Archive for the ‘Aches and Pains’ Category

By the middle of the second trimester, a lot of my moms-to-be tend to get aches and pains in various parts of their bodies. During the later stages of pregnancy, the expectant mother is carrying extra weight centered forward. To compensate for this forward weight, she adopts an unnatural posture and stance, which in turn strain her muscles and gives rise to aches and pains. In addition, some of her aches are due to the stretching of various ligaments in the pelvic area, as they get lax and start stretching to accommodate the baby’s passage through the pelvis.

Here are some of the more common aches and pains in pregnant moms:

Low Backache: In late pregnancy, if your baby engages with the back of its head pressing against your spine, you may develop backache. Rest in positions that take the baby’s weight off your spine, by using pillows. Getting on all fours is a wonderful position to both rock the pelvis forward and to “unweight” your spine. Specific exercises such as those taught in our antenatal classes at Healthy MotherTM, are of tremendous help.

Upper Backache: If you are trying to compensate for the weight of your pregnancy by keeping your shoulders back, it can cause your upper back muscles to tighten. This can cause a nagging pain between your shoulder blades. Try changing your posture often, and try doing a shoulder roll exercise, by rolling both your shoulders backwards.

Pubic Pain: By far, this is the most irritating of the pains, and it can get pretty intense when it comes on all of a sudden. I have got more calls for help because of pubic pain from my pregnant moms, than all other pains put together. This pain is caused due to the softening and stretching of the cartilage in front of your pelvis to accommodate for the baby coming down its birth passage. Your pubic bone may be tender to touch, and you may feel pain along your inner thighs as well. Putting an ice pack over the pubic area helps. Also, sleeping with your knees close together, and adopting positions that do not allow your knees to be apart help a great deal. Sometimes, a pelvic support belt may help as well.

Pain Under The Ribs: Most commonly seen in the middle of the last trimester, this pain is caused by the high positioning of the top of your uterus. You may feel the pain on the side that your baby happens to be lying on. Sometimes, your baby’s foot pushes against your rib cage, and this can cause a “diaphragmatic stitch” kind of pain. A “wall stretch” is a very helpful exercise. It is done by lifting both your arms over your head, while sitting or standing supported against a wall. This lifts the entire ribcage off the pelvis and provides tremendous relief from pain.

Leg Cramps: Leg cramps usually wake up the expectant mother in the middle of the night. This could be due to pressure of the baby against your spine, causing nerve root irritation. Your partner can perform a calf stretch by holding your heel and pressing your foot upwards with his forearm. Cramping could be also due to salt imbalance in your diet. Eating something salty before you go to bed may be helpful. We will give you tips on other helpful stretches and sleeping positions in future posts.

As always, feel free to address your thoughts, concerns, or any of your other aches and pains in this forum.

Dr. Vijaya Krishnan