Pregnancy Aches & Pains
Pregnancy Can Hurt from Top to Bottom
From the tip of your head, all the way down, you can ache while you’re pregnant. (And you probably wonder if natural remedies can relieve pregnancy pain.) Here’s a small sample of the aches and common discomforts that doctors associate with those legendary 9 months:
Headaches are common during pregnancy, due to shifting hormones. Nobody likes a headache, of course, but they’re manageable most of the time. Nevertheless, research shows that 1 in every 6 women who gets migraines will get her first one while she’s pregnant. These are like headaches on steroids from hell!
Back pain is extremely common during pregnancy, impacting 50-80% of us at some point before we deliver. For some, it’s just nagging discomfort. For others, it can be acute and turn into a chronic problem. Being overweight increases your odds of back pain. So does a history of back pain prior to pregnancy.
Other common pregnancy pains include hip pain and sciatica, leg cramps, swollen feet, puffy hands and fingers that hurt when you move them, and painful varicose veins.
Seeking Relief – Without Hurting the Baby
Although you want to reach for the nearest pain reliever, don’t be foolish. Managing pain during pregnancy can be tricky. On the one hand, some prescription drugs and over-the-counter medications can be harmful to a developing fetus. On the other hand, by refusing to treat persistent pain, expectant mothers increase their risk for hypertension, anxiety and depression – none of which contribute to a healthy baby.
Data shows that about 90% of women use at least one medication while pregnant and about 70% take at least one prescription drug. If you’re considering what to use – and what to avoid – keep a few facts in mind:
- Full-strength aspirin is not good, especially during the last 3 months, because it increases the risk of bleeding in mother and fetus. Aspirin can also delay the onset of labor and reduce the strength and frequency of contractions once they begin.
- Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) should be avoided because even short-term use during late pregnancy has been linked to fetal heart defects.
- Beware of prescription painkillers and antidepressants because they can increase risk for congenital heart abnormalities and other birth defects.
- Acetaminophen (Tylenol) is probably the best choice for pain relief. However, one study found that when taken after the 20th week of pregnancy, it can increase the risk of wheezing in young children.
Natural Remedies Can Relieve Pregnancy Pain
With so few desirable options, it’s good to know that natural remedies can relieve pregnancy pain – without hurting baby. For example:
If you suffer with sore, swollen feet… try a nightly foot bath that blends 2-3 drops of peppermint oil into the water. Soak for as long as you like!
And for swollen hands and fingers… use that same remedy plan. Since aromatherapists claim that too much peppermint oil is not good for pregnant women to ingest, be sure to wash your hands well when the bath is done.
For low back or groin pain… wear a high-quality support belt (available at better maternity shops) under your lower abdomen. Maybe even treat yourself to a regular visit with a licensed chiropractor or massage therapist who specializes in working with pregnant clients.
Herbal pain remedies offer temporary relief… Some use capsaicin (chili pepper) as their active ingredient. Others, like Premiere’s Pain Spray Mist or Roll-On use menthol. These topical formulas can’t cure the discomfort but they can make you feel a lot better for several hours. They’re 100% safe for baby! And work great for some short-term relief when you’re dealing with leg cramps, high or low backache, or sore hips.
And for headaches… try a lavender eye mask at night because it will reduce inflammation and promote tranquility. Or trust all-natural Headache ReLeaf Roll-On, which blends purified water, menthol, and 3 famous essential oils to create a powerful herbal headache medicine. Perfect during pregnancy and after!