The Aches Of Pregnancy

Pregnancy can be a pain - literally! Tricia O'Brien, Features Editor of American Baby Magazine, has some tips to help ease those aches and pains.

One of the most common pain experienced during pregnancy is back pain. "As you progress in your pregnancy, this gets worse," says O'Brien. As your belly grows, it throws off your balance putting strain on your neck, shoulders and back. There are few pain relievers you can safely take during pregnancy, so O'Brien suggests heat therapy. Try a warm bath or a heating pad to ease the pain.

In addition to back pain, many women feel like they experience a lot of swelling in their legs, hands and arms while they're pregnant. "Elevate your legs," says O'Brien. "Whenever you can, put your feet up." Also, watch how much salt you're eating. Excessive amounts of salt in your diet can contribute to swelling as well.

Some pregnant women also experience temporary Carpal Tunnel Syndrome. If gel wrist pads aren't helping, talk to your doctor about being fitted for a brace to support your wrists. Your physician may also give you some hand exercises to strengthen your wrist muscles.

One of the most painful things a woman can experience while pregnant is sciatica. Depending on how big your baby is or how the baby is laying in your womb, they may be putting strain on your sciatic nerve. This can cause severe pain from your lower back all the way down through your legs. Some women can't even walk when their sciatic nerve is tense. "Watch your salt intake, drink tons of fluids - that helps flush out your system," says O'Brien. Try to keep in mind that once your baby is born, the majority of that pressure will be relieved.

Many pregnant women also have leg cramps at night. "Try to take some walks during the day," says O'Brien. This can help boost the circulation in your legs, which may lessen the cramps. Also, try massage. Better yet, ask your husband or partner to massage your calves for you! "Also, Calcium and Potassium are good, so you might talk to your doctor about a Calcium supplement," says O'Brien. Try to eat Potassium rich foods like baked potatos and bananas as well.

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By Erin Petrun