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Probably the biggest symptom my pregnant patients complain about is the achy back, otherwise known as “baby backache.” And it’s certainly understandable why. Your body is gaining weight, mostly in the front, and preparing for childbirth. Those pesky hormones, estrogen and progesterone, are relaxing your joints and softening muscles.
Just because a backache is normal, it’s important to discuss your symptoms with your healthcare provider. The first thing we’ll do is rule out a bladder infection, preterm labor, muscle injury and other problems. If need be, we can prescribe Tylenol. But there are other things that will help.
#1 – Stay hydrated. Your body is made up of about 60 percent water, so drinking water is especially important while you’re going through these changes. About six to eight glasses are all you need. If you are retaining water and have swelling in your feet and hands, don’t stop drinking water. Talk with your provider.
#2 – Improve your posture. Most of us slouch over a computer, hunch over in chairs, and don’t make a conscious effort to stand or sit straight when we aren’t pregnant. When you’re pregnant, this can easily lead to back pain. Watch your posture throughout the day – while sitting, sleeping, standing, walking and driving.
#3 – Exercise. We need 30 to 60 minutes of exercise most days of the week for a healthy heart. This makes for a healthy you and a healthy pregnancy. Exercise will release endorphins, elevate your mood and alleviate signs of depression.
#4 – Support your back. Your provider may suggest a maternity belt for back pain or physical therapy so you can learn how to keep your muscles strong and your back huting less.
#5 – Watch your weight. Your healthcare provider has given you guidelines on how much weight is appropriate for you to gain based on your body frame and overall health. Following his or her advice will lead to a healthier, happier pregnancy and reduce the risk of having a cesarean section.
#6 – Wear low-heeled shoes. Not only will this help improve your posture, but wearing low heeled shoes lowers your center of gravity and keeps you safer while you walk. As your body changes, you’ll have to learn to balance going down stairs and other hard-to-maneuver places.
#7 – Warm baths. Warm baths are a great way to relax and get comfortable. Be sure your tub is outfitted with a suitable bath mat or non-slip strips placed inside. You may even find a shower gripper bar especially useful.
And an added bonus… ask your partner for a massage!
New WakeMed Women’s Hospital Opening May 2015
We’re counting down the weeks until the May 2015 grand opening of Wake County’s fifth full-service hospital, WakeMed North Family Health & Women’s Hospital. WakeMed North Healthplex at 10000 Falls of Neuse Road in Raleigh is currently being transformed into a 248,800-sq. ft., full-service women’s hospital designed with the unique needs of women in mind. It will feature a tranquil environment as well as amenities tailored to our patients’ needs. This includes spacious and comfortable labor and delivery rooms. Learn more.
Sharon Varner, RN, MSN, CNM, is a certified nurse midwife with WakeMed Physician Practices – Women’s Center.
3000 New Bern Ave.
Raleigh, NC 27610