Friday, September 19, 2014

Pregnancy is Uncomfortable.

What I'm doing here I call my "belly stretch". I do it whenever my insides feel especially squished and I just stick my belly out as far as I can. It feels great, but usually as soon as I relax, I'm right back to feeling squished again.  Also, Panda Bear cracks me up in this picture. 

There. I said it. Pregnancy is uncomfortable.

Don't get me wrong. I am so so so happy and feel so very blessed to be able to grow this little human and bring him into the world, but I don't think there's a rule anywhere that says I have to be happy when my back hurts and my clothes don't fit.

Since I have just gotten into my third trimester, I wanted to take a few minutes and talk about some of the pregnancy symptoms that I've personally experienced thus far and how I'm dealing with them.

Sciatic Pain - Especially on my right side, since about the halfway point, I've been dealing with some sciatic pain. I've considered myself fortunate lately because I have the knowledge and understanding of how the muscles and bones work to optimally stretch it out. One of the key ways I've been able to work out my low back is literally curling myself into a ball and using the floor to hit points. If you have the stability and need to focus on one side more than the other, you can actually just hang out in a ball, letting only that part of your back hit the floor. My mat provided a really nice firm, but not hard/painful surface for me to work into my low back. I also found that by getting into a supported back bend like bridge pose with a block under my sacrum helps take some of the compression out of the low back and, if you're feeling stable, you can play with weight distribution.
The biggest thing for me, personally, has been working on engaging my glutes when I do lunges - not letting myself sink into the hip/pelvis. Even though it can feel better on the front of the hip to stretch it out, it puts all the extra pressure on the low back, so simply by keeping my glutes and pelvis engaged, I'm helping my low back.

Upper Back Tightness - I haven't talked to any other moms who've experience this, so if you have, please speak up. What did you do? This was the most frustrating. Not your typical shoulder pain that hubby can rub out the tension. Sometimes I could work through the tightness in the back of my rib cage with shoulder stretches and back bends, but most of the time, I was left feeling like I really needed a good crack. Unable to lay on my stomach, I found myself very frustrated. This is a hard part of the back to crack without a strong hug or from laying face down. This is where two key things came into play; my foam roller, and my chiropractor. First of all, laying on a foam roller really helped me work out those upper back cracks that I could not get to any other way. You don't even have to "hit points" like I usually do on a foam roller. You literally just roll over it. It's marvelous.
The other thing has been consistently seeing a chiropractor. The recommendation is to go with the same frequency you go to your regular doctor's appointments, so I've been going once a month so far. She helps me with any low back/sciatic stuff, hip tightness, and she's able to get into those parts of my upper back that I just can't manage on my own.

Pregnancy Gingivitis - You know this is a thing, right? All the pregnancy apps and websites out there tell us that we should make sure to go to the dentist at least once during pregnancy. I was never worried about this because for a while now, I've been really good about going every 6 months, so I knew I would get a visit in at some point during my pregnancy. APPARENTLY, being that I am a ginger, my gums tend to be a little more sensitive than non-gingy folks out there. So, when, during this pregnancy, I started noticing a little "pink in the sink" as they say, on a regular basis, I didn't think much of it. I brush twice a day and I flossed most nights before bed, so I wasn't worried. Never really been into mouthwash though. Not my jam. Well, when I went to the dentist in August for my regular semi annual cleaning... It. Hurt. It felt like I hadn't been to the dentist in years and she had to scrape of years of damage and bacteria. After I took my first bite of food, I considered a liquid diet for the rest of the day. My gums were so sore. However, the hygienist - noticing that I was pregnant, and wanting to help - suggested that I add mouthwash to my nightly routine. I guess some moms are concerned about using mouthwash because of the alcohol content, so she was sure to tell me that its perfectly OK to use mouthwash because the amount that may get swallowed is so minuscule. I started using mouthwash that night, and I have had zero gum bleeding since then.

Headaches - My first real doctor's appointment was the first time I talked to someone about my totally awesome headaches. Right off the bat, she recommended adding a magnesium supplement to my regular vitamin regime. I started taking one every night with my prenatals.
At my next appointment my headaches had gotten better, but I was still having them, especially in the afternoons. So, the midwife suggested having some iced tea or maybe a little coffee. Just to simultaneously cool down and take care of any caffeine that my body needed. Those two things really helped kick my headaches in the ass, and I made it through the majority of my second trimester headache free!
A word about magnesium supplements: I don't know how much they've helped with the headaches, but I have noticed that I've had zero intestinal problems throughout my pregnancy (so far *knock on wood*) So, if you're one of those ladies who gets (or got) really constipated during pregnancy, could be worth it to try a magnesium supplement. Maybe ask your doctor. Just sayin'

and to end on a light note, the biggest, most frustrating part of being pregnant has been Getting Dressed in the Morning. I still haven't found any resolution to this. I end up wearing the same outfit almost every day, even after standing in front of the closet for ages - primarily because it's still crazy hot and I get frustrated with tops every time I try to wear shorts. I wore jeans twice in the last two weeks, I think, and I regretted it both times. I am desperate for cool weather so I can start layering and wearing sleeves. I imagine that will make me a very happy cozy pregnant lady, but we will have to see. Maybe cool weather will come around and none of my planned cool weather clothes will fit.

As far as the discomforts of pregnancy go, those are the big noticeable ones for me. I'm not gonna say I've been lucky because I still have 11 weeks to go and who knows what might happen.

If you've been pregnant, have you experience any of these? Were your worst "side effects" different?

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