June 6, 2016
Simply because pregnancy is a natural event doesn’t mean that the condition is always an easy one to live with. This is because even with the most trouble-free of pregnancies the body undergoes varying extremes of stress. Often we associate the stress placed on a woman’s body with her weight gain, however, what we really have to consider is that during this nine-month period the continually changing shape necessitates that the body has to make numerous adjustments simply to stay balanced. Not only that but it also has to readjust depending on whatever position it is in or, more so, when it is moving and particularly when it has to bend.
Although most pregnant women will probably perceive nine months to be a long time, in actual fact the significant changes inflicted on the body during this period are extremely swift. This puts not only the organs and skin under stress but also many other elements. Because of these speedy changes, the effects, for some women, can be both extensive and enduring. In some cases, they can even last long after the pregnancy itself.
Although many women will often be made aware of the importance of maintaining posture during pregnancy, most are uncertain as to what this really is, or associate it with maintaining a particular body shape when standing. However what posture really means is maintaining a center of gravity which puts the least amount of pressure on the body. This can cause some confusion because one single posture has no relevance to the duration of a pregnancy because the center of gravity, and so good posture, constantly changes. And this not only happens many, many times during the gestation period, but with each and every movement. Practically every minute of every waking day during the nine month period, a woman’s body will have to find a new center of gravity. These constant shifts entail not simply ‘maintaining balance,’ but involve many physical factors. The tendons, muscles, blood supply and connectives tissue are constantly having to make changes to ensure the woman maintains her stance and equilibrium. As you can image this often accounts for the numerous aches and pains that most women feel during the course of the pregnancy. The effects are somewhat similar to exercising little used muscles each and every day and then experiencing the painful after-effects.
One of the most common bone pains women experience during pregnancy is pelvic pain. This is most often caused by tendons being stretched and moved and also by the internal organs literally being displaced to make way for the growing fetus. Yet even here, in one of the areas most directly affected by pregnancy, most women will find that ultimately the pain will subside as the body readjusts to the changes. If though pelvic pain is accompanied by discharge, bleeding or fever, then it is imperative to seek medical assistance immediately.
However, the good news for most women is that despite all the changes occurring to their bodies, and although there may be an indirect influence on their bones, they are rarely damaged either during pregnancy or after the birth. This is because nature steps in and gives an extra special helping hand when it comes to pregnant ladies and calcium.
Although estrogen is often simply seen as a hormone, one of its main characteristics is to protect the integrity of bones. When a woman is pregnant she produces more estrogen than normal and one of its purposes it to maintain bone health in particular.
Although women are often encouraged to increase their calcium intake when pregnant, what they often don’t realize is that their ability to absorb calcium either from food or supplements actually improves. This protects not only Mom, but also the development of her baby, and this efficacy increases as the pregnancy progresses. By the third trimester, Mom is able to absorb most calcium she ingests extremely efficiently because this is when her baby needs it most.
Although pregnant women might lose some bone density not only during pregnancy but also if they breastfeed, this is restored very quickly afterward. It is a reminder though that not only pregnant but also new moms, need to eat well and include in their diet, dairy products, canned fish and dark leafed vegetables.
Though the condition is quite unusual, there are some women who can suffer from osteoporosis during pregnancy. This is a condition which can result in broken bones arising from either small knocks or even due to the labor itself. The reasons for this disease, where the bones become less dense during pregnancy and are therefore more fragile, are actually unknown although currently there are many hypotheses being put forward. These range from ongoing conditions which may already have weakened the bones, through to contemporary medications which may contribute to the deterioration of them. Despite the theories the fractures which occur to loss of bone density are referred to as being ‘osteoporotic’ and also ‘idiopathic’ which means the cause of the problem is unknown (1).
The good news is that due to the way in which modern medicine monitors mothers-to-be, any potential problems relating osteoporosis are likely to be identified. So, when it comes to what are considered the normal aches and pains of pregnancy, it is highly unlikely that bone density issues will be the cause.
If you are a pregnant woman who has to cope with a diverse range of aches and pains on a daily basis, try and appreciate the influences which are being exerted on the muscles, tendons and connective tissue throughout your body. With this knowledge in mind, and by eating quality food, it may well help you to relax and accept that your body is simply trying to readjust to its continually changing shape so it can provide you with the best posture to maintain your center of gravity.