Aches and Pains during Pregnancy – and how to cope
Indeed, aches and pains are part and parcel of being pregnant, and I’m sure you’ve had friends who will tell you horror stories of their discomfort. However, not everyone is the same, and it certainly isn’t a given that you will experience discomfort. Common areas of discomfort include; ·
- Lower back pain
- Pelvic girdle pain – either at the front of your pelvis, groin or lower back/buttock region
- Your middle back, or thoracic spine
- Chest wall pain
- Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
- Leg Cramps
For the most part, these aches and pains are caused by the changing shape of your body and the way it needs to accommodate the growing baby. As your belly grows, your normal spine curves tend to increase or become more pronounced to accommodate the weight shift. This can cause all sorts of stiffness, muscle overactivity and pain which can all be treated by a physiotherapist.
Carpal tunnel syndrome is characterised by pins and needles/ numbness in your hands as is largely due to the increased fluid circulating in your body. Your physiotherapist will be able to advise you on an appropriate brace that can greatly assist in symptoms reduction and resolution.
Constipation is a common problem during pregnancy, affecting around 50% of all women. The high levels of Progesterone circulating in your blood stream when you’re pregnant slow down your digestive tract. This causes greater water re-absorption and thus your stool becomes firmer. Iron supplements can make constipation worse, so it is important to keep your fluids up, have a high fibre diet and keep up with regular exercise to encourage good gut motility. High fibre foods include green leafy vegetables, grains, legumes and fruit. If you are still struggling with your stool consistency, adding a teaspoon of Psyllium husk to your cereal or juice in the morning can be of great benefit. If you are wanting to use a fibre supplement, best speak to your Pharmacist/GP as some are not appropriate for pregnant women, and they will be able to advise you on the correct product.
Importantly, don’t try and put up with any of your aches and pains. As with most pain, the sooner you address the issue, the sooner it can be resolved. Physiotherapy treatment will assist in reducing any muscle tightness, strengthening appropriate muscles and advising you of the right exercises to keep yourself pain free. Participating in a regular exercise can be a great way to keep fit, pain free and make your pregnancy journey an enjoyable one.
Being pregnant will be an experience like no other. Your body will change shape and in ways you didn’t think possible. It is an exciting journey that you are on and it can be overwhelming with so much information out there. Our best advice is to eat well and hydrate well, exercise regularly and always get your aches and pains assessed by a health professional who will be able to advise you on the appropriate management.
Written by Brooke Williams - Bachelor of Physiotherapy, Post Grad Cert (Continence & Pelvic Floor Physiotherapy) APAM | Director & Principal
Back In Motion on Collins Street (Melbourne) 9602 3332
Free assessments available so if you have any questions for Brooke definitely take advantage of this offer!