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common conditions in pregnancy

Common Conditions Experienced During Pregnancy

Pregnancy is an exciting and also daunting time in life. While some women breeze through their pregnancies reporting how wonderful they feel, for others, pregnancy can be extremely taxing on the body and overwhelming.

Muscle cramps, heartburn and indigestion, backache and pelvic girdle pain, sciatica, headaches and carpal tunnel syndrome are just some of the common conditions that may hinder your experience of pregnancy. This, coupled with the changes in body shape, nausea and mood fluctuations can take the joy out of the incredible life stage.

Thankfully, there is plenty of support that can help you navigate pregnancy and ease some of these conditions so that you can have an enjoyable experience. The Osteopaths at Whole Body Health and Wellness treat many of these common conditions and are here to help you through your pregnancy and beyond.

Osteopath Tanja McKenzie shares some information about the common conditions you may experience during your pregnancy.

Lower backache

Lower back pain is one of the most common complaints of pregnant women. In fact, the incidence of low back pain is estimated to be experienced by  50-80% of women.

The increase in weight of your growing baby, as well as postural changes in pregnancy, are the usual cause. Changes in hormones can also be a contributing factor such as the release of relaxin which is responsible for loosening your ligaments as the pelvis prepares for childbirth.

Pelvic Girdle Pain

Pelvic Girdle Pain (formally known as Pelvic Instability) refers to pain experienced around the pelvic region. For some pregnant women, this may only be mild discomfort and they’re still able to perform their daily tasks with ease. However, for others, Pelvic Girdle Pain can be debilitating and really overshadow their pregnancy experience.

It’s estimated one in four pregnant women experience Pelvic Girdle Pain at some stage and up to 7% continue to suffer from the pain post-pregnancy.

Sciatica

If you’re experiencing a dull ache or sharp shooting pain down the lower spine and into your buttock, you may be suffering from Sciatica.

Sciatica is an irritation of the sciatic nerve which runs from the lower spine segments through the buttock and into the back of the thigh. This pain may be felt as deep, dull and achy or it can be sharp and shooting.

Some women may experience only mild discomfort in this area, while for others, it can be severe. It’s one of the most common conditions our osteopath team treats to help bring relief to the area.

Headaches

Headaches are often experienced during pregnancy, particularly in the first and third trimester. In some cases, it may be structural changes thanks to the growing baby that are causing the headaches. However, hormone changes and an increase in the volume of blood your baby is producing are usually the leading causes.

Other common causes of recurrent headaches during pregnancy are dehydration, sleep deprivation, caffeine withdrawal, low blood sugar levels, stress or anxiety.

If you’re experiencing unexplained and frequent headaches later in your pregnancy, it’s important you see your doctor or midwife as this could be a sign of a more severe condition known as pre-eclampsia.

Muscle Cramps

Waking in the night with a painful cramp? You’re not alone! Leg and foot cramps are very common, particularly in the second half of your pregnancy and often occur at night when you’re trying to get much-needed rest.

Massage, heat application, magnesium spray or supplementation can help to manage cramps. As more fluid builds up into your legs with all the increased circulation, stretches and exercises that can be prescribed by our osteopaths may help to relieve the discomfort and reduce the frequency of your cramps.

Heartburn and Indigestion

As your abdominal cavity increases, the contents of your stomach can get pushed into your rib areas. This can cause that feeling of discomfort in the stomach or burning pain in your throat and chest.

Dietary changes such as eating smaller meals and avoiding fatty and spicy foods can help to ease heartburn and indigestion. Avoiding laying down after eating and raising the head of your bed can be particularly helpful at night.

If your heartburn doesn’t subside with lifestyle and dietary changes or an osteopathy treatment, it’s important to consult your doctor or midwife.

Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

When we think of pregnancy conditions, we often think of the discomfort that’s associated with the forever expanding belly. However, Carpal Tunnel Syndrome is a condition that involves tingling, numbness or painful hands and is very common during the third trimester.

The cause of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome is believed to be the extra fluid retention causing pressure on the median nerve. This nerve runs from the wrist to the hand.

For some women, the tingling and discomfort have subsided in the weeks or months after giving birth. However, 1 in 6 women still experiences Carpal Tunnel Syndrome 12 months after delivering their baby. Osteopaths may help to ease tension within the muscles in the forearm where the tendons go through the tunnel. At-home exercises are commonly prescribed as well as some simple lifestyle changes that can make all the difference.

 

At Whole Body Health and Wellness, we have a passion for making your pregnancy a wonderful experience. As Osteopaths, we may be able to relieve some of these common conditions so you can focus on this enjoyable stage in your life. Make an appointment with our experienced osteopathy team today.

 

About the author

Tanja-Mckenzie

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