Pain During Pregnancy

Pain During Pregnancy

Is it normal? Yes, there are some pains during pregnancy that are inevitable like the pain of your stomach stretching, or the baby kicking, Braxton Hicks contractions, true labor contractions, etc.?There are other types of pain to consider as well like muscle tightness, back pain, butt pain or pain in your legs.

You might be thinking that since your mom or a girlfriend experienced this, that you probably will too.?Or you had this type of pain during a prior pregnancy and therefore it must be normal, right?? The answer to that is simply, ?no?.?It may be common, but it is not normal or something you have to suffer through.

During pregnancy your body is producing a hormone called Relaxin, which is necessary to allow your belly to stretch and for the pelvis floor to open up and allow for delivery.?Unfortunately this relaxation of the ligaments decreases your stability. With less ligamentous control it is that much more important to have good muscular control.

For example, many women report a drop in the medial arch of their foot which actually causes the foot to elongate during pregnancy. The difference is not going to be the amount of weight they gained, but the strength of the intrinsic muscles of the foot to prevent the elongation when the ligaments are no longer supporting the arch as it normally would.

You must be asking yourself then, is exercise bad during pregnancy? There are a few cautions in regards to exercising:

  1. Do not do rapid rotational moves (common in aerobics classes)
  2. Do not rapidly increase your level of exercise.
  3. Avoid activities which might lead to direct trauma to the stomach.

You can slowly and gently increase the level of activity, but the demands of the baby on your body?s oxygen levels mean that any rapid changes in activity levels are not safe.?With the cautions out of the way, there is some research to say that exercise could help make labor shorter (if you are stronger and have better endurance you can push harder when the time comes).?Exercise can help reduce gestational diabetes, preeclampsia, helps control weight gain, and increase energy levels as well.?Your body is a demand system it only produces as much as is demanded.? If you normally have a certain level of oxygen circulating in your blood and the baby takes some of that from you, it is easily understandable why you might feel fatigued. The answer is not to sleep more, although that is not a bad idea, but ? to place a light load on your body through exercise over a period of time. Then your body will produce more oxygen and you will not feel as tired.

As pregnant patients bodies develop there are multiple weight shifts which can cause muscles to tighten as different stresses are put upon the body.?Stretching is also complicated by the relaxin;?it can cause tearing of tissues if it is not performed gently.?Therefore proper technique becomes important.

You may also be wondering what Chiropractic and Physical Therapy has to do with this and how that can help.? Doctors of both Chiropractic and Physical Therapy are trained in diagnosing the cause of your pain.?They then treat the problem by ensuring there is proper motion of your joints, stabilizing the area with targeted therapeutic exercise, reducing muscle tension through deep tissue massage, teaching proper stretching techniques, and providing advice on ergonomics and activities of daily living. This type of care can help you minimize the musculoskeletal effects of pregnancy and enjoy safe, medication-free pain relief.

Piriformis Stretch
Quad Stretch

All of this information is based on general pregnancy information.? Your obstetrician knows the specifics of your pregnancy and their recommendations always supersede this information.

?I had near crippling sciatica from my pregnancy and he “fixed” me in under a month, my back/spine/hips feel better now than they have in years– not typical for pregnancy! I am so glad/grateful that my OB recommended him.?

Dr. Martin Donnelly, DC
Clinic Director of Sport and Spine Rehab of Fairfax

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