Plan for a More Comfortable Pregnancy

You can have a more comfortable pregnancy . Pregnancy is not necessarily a comfortable time in a woman’s life. Your body is changing on a month to month basis and you may ache or be sore in areas that you’ve never had any trouble with before. You might have difficulty sitting or standing. Many pregnant woman experience feet swelling and/or lower back pain, especially during the last trimester when the baby is putting on extra weight in preparation for birth. During the uncomfortable times, it is important to nurture yourself so that you can have a more comfortable pregnancy.

GAINING AND GROWING As you’re gaining and growing, be careful to reach a healthy weight that your body frame can comfortably manage. A person starting at a normal weight should gain from 25 to 35 pounds. An underweight person might need to gain more: 28-45 pounds, while an overweight woman may need to gain less: 15-25 pounds. Whatever your size, it is important to discuss with your doctor what a healthy, comfortable pregnancy weight is for you. That weight can be maintained through a healthy diet and regular moderate exercise. Underweight women may have challenges during the actual birth while overweight women are more likely to experience varicose veins, lower back pain, and swollen feet during the actual pregnancy. Whatever your comfort complaint is, be sure that it is not related to an unhealthy pregnancy weight. Pregnant women who struggle with under or overweight problems should talk to a doctor about a regimented diet.

BELLY COMFORT Being comfortable around and inside the belly during pregnancy can be a pregnancy challenge. Overeating can cause indigestion and constipation. Be careful to eat a well-rounded diet, and if the baby is crowding your stomach, try eating six small meals instead of three regular ones. Six small meals are a good way to avoid overeating and the pain of indigestion. It can also help you feel well fed throughout the day so that you avoid that big hungry feeling that often hits just before mealtime. If indigestion becomes a problem, talk to your doctor about a good over-the-counter antacid.

Moving around and getting some exercise is important. Take a low impact aerobics class or a short 20 minute walk each day. Exercise will help chase that tired pregnancy feeling away and help you have more energy. Drinking 6-8 glasses of water a day will also keep your insides in good shape and the blood and food flowing. Should constipation strike, talk to your doctor about natural options such as prune juice or a natural fiber laxative.

As your baby grows, the belly stretches. This can cause itching and stretch marks which might be bothersome. A good nourishing lotion is important for both the soul and baby belly. Try a lotion with cocoa butter or vitamin E. Slather it on after showering or bathing and before you go to sleep at night. Lotion will help ease any itchiness that your skin may develop from stretching, and it may or may not prevent stretch marks which are usually caused by a lack of elasticity in the skin.

SITTING AND STANDING Sitting and standing for long periods of time when you’re pregnant can cause a lot of discomfort. As the uterus grows, a large amount of pressure is put on the major nerve located on the right side of the body called the sciatic nerve. Blood flow is also increased during pregnancy, putting extra pressure on the veins. Sitting too much, especially with your legs crossed, can hamper how the blood is flowing from the legs to the fetus. Standing too much puts extra pressure on the veins as they work to get the extra blood from the legs to the upper extremities. Women who stand or sit too much during pregnancy can develop sore legs and varicose veins. If possible, find a balance throughout your day between sitting and standing. If your job requires you to stand more than sit, ask for a stool to be put nearby so that you can sit from time to time as your work permits. If you sit the majority of the day, be sure to take a few walking breaks to get the blood supply moving. You can also wear extra supportive hose and be sure to elevate the feet when resting. Sleeping on your left side with the right leg positioned on a body pillow can also help legs feel better. Should any soreness or swelling develop in your legs and feet, take a warm soothing bubble bath and be sure to consult your doctor.

OH MY ACHING BACK! When the muscles in the back work hard, they have a tendency to ache. As you move during pregnancy, the muscles around the baby and your back are working hard to support all the extra weight you are carrying. The baby may be laying on some of your nerves and this too, can cause pain in your back or down the side of your leg. Be careful of how you bend. Bend from the knees. Squat down from your knees to pick up that dropped toy or napkin. At the end of the day have your partner or loved one give you a massage. No takers? Make an appointment with a professional. Should the baby sit on one of your nerves or just happen to find an uncomfortable spot within you, rock your pelvis back and forth while gently nudging your belly. If the baby is awake, this will sometimes help him or her to move over to a different spot. Staying comfortable during pregnancy can be a challenge. Just remember to be wise and nurture both yourself and the baby. A healthy weight, proper skin care, a balance between sitting and standing, and watching your back can bring more comfort and joy to your pregnancy experience.

We recommend the following links for more information:

Information on healthy pregnancy weights

Resource on the skin and stretch marks.

Help for avoiding varicose veins during pregnancy

Information on lower-back/nerve pain attributed to pregnancy and how to avoid it.