Pain During Pregnancy
Isn’t it interesting that so much focus is placed on the pain that comes with labor and delivery and so little is said of the pain experienced during pregnancy? Not to trivialize labor pain by any means, but many women experience pain during pregnancy and 40 weeks can feel like a whole lot longer when there’s pain involved! What’s important to realize is that pregnancy pain conditions are often treatable. Expectant mothers should be aware of their treatment options to minimize, if not resolve, pregnancy pain so they can be more comfortable and enjoy this special time. If you’re pregnant and experiencing pain, such as back pain, pelvic pain, round ligament pain, nerve pain from sciatica or carpal tunnel syndrome, know that you are not alone. In fact, it’s estimated that up to 80% of women experience a pregnancy-related pain condition. The good news is there are medication-free, safe options to treat pain during pregnancy. Acupuncture is a gentle and effective form of prenatal care. It can reduce or even eliminate many pain conditions during pregnancy while supporting the body’s constitution. Regular acupuncture treatment helps provide a healthier pregnancy by improving energy, regulating digestive discomfort, reducing swelling, and stress during pregnancy.
Causes of Pregnancy Pain:
- Posture: An evolving figure is bound to affect posture. As the baby grows and your belly expands, your body is forced to quickly adapt and compensate for the new weight and center of gravity. How you hold yourself can certainly cause or reduce pain. Poor posture and excessive time standing or bending can contribute to back, pelvic or sciatic pain.
- Hormonal Causes: Hormonal changes experienced during pregnancy allow the ligaments to relax, preparing the body for labor. Unusually relaxed joints, particularly in the pelvis, may result in less support in the back region and compression of nerves. This laxity can contribute to joint and nerve pain.
- Swelling: Fluid retention in the tissues often causes mild swelling during pregnancy. In more severe cases, excessive edema can result in compression of the median nerve leading to carpal tunnel syndrome. Numbness and tingling in the fingers or hands are common symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome. Aching pain may also be felt in the fingers, hands, or forearms.
Treatment of Pregnancy Pain:
- Be aware of your posture.
- Wear comfortable shoes. Sure heals are cute and they still will be after you’ve had the baby, so perhaps save them for later.
- Limit time spent standing and rest with your feet up when possible.
- Wear a maternity support belt. These bands impart a sense of support under the abdomen and can provide relief from low back pain.
- Use exercises approved by your healthcare practitioner to strengthen your back and abdomen.
- Wear a wrist brace. Wearing a brace to bed can minimize the pain associated with pregnancy-related carpal tunnel syndrome.
- Seek treatment from a licensed healthcare professional. Acupuncture can address numerous aches and pains experienced during pregnancy as well as other discomforts during pregnancy. Prenatal yoga, massage, and chiropractic services also can help address pain conditions during pregnancy.