Pregnancy is an incredible time! You are growing a new life, and your body was made to do this! You should be able to enjoy feeling like the goddess you are and be in tune with the changes on this journey. Along the way, however, you may come across times of discomfort or even pain as your body and hormones adapt to this season of life. There's good news! You do NOT have to suffer! And you don't even have to take medication! Here is a list of simple things that you can do right now to improve your health and reduce pain during pregnancy.
1. Drink plenty of water. As our body demands more of us to grow this tiny human, our hydration needs increase as well. We've all heard the rule "6 glasses of water per day....." well, that's actually not true. The real equation for determining you daily water needs is to take your body weight in pounds, divide that number by 2 and that is the amount in ounces of water your body needs to function optimally. So, a 160lb woman should be drinking 80oz of water per day for optimal function. When your body is well hydrated, the muscles and joints perform best. The joints are better lubricated and the muscles have the ability to stretch further without injury. Thus, you have less muscle pain and less joint pain!
2. Sit on a medicine ball for 20 minutes per day. It's the nature of this world to sit for long periods of time. If you must sit, use an inflated medicine ball for at least 20 minutes per day. When you are pregnant, the bones in your pelvis move more freely (great for labor, not so great for pain when you sit), sitting on the inflated ball will provide enough support to the pelvis while allowing the bones to be situated in a more free position, without forcing them to conform to the shape of the chair. If you feel up to it, add some pelvic circles and forward and back motions while seated on the chair, you'll work your pelvic floor and abdominal muscles too... another bonus for labor! * The size of the ball you need depends on your height. your knee and hip angles should be at least 90 degrees when you are in the seated position for proper joint alignment.
3. Reduce inflammation naturally. It's true that food is medicine, and if your body is inflamed (as many of ours are) look to food first, instead of pharmaceuticals if possible. Anything you eat will cause one of two reactions. It will either increase or decrease inflammation in the body. Inflammatory foods include breads, fried foods, sugar and dairy. To reduce inflammation naturally, incorporate an anti-inflammatory diet. Think bright and dark colors such as blue, purple, green and red. Choose fish and chicken over steak or burgers. Eat tons of leafy vegetables, berries and avocados. Avoid soda, coffee and other caffeinated drinks. Reducing the inflammation throughout your body will automatically decrease your pain during pregnancy.
4. Treat yourself to monthly prenatal massages. Many people think of massages as a "treat" and although, they feel fantastic and can seem like a "treat" they have many health benefits as well! During pregnancy, it is extra important to take care of your muscles, as your weight load and center of gravity shift rapidly. Massages reduce fascial adhesions and promote longer, more elastic muscles while also decreasing emotional tension and stress.
*It is safest to start prenatal massages in the 2nd trimester when released to do so by your health provider.
5. Soak in Epsom salt. 3 times a week, fill your tub with warm (not hot) water and add 2 cups of epsom salt. Pick up a magazine and soak for 20 minutes. Your muscles and joints will thank you!
6. Most important, in my humble opinion is enjoying the benefits of chiropractic care throughout the duration of your pregnancy. A chiropractor who is certified to work on pregnant women will make your life so much more enjoyable! You'll receive gentle, specific adjustments to align you pelvis and spine, which removes pressure on the nerves and abnormal position of the joints. You'll notice decreased pain, improved range of motion, better sleep, boosted immune system, and since your pelvis will be in proper alignment, you'll be providing the most optimal environment for your precious cargo to be in the ideal position for labor! This means, decreased back labor, easier and faster labor and better recovery! Benefits of chiropractic care begin even before conception and continue well past pregnancy. What are you waiting for? Get on the road to better health and stay healthy with chiropractic care!
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