Everybody knows you are supposed to go to the OB, take a prenatal vitamin, and stop drinking and smoking when you’re pregnant. But that is about where the general advice about human gestation ends. With all the changes happening in and stress being put on a pregnant body, there really should be more advice surrounding caring for your body as it grows another human. That is why I’ve come up with a list of things that I found helpful during pregnancy outside of those three things above.
Pelvic floor therapy
For some reason, pregnancy puts my body on edge in a way nothing else can. Every muscle in my body is tense…and I mean every muscle. Pelvic floor PT makes it possible for me to learn how to relax those muscles with focus. It also helped me prep to hopefully have a VBAC.
While I was too physically ill during my second pregnancy to exercise 90% of the time, even just going for a walk was so helpful to both my physical and mental well-being. Get some fresh air, move your body, and feel the difference.
Physical therapy. Again, my body did not like pregnancy the second time around. My hips were killing me. My back was killing me. My friend who is a physical therapist was able to give me exercises and do some dry needling that helped with specific painful areas.
When my back pain got so unbearable that I was going to bed hours early at night and wasn’t able to sit in class for more than an hour at a time…I sought out a chiropractor to help get everything in line. Be sure to find someone who is well verses in treating pregnant patients.
Becoming a mom without my own mom, I was so nervous about how I would react. I was especially concerned about lashing out at my mother-in-law, who I am very close with and love dearly, because I was bitter that she was here and my mom wasn’t. So I sought therapy before my first son came, and then again to make sure I was managing my anxiety and marital interactions like I hoped after I became a mom.
When I found out I was pregnant the first time, I was in the middle of marathon training. I was trying to navigate increasing my eating already for my running, then add in food aversions and prenatal needs, I was clueless. So, I hired a dietician to help me build a plan. During my second pregnancy, I was so, so sick for the first 20 weeks and struggled to keep my blood sugar high enough to avoid passing out. When I was almost through my first trimester and still not feeling well, I paid a dietician to help me make a plan to feel as good as I could.
I joined a few crucial facebook groups that have helped me feel like a sane, normal person when I felt like I was the only one feeling sick, tired, and ready to be DONE with pregnancy. The Louisville Mom Collective is a great group of women who provide support to each other. I also found a lot of advice and comfort in the Pretty Good Moms facebook group.
When my sciatica was acting up or my back was killing me, no one was able to make these aching muscles feel better than my massage therapist, Rachel. I once told her that the way she found all the parts that needed attention felt scientific and that was absolutely a compliment.
No one solution by itself would have made me feel at my best. However, I completely believe that using all my resources and combining efforts made my pregnancies as comfortable and successful as possible. Of course, please be sure to talk to your medical provider before seeing anyone for body work and adding in any other physical activity.
What methods did you use to make your pregnancy as successful as possible?