Thursday, December 23, 2010

Pregnancy and Reflux!

This blog series is lovely isn't it?  Symptom after symptom of various ailments and discomforts that come with the joy of a new baby... only to then have your sleep interrupted and sanity stretched =)  Yet... people still opt to have kids!  Ha... we're on #3 and though a bit fearful of what's to come, actually excited.  I suppose I'm always one who rises to challenges.  Though having a nanny is huge and I don't know what I'd do without extra help.

So...  about gastroesophageal reflux or heart burn...

This can happen to folks who are not pregnant but it is a common symptom in pregnancy.  Starts in the 1st trimester and may very well last or even get worse as the belly gets bigger and more pressure is pushing on the stomach.  Usually, one notices discomfort like a burning sensation in the chest and a sour taste in the mouth though sometimes it is subtle and one may only experience bloating or belching.

Foods that can exacerbate heartburn include:
-  tomato based foods
-  caffeine
-  chocolate
-  mint
-  carbonated beverages
-  fatty foods
-  spicy foods
-  dairy

There are some meds that can exacerbate heartburn as well so make sure you talk to your doctor.

Things you can try to do for it include:
-  avoid those list of foods that exacerbate the symptoms
-  eat smaller meals more frequently
-  eat slower
-  drink less during meals
-  avoid bending or exercising right after eating
-  avoid lying down sooner than 2-3 hrs after eating
-  avoid tight fitting garments or belts around the waist
-  avoid smoking and alcohol (well if you're pregnant you shouldn't be anyway!)

If you need meds you should speak to your doctor.  Tums or maalox may help.  You may also be put on something like Zantac or Prilosec or even Reglan.

I'm glad that I actually don't get this symptom too badly though certain meals do trigger it.  I had indian buffet for lunch today which is a lot of food and a lot of creamy sauce... so probably was not the best idea.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

1st Trimester Fatigue

Alright so I find the first trimester the hardest time of pregnancy because of the onset of symptoms that can occur during this time.  Some folks get it real bad and others not so much... and lucky me I get to experience it all!

My previous blog focused on nausea.  I'll talk about fatigue next because that is usually the other huge give away!  I get soooo tired during this time.  During the day, it is hard to have energy to do the things I need to do.  Being at work and needing to interact with patients is one challenge but being home and chasing around a preschooler and toddler is another thing altogether!  I'm usually so spent that I have no desire/energy to do anything else at night after dinner except crash in my bed.  So my house is a complete mess and I'm so disorganized... which drives me nuts!

So how am I still up right now blogging?  Well,  I think I'm getting some energy back as I'm heading into my second trimester.  Noticed how I didn't blog at all in November?  Heh.  Most people will feel better by the second trimester... only to feel tired again by the third.

It is a challenge to feel so tired and needing sleep... but then having sleep interrupted at night from increased frequency of urination!  That of course is another common symptom in the first trimester.

So what to do about it?

-  may seem counter intuitive but exercise actually does help
-  small frequent meals with extra protein
-  eat healthy with lots of fruits and vegetables
-  decrease activities and cut out unnecessary activities that tire you out
-  get rest!  take a nap if you can
-  hang in there.. should improve in the 2nd trimester

Monday, December 20, 2010

1st Trimester Morning Sickness

I've been waiting for the word to get out before I started blogging about this topic... pregnancy!  Now folks can be radiant and happily pregnant or sick and miserable and then there is everything in between.  I figured I'd share some of my experiences as well as some lessons I've learned.  Here I am on baby #3, you would think that wisdom comes from experience?  Well, not always...

There is so much to talk about!  I'll start with "morning sickness" since this is usually my dead give-away at my work place.  Even though it is commonly called "morning sickness" nausea does not always or only occur in the mornings.  The medical term for this is hyperemesis gravidarum.  It can last all day!  Hide it as I may try, people usually grow suspicious when they hear me hurling in the bathroom.  I had it the worse with my first where I even lost weight during the 1st trimester.  It was somewhat improved with my second child where although I was pretty sick to the stomach, I did not actually vomit enough to lose weight.  With this third child, I actually experienced very little nausea and I think it is because I was training for a marathon and didn't even know I was pregnant until 3 weeks before my race!  Exercise is known to help with 1st trimester symptoms and I can now say first hand that it definitely helped my nausea!

Usually, nausea starts at around week 6 and lasts into the beginning of the second trimester.  Most people feel much better by week 14 or 15, however, there are some reports of unfortunate souls who have nausea the entire pregnancy.  Some folks have it so severely that they end up needing to go to the hospital for IV fluids.  The important thing is to stay hydrated.

So some things that may help with nausea include:
- eating small frequent meals especially foods that are high in protein and complex carbs
- having cheese or crackers by the bedside so you can eat before sleep and even before getting out of bed
- drink water water water!
- ginger (I can't eat this plain but they make ginger candy) and ginger ale helps
- switching to different prenatal vitamin or take different time of day (this definitely made me sick that I had to resort to gummy vitamins)
- supplement with vitamin B6 (I tried this... maybe it helped)
- sea bands (I bought them... I personally did not find it too helpful but maybe I was just too sick for anything to help)

If it is so bad that you are losing weight... then you may be prescribed something like zantac, phenergan, reglan or zofran.  You have to talk to your OB to see what is right for you.

So with this child, I actually experienced very little nausea/vomiting!  That is until last night but I think I caught a GI bug.  Getting sick while pregnant is a whole other topic... not fun.  I'll save it for another post.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Two Birthday Celebrations, a Marathon... and Thanksgiving =)

Long time no blog!  November was a crazy month for me and it just flew by.  One daughter turned three, the other daughter turned one... I ran 26.2 miles in between their birthdays and Thanksgiving was thrown in there as well!

Here is a sample of some things I'm thankful for this year:

-  a stimulating and rewarding job where the staff is like family
-  friends near and far to laugh and cry with
-  our church with its dynamic worship, insightful sermons, and a community to grow with and serve
-  willing grandparents sacrificing time and energy to babysit and help with household chores
-  two healthy daughters who make me smile all the time
-  a patient and supportive husband who ran 6+ miles with me during the Philly Marathon!
-  a loving and gracious God who gave me the most meaningful gift of all... His Son, Jesus... it is because of Him that I can have peace that transcends understanding, eternal hope in times of despair, and an ongoing dynamic and intimate relationship with my Father in heaven