A woman’s body goes through many changes throughout pregnancy in order to prepare for childbirth and breastfeeding. Typically, along with these exciting changes comes a fair amount of pregnancy discomfort. Understanding what to expect and how to manage the discomfort can help you focus on the exciting times that lie ahead.
Pregnancy Breast Tenderness
Your breasts will undergo many changes to prepare for breastfeeding. Hormonal changes cause an increase in blood flow and growth of the tissue itself. You’ll begin to notice changes in size around 6 to 8 weeks and this will continue until birth. As they grow, you may find your skin to be itchy as the skin stretches. Also, your breasts will most likely feel tender as they grow, similar to how you feel during your menstrual cycle, just more intense. To relieve this discomfort, take the time to get fitted for a supportive bra by a knowledgeable salesperson. A properly-fitted bra becomes increasingly more important if you maintain an active lifestyle, exercising regularly. Make sure the bra you purchase fits when the clasp is at its tightest, so you have room to grow. Also, consider buying a nursing bra to prepare for breastfeeding. For the evenings, a sleep bra without underwire helps a pregnant mom get comfortable in bed.
Pregnancy Back Pain
There’s no doubt carrying a baby puts added pressure on your lower back, but there are ways to manage the discomfort and enjoy your everyday activities. The hormonal changes that occur loosen your joints and ligaments in your pelvic region, making that area less stable. Likewise, the changing distribution of weight weakens your abdominal muscles, putting added stress on your lower back. To relieve this discomfort, there are a variety of strengthening exercises and stretches that can be done regularly. Also, make sure you limit activities that cause discomfort, keep good posture and listen to your body. At night, try sleeping on your side with knees bent and a pillow between your legs. Medela offers support belts to take pressure off your back for before and after pregnancy.
Pregnancy discomfort is very common, but severe pain can be a sign of a more serious problem. If you notice any severe back, breast or abdominal pain, it should not be ignored. Likewise, see your healthcare provider if you experience bleeding, unusual vaginal discharge, fever, vomiting or severe cramping.
How did you manage pregnancy pains? Share your tips in the comments below.