NCTV Episode 43
Continuing with the series of bitesize health tip videos which can be found here on my YouTube Channel, this episode, includes:-
- Why certain aches and pains occur
- Common complaints
- How to ease or prevent body aches during pregnancy
- When to see a doctor
- Alternative therapies and self help tips
If you’d prefer to read the content within, rather than watch the video, then feel free to read the transcript, as follows:-
Hello and welcome to NCTV Episode 43 and this one is about pregnancy related pains and what you can do to either prevent or manage them.
So where to start, I appreciate this is a vast topic so the first thing to say on the matter is that body aches in pregnancy are usually a completely normal reaction to the changes your body is going through.
Why do they occur? Well the two main reasons are 1) because of those body changes meaning the weight of your bump is putting excess pressure on your muscles and skeleton.
and 2) because of your hormones. As these amp up, they start to relax your ligaments which changes your posture and centre of gravity to accommodate the growing foetus, while at the same time causing weakening of the abdominal walls and increasing the strain on the muscles which results in a combination of body aches and pains.
When it comes to body aches in pregnancy, the most common complaints are definitely back and pelvic pain, with figures suggesting it can affect up to 80% percent of pregnant women.
Other areas and joints that can be affected are the legs, feet, hands and head. As weight gain or swelling from fluid retention occurs, this puts pressure on your joints and nerves.
Symptoms vary from person to person and may be dependent on their activity level. Pregnancy body aches may be worse at the end of the day in a very active mum-to-be who has fatigued muscles, or may be worsened by certain positions, like moving from a sitting to standing position, sitting in an uncomfortable chair or being stationary for prolonged periods. Aches and pains can occur at any point in pregnancy, but they’re often most bothersome during the third trimester, since baby is bigger at that stage of pregnancy.
So how to ease or prevent the body aches during pregnancy? The BEST way is to stay active and keep your pregnancy weight gain in check. It’s recommended that women of normal BMI gain between 25 and 35 pounds or 11-16kg in total. But even if you are already suffering from discomfort, moderate exercise like walking has been shown to help reduce pregnancy related back pain. Other great activities you can do to help reduce your aches, improve your mood, circulation and sleep as well as help control your weight are swimming, Pilates and yoga. And whilst on the topic, it’s a great idea to strengthen your pelvic floor through Kegel exercises to help support your bladder, bowels and uterus. The way to do that is by contracting the muscles you would use to stop the flow of urine, then holding this for a count of three and relax, ten times, two or three times a day.
Whilst body aches in pregnancy are considered to be normal, it’s still a good idea to talk to either your doctor or midwife about them at your next appointment as it’s better to be safe than sorry, especially when pregnancy is concerned. If for example, the aches are really severe, restrict your movement or include swelling or redness in your legs these could be signs of a possible blood clot so the sooner you get it checked out the better.
It’s also worth noting that pregnancy aches and pains usually affect a particular region in the body instead of all over, and they’re not typically associated with other symptoms like fever, chills or a cough so if you have any of those, you might be suffering from a cold or flu in which case, give your doctor a call about that too.
Coming back to back pain now and some of the measures you can take to help reduce pain is to maintain good posture when you sit, stand or move. This can be assisted by wearing flat shoes to distribute your weight evenly, invest in a firm mattress to support your back, lift from your knees instead of bending and sleep on your left side, putting a pillow between your legs or under your tummy too can also provide extra support.
When it comes to treatment of aches and pains in the muscles and joints during pregnancy, whilst biased I know, it would be amiss of me not to mention osteopathy of course for gentle hands-on relief to enable a more comfortable pregnancy as your body adapts to the changes. Other alternative therapies people tend to find work well are physiotherapy, acupuncture, massage, chiropractic and reflexology to name a few.
Aside from exercise and alternative therapies, one of the best forms of self-help that you can do is in the form rest and relaxation, which can be easily overlooked and underutilised in this day and age when everything is go go go. You can achieve this with stretching, deep breathing, listening to music, having a warm bath, reading or even sleeping. This is just as important as exercise and it will help to reduce stress, anxiety, tiredness and fatigue as well as helping to reduce muscular aches and blood pressure.
If you found this useful or know of anyone who is currently pregnant and may benefit from this advice, feel free to share this video with them and if you’d like anymore information, I’ve written a couple of pregnancy related blogs on my website entitled “Ten Tips To Keeping Healthy Whilst Pregnant” and “Osteopathy & Pregnancy”.
That’s all for now, see you next time for some more bitesize bits to help your health flourish. Bye Bye