Taking care of women throughout their pregnancy Is an absolute passion of mine, writes Reading Chiropractor Beccy Norman. There is nothing better than helping women through the most amazing change their body will go through and then hearing the wonderful birth stories afterwards. Oh and of course meeting the little one we’ve been keeping cosy all this time!! Over the last few years of caring for pregnant women, babies and children and continuing my studying in this field I have discovered a few things that definitely seem to help towards a happy, healthy pregnancy. Here are my 5 top tips for a healthy pregnancy.
I’m fully aware I’m biassed but getting adjusted by your chiropractor or osteopath really can make all the difference. Many women are told the back pain in pregnancy is ‘normal’. This just isn’t true! It may be common but it is not normal. During pregnancy the body goes through so many changes.
Your centre of gravity changes, the hormone relaxin loosens many of your ligaments. This affects around the pelvis, your lower back curve increases and your head and neck tend to tilt forward. There is plenty we can do as chiropractors to help balance the pelvis and spine and try to combat the strain on the spine from the change in centre of gravity.
Many women, when pregnant, can feel worried about exercising during pregnancy and are unsure of what is safe. Although everyone is different it’s worth talking to your GP before increasing exercise. In general as long as the exercise is something your body is used to, it is something you can continue with. For example if you are a marathon runner, you can continue running. However, if you have never run before, training for a 10km isn’t a great idea.
Yoga is a great way to keep moving and strengthen the body. Tessa is a fantastic yoga instructor and can help with both pre and post natal strengthening! (link for her website here: https://www.tessayoga.co.uk). It is also worth considering strength training , particularly for your back muscles and glutes (the big muscles in your bottom!). This will help combat both the ligamentous and gravitational changes. Either have a chat with your practitioner or Tereena Hartin is a local PT who specialises in this area and has helped many of my pregnancy patients.
Overall the main thing is finding something low impact that you are comfortable with and enjoy! Just chat with your practitioner to work out what’s safe and right for you.
We are what we eat! So surely during pregnancy is the time to consider carefully what we do and don’t eat. In terms of calorific intake, this doesn’t really need to change in the first trimester. Then an additional 200kcals in the second trimester and then a total of 400kcals extra in the third trimester. Sorry to be the myth buster on this front!
The basic principles of a healthy diet remain the same during pregnancy. A balanced diet that’s rich in fibre, fruit and veg and a moderate amount of protein. Then limit the amount of foods high in sugar and fat. Be sure to limit caffeine intake and take out alcohol! It is also worth looking in to a good quality pregnancy care supplement for example ‘pregnacare’. If you’d like more detail on nutrition then just chat to your practitioner.
Many of the lovely ladies I have treated have absolutely sworn by hypnobirthing. Sarah Collison runs ‘Happy Births’ in Caversham and I have heard only fabulous things about her! (website link below) .Hypnobirthing is all about preparing your mind for the physical experience you will go through during birth. Her aim is to make this experience as peaceful and as positive as possible. This can also really help to reduce anxiety, stress and fear associated with the birthing experience. You can start these classes from 20 weeks onwards. The mind is an extremely powerful tool so why not utilise it to improve your birthing experience. Another way of enhancing your birth experience is considering a Doula. A doula is a person who can support you through pregnancy, labour and birth.
The last of our 5 top tips for a healthy pregnancy is ensuring you have the right tools around to look after your body. This can make all the difference! One of the things I always recommend for my pregnant women who are desk based is to switch to sitting on a swiss ball. This takes the pressure off the spine and will encourage you to sit up straight.
Another great investment is a pregnancy pillow. This will support your bump while you lie on your side. Having the pillow wrapped between your knees will not only take pressure of your knees but also keeps your pelvis level. Your practitioner may recommend you get a pelvic support belt if this is indicated for you. However, don’t start wearing one unless prescribed.
The right footwear is also key. Your joints are having to carry more pressure so you want shoes that can support this. Wearing a good quality pair of trainers can make all the difference. Oh, and stay away from the flip flops at all costs!
While we all battle through the COVID pandemic it has become harder for pregnant women to receive the support and care they need. The lack of normal contact is a cause of increased stress. Reflex Spinal Health is open as normal to care for all. We are taking all precautions and our patients are very happy that we are there for them. If you are pregnant, and suffering any aches and pains please don’t suffer in silence. Here is a further blog with advice for those who are pregnant during this coronanvirus pandemic.
17 Church Road, Caversham, Reading, Berkshire RG4 7AA
Reflex Spinal Health are a passionate, dynamic spinal health team. We are committed to help as many in our community of Reading, Berkshire and South Oxfordshire to enjoy the vitality of great health, to reach their health goals and feel truly alive! Our chiropractors and osteopaths offer the highest standards of care in a superb environment.