7am – Wake up to nausea
Yawn! Waking up, you fumble for the alarm, prise off the covers and… run to the loo to be sick. “Morning sickness affects around 90% of pregnant women,” says midwife Denise Tiran, director of expectancy.co.uk and author of Have a Happy Pregnancy. “It’s mainly due to hormones, but can be made worse by stress and fatigue. Ginger can offer relief, but avoid ginger biscuits as they contain too little ginger and too much sugar to be effective.”
“When I was 7 weeks pregnant with Savannah, I discovered Sea-Band acupressure wristbands, normally used for travel sickness. Within 10 minutes of wearing them, the nausea eased. I wore them all day every day, only taking them off in the shower. They made pregnancy bearable.”
Sophie Mitchell, from south London, mum to Phoenix, 3, and Savannah, 11 months
8am – Bunged up
Just as you finish being poorly, now it’s time to sit on the loo and find you’re bunged up inside. “The pregnancy hormone progesterone relaxes and slows down movement inside your intestines,” says Denise. “Eat lots of fruit and vegetables – high-fibre veg like celery and watercress are good – and keep up your fluid intake. Avoid too much tea as the tannin can slow down gut movement. If you’re eating bran, double your water intake or it will cause more blockage.”
But that’s not all, straining from being bunged up can give you piles. Signs include a sore bottom and bleeding. Always speak to your midwife about any bleeding down below and indeed elsewhere, like your gums. You might find they bleed when you clean your teeth – hormonal changes cause gums to swell and inflame. Keep flossing and brushing to keep gum disease at bay. And remember, you’re entitled to free NHS dental treatment when you’re pregnant.
9am – Rat race pressure
The world doesn’t stop just because you’re pregnant, and that includes work. Unless you’re already on maternity leave you’ll still be facing the daily commute. An increase in the ovarian hormone relaxin is stretching your ligaments and muscles, making you more prone to ankle strains, so avoid high heels advises Joanna Cram of the British Osteopathic Association. “Good running shoes are more comfortable,” she advises.
Then you make it into work just in time for a much-needed loo break. “Pressure from your growing uterus might make you feel you constantly need to urinate,” says Denise. “Don’t cut fluid intake though, or you may be more prone to urinary infections.”
11am – Mid-morning slump
“Your body’s working hard at nurturing this pregnancy, so it’s no surprise you feel exhausted just a few hours into the day – it’s your body’s way of telling you to rest,” says Jacqueline Harvey, pregnancy wellness expert at www.crystalclearhealth.co.uk. “Go for a lie down if you’re at home.” If you’re at the office, take five minutes away from your computer screen and find a quiet place to have a break.
Don’t get up too quickly, though – you’ll end up feeling faint. “Changes in your circulation during pregnancy mean your blood pressure fluctuates, so get up slowly from sitting and lying down,” says Denise.
1pm – Lunch + indigestion
A little – or a lot – of what you fancy helps boost your mood and energy levels, but you may be irritated by indigestion and heartburn afterwards. “During pregnancy progesterone relaxes the valve at the entrance to your stomach, causing a small amount of acid to surge upwards into your oesophagus,” explains Denise. “Avoid rich, spicy fried foods and eat small frequent meals to avoid pressure on the valve from an overfull stomach.”
2pm – Fatigue headache
“Early pregnancy headaches are due to progesterone dilating blood vessels in the head,” says Denise. “Anxiety and fatigue can also contribute.” If you’re in your third trimester and getting headaches and blurred vision, get checked out. In rare cases it can be an indicator of pre-eclampsia.
3pm – Feeling sick and snoozy
You might also feel tired. “Blood sugar levels can plummet quickly because baby’s helping you burn more calories, so eat little and often,” says Jacqueline. “Have a bowl of soup mid-afternoon or keep energy-rich nuts, seeds or granola and berries on hand for a boost.”
6pm – Aching all over
It’s been a long day and you’re worn out. Everything aches, including your boobs. “Breasts grow and become tender as blood vessels and milk cells adapt in readiness for breastfeeding,” says Denise. “Get fitted for a supportive bra to prevent muscle strain.” Progesterone relaxes joints and ligaments, resulting in backache. “Try gentle stretches, yoga, a soothing warm bath and massage,” suggests Jacqueline.
7pm – Just plain exhausted
You feel as if you’ve run a marathon, right? Extreme fatigue is quite normal at the beginning of pregnancy as increased hormone production and blood flow is making your body work overtime. “It’s important to find time to chill. Practice deep-breathing techniques and go to bed as early as you like.” says Jacqueline. CDs with breathing techniques are available (try www.natalhypnotherapy.co.uk).
“My energy levels were zero in my last pregnancy. The GP discovered my iron levels were low but I wasn’t keen on taking tablets. I took Spatone liquid iron supplement – my hubby called it my ‘happy juice’!”
Rhian Benstead, 36, from West Sussex, mum to Nathaniel, 8, Rebecca, 5, Gabrielle, 3, and Sienna, 9 months
8pm – Mood swings
“Fluctuating hormone levels can mean you’re ecstatically happy one second and in tears the next,” says Jacqueline. “Realise you may feel this way and try to avoid stress as much as possible. Switch off with a good book, a warm shower, and be kind to yourself.”
9pm – Leg cramps
“It’s a common irritation in pregnancy, possibly due to changes in circulation and salt levels in your blood,” says Denise. Drink plenty of liquid, stretch your calf muscles and try a warm bath before bed. Don’t sit for too long, and try circling your feet.
“My leg cramps were so bad I’d scream and wake up my partner, and I’d be limping for days afterwards. My GP suggested I eat more bananas and milk, because a lack of potassium and calcium can be to blame. Banana smoothies did the trick.”
Aimee Bamber, 21, from Epsom, Surrey, mum to Theo, 12 months
10pm – Hot flush
You’re trying to sleep but hot flushes hit. “Your temperature goes up by one degree in pregnancy because of the extra tissues and blood vessels you develop, “ says Denise. “Wear cotton rather than synthetic nightwear.”
11pm – Craving zzzzs
You were exhausted but now you’ve hit the sheets you can’t seem to switch off. How will you cope financially? Will the house be ready on time? “Pregnancy can be a time of anxiety, but you need to make your bedroom a worry-free zone to get optimum rest in there, ” says Jacqueline. “Make it a calming environment – declutter, take out the television if you have one, spritz your pillow with lavender oil and create a space you can’t wait to retire to.”
Five survival techniques
1. Deep breathing. Count to five when inhaling and exhaling.
2. Go to a yoga class for mums-to-be.
3. Run a bath, shut the door, light the candles and relax.
4. Talk to your bump in a soothing voice.
5. Put your feet up, literally. Raising your feet and legs can help ease pregnancy swelling in your feet and ankles, and it’s relaxing too!