The other day I was twisting and turning on my couch trying to figure out why in the world my pregnant self couldn’t manage to find a comfortable position. Pregnancy introduces a whole slew of different aches and discomforts in places never noticed before. As I’ve researched and talked with other moms about these different discomforts, I decided to throw together a small list of the most popular responses I found of ways to be more comfortable during pregnancy.
1. Body Pillow
I’ve always had back issues and my hips started aching in my very first trimester, so it only went downhill from there. I postponed spending any money on a body pillow because they seemed so expensive, but when my sister finally loaned me hers I wondered how I’d gone so long without one! The added pressure on my rib cage that came in with week 22 of pregnancy was making it very difficult to sleep. I was waking up numerous times in the night (seemed like every hour) due to the aching in my back and hips and the feeling that my rib cage was overlapping one another. Since using my sister’s body pillow I’ve noticed a significant difference in how often I wake up in the night as well as overall comfort. I don’t know how it could be so different from just the regular two pillows I used before, but it is. I tuck the front part of the pillow under my growing tummy, which seems to support it as well as aid my ribs, and then I tuck the rest between my legs. If you aren’t as fortunate as I was to borrow one, I’d check out the snoogle pillow, that so many pregnant woman have raved about. Call it first world problems if you will, but I think between waking up numerous times in the night from aches and pains and having to get up to use the bathroom, whatever you can do to make the night’s sleep better for you is worth the small investment. But that’s just me. 😉
2. Belly Bands vs. Maternity Clothes
Here’s my deal: I knew I would eventually need to buy maternity clothes anyway so I just bought used (because I’m cheap remember?) and borrowed maternity clothes that I thought would stretch with me instead of going the belly band route. However, I’m only 23 weeks right? There’s still time for me to change my mind depending on my comfort level. I’ve heard of many women who love belly bands because they make it so that you can still wear some of your old jeans and pants. For me my pants seemed to get snug real fast and with everything else my body was throwing at me, it just wasn’t worth the discomfort. Buy used if you have to, but get some comfortable clothes that will hopefully grow with you as soon as you start feeling uncomfortable in your old ones. I know we all want to look like those cute pregnant moms we all know who seem to always sport the most fashionable maternity clothes, but spending bookoo bucks on an outfit I know will only be temporary is just not worth it to me. Trust me, you can find cute used or borrowed maternity clothes and still look stylish. This cute website called nine little months sells all sorts of fashionable, gently used maternity clothes for really cheap. (Update: Now that I’m in my third trimester I have discovered the beauty that is H&M Leggings. WHY I didn’t buy those bad boys much sooner I’ll never know. They have brought me comfort that I have yet to experience with any other maternity pants, and they only cost around $10!)
3. Heart Burn and Indigestion
Both of my sisters took papaya enzyme right after eating meals while pregnant and swear by it for heart burn and indigestion relief. Apple Cider Vinegar, Aloe Vera juice, almonds, and a tablespoon of honey in warmed milk are some more options I’ve read about that help with heartburn and/or indigestion. If you can, also avoid drinking right before and after eating your meals as well. (Reminder: I’m not a doctor. You should consult with your doctor about any concerns you might have concerning your own health.)
4. Stretch Marks
Coconut oil. What isn’t it good for, right? My mom uses it all the time for eczema and moisturizing her skin. (I always knew when she put it on because all the doorknobs I’d touch were suddenly slick and oily. Eck!) I also use it on my face and blemishes every once in a while and it always seems to heal things faster so it made sense to me when many woman recommended it for stretch marks. I just rub a little on my stomach each night before I go to bed and haven’t noticed any signs of them yet! Katie talks more on coconut oils benefits of cradle cap in her post 12 Home Remedies to Always Keep on Hand.
Katie also mentioned this in her post on Home Remedies and since it’s so fitting to this post, I’m just going to copy it over as a “testimonial” (hee hee).
“With my last pregnancy, I could not live without magnesium. It was the first time I had tried it. Someone told me it was great for alleviating constipation (what pregnant mom hasn’t experienced that??) and also restless leg syndrome. I found this powdered kind that you drink to work MUCH better than capsules. Not only did I have less incidents with restless leg that pregnancy, but it totally kept me regular AND THIS IS THE BEST PART: my hip pain while sleeping went WAY down. Instead of turning from one side to the next every 15 minutes, I could go hours. That was a lifesaver. There are so many other benefits from magnesium but those are my favorites.”
She prefers the powdered kind but I prefer the capsules from Vitacost because I like to take things down without having to taste it and with one swig. You can choose whatever works for you.
6. Snack Stash
I don’t know about you, but if I go more than 2 hours without eating anything I start feeling sick. If you’ve read my post on First Trimester Blues, you know how much I HATE feeling sick so I try and avoid it at all costs by keeping a little snack stash on me at all times. I work during the day and so I keep it in my purse and when I can I’ll munch on some pretzels, graham crackers or whatever else I throw in there. I’ve learned to bring it to church with me as well. No matter how many times I convince myself that I can go the full 3 hours without eating, and save myself the embarrassment of munching a granola bar in Sunday school, it’s just not worth feeling sick over! I’ve noticed it’s better for heart burn, indigestion, and just overall health during your pregnancy to eat small meals throughout the day rather than three big meals.
7. Exercise *cough* Some Sort of Physical Activity 😉
Your muscles and ligaments are going to feel like they’re getting tighter and tighter the further along you get. The looser and more relaxed you can keep them, the better you’ll feel for daily living and for delivery. Try and find some sort of physical activity you can do each day to keep those muscles loose. It doesn’t have to be anything big. Heck, after lying sick in bed for what seemed like my entire first trimester, just walking outside with my husband a couple of times a day for a couple of minutes, was all the exercise I could do. YouTube is awesome for finding tons of pregnancy exercise videos, including yoga! (That’s next on my list! Ha ha!) Listen to what your body says is good for you and be careful not to overdo it.
Because of the different hormones produced to loosen your ligaments for baby’s arrival, and your center of gravity being thrown off from your growing belly, your body can easily fall out of alignment. When your body is misaligned (especially in the pelvis area) your aches and pains are increased. The delivery process could also be more difficult as your baby tries to find the right position for the delivery. Getting proper chiropractic care can assist in alleviating those hip and lower back pains in addition to aiding in the entire labor and delivery process.
As a sidenote, if you’re looking for a good baby monitor for your own peace of mind AFTER baby arrives, I would 100% recommend the Owlet. It wasn’t exactly a “must-have” in my book until my friend had a very scary experience with her baby and she was alerted by it. Now I try to get the word out about this product every where I can. If good sleep is a must for you, then you need an Owlet! It alerts you if your baby stops breathing in the night, which is especially reassuring when you first get home from the hospital, or any time your baby is sick!