July 22, 2015

9 Tips for Pregnancy

What helps one person, may not be helpful to another, but I certainly enjoy and have found it helpful to hear others' experiences and so I don't mind just sharing what has helped me in my experience.

Ginger Tea: I love a little fresh ginger tea with honey to help with the morning sickness in the first trimester. Peel 1 inch of ginger root and mince it up. Put it in a tea strainer and put that into a mug full of hot water. Steep for 7 minutes then remove the strainer. Add a little honey to sweeten it and once it's a nice temperature, drink it up.

Elastic Band Button: There is usually a point in the pregnancy when the regular pants are too tight to do up anymore, but the maternity pants don't fit right yet. This is when an elastic or rubber band can be really helpful to be able to wear the regular pants a little longer. Just slip the elastic through the button hole and attach each side onto the button. This will give a little more room until those maternity pants fit.

Plan to Take a Nap: Pregnancy can be exhausting. Your body is already doing so much work to grow a little person that the regular daily tasks can become too much. I've just started planning to take a short nap halfway through the day. Although somedays I can't help sleeping for an hour or two, if I limit myself to just 10 minutes to a half hour I wake up more refreshed than if I sleep for longer. With additional little kids this can be tricky. Nap times don't always line up and even if they do, 2 and 3 year old kids can keep getting up to go potty and get a drink, etc so that it become increasingly frustrating if you are trying to get a nap in too. Instead, I've started sending them to their beds with books immediately after lunch. I set an alarm and make sure they know that they aren't expected to sleep, but just to stay in their beds until the alarm goes off. If I just set it for 15-20 minutes that can be a fair expectation.

Chiropractic Adjustment (for Pelvic Joint Pain): At the end of my third pregnancy, I experienced a fair amount of pain in my pelvic joint. I didn't get any significant help for it at the time besides just lying with a pillow between my legs and making sure my legs were aligned when lying down. I could have gotten one of those pelvic support belts, but I didn't and endured the pain of walking right up to delivery. Afterwards, the pain went away so I hardly remembered it until 6 months postpartum, it returned. I saw a chiropractor who said that sometimes 3-6 months after birth when the joints tighten back up, the sacroiliac joints can overtighten. This usually results in lower back pain (which I didn't experience) but although he hadn't heard of it before, theoretically it could cause pelvic joint pain because of overuse of that joint. The chiropractor simply adjusted my sacroiliac joints on each side and after a second visit and adjustment, I felt no need to go back again because the pain had gone away completely. I expected a return of the joint pain with my fourth pregnancy, but although I'm almost 40 weeks, I've had no pelvic joint pain. I attribute it to that adjustment. If I did have pelvic joint pain again, I would definitely be going back to the chiropractor to see if another adjustment would relieve it. He assured me that he sees many pregnant women with the same complaint and has been able to help them. Probably in pregnancy, it would be best to get the belt in addition to the adjustment to help keep the joint intact since it is loose from pregnancy hormones.

Compression Tights (for varicose veins and swollen feet and legs): I didn't experience a lot of varicose veins on my legs in my first three pregnancies but in my fourth, I was getting a lot of varicose veins and by the third trimester they were starting to really hurt whenever I was upright. Compression Tights made all the difference for me. I hardly remembered I had varicose veins when I wore the them, but every step hurt whenever I wasn't wearing them. I recommend getting the compression tights as opposed to the hose. I had a pair of compression hose and the second day I wore them, they got a run all the way up the leg. The compression tights are a bit thicker and so more durable. I did have to wear them all summer for this pregnancy when it was hottest, but they are still pretty breathable. I bought black Sigvaris Compression Tights at Destination Maternity. Get two pairs so you can still wear one while the other is washing.
A plus to wearing the compression tights is that as a result, I have not had any swelling in my legs and feet this fourth pregnancy (I did in all the previous ones). This was an unexpected and pleasant surprise.

V2 Supporter (for vulvar varicosities): This is one purchase I did not want to make. It's one thing to have varicose veins on your legs, but nobody talks about if they extend all the way up the leg and "down there." The clerks at the maternity stores I went to had never heard of vulvar varicosities and they certainly didn't have any products to help with it. I finally ordered this through a pharmacy who had to order them from another distributor. They were expensive.... but it was worth it. The discomfort of pressure down there is very much relieved by wearing a V2 Supporter. Being 140 lbs. at full term, I ordered a small of the It's You Babe V2 Supporter and found them to be a perfect fit.

Cold Compress (for vulvar varicosities): When days are hot, the vulvar varicosities can feel a bit swollen even with the V2 Supporter. Sitting on a cold pack can really help to relieve that.

Raspberry Leaf Tea: This is a tea that is recommended to women for uterine health. In pregnancy, it can help cause the uterus to start doing some early practice contractions to make it stronger for the delivery. I usually start drinking a little in the last trimester and start drinking at least 1 cup a day in the final weeks of the pregnancy. I don't think it made me go into labour, but it may have caused my labour to go more quickly. My last pregnancy (the first one I tried drinking tea with) I went into the hospital with moderate contractions and had the baby within an hour. (Wouldn't I love for such a fast delivery again!) That could be because of the tea or maybe just since that was my third delivery. Either way, a strong and healthy uterus is definitely a positive thing for labour.

Hope this helps or give you some ideas in your pregnancy!

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