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Natural Relief for the Common Discomforts of Pregnancy

Natural Relief for the Common Discomforts of Pregnancy

Before this column delves into the conditions that affect children and how chiropractic and other natural healing methods can enhance their well being, I think we should give some special attention to the ones who make it all happen, the pregnant moms. Over the next couple of months I intend to discuss how to address some of the more common discomforts that this unique population may have to deal with. Much of the information I will share here comes from the booklet by Carl Jones of the same title. It is published as part of the Keats Good Health Guide, The Women’s Self-Care Library.

Pregnancy, though a wonderful experience comparable to no other (from what I hear), can take a toll on the mom-to-be. During pregnancy women are more likely to experience a myriad of symptoms occurring throughout the 40 weeks they carry their developing infant. Some occur early and last a short time, others occur late and last what seems like forever. First, let’s cover some of the basics. Pay close attention to these recommendations and minimize the effects of many of the other common discomforts.

Standing, Sitting and Lying Down Comfortably
• Standing – “Think Tall and Proud”. Tilt your pelvis back to prevent your heavy uterus from angling forward and putting excess stretch on the abdominal muscles as well as compressing the lumbar region in an exaggerated curvature. Tighten your belly and tuck in your buttocks. Think of carrying your baby in the pelvis and not in front of you.
• Sitting – Try to sit with your back straight and your pelvis square with your shoulders. Always maintain some curvature in the lumbar spine. This will often require using a support cushion or small pillow behind you when you sit. It should press into the small of your back and provide a lifting sensation. When arising, slide to the edge of the chair, lean forward and lift yourself to a standing position using your legs. Taylor sitting allows the uterus to lean away from the spine and can relieve pressure on the back.
• Lying Down – Your options include choices from 3 primary positions.
o Supine (flat on your back) – place a pillow under your knees to flatten your back and try to raise your feet above the level of your heart to increase circulation and prevent varicose veins and swelling.
o Semi-reclining – Use pillows to raise your head and shoulders to about a 30 degree angle. Place pillows under your knees/thighs for comfort.
o Side-lying – Support you head with a pillow that keeps your neck in line with the rest of your spine. Slightly bend your knees and keep them together with a pillow between them. Use a pillow under your belly to prevent forward rotation of the pelvis and a strain on your back.

Lower Backache
One of the most frequent complaints I see in my practice, whether pregnant or not, this is most often contributed to by an increase in the lower back curvature (lordosis) and/or the action of a hormone called relaxin. Relaxin is produce during pregnancy to do just what its name implies ? relax the ligaments of the pelvis to allow opening of the pelvic outlet during delivery. The symphysis pubis or pubic bone normally has a one centimeter gap. During delivery that gap will open up to four centimeters or more! Due to the excess motion in all of the joints, through the action of this hormone, the spinal joints can become compressed contributing to pain and inflammation. In some cases, a nerve can even become compressed by the resulting pressure on the spinal joints.
? Remain in your best physical condition prior to pregnancy.
? Observe healthy postures as outlined above.
? Avoid excessive strain and fatigue.
? Maintain good posture.
? Observe good mechanics while lifting.
? Avoid high heeled shoes.
? Chiropractic care and massage therapy.
? Try hot packs to promote circulation to sore muscles, but use 20 minutes of ice when the pain is directly over a spinal or pelvic joint.
? Exercises ? Exercise in general can be very beneficial for many of the discomforts I will discuss. If you have been exercising prior to your pregnancy, keep it up! If you want to start, consult your primary care provider and follow their recommendations. These simple exercises can be done at home to specifically address the complaint of lower backache: pelvic rock, squatting and abdominal strengthening.
? Natural Remedies ? Arnica or other homeopathic remedies. Topricin is a topical homeopathic cream used to treat muscle and joint pain and inflammation. It is safe to use during pregnancy and can be purchased in only 2 locations in our valley ? my office and Sprouts Natural Market.
Over the next few months I will discuss more of these types of pregnancy related discomforts in the same manner as outlined above. I will describe the condition and make recommendations on the prevention as well as the relief of the condition.

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