When I hit about 35-36 weeks of pregnancy, changes really started to emerge. It’s common knowledge that your ligaments loosen during pregnancy in preparation for birth. You need that extra give as bones spread, making room for baby evacuation. Something I guess I forgot is the very real, very odd sensations these changes create.
Getting up after sitting for a period of over 15 minutes, your pelvic area is pretty darn achey. It’s just from spreading out those sit bones. It totally makes sense, but it’s weird when you begin to feel it (and not too comfortable.)
I don’t know about you, but pretty much everything in my pelvic region begins to feel wonky -like all the screws are loose.
The ligaments right between my inner thighs and pubic bone will occasionally cramp when I’m walking. My sciatic nerve begins to pinch -and I particularly feel it if I’ve been sitting in a chair for long periods of time. Which brings me to a story with a point:
During my last pregnancy I switched from my regular office chair to a stability ball. I loved the difference! When Tennyson arrived I could create a natural bouncing motion while he rested or breastfed while I worked. I never replaced my new “seat” until a few weeks ago when I redesigned my office. The big black stability ball didn’t look right in my pristinely white quarters, so I replaced it with a white plastic/metal chair and used a pillow for cushion. I loved the look! Buuuuut after a week I started to notice my sciatica acting up again. I thought I wasn’t walking enough, so I changed that. Nope. If anything, that made it worse (at least in the moment) and I had 2 days where I could barely move without sharp pain in my lower back.
Brian brought up the fact that I had switched “chairs” and that not using the stability ball after it being my norm for nearly 3 years may be a contributing factor.
(I married a smart man.)
I switched out the chair for the ball and, I tell you what, within 2-3 hours of use I was able to move around with hardly a pinch felt. After spending over 7 hours on it the following day, I was free of the pain.
Miracle, you say? Darn tootin’. Particularly during this time when your ligaments are so loose and a great deal of changes are occurring in your body, you need to pay attention to the small things and do what creates the most comfort as your pregnancy progresses. Like not wearing heels for over 30 minutes at a time during your 3rd trimester… 😉
Here are some 3rd Trimester Tips:
Stretch. Focus on elongating your muscles, your back, your legs. You’ve gained more weight faster than usual and your body is trying to keep up, along with loosening those ligaments and turning various areas to noodles.
Lighten Up. If you’re like me, you daily feel anxiety about the “any moment now” approach of labor. It’s easy to stress yourself out. Instead, focus on this tiny, easy and fun objective: Look for things that make you happy. As you go about your day, keep an eye open for little and big things that bring you delight. CREATE delight in your life by doing things (little and big) that bring you joy. When you’re focused on the positive, ain’t nobody got time for the negative, girl.
Warm Baths & Showers. Yeeeeeessssssss! Oh, this may be my favorite. I love stealing away for a 10-15 minute warm bath while listening to some soothing music. It helps keep those muscles loose and eases the pain of pinched nerves, helping stretch out while entering a total relaxation mode. I also use this time to visualize birth, seeing it happen safely, beautifully, in power, in joy and in love. There are so many negative messages about birthing -fear of pain being the top one, in my opinion- and unless we counter those messages with positive ones, we’re setting ourself up to have a harder birthing experience than we need. Visualization is key to success and peace of mind.
Avoid Inflammatory Foods. Yep, it makes a difference. When we eat foods that cause inflammation we set ourselves us for discomfort and pain. If you’re eating a plant based diet, avoiding processed food products and refined sugars, you are all set! I admit, I had fallen into a processed food+refined sugar trap for a few weeks (and, yes, yesterday I had cake+ice cream and candy during my son’s birthday…I am not perfect) and noticed more physical discomfort than usual. When I remove the crap from my diet, there’s a MAJOR difference in how I sleep, over sense of well being, and physical mobility and recovery. If you “can’t” go plant based, start adding in more whole foods (unprocessed -straight from the source) into your daily life. It will start to crowd out the crap and you’ll notice a difference in your energy level and overall feeling of health. (The reason can’t is in ” ” is because we make excuses for our food addictions. “Oh, I couldn’t go plant based, I love cheese too much,” and the like. What goes in is a choice. Like I said, I’m not perfect and I allow myself to fall off the wagon every now and again, but I know that I have complete control over what goes into my body nutritionally and, for health, that’s 98% of the cause of illness or reason for good health.