Me (on the day of our first scan): We are having a baby! Yay (dancing, jumping and almost in tears)
Me (on the day of our 2nd-month scan): What the …! (Read: showing the doctor a long list of troubles I was going through thanks to the beautiful gift called pregnancy!!!)
Well, pregnancy & motherhood are definitely the most wonderful experiences for any woman. However, a few dampeners might make your experience a not so pleasant one. While most of these pregnancy symptoms are temporary and go away with time, for a few you might have to take medication as recommended by your doctor.
But the good thing is, a lot of common pregnancy symptoms can well be taken care of by our age-old home remedies or gharelu desi nuskhe.
So here I am, as a mommy of twins, sharing a few natural remedies that worked for me during and post-pregnancy. Hope these come handy for you too.
1. Morning Sickness
Morning sickness, perhaps the most common pregnancy symptom, can actually get quite upsetting and annoying.
Here are some home remedies that helped me manage it:
- Ginger is one of the best natural remedies which helps settle your stomach and relieve nausea. I used to swear by ginger-infused tea. But if you have a tendency of acidity, a teaspoon of ginger juice works well too. I know of a few people who could even just sniff it for relief.
- Fresh coconut water is like a magical potion. Full of essential minerals, it is also a quick fix for nausea and morning sickness.
- Citrus drinks like fresh lime juice with a pinch of salt/sugar is another effective remedy for morning sickness. Take sips of the mixture (do not gulp) and get instant relief.
- Sucking on a piece of ice is one of the most interesting ideas I picked up from a friend!
- And if you are too lazy to follow any other above mentioned natural remedies, try aromatherapy! Smelling mint, lemon, or orange may help alleviate nausea. You can also try placing a cotton ball or tissue infused with scented oil under your nose.
Yep, you guessed it – those hormones are probably to blame again. As with most pregnancy symptoms, pregnancy headaches usually result from hormonal changes and can be quite unnerving.
A few ways to manage and alleviate them naturally are:
- Try to rest when you can
- Stay hydrated
- Find ways to relax, like pregnancy yoga
- Cold compress the spot at the base of your neck
- Practice good posture to avoid muscle strain
3. Indigestion & Heartburn
Hormones and, later in pregnancy, your womb pressing on your stomach can sometimes leave you bloated, burpy, sick or with a nasty heart burning sensation.
There are some things you can do that may help relieve your symptoms:
- Avoid heartburn triggers like spicy foods, chocolate and fruit juice, especially in the evenings
- Try eating smaller meals more frequently
- Sit up straight when you’re eating to take the pressure off your stomach
- Finish eating about three hours before bedtime
- Try drinking milk when you get heartburn (and keep a glass handy in the night)
- Prop yourself up with pillows in bed
- Chewing gum also works as a quick relief from heartburn as it stimulates the saliva for an acid-neutralising effect
4. Leg Cramps In Pregnancy
This involuntary contraction of muscles at the back of the calf can literally jolt you out. And the worst fact is, leg cramps in pregnancy mostly occur at night. In the midst of a spasm, try massaging your calf and flexing your foot, lifting your toes up and pushing your heel out.
To prevent leg cramps, here are a few ways:
- Slowly flexing and releasing the feet several times before bed each night can help keep leg cramps at bay during pregnancy
- Try gently exercising your legs, ankles and feet during the day, like point your toes and flex your foot up and down vigorously 30 times. Repeat on the other side. Rotate your foot to make a circle, eight times on each foot.
- Avoid sitting or standing for long periods of time
- Drink lots of water through the day, of course in small sips and at regular intervals
Expanding pressure on pelvic muscles and swollen veins in the anus can often cause constipation during pregnancy.
A few natural remedies to fight this out are:
- Focus on fibre intake in your daily diet. Few sources of fibre are fruits and veggies, flaxseeds, prune juice, chia seeds, whole grains and beans
- Keep yourself hydrated
- Vitamin C increases the production of bile in the body. This, in turn, helps in treating constipation. Lime water with honey, oranges are a great source of vitamin C
- Yoghurt (dahi) is a rich source of probiotics that aid digestion by altering the microbiota in the bowels. This may help in treating constipation during pregnancy
6. Increased Breastmilk
Once the baby is out, the first and most important worry for a new mom is to ensure that baby gets enough milk. Breastfeeding is not only about feeding the baby; it also affects a new mom’s mental and emotional well being.
A few natural remedies/ways that help increase breastmilk that helped me are:
- Nurse often and on-demand: The best advice I got to boost milk supply as a new mom was to nurse my new baby as much as she wanted. Now is not the time to worry about schedules or routines. Your baby is building your milk supply in those first twelve weeks, so feel free to respond to his or her cues and nurse on demand. If you are pumping like I had to with my twins, aim for every 2-3 hours around the clock
- Use fennel seeds (saunf) and fenugreek (methi): These supplements provide natural lactation support that can quickly boost your milk supply. Add 1 teaspoon of fennel seeds to a cup of hot water. Cover the cup, let it steep for 5-10 minutes, and then strain the solution. Drink the tea twice daily for a month. Soak 1 tablespoon of fenugreek seeds in 1 cup of water overnight. In the morning, boil the soaked fenugreek seeds along with water for 5 minutes. Strain the solution, and drink this tea every morning to increase your breast milk supply. I found these herbs to be very powerful in quickly boosting my supply during stressful times, when I went back to work or when my baby’s demand went up
- Soak 5-6 almonds in a cup of water overnight. Eat soaked almonds along with lukewarm water in the morning. This is a very simple and effective way to increase breast milk supply
- Garlic is known for its lactogenic properties that help increase breast milk supply in mothers. Mince garlic cloves and add it to your dishes. You can also chew on a few garlic cloves
- Foxnuts/makhanas also enhance breastmilk production in a new mother’s body. I used to have roasted foxnuts with a pinch of salt mixed. Works as a great snack too!
- Stay hydrated and well-nourished: Caring for a new baby can be a lot of work, so it’s easy to overlook your own nutritional needs. If you want to build and maintain a good milk supply, it’s crucial to eat nutrient-dense foods and to hydrate constantly. I used to nurse with a big water bottle next to me.
7. Post-Pregnancy Hair fall
I think as a new mom I was prepared for most things in terms of body changes. I wonder how I was totally unaware of the mandatory hair fall that begins postpartum and ends almost never!
I could understand my body got bigger because there were 2 humans inside of it. My breasts got saggy because the milk had been coming in and out of them. Fine. But the hair is totally unrelated.
While postpartum shedding is a normal and expected process, as what I learnt later on, but the sad part is it comes at a time when women are already going through so much change (like lack of sleep and stress of handling a newborn baby).
After almost a month of such routine with I don’t know how many products and brands, the only thing that helped me was getting back to basics:
- Fenugreek (methi dana for hair) is great for treating hair loss during pregnancy. Soak a few fenugreek seeds in a bowl of water overnight. Apply this fenugreek water to the scalp and leave for a couple of hours. Shampoo your hair. Follow this remedy 2-3 times a week. Additionally, you can also grind the soaked fenugreek seeds into a paste, apply it on the roots and wash it off after 20 minutes. It does wonders for the hair.
- Massage your scalp with curd which acts as an excellent conditioner for the hair. It strengthens the hair follicles and helps them regain their lost sheen. Apply once or twice a week and leave for 15 minutes. Rinse & shampoo thoroughly. Also, the benefits of curd aren’t just restricted to hair; it has multiple skincare benefits too. Learn how to use curd for face here.
- Don’t skip the basic oil massage. Pick good quality organic hair oil like coconut, almond, castor, or olive oil to massage your hair as part of postpartum hair treatment. Use lukewarm oil to massage the scalp at least one to two times a week. Follow it up by wrapping a wet hot towel on your head for five minutes. Shampoo your hair, thereafter.
- Add eggs to your diet and hair care routine too. Use the white of two eggs and add some olive oil to it. Mix well, apply and leave for half an hour. Once dry, shampoo thoroughly with cool water.
- Keep hair tied in a loose bun instead of leaving them loose or tied too tightly.
- Trim! Trim! Trim! What better time to get a new look! Shorten your hair length by a few inches so that they are easier to style. Now that you are busy with the baby, a shorter hairstyle will be easy to manage and take care of.
8. Stubborn Belly Fat Post Delivery
Keeping this as the last amongst the priority of any new mum. As much as it is harrowing to see that loose belly and pregnancy weight stuck on you, it’s important to start worrying about this aspect only once your body has regained its strength.
Before you work on diet or exercise, some simple natural ways to work on that flabby tummy are:
- Excessive Breastfeed: Yes, it’s good for you; it’s good for your baby. Breastfeeding burns calories without any effort from your end and causes the uterus to contract and shrink. This way you don’t have to follow a strict diet and see the results without any efforts!
- Lime & Honey Water: In a glass of lukewarm water, add the juice of a lemon and a dash of honey. Mix it and drink the water every day on an empty stomach. This will help in detoxification and burn fat from the body
- Bottle Guard: Our very own lauki or bottle guard is an absolute blessing (no matter how much we despise the sabzi) in our journey to lose belly fat. It helps burn excess fat and inches you closer to having a flat belly. Drink a glass, everyday
- Corset/Belly Wraps: You don’t even need to invest in any fancy belt or tummy tucker. Simply take a soft cotton dupatta and tie it just below the tummy. This helps give support to the uterus while it goes back to its normal size. This was the first advice that my doctor had given and I started following it post 2 weeks of my C-section. See to it that the knot isn’t discomforting for you though.
It goes unsaid that mentioned conditions and their severity vary for every individual and these tips should not be treated as any medical advice. Please consult your doctor at any step where you feel things are to going right.
Happy Parenting 🙂