Natural Remedies for the Aches, Pains and Swelling of Pregnancy
Most women will experience a variety of aches, pains and swollen body parts while they are pregnant. Although each woman's experience will be different to some extent, we are all familiar with the pose you see many women in their third trimester strike: body leaned back to compensate for the belly bump, and hand resting on the lower back to try and massage away the pain. Many women are dismayed to find that swollen feet can result in a size to a size and a half increase during the latter months. Some mothers-to-be end up going to the hospital to have their baby wearing house slippers-not as a fashion statement but rather because that's all that will fit on their aching, swollen feet.
Swollen Feet During Pregnancy
Swelling of the feet, ankles, hands and face during pregnancy is known as edema and is the result of extra blood accumulation. Your body has increased in weight, and your much-larger uterus is putting pressure on the veins which lead to your legs. In turn, this causes your circulation to slow, and results in fluid retention which makes your feet swell up like summer sausages encased in a much-too small skin. Depending on the level of edema you are experiencing, you can be feeling simple discomfort, or flat out pain. Although some swelling is normal, if your face swells noticeably, or if the swelling comes on very quickly, you could have a condition known as pre-eclampsia, and you should consult your doctor immediately.
Excess Weight and Your Feet
Excessive weight gain during your pregnancy can cause your arch to flatten, leading to your feet turning inward abnormally. There is a band of tissue in the arch of the foot which is known as the plantar fascia, and the extra weight causes it to become inflamed and painful, leading to pain on walking and even difficulty sleeping due to the discomfort. If you are experiencing edema, take frequent breaks throughout the day and elevate your feet to relieve the swelling. Although it may sound counterproductive, drink lots of water, and avoid crossing your legs when you sit. Forget fashion for a few months and wear soft, comfortable shoes, and socks with no seams. Finally, get plenty of exercise, or at the very least take lots of long walks to promote not only the health of your feet, but your entire body.
Back Pain During Pregnancy
Your body is in constant change during this time, and as your uterus expands your abdominal muscles are stretched out of position, promoting poor posture. Your center of gravity moves forward, and the curve in your lower back increases, causing pressure and pain. As your pregnancy moves forward, your body will release a hormone known as relaxin, which, as the name implies, relaxes all the ligaments in your body in order to allow your pelvis and hips to expand for childbirth. Over three-quarters of all women experience back pain during pregnancy, although you are more likely to have back pain if you are overweight prior to pregnancy, gain a lot of weight during pregnancy, or are carrying more than one baby. Another type of back pain is actually felt deep inside the buttocks and on the backs of your thighs, and is generally triggered by climbing stairs or getting in and out of the tub.
Relief for the Pain of Pregnancy
Gentle stretching exercises done throughout your pregnancy may relieve some of the typical back pain brought on by pregnancy, although some women go a step further and visit a chiropractor or an acupuncturist to find pain relief. Many chiropractors have a special pregnancy table which allows you to lie comfortably on your stomach while the chiropractor attempts to balance your muscles and stabilize your expanding pelvis. Acupuncture may not only help the pain you are suffering, but can also help the nausea, heartburn, swelling, aches, pains, sleepless and fatigue that pregnancy brings. Massage can be beneficial for pregnancy pain and swelling by decreasing the stress you are experiencing on your weight-bearing joints and increasing your overall circulation. Be super-aware of your posture, and seek help for your pains before they become unmanageable.