8 Ways To Make Pregnancy More Comfortable, According To Experts
Pregnancy can be an exciting time, but it's rarely a super comfortable experience. That's why knowing how to make pregnancy more comfortable is so crucial for people who are expecting. Your body is working overtime right now, so of course it could use a little extra care.
For the most part, experiencing some aches and pains with pregnancy is incredibly common. "Pregnancy is an amazing time as the body is quickly changing while you are incubating a little person within. With these rapid physical changes can sometimes come discomforts," says Dr. Betsy A.B. Greenleaf, who is Double Board Certified in Obstetrics/Gynecology and Female Pelvic Medicine and Reconstructive Surgery, tells Romper. Muscles can become tight, ligaments stretch, and you will feel some of these changes in your body. However, remember that extreme pain is not a part of the normal process. "You’re going to have aches and pains during pregnancy, but none should be so severe that you can’t manage it," Dr. LaTasha Perkins M.D., a practicing family physician in Washington, DC, tells Romper. Get any severe pains evaluated by your doctor at once.
Thankfully, though, there are plenty of ways to help manage the everyday aches and discomforts that go along with pregnancy. Here's what experts recommend to help make your pregnancy experience as comfortable as possible.
1. Get A Massage
Although it may not be available to everyone, a massage can soothe many common pregnancy aches and pains. " A professional massage therapist trained in massaging pregnant women will be capable of applying massage techniques which work to target problem areas for pregnant women safely and effectively," Jamie Bacharach, Head of Practice at Acupuncture Jerusalem, tells Romper. In fact, the stress reduction and muscle relaxation can make prenatal massage an important form of self-care.
2. Eat Ginger
For many people, nausea is one of the first discomforts of pregnancy, but snacking on this food can help. "Ginger has a natural anti-nausea action on the body," says Dr. Greenleaf, who suggests trying ginger candy, ginger tea, and ginger ale for relief. Here are some additional foods you can eat to help with morning sickness, including the reliable saltine cracker, as noted in Romper.
3. Lay On Your Side
Sometimes your body may simply need a change in position. "Round ligament pain tends to be the first and significantly concerning pain a mother feels, but this is caused by the stretching of the ligaments that attach to the lower part of the uterus," says Dr. Greenleaf. "The easiest way to relieve this pain is to lay on the your side and on the side that is bothering you." This gently takes the stretch from the ligament, as Dr. Greenleaf further explains.
4. Try A Belly Band
Garments made specifically to help the pregnant body may also come in handy. "As the uterus continues to grow, a woman's center of balance shifts, [and] this begins to put a great strain on the low back," says Dr. Greenleaf. "Belly bands are often used to help distribute the strain placed on the low back." Think of it as a comfy hug for your midsection.
For many people, exercising can make pregnancy so much better. "Anything to keep you moving will help with discomfort," says Dr. Perkins. Continue doing exercises you began before pregnancy, and consider adding some prenatal yoga or other gentle stretching to the mix, as Dr. Perkins further explains.
6. Maintain Dental Hygiene
Tender, bleeding gums can be a surprising and (and painful) side effect from carrying a baby. "During pregnancy, make sure you’re practicing proper oral hygiene – brush twice a day, floss, use mouthwash," says Dr. Perkins. "Even brushing after every meal is a good idea." Here's what else you should know about dental health during pregnancy, according to Romper. Tending your teeth is still so important at this time, because no one wants to deal with mouth pain on top of a pregnancy, and it's important for your overall health (and therefore baby's health), too.
7. Use Heat
If your muscles keep going into painful spasms, then turn up the heat. Taking a warm shower or using a warm pack can help soothe those muscles, as Dr. Greenleaf explains. Just make sure any heating pads you use don't get excessively hot to avoid skin burns.
Give yourself some time to chill and decompress whenever possible. "Rest is the most common and effective discomfort prescription for pregnant women," says Bacharach. "Pregnant women need to rest and relax muscles and ligaments which are under stress, as well as afford the immune system time to recuperate." Do anything that helps you relax and chill out, whether that's practicing meditation or making sure you get enough sleep during pregnancy. Although it can feel like these nine months stretch on forever, there are plenty of ways to make pregnancy less painful overall.
Jamie Bacharach, Head of Practice at Acupuncture Jerusalem
Dr. Betsy A.B. Greenleaf DO, FACOOG (Distinguished), Double Board Certified in Obstetrics/Gynecology and Female Pelvic Medicine and Reconstructive Surgery
Dr. LaTasha Perkins, MD, a practicing family physician in Washington, DC