For some women pregnancy is a fairly easy time, for others it is one ache, pain and niggle after another.
In the early days of pregnancy, the first niggles can be morning sickness, which can range from mildly irritating to completely debilitating.
Ways to handle this can include:
- eating well, which can also mean identifying if any food makes it worse. Some women also find that eating little and often helps too
- drinking plenty of fluids, even ice chips will help
- resting as much as you can
- reflexology may help but make sure you see an experienced pregnancy practitioner
- trying sickness bands as they work with acupressure points on the wrist
- ginger and peppermint
- focusing on your breathing to relax as this may ease some of the symptoms or to just help you handle the nausea
“I had daily sickness in my third pregnancy – to the point where I used to be sick on the morning nursery/school run. I had to eat plain food and I drank plenty of water – although too much would also make me sick! This lasted until I was about 17 weeks when it just disappeared.”
Pelvic Girdle Pain
Once called Symphysis Pubic Dysfunction (SPD), Pelvic Girdle Pain (PGP) can start in early pregnancy while other women may not begin to experience symptoms until the last few weeks of pregnancy. It used to be just put down to one of those things but it can be miserable because it can affect mobility and it can be painful and there are some things you can try to alleviate it.
Your midwife will probably refer you to a physio but it is also worth seeking some help from a chiropractor as well.
Why does this happen?
In pregnancy, you produce relaxin to soften your ligaments, which is needed to help you birth your baby. Sometimes these joints become lose or unbalanced which can cause pain and difficulty walking and it can affect your lower back and/or your pubic bone.
How can you help yourself?
- To ease the pressure on the pelvis, simple things like sleeping with a cushion between your knees can help, as can getting dressed sitting down rather than balancing on one leg. It can also help to ditch the shopping trolley and get someone else to push it for you or shop online as this can put strain on your pelvic joints.
- Listen to your body, stop and rest when you need to
- Pregnancy yoga and pilates, as well as seeing a chiropractor, may help to strengthen the stability of the pelvis to ease any discomfort and aid mobility
- Using a birth ball rather than curling up and slumping on the couch may also help to ease the pressure on the pelvis.
- A pregnancy massage can also help alleviate discomfort
“I was in pain and on crutches from about 34 weeks. With my next baby, I started to get symptoms from about 8-8 weeks, so I saw a chiropractor regularly throughout my pregnancy to put me back together again every time I was in pain or found walking difficult – it helped every time and I stayed mobile throughout my pregnancy.”
For more information, head to The Pelvic Partnership
This is normal for most pregnant women, especially in the first and third trimesters, but there are a few things you can do to boost your energy levels and take care of yourself:
- Listen to your body – slow down and rest when your body is demanding that of you
- Eat well and drink plenty of fluids
- Exercise will also boost your energy – go for a walk, have a swim, there’s pregnancy aerobics, aquanatal, pregnancy yoga and pregnancy pilates to help you gently exercise
- Pregnancy massage and reflexology can also help you to feel re-energised
“It was tiredness like nothing else. Waking up as tired as I went to bed and some painful days at work just wanted to sleep. I even used to sneak off to the loo to close my eyes for five minutes.”
Many women experience these throughout pregnancy. It can be useful to
- Eat well – you may need to eat little and often – and stay hydrated
- If you are getting a lot of headaches it can be useful to make a note of when they happen to see if they are linked to particular foods/activities
- See if your midwife if you are concerned about them, especially if you also experience blurred vision, sudden swelling, vomiting or pain in your bump
- Pregnancy massage and reflexology can help to alleviate headaches
“I had headaches throughout my second pregnancy, which was hard to manage at times as I didn’t want to take any medication. I put it down to tiredness as I had a toddler who didn’t sleep well and I was at work full time – I didn’t really seem to get any at the weekend. All I could do was rest when I could, drink plenty of water, eat as well as possible and I used my breathing to get rid of any tension, which did help.”
In the last few weeks of pregnancy, a lot of us will experience some oedema in the ankles, hands and face thanks to water retention and the more pressure on our veins. This can be pretty uncomfortable and it tends to get worse throughout the day, especially if we are on our feet a lot: so here’s a few ways to deal with it:
- Eat well and stay hydrated – avoid a lot of processed food and salt
- Pregnancy massage and reflexology
- Yoga and pilates can also help to balance our body
If you are ever unsure about any swelling, get checked out especially if it is sudden, painful or across your body as it can be a sign of pre-eclampsia.
“I had three summer pregnancies and I ended up only being able to wear flipflops at the end of each of them because nothing else would fit or was comfortable. My feet would be fine first thing but by the afternoon they would be like balloons. Cold water helped!”
In short, look after yourself and listen to your body – provide your body with good fuel, plenty of water and rest. If you are ever in need of reassurance about something new happening in your body – get it checked out, you are never wasting anyone’s time. Some tiredness and discomfort in pregnancy is normal and to be expected but there may be something you can do to be more comfortable.