There are many things that can cause you to have aches and pains during pregnancy - especially in your hips and legs. Your body is releasing a hormone called relaxin that softens your joints and muscles preparing them to allow baby to easily pass through your pelvis. Other reasons may include the new amount of pressure your body is adapting to from the weight of baby - that pressure is situated right over your hips and legs. As your body and baby grow, your center of gravity shifts and this can cause discomfort such as round ligament pain and sciatica pain.
So how can you find comfort for these pregnancy aches and pains? Below are a few helpful tips. And help a momma out by commenting and telling us what worked for you!
1. Sleep with a Body Pillow
Be sure to make sure you have a pillow behind your back to provide good support, and possible a small one under your belly - do what you can to make sure you are comfortable when you sleep.
2. Get Belly Support for Daily Activities
Belly binding, belly bands, maternity belt, iliac brace - all of these tools can help you support the weight of your growing baby and ease your comfort.
3. Heat and Ice
Using a heating pad or rice sock can help bring comfort to the over exhausted muscles. Ice is also a wonderful tool - it can reduce inflammation and calm spasms. Ice is, personally, my new best friend!
Another favorite of mine - when your body is not in perfect alignment it can cause muscles and tendons to pull on one another - causing aches and pains. You may need to visit your chiropractor more often during pregnancy because of the relaxin hormones.
Photography by Birth Boot Camp
5. Prenatal Massage
A trained prenatal massage therapist focuses on techniques specific to the ever changes pregnant body, providing improved circulation, relieving physical fatigue, alleviating aches and pains. It is also wonderful for mental and emotional wellness. Can't get to the masseuse... prop those swollen feet up and ask someone who loves you to rub them!
6. Magnesium Spray or Lotion
This can help relax your tired and over exhausted muscles. Some women may even benefit from adding a magnesium and calcium supplement to their daily prenatal vitamin (always discuss the risks and benefits of adding supplements to your daily routine with your care provider).
7. Cut out inflammatory foods
Foods such as sugar, fined grains, dairy, fried foods, processed meats create inflammation in your body which can add to aches, pains, and spasms. Try eating a balanced whole foods diet and taking the Birth Boot Camp Food & Fitness workshop!
This is so important and can be difficult to maintain good posture as our growing body changes. Choosing to practice good posture is so valuable to strengthening your body.
There are wonderful exercises available to help stretch your tired and sore body: taylor sitting, piriformis stretches, and hip flexors stretches are among those that can benefit hip and leg aches.
10. BONUS TIP!!!!!
When all else fails - take a warm shower or nice soak in a bath. Let the stress and weariness of the day fade away along with your aches and pains (even if it only a short relief - its worth it!)
Birth Boot Camp provides a Food and Fitness that teaches and demonstrates many different exercises that can be helpful prenatally and postnatally! This workshop will provide you will the tools you need to have a healthy pregnancy and postpartum. You will find your body will be strengthened and better prepared for birth!
Take an in person class with Alabama Births, or you may take an ONLINE class from the privacy of your home!
Laying in bed is not the most comfortable position when you are trying to labor naturally. Your precious baby is being pressed further down into your pelvis with each and every contraction; your spine and tailbone happen to be part of the highway they are traveling on, so you want to create ample room.
If you choose to receive an epidural, you may no longer feel the discomfort from your baby descending, but you may still find that lying directly on your back is uncomfortable – a slight tilt to you side along with a peanut ball or pillows to prop your legs open will make your position much more comfortable.
There are a few main positions that can benefit a laboring mom and within those main positions there are many variations to help.
My first suggestion would be to...
Ok so this isn’t a position, but it is super helpful! Wiggle, dance, sway… move your body around. This will help your body stay loose and relaxed.
Use gravity to your best advantage! Getting off your back can be instrumental to feeling comfortable in labor.
3. Hands and Knees
Hang over a birth ball, or rest on some pillows - this position will allow you some rest from standing. It can relieve pressure off of your back.
Photography provided by Birth Boot Camp
Sit on a birthing stool, sit on a toilet, adjust the hospital bed to become a chair. This naturally puts your body in an upright position - using gravity - and opens your pelvis.
5. Side Lying
This is great for getting some rest when you are tired. Use this position with a peanut ball or some pillows between your legs and it will keep your pelvis nice and open for baby to move down.
Squatting can open the pelvis up to 30% wider.
Take an AMAZING COMFORT MEASURES class ONLINE!!!! Or take a LIVE class with Alabama Births in Gadsden, Alabama!
Have you considered hiring a doula to help you navigate this amazing journey? I would love to meet with you for a free consultation regarding how a doula can benefit your birth goals!
There are many ways to relieve pain during labor. There are the medicated options, but in this 4 part series I plan to cover the many natural pain-relieving techniques. The different categories of comfort measures that will be covered in this 4 part series are environment, positions, tools, and touch.
I recently heard someone say this, your birth space should feel similar to the environment of a spa.
That is a great way to help visualize your birth space – dark lighting, soft music, warm room, relaxing atmosphere, and a pampered momma! Setting up your birth space is so important, whether you plan to birth at home, a birth center, or at the hospital. There are many things that can help you have a more peaceful experience. I like to use the 5 senses as a starting point; it is amazing all the things our senses pick up and sometimes those sensory invaders can become helps or hindrances.
It is said that our eyes are the window to our soul. What is in your window? Are you taking in pleasant sights or are there stressors present? Some tips for setting up your ‘sight’ environment would be to…
Learn more at Birth Boot Camp Childbirth Classes in Gadsden, Alabama!
Sound is something many people may not realize is overloading mom’s senses because we naturally tune things out, but when a mother is in labor she tends to pick up on everything. To help create a peaceful ‘sound’ environment…
The worst thing to do, if I was the laboring mom, would be to arrive with onion breath! Just DON’T do it! Instead try…
It is so important to make sure mom is properly hydrated and fueled up for the labor progress! I highly suggest a whole foods diet for pregnancy – it will help mom get lots of nutrients and vitamins to give her the strength and stamina to sustain her in labor. Consider the following…
In part 4 of this comfort measures series I will cover the topic of touch in much greater detail, but for now here are some helpful tips to helping a laboring woman feel better…
Check out Gadsden, Alabama's Birth Boot Camp Childbirth Classes!
Emotions are a huge part of the environment; they can set the tone of the whole birth space. So be aware of how they are influencing the atmosphere…
I didn’t know where to put this last tip, but really it should be first on your list… get mom to use the restroom, frequently!
If you are planning to change labor locations, for example, you plan to move from laboring at home to laboring at your hospital or birth center of choice, consider how you can reset your birth space when you arrive. Maybe you plan to bring a speaker for soft music, some battery operated candles for ambient lighting, and printed affirmations (with tape) to post around the room!
Another great option to help you accomplish everything listed above, is to hire a doula! A doula helps you do the thinking so both mom and dad can have a relaxing, enjoyable birth experience! Click here to find out how to get a doula!
One of my favorite things is seeing someone’s birth space or an affirmation that worked for them… Tell me how you are preparing your space or post a picture of how you would decorate your birth space!
If you are looking to join a childbirth class, I encourage you to check out my Birth Boot Camp class series! It is incredibly informative, fun, and couples walk away feeling prepared for an amazing birth!
When a mom feels the urge to push, there are so many things running through her head… excitement that this journey is almost over, nervousness that now she has to push a baby out, relief that she can actively engage with her contraction.
In a hospital setting a lot of things begin to happen at the very same time. A nurse begins prepping all the doctors/midwifes tools. They help the care provider get dressed in a special gown. Depending on how fast you are pushing, they call the baby team in who then begins preparing their station, all while you are trying to navigate the pushing phase. The cacophony of voices can become a little distracting.
So here are some tips to navigate the pushing phase…
1. Find a position that works for you
Don’t be afraid to try different positions. Many women, if left to their own ways, would choose position that is relatively upright… squatting, kneeling, leaning over a bed, hand and knees, even some standing positions can be great. Often women end up on their backs, and while a baby will still come out, it isn’t the most helpful position. Try side-lying instead of laying on your back if possible.
2. Wait for the swell
If you can push spontaneously then wait for the swell and go with your body, push when you feel the urge. When the swells goes, let go of your pushing. Wasted energy is draining.
3. Push like you have to poop
I know this sounds weird, but if you push in this way, then you have good form. And guess what, if you poop, then you are REALLY doing a good job! (Also, no one will draw attention to you pooping, in most cases you and your spouse will not even know it happened because doctors and nurses are amazingly discrete about it.)
4. Ask for supportive feedback
Pushing is not the easiest task and there are lots of people in the room who have different perspectives and may be able to give you helpful tips to either open your pelvis wider or release pent up tension in one part of your body to help you to direct it to another part.
5. When it burns, breathe lightly
When you feel that “ring of fire” it is your bodies way of saying slow down, let me open gently. It is your body’s way of trying to prevent tearing. And guess what, It won’t last long, PROMISE!
6. Tune into one voice
If you need coaching throughout your pushing phase, listen to the voice that resonates above all the others – the one voice that you understand. Tell them you are relying on their lead and they will be glad to help!
7. Ask for a mirror
Sometimes being able to see what your body is doing can be helpful. When you see how one style of pushing had more progress than another style, it empowers you to keep at it!
8. Try a Birth Stool/Birth Bar
Using gravity to your advantage will assist your pushing progress. ***Ask if these things are available before the pushing phase begins or else you may not remember them as an option.
I wish you the very best!
You are about to find out how strong you truly are!
If you would like more pushing practice, please check out my Birth Boot Camp class series!
If you don’t live in the Gadsden, Alabama area, I have online classes available.
And lastly, if you need the support of a doula, please message me and we can get together!
Often dads are a little skeptical about doulas…
Will they take my place?
Isn’t that what nurses are for?
I don’t know if I want someone I don’t know in the room!
Can’t your mom/sister just be your doula?
But after a dad experiences the support of a doula, they become the doulas best supporter! So how does a doula support a dad?
Doulas and dads make the BEST team!
If you are interested in meeting with a doula for a FREE consultation, please click here.
I love the way I feel after a visit to my chiropractor! I have renewed energy, my body feels relaxed, I don't have any aches - it is glorious!
I had never seen a chiropractor up until about 5 years ago. I was pregnant and my doula suggested I go see one – but not just any one, one that was well respected in our community, and most of all, was Webster certified. (A Webster certified chiropractic has specialized training regarding care for pregnant women.)
She knew that if my body was in proper alignment, my baby had a better chance of being in a good position for birth. A chiropractor can help your body get in proper alignment.
In my Birth Boot Camp Childbirth Education Series you will learn that your spine is the host to a major highway in your body; a highway that millions of messages are being sent on throughout the day! If your spine is out of alignment it could slow down and/or disrupt the way your body processes those messages. These misalignment's are called subluxations. A chiropractor works on your body to reduces these subluxations allowing the messages to flow efficiently.
But how does this look physically?
The word "doula" comes from the ancient Greek meaning "a woman who serves."
I love serving families throughout their pregnancy, labor, and postpartum. Doulas have been shown to help lower intervention rates, simply by being present at a birth. They also help families to have a more positive view of their birth experience.
A Birth Doula...
*Photography by Birth Boot Camp
But what does this really look like when labor is actually happening...
Evidenced Based Birth provides wonderful statistics about the physiological benefits of a doula. When continuous labor support was provided by a doula, women experienced a:
Alabama Births is now providing Doula services and Birth Boot Camp childbirth education classes to Gadsden and the surrounding areas. We look forward to serving you!
Drop a comment and tell us about YOUR favorite doula!
My name is Jillian and I am a Doula, Childbirth Educator, Placenta Encapsultor, And Trainer for Birth Boot Camp. I believe in women and that they deserve support throughout their pregnancy and births no matter what method of birth they desire. I myself am a mother to 4 girls; each of their births were vastly different.