Even the smoothest-sailing pregnancy comes with its share of pregnancy aches and pains. Luckily, some of these discomforts will go away as your pregnancy progresses, while other aches and pains can be easily soothed. From back pain to varicose veins, read on to find out more about the most common aches and complaints you may have during your pregnancy, and how Chiro Family Practice can help you to make your life more comfortable.
You knew pregnancy was going to mean a lot of firsts — like feeling the incredible first flutter of the baby moving in your belly. But back pain that just will not go away? That might not have been quite the experience you had in mind when you first envisioned yourself with that pregnancy glow.
Did you experience following during or after pregnancy?
- joint aches,
- tension and inability to relax,
- acute & chronic backache, back pain,
Did you know that chiropractic care is non-invasive and the safest way to help you with the symptoms above?
The most common cause of back pain comes from the strain put on the joints of your lower back and pelvis as your baby gets heavier. As your weight shifts to the front of your body, you may try to maintain your balance by leaning backwards, which puts additional pressure on the back muscles and can result in pain, stiffness, and soreness. Your abdominal muscles also stretch and weaken over the course of your pregnancy, so you may find your back and spine do not get the support they need. Pregnancy hormones also contribute to pregnancy-related back pain by relaxing the connective tissue holding your bones in place, especially the ligaments in the joints of your pelvis, in preparation for birth.
The good news is you can take measures to reduce the pain, like maintaining good posture when you stand, sit, or move. You can also:
- wear flat shoes that distribute your weight evenly.
- invest in a firm mattress to support your back.
- lift from the knees instead of bending.
- sleep on your left side and place a pillow between your legs or under your tummy for extra support.
- Regular exercise may not give you immediate pain relief but strengthening your back muscles can help support your back and legs and ease your back pain in the long term.
- Start chiropractic care. Gentle adjustment of the spine will help to restore balance and feel you better.
While a majority of mothers-to-be experience some dull, throbbing aches in the middle of the back or the butt, some grapple with the searing pain of sciatica during pregnancy, a painful but fortunately temporary condition.
Unlike your average pregnancy back pain, sciatica is a sharp, shooting pain, tingling or numbness that starts in the back or buttocks and radiates all the way down the backs of your legs.
The sciatic nerve, the largest in the body, starts in the lower back, runs down the buttocks and branches down the back of the legs to the ankles and feet. In most cases, sciatica happens when this nerve gets compressed by bulging, slipped or ruptured discs, arthritis, or a narrowing of the spinal cord (also called spinal stenosis).
What causes sciatica during pregnancy?
You can blame sciatica during pregnancy on the usual suspects:
- Weight gain and increased fluid retention can put pressure on the sciatic nerve where it passes through the pelvis, compressing it.
- Your expanding uterus might also press down on the sciatic nerve in the lower part of your spine.
- Your growing belly and breasts shift your centre of gravity forward and stretch your lordotic curve (the dip just above your butt). This can cause the muscles in your buttocks and pelvic area to tighten up and pinch the sciatic nerve.
- Your baby’s head can rest directly on the nerve when he starts to settle into the proper birth position in the third trimester.
- A herniated or slipped disc caused by the extra pressure of your growing uterus can be the culprit, although this is less common.
What you need to know about sciatica during pregnancy
Sciatica will most likely occur during the third trimester when both you and your baby are bulking up (it can develop earlier, but it is not common). Most women typically experience pain just on one side, though you may feel it in both legs.
Sciatica can be constant or intermittent, depending on the amount of pressure placed on the nerve. Pain may increase as you put on more weight and retain more fluid. And it can stick around for a few months or so after you have given birth until you’ve shed the excess weight and fluid pressing on the nerve. If you are experiencing sciatica please remember to inform your midwife. Is good as well to search for chiropractic care in your local area.
Leg cramps are one of the most common body aches experienced around the second trimester of pregnancy and in the third trimester as well. These muscle contractions in the calf or foot often strike at night, and their cause may be due to changes in your circulation or from mineral deficiencies, like calcium, phosphorus, or magnesium. Later in your pregnancy, your enlarged uterus may press on your pelvic blood supply, which can cause a build-up of acid and result in involuntary contractions in your calf muscles.
However, you can help prevent leg cramping during pregnancy by:
- staying physically active,
- getting regular adjustments,
- getting plenty of fluids during the day.
- wearing comfortable shoes with support help.
If you find you’re waking up with leg cramps, stretch your muscles by flexing your foot upward, and then back down, to ease the discomfort. You can also have a warm bath or shower, or massage the muscles, and you will feel much better.
Tension and Inability to relax
I think almost every pregnant woman had it, you feel tired and exhausted but at the same time you cannot sleep comfortably, you have weird dreams, sleepless nights problems with finding the proper position to finally relax.
“Later in pregnancy, you may feel tired because of the extra weight you’re carrying. Make sure you get plenty of rest.”– this is advice that every midwife will give you.
And they are right but, easier said than do…. As your bump gets bigger, it can be difficult to get a good night’s sleep. You might find that lying down is uncomfortable or that you need to use the loo a lot. And during a night you are constantly in the move between bedroom, kitchen, and bathroom…
Many complementary therapies are safe to try in pregnancy, but it is worth a chat with your midwife to make sure that you find a qualified practitioner.
We at Chiro Family Practice use only gentle and non-invasive techniques, so you can make sure that you and your baby are safe and comfortable. See more about our technology and tools we use here.
Remember that chiropractic care treatment will not replace your regular antenatal check-ups throughout your pregnancy.