Pain and discomfort during pregnancy is common, in fact, half of you will experience pregnancy related pelvic girdle pain, quite apart from pain in the rest of your spine, neck and arms. Our aim is to give you an understanding of what changes are happening to your pregnant body, why they may be causing you pain and discomfort, what can be done to help alleviate the pain, and allow you to enjoy your pregnancy.
Simply by removing myofascial strain and working with your body’s natural healing systems, we find our pregnant patients are able to achieve more comfortable and enjoyable pregnancies. Pain and discomfort during pregnancy is just one more thing you don’t need to think about.
As your belly grows, your muscles and ligaments have to work a lot harder just to maintain upright posture. Your ligaments relax so that your pelvis is more supple for birthing your baby, but this means that your joints become more flexible and less stable, and often your body will compensate by guarding your muscles. With all this extra strain on the body, we find it takes less load to cause pain and discomfort. This can be frustrating when seemingly “normal” tasks can start to cause us pain.
So why is movement and balance so important during pregnancy?
Movement is Life. It is what allows all of your systems of your body – cardiac, urogenital, lymphatic, circulatory, spinal, respiratory, neurological- to function at their best. The body is a self-healing, self-regulating system, and it intrinsically ‘knows’ how to sustain and heal, just as it ‘knows’ how to grow a baby. However when the mechanics of your body are not moving effectively or efficiently, your body’s natural drainage system (your venous and lymphathic system) won’t be working as efficiently. This can lead to congestion , swelling, and inflammation stagnation in your tissues – this can lead to pain and discomfort.
Also, how you are moving or not moving will govern how well it works. When there is strain (an area that is contracted or spasmed and working harder than it should be) you will not be moving and functioning as best you can.
So what causes us to be unbalanced? Many things can contribute – our inherent asymmetry, old injuries leading to compensatory patterns, how we move or don’t move during the day, our nutrition, how we unconsciously load and hold our bodies. Add onto this the increased blood volume of pregnancy, the extra strain of increased weight, the forward shift in your centre of gravity, the spinal curves increasing and hormonal changes.
And what do we as chiropractors and osteopaths do? We aim to restore balance to your body by addressing those non optimal strain patterns, to encourage movement where you need it, and educate you on how you can move and rest to reduce strain, improve function of your body. The whole point being if you are moving well, with ease, your body can function at its best, you will have less pain and discomfort.
Common pregnancy complaints that we can help with include pelvic girdle pain, lower back pain, sciatic pain, pubic symphysis dysfunction, lymphedema, carpal tunnel syndrome, headaches, neck and back pain, jaw pain, rib pain, ligament pain, diastasis recti and post partum pelvic girdle pain, aberrant lie of the baby, and more. After the birth we can help with back and rib pain, restore the correct alignment of the pelvis and importantly, reduce the spasm in the pelvic floor. We help you get sleep when you need it.
Please head on over to our Instagram page @balancedbumps and follow us on Facebook for videos and tips on how to move, rest and sit during pregnancy, as well as information about different conditions we see during pregnancy, and what can be done to help. We are sure that in time, the information we share here will be a valuable and empowering resource for pregnant women.