5 Things I Know About Discomfort in Pregnancy
Written by Kate Rich of Tender Beginnings Birth Services
Pregnancy and pain: unfortunately sometimes it feels like the two go hand-in-hand. From the nausea and fatigue of the first trimester, to the heartburn, breathlessness, and just general aches and pains of the third trimester, you might experience some discomfort at some point in your pregnancy.
As doulas, we are focused on your comfort, and that is not just during labor! Remember that we are there for you throughout your pregnancy, and there is no better person to call than your doula when you are in need of some trusted advice and tips.
Here we share five common pregnancy complaints, and our tips for finding relief:
- Nausea: Often times this is caused by hormonal shifts that are normal part of your pregnancy. Pregnancy nausea can be compounded by not eating often enough throughout the day, or not staying hydrated, which is especially tough in the heat of summer! Make sure to talk to your doctor or midwife, but sometimes relief can be found by simply eating a protein paired with a complex carb and a big glass of water. Many women also swear by eating things with ginger or lemon, or they have success wearing a motion sickness band like “Sea Bands.” If the nausea is really bad, though, definitely ask your doctor about prescription options for keeping the nausea at bay. There are options, such as Diclegis or Zofran, and it is important for you and your baby to get adequate nutrition and water during your pregnancy.
- Heartburn: Thank you again, hormones. Progesterone surges in pregnancy cause a relaxation of the muscles in the esophagus, which gets compounded by the uterus squishing the stomach up closer to the esophagus as time goes on and your baby grows! Aside from talking to your doctor or midwife about antacids, eating smaller, more frequent meals can help, and try to take a gentle walk or do something else upright for at least 30 minutes after.
- Pelvic pain: This is one of those things that many women see as unavoidable during pregnancy, but there are things you can do to help your aching hips and back! Try doing some gentle, healthcare provider approved stretches such as the cat-cow yoga stretch. Some women also love to wear a pregnancy support belt during later pregnancy, or even create one out of a babywearing wrap. If things get really bad, get a referral from your doctor or midwife to see a Women’s Health Physical Therapist for an assessment, and relief.
- Leg cramps: There are a few reasons this might happen in pregnancy, including restricted blood flow and compressed nerves, or even a possible dietary deficiency. When it happens, stand up and flex the your foot up, pointing the heel out while rubbing the muscles with your hand to relieve the tension. If it is happening frequently, check your diet with your healthcare provider for adequate calcium, potassium, and magnesium intake.
- Hemorrhoids: Pregnancy is oh-so-glamorous sometimes, right? Hemorrhoids might not be avoidable as your baby grows and pressure builds up down there, however a warm sitz bath can feel nice. For a more folksy home remedy, try putting grated raw potato on the hemorrhoids. Sounds crazy, but it works to bring cooling, soothing relief, and helps to reduce any swelling!
What are some of your pregnancy aches and complaints, and what remedies and relief did you find? We would love to hear about it!
Kate Rich is a Certified Labor Doula and Childbirth Educator, and the owner of Tender Beginnings Birth Services located in Ohio.