollen ankles, tired, aching legs and a feeling of heaviness. This is due to hormonal changes and the extra weight gain during pregnancy, which affects the leg veins.

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"Varicose veins are also more common during pregnancy, especially if they run in the family. Compression hosiery and simple exercises are the best solution to help prevent and alleviate these symptoms and save you from storing up health concerns for the future."

Back Pain

pregnancy

As well as general fatigue, many women say that back pain is a problem especially towards the end of their pregnancy. Cassandra says: "Back pain can be a problem for many women in the later stages of pregnancy, as the weight of the baby pulls the body forward, causing the woman to lean back to compensate. The first thing to remember, therefore, is to maintain a good posture and walk upright, trying not to lean back. Avoid high heels, as they put more strain on the back – go for pretty flats instead. Other things that may bring relief include back massage, hot showers (or warm baths, but not hot), and exercise, especially prenatal yoga."

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Skin Problems

Increased hormone levels are the main cause of skin problems during pregnancy, acne is quite common with more than half of pregnant women can expect to develop some form of acne during their first trimester. Marilyn says: "Iron deficiency is more likely to be a problem as the baby starts having a growth spurt in the last trimester it always important to get this monitored. Low iron levels can cause hair loss, the skin to become pale and dull and the nails to become weak. Iron rich foods include all dark green leafy vegetables, tofu, dried apricots and blackstrap molasses."

Make sure you include plenty of brightly coloured fruits and vegetables in your diet, as these contain antioxidants such as vitamin E, which naturally regulates blood pressure. Taking a good quality Omega 3 fish oil and vitamin C can also be beneficial in addition to an antenatal formula.

Marilyn adds: "Zinc is also essential for skin, hair and nails and can get used up rapidly when under stress. Eat plenty of brown rice, pumpkin seeds and oats."

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