5 Things to Help Ease Pregnancy Aches
As I sit here enjoying the rare cool summer North Carolina day, I reminisce on how challenging my pregnancy has been so far. My first trimester happened during the worst allergy season in recent history. Then my second and part of my third happened during a hot and humid summer. This did not make things easy for me. I battled through being unable to breathe for months on end, followed by intense migraines due to congestion and poor sleep, leg swelling and pain, and just general exhaustion of carrying extra 20lbs around in almost 100 degree heat. I’d like to say that I found magical cures that made me feel 100% better and completely eased my pregnancy aches but that would be a BIG FAT LIE! I did however find some small ways to make myself feel better both physically and emotionally.
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Epsom Salt Bath
I’ll be honest, I love baths. But I always feel like it’s an indulgence that I can’t take time to enjoy. It feels that I should be doing something productive instead of lounging around in the water surrounded by bubbles and intoxicating smells of essential oils. But I made myself a promise: This pregnancy, I will concentrate on self-care. And so I’ve been trying to do that.
Baths are an important part of self-care for me because they help physically with pain and allow time to reconnect with myself and just relax. So how do I set up the right atmosphere to do just that?
First, I start off with adding epsom salt to my bath water. Depending on how I feel that particular day, I may either add plain epsom salt or one scented with essential oils. Make sure to follow instructions on your epsom salt package and add enough to your bath (usually around 2 cups of salt for a full bathtub). If you’d like to learn more about Epsom Salts, click here.
Next, I set some candles on the edges of the tub, turn on some soothing music, turn down the lights and settle in. But since I am making this a luxurious experience for myself, I don’t want to rest my head on the hard edge of the tub. So I bought myself a bathtub pillow to make my bath stay more comfortable.
I usually spend 20-30 minutes in a bath and when I come out, my achy pregnant body feels renewed. This has been especially helpful for back and hip pain (I have issues with sciatica, which at times causes SPD like symptoms). And I can’t recommend a bathtub enough for when your labor starts. It’s a great way to ease the pain of contractions up until you have to go to the hospital. And if you decide to labor without drug assistance, it’s an amazing way to relieve pain throughout your whole labor.
Cypress Essential Oil
I was blessed to have my first pregnancy go through fall and winter. It didn’t get too hard physically until close to my due date. This time though, I was “blessed” with being pregnant in the summer. Oh, what a difference! I didn’t have swelling the first time around till about 35 weeks. But this time, my feet have been swelling on and off since week 20. What’s worse, it was a different kind of swelling. It only affected one leg and was painful. Sometimes the pain would travel all the way up to my thigh and make walking nearly impossible. So, I had to do something about it.
All the typical things like staying hydrated, elevating feet, wearing compression socks (wasn’t gonna happen in 100 degree heat) did not bring much relief, especially for the pain. So I started looking for some other natural remedies and that’s how I stumbled upon Cypress Essential Oil. You can read about some other uses for Cypress EO here.
I didn’t have pure Cypress EO, but instead a blend of Cypress and Grapefruit **This is not an affiliate link. I am just incredibly impressed with this company and their oils. They are not a MLM but a very small privately owned company located in Tennessee. They are very knowledgeable and promote safe uses of essential oils**
I used it whenever my swelling would happen and rubbed it in, properly diluted in a carrier oil, like a sweet almond or jojoba oil. Under no circumstance put this oil neat on your skin, or any essential oil for that matter. It reduced my swelling and helped relieve pain. I was so glad to have this in my arsenal, since it was easy to use and only took a few minutes out of my day to do.
Since my sciatica flared up from week 9, I knew I had to start coming to a chiropractor on regular basis. But during pregnancy, you don’t want to go to just any chiropractor. You want to find one that specialized in the Webster technique (https://icpa4kids.com/training/webster-certification/webster-technique/) and works with a lot of pregnant women. Our bodies are a bit different and need special care.
Even though it’s been a slow process but going regularly to my chiropractor for the past 2 months has greatly improved my sciatica and allowed for more pain free days. It’s important to be aligned for better and easier labor and for allowing baby to get into a good position.
You will also be thankful that you found a chiropractor that works with pregnant women and little children because you will want to go after your labor. Regardless of how you deliver, your hips will most likely be misaligned and cause you a great deal of pain. You may also consider chiropractic care for your little one, as labor is tough on them too. I took my son to a chiropractor after he was born due to having some latch issues and it helped improve his latch greatly.
Aside from chiropractic care that insures that you are properly aligned, I went and got prenatal massages. I’d like to say they were blissful and relaxing. They were not. But they did work a lot of the kinks out and helped my muscles feel better and not as tense.
The whole point of massages during pregnancy is to help your muscles relax and feel more balanced. Your belly is growing and pulling on you in all sorts of ways. I found relief for my sciatica in adding massages to chiropractic care.
So go on and treat yourself. Ask for referrals from trusted sources for the best places in your area. I got my referral from my doula.
I can’t praise napping enough. If I wasn’t able to nap this pregnancy, I’m not sure how I would have made it through the days. My first trimester left me foggy, exhausted and with constant migraines. Sleep was the only thing that could make my life better. Of course, naps are not always possible but I recommend sneaking them in as much as you can. And don’t feel guilty about it. Your well being is extremely important. All the other things can wait, except maybe your other children. They may have a hard time with the waiting part.
I napped whenever my son napped. And there were a few days when I put him to nap a bit earlier because I couldn’t keep my eyes open.
This about wraps up my list of things that have made my pregnancy aches just a little less achy. I hope you find these helpful and are able to use my suggestions to make your pregnancy as comfortable as possible.
Quote of the day
Mental Health Tip of the Day
During pregnancy cut yourself some slack. You are working hard on making a human and deserve to take time for self-care. So make sure you are building self-care as much as you can into your schedule.