Pregnancy is a time of tremendous change for the female body. Some of those changes can come with a bit of discomfort. There will be changes to your skin, breasts, muscles, uterus (a very large muscle), pelvis, digestive system, circulatory system, weight, genital area, and your sleep patterns, just to name a few. Women feel these aches and pains due to a hormone called relaxin which causes the ligaments to relax in preparation for delivery. There are several reliable places to find advice about how to remain healthy and as comfortable as possible.
In your Bump to Baby book, provided by your midwife or doctor, there are several pages that address collective concerns. On pages 5-6, you’ll find common areas of potential distress from gums to ankles. On page 7, you will find a succinct list of the Top Ten Pregnancy Comfort Tips:
1. To prevent indigestion, eat five to six smaller meals spaced evenly throughout the day.
2. Drink 8-10 glasses of water per day to prevent swelling, constipation and leg cramps.
3. Walk regularly to prevent hemorrhoids, control weight gains and relive backaches.
4. Drink warm milk (if you can tolerate milk proteins and lactose) and get gentle massages to help with sleeplessness.
5. Eat ginger, fresh lemons or dry crackers to help relieve nausea.
6. Use deep-breathing exercises and meditation to control headaches and promote relaxation.
7. Tuck a pillow between your legs while sleeping for added back support.
8. Wear a properly-sized bra or nursing bra to support enlarged breasts.
9. To prevent fatigue, get a full night’s sleep, do light exercise daily and nap as much as possible.
10. Massage and moisturize dry, stretched belly to lessen stretch marks and bond with baby.
It is common for women to struggle with neck, lower back or pelvic pain during pregnancy. One of the physical therapists from Lovelace’s Women’s Hospital Outpatient Clinic has put together some first-rate videos for expectant moms on:
· proper sleeping positions
· best posture for standing and sitting
· safe lifting
· helpful ways of moving into and out of the car and your bed
· proper form for walking
You may also benefit from a fitness course. Try prenatal yoga or take the Labor of Love Fit classes, which are designed with your specific needs during the pregnancy and postpartum periods. If you’ve tried the basics and find you need extra care, just ask your midwife or doctor for a referral to be seen at the Women’s Outpatient Clinic, then call 505.727.4610.
It is always important to care for yourself. Pregnancy is no exception. On pages 9-10 of your Bump to Baby book, is a list of 11 topics for self-care. Frequently asked questions about work, travel, baths, seat belts, rest, dental care, sex, tampons or douching, domestic violence, drug and alcohol use and smoking are addressed on these pages. We also have a feature blog on marijuana use during pregnancy. Lovelace Labor of Love is an excellent source if you need help for mental pains or depression as well. We can refer trustworthy community based programs for your needs. You may reach us at 505.727.7677 or email email@example.com
Blog submitted by Catherine Roth, Certified Community Health Worker for Lovelace Labor of Love, edited by Kristin Dawe Community Health Worker and Childbirth Educator for Lovelace Labor of Love.