by: Sean Daneshmand, MD - Perinatal ObGyn, San Diego CA and founder of Miracle Babies
Congratulations on your pregnancy! Your body will spend nine months adapting to accommodate the little one growing inside you. But all that growing triggers changes in your body—some you’re familiar with and some that may surprise you. This guide will share 7 major body changes you can expect and a few pregnancy support options you might consider:
- Weight Gain- For most women this is the most noticeable, and often the most unwanted, effect of bearing a child. And while gaining weight is a normal process in most pregnancies, it also puts extra strain on the spine, hips, and pelvis, often triggering pain and soreness.
- Growing Uterus- The expanding abdomen as a result of a growing uterus is the source for many aches, including general abdominal discomfort, Braxton Hicks contractions, pregnancy back pain, and, in the first and third trimesters, frequent urination.
- Posture Changes- This change is a prime suspect in pregnancy back pain. As the pelvis tilts backwards to accommodate a growing fetus, the back’s natural S curve is exaggerated and less supportive. The results range from minor pregnancy back pain to painful compressed discs. A shift in posture also rolls the shoulders forward, placing extra stress on the neck.
- Abdominal Separation- The abdomen is made up of 4 pairs of muscle tissue that cover and support the area. During mid to late pregnancy, the growing uterus can pull the rectus abdominis muscles, also called the “six-pack” muscles, further apart. Up to 30% of expecting moms experience this common cause of pregnancy back pain. What’s more, after baby is born, abdominal separation can continue to cause post pregnancy pain and discomfort.
- Strained Ligaments- The non-pregnant uterus is the size of a pear, so you can imagine how much the organ and its supporting ligaments become stretched during pregnancy. As the ligaments stretch, they sometimes pull on nerve fibers, causing an uncomfortable condition called round ligament pain.
- Circulation- Pregnancy has a significant impact on the body’s circulation. In fact, during pregnancy cardiac output and blood volume increases from 30% to 50% more than normal capacity. Circulation problems result in some of the more common complaints of expecting women, including swelling in the legs, ankles, and feet.
- Pelvic Floor- As if the first six changes weren’t challenging enough, a few women also experience pelvic floor problems. The pelvic floor, which is made up of the soft tissues that fill the pelvis, carry the full weight of the uterus, placenta, and growing baby. The result is a muscle weakening that can result in instability and support for pelvic organs.
You don’t need to “live with” the discomfort of pregnancy.
Expecting moms have a range of options to get relief and comfort. For example, some yoga poses, like cat-cow, help stretch out the aches of pregnancy back pain. Always check with your doctor or midwife to find out what exercises are safe for you. Maintaining weight at the level recommended by your medical professional is another way to keep pregnancy aches in check.
An increasingly popular way to find relief from pregnancy back pain and other discomforts is through the use of a well-designed pregnancy support belly band. These bands, worn underneath or over clothing use specially designed panels and support features to lift the weight of the baby off the lower abdomen and back, helping mothers to carry more comfortably. The more advanced belly bands offer a sleek design, and soft, breathable moisture wicking material so they can be discreetly worn under even fitted clothing. The result is reduced pain, improved posture, and minimized swelling and fatigue, and it also allows active moms to resume their active lifestyles, whether running around town, or getting into a pregnancy safe yoga move.
Don’t allow the discomfort from pregnancy back pain and other body changes make your pregnancy miserable. Instead, consider support options that provide the relief you need and deserve.
For moms who have delivered (either naturally or via C-section), there are specific designed support garments to assist with your post pregnancy healing and recovery. These post pregnancy recovery garments are designed to support stretched muscles and ligaments, assist with wound healing, stabilize core, and retract loose skin, helping mothers to recover while alleviating some of the aches and discomforts of post-pregnancy. These are not to be confused with a belly band focused solely on temporarily shrinking the waist. Of course, getting your body back after the birth of your baby is certainly important, but you have must heal first and foremost. Using a support garment allows active mothers to perform daily activities with added support and comfort.