Month five

Quick fix those nig­gles

Your Pregnancy - - Contents - YP

BACK­ACHE

The changes in your body dur­ing preg­nancy cause a shift in the cen­tre of grav­ity that af­fects your pos­ture. The ex­pand­ing belly pulls the ab­domen for­ward and the ab­dom­i­nal mus­cles elon­gate and stretch up to 20cm to ac­com­mo­date the ex­pand­ing uterus. The back ends up pick­ing up the slack. A weak pelvic floor and tight ham­strings also con­trib­utes to back­ache.

QUICK FIX

• Be­come aware of your pos­ture. When stand­ing or walk­ing, your chin should be pulled back, your shoul­ders and ribcage should be lifted up and back. When stand­ing, try to tuck your bot­tom in so that you feel your tummy mus­cles work­ing to sup­port your spine. • Al­ways bend your knees into a squat po­si­tion and keep your back straight when lift­ing. Bring items close to your body if you are pick­ing any­thing up from the floor. • If in pain, a warm com­press like a buck­wheat pil­low or hot wa­ter bot­tle ap­plied to the af­fected area will in­crease cir­cu­la­tion and re­lease the spasm, speed­ing up heal­ing and the feel­ing of re­lax­ation. • Take fre­quent breaks. When work­ing, oc­ca­sion­ally rest your head on your desk and stretch the back of your neck. • Mod­er­ate, reg­u­lar and gen­tle ex­er­cise will strengthen all the pos­tu­ral mus­cle of the body. • Wear a sup­port­ive bra that fits prop­erly. • Wear low-heeled shoes. • Mas­sage is known to re­lease en­dor­phins – the body’s nat­u­ral painkillers. Ask your part­ner to mas­sage your back while you sit on a stool or a chair, or lie on your side on a bed. Use a veg­etable oil that will keep the skin sup­ple and soft. Keep a small pil­low or rolled up towel in the car to place in the small of your back when driv­ing. • Warm baths with safe aro­mather­apy oils or vig­or­ous wa­ter show­ers will do much to lift sag­ging spir­its as well as sag­ging backs.

PAIN IN THE AB­DOMEN

Round lig­a­ment strain is felt as a sharp pain low on one or both sides of the ab­domen or in the groin, last­ing less than two min­utes. It’s ex­tremely painful and can bring you to tears. It is usu­ally felt in the first and third trimester, it is due to spasm of the round lig­a­ment hold­ing the uterus in place within the pelvis.

QUICK FIX

• When pain strikes be sure to breathe deeply and slowly through your nose and bend to­wards the pain. • Two tablets of mag phos (tis­sue salt no.8) un­der the tongue three times a day may help al­le­vi­ate this spasm. • Avoid sud­den move­ments or changes in di­rec­tion.

PELVIC PAIN

One of the most com­mon com­plaints of preg­nancy is pu­bic bone pain. For some women it is slightly un­com­fort­able, and for oth­ers even slow walk­ing is dif­fi­cult. The pelvis has a joint in the front that is sup­ported and held to­gether by strong lig­a­ments. Dur­ing preg­nancy, un­der in­flu­ences of the preg­nancy hor­mones, the lig­a­ments soften and slacken, caus­ing the joint to be­come less sta­ble in or­der for the pelvis to widen dur­ing birth so that the baby can pass through. Pain is usu­ally felt low down over the sym­ph­ysis pu­bis joint, which be­comes very sen­si­tive and ten­der. Pain is of­ten felt in the hips, lower ab­domen and groin. It’s of­ten worse on ris­ing from bed, or from the floor, when get­ting in and out of a car and in some women, sim­ply walk­ing is al­most un­bear­able.

QUICK FIX

There’s no quick fix dur­ing preg­nancy and things will im­prove grad­u­ally af­ter­wards, but there are a few things you can do to de­crease the amount of dis­com­fort you may feel. •Avoid walk­ing long dis­tances and stand­ing for long pe­ri­ods of time. • Sit on a high stool to take the weight off your pelvis if you are a teacher or hairdresser. Do not cross your legs, and keep your knees to­gether when get­ting out of bed or the car. Try putting a piece of plas­tic on the seat so that you can eas­ily swivel your legs out of the car. • You may have to pur­chase a sup­port belt. • Phys­io­ther­apy will give some re­lief for a short time and it’s worth go­ing for a few ses­sions when you are re­ally hurt­ing. • Put your feet up when­ever you can.

HEADACHES

Preg­nancy may curb your headaches or ex­ac­er­bate them. If you are a headache suf­ferer, then you most likely al­ready have your own way of deal­ing with them. Although hor­mones play a role in headaches, they are not the only fac­tors re­spon­si­ble. Many are food re­lated, while most are stress re­lated. Your work or your en­vi­ron­ment may cause stress or a phys­i­cal prob­lem such as tired, sore shoul­ders or back strain. Bad pos­ture is a big cul­prit. Eye strain and ear strain (loud or con­stant noise) can also bring on a headache, as can lack of sleep or con­stant worry.

QUICK FIX

• Ex­er­cise that in­volves stretch­ing is very ben­e­fi­cial. • Take time out to pam­per your­self and en­joy your preg­nancy. Lis­ten to mu­sic that makes you feel good. • Check your mat­tress and your pil­low. Is your pil­low at the cor­rect height to sup­port your neck prop­erly? • Ex­am­ine any phys­i­cal sources of stress and strain caus­ing mus­cu­lar ten­sion. For ex­am­ple, when you are driv­ing, place a small sup­port pil­low in the small of your back and do not drop your shoul­ders too low or lift them too high (close to your ears). Re­mem­ber to un­clench your jaw. That can cause ma­jor ten­sion of the face and neck as well. • Mas­sage is a won­der­ful stress re­liever. The touch of a loved one pro­vides much com­fort and warmth, and that alone can make a dif­fer­ence to how you are feel­ing. • A warm (not hot) bath with a lit­tle aro­mather­apy oil – a few drops of pep­per­mint, neroli, chamomile, rose­mary or grape­fruit oil in the wa­ter – may ease your throb­bing head and aching body.

SORE OR NUMB WRISTS

Dur­ing the lat­ter part of your preg­nancy you may be­come aware of a strange numb­ness or tin­gling sen­sa­tion in your fin­gers. This con­di­tion, which is some­times ac­com­pa­nied by stiff­ness in the fin­ger joints, is called carpal tun­nel syn­drome (CTS). Dur­ing preg­nancy, in­creased pres­sure within the carpal tun­nel fluid (due to the preg­nancy hor­mones caus­ing fluid re­ten­tion) can cause the feel­ings of numb­ness and dis­com­fort or pain. It’s usu­ally worst in the morn­ing af­ter your arms have been in­ac­tive dur­ing your sleep­ing hours. If you have been sleep­ing on your arm it may feel com­pletely life­less.

QUICK FIX

• Try not to lie on the af­fected arm or hand while sleep­ing. • Raise the af­fected hand above your head for a few min­utes while you wig­gle your fin­gers and slowly ro­tate your wrist. • Don’t carry heavy parcels and avoid ex­treme flex­ing and ex­ten­sion of the wrist. • Mas­sage the fin­gers with ar­nica oil to re­lieve stiff­ness and im­prove cir­cu­la­tion. • An ice mas­sage on the wrist may also help. • Your wrist may need to be splinted for part of the day or night. • Di­uret­ics may be pre­scribed if the pain is un­bear­able. • In­creased cal­cium in­take may help • Move fin­gers vig­or­ously in luke warm wa­ter first thing in the morn­ing.

CRAMPS

Cramps usu­ally af­fect the legs, feet and toes, and of­ten strike dur­ing the night. Lack of mag­ne­sium and poor blood sup­ply to the af­fected area may be a cause for this un­com­fort­able, some­times painful com­plaint. It is usu­ally worse on wak­ing.

QUICK FIX

• Pull your toes to­wards your an­kle (flex your foot) to re­lieve a cramp in your calf. • Ask your part­ner to gently rub the af­fected mus­cle, but not while cramp­ing. • Ex­er­cise – walk­ing helps cir­cu­la­tion. • Cal­cium and mag­ne­sium sup­ple­ments may help; ex­plore home­o­pathic op­tions. Ba­nanas are the best nat­u­ral source of mag­ne­sium. • Soak­ing in a warm bath with a quar­ter of a tea­spoon of ar­nica oil in it be­fore bed­time may pre­vent an at­tack.

ALTHOUGH HOR­MONES PLAY A ROLE IN HEADACHES, THEY ARE NOT THE ONLY FAC­TORS RE­SPON­SI­BLE

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