Pregnancy Aches and Pains: What Can You Do About Them?
A friend told me, “I just found out I’m pregnant’ yet she felt like she’d aged 20 years! This is very common with the many changes your body is undergoing right now, but fear not! There are some things you can do to seek relief:
Working out while pregnant
Even though your instinct may be to lay low, this is the exact opposite of what your body needs. It is important to clear it with your doctor, but some moderate exercise is typically a good way to pump inflammation out of the joints and keep your muscles from tightening up. If waking or running while pregnant is too sore to do, try a gentle pregnant yoga class or swimming to get some movement in these joints without having to be weight bearing. Certainly the goal is not losing weight during pregnancy, but instead keeping your joints and muscles relaxed.
It is important to clear it with your doctor, but some moderate exercise is typically a good way to pump inflammation out of the joints and keep your muscles from tightening up.
I’m sure it’s no surprise that stretching is on this list with all of this muscle-tightening going on. Muscle tightening is one of the most common symptoms of early pregnancy. Again, if you’ve cleared it with your doctor, a prenatal yoga class is a great place to start. The instructor can give you recommendations based on your stage of pregnancy and any specific areas of discomfort that you have. Additionally, your pregnancy chiropractor can give you stretches specific to your unique pelvic and spinal adaptations.
During pregnancy when the demands on your pelvic floor are higher you can use your breath to strengthen your pelvis
Proper breathing is always important, but during pregnancy when the demands on your pelvic floor are higher you can use your breath to strengthen your pelvis. Put one hand on the top part of your belly and try the following: on inhalation, you should feel your belly expand out under your hand. Then exhale, feel your belly come back in and tighten and lift your pelvic floor muscles (try to imagine the contraction you would do to stop the flow of urine). You may also feel your lower abdominal muscles tighten, but the upper belly should still be relaxed. Hold this for 5 seconds and then relax the pelvic floor muscles completely as you take another breath in. This can take some time to get the hang of, but with practice you will feel your pelvic floor getting stronger.
Since your joints are moving very easily during pregnancy, very low-force and gentle adjustments can have big impact in removing these stresses in your body.
Spinal Check Up
With all of these major changes going on in your body, it is very likely that you have accumulated some misalignments in the joints of your spine and pelvis. A pregnancy chiropractor can do a check up to see if this is the case and if so, she can help to restore balance to these areas through gentle adjustments. Since your joints are moving very easily during pregnancy, very low-force and gentle adjustments can have big impact in removing these stresses in your body. As all chiropractors are not trained in pregnancy care, be sure to find someone that is experienced and well trained to help you in this phase of your life.
You may also find that some of these changes remain following pregnancy. This is also a good time for a trip to your chiropractor. She can assess you for any imbalances that may have occurred during the pregnancy or delivery.
Jennifer is a family chiropractor and co-owner of Thrive Natural Family Health. Her experience and additional training lies predominantly in the fields of pregnancy and pediatric care as well as cranial adjusting.