By Hilde Tavares, Chiropractor and Founder of bbhugme
From pelvic pain to lower back pain, carrying a baby is a full-body experience. Whether it’s your first pregnancy or you’ve done this before, you may be surprised by the many new places you’re feeling discomfort, pains, and pressure.
Throughout pregnancy, as your belly grows, your center of gravity changes, causing you to move and carry your body differently. All of this creates strain, and often times, pain. When it comes to both preventing and relieving pain, the chiropractors behind the bbhugme Pregnancy Pillow have identified five points on your body that need special attention as you adapt to living (and sleeping) with a changing shape:
1. Your lower back. Your growing belly and loosening pelvic joints cause you to carry your weight differently, which can create strain on your back, especially in your lumbar (lower) spine. In addition to being bothersome while moving and sitting, suffering from back pain can make it especially difficult to fall – and stay – asleep.
2. Your growing belly. Especially in the later stages of pregnancy, you will want to rest your belly on something when lying down on your side. Since maternity care providers recommend that pregnant women sleep on their side, you may feel that the weight of your belly is pulling and straining the rest of your body as you try to find a comfortable position. This can create pain in your hips, back, and pelvis.
3. Your hips and pelvis. During pregnancy, your pelvic joints and tissues loosen to prepare for delivery. This is normal, but it can cause a range of symptoms, from simple aches to a feeling of pressure toward your cervix, to sensations of lax bones and muscles. All of this is due to an increase in hormones and in some cases, poor biomechanics and weak stabilizer muscles, and is one of the most common symptoms of later pregnancy.
4. Your knees. Changes in the way you walk, weight gain, exercising less frequently, and hormones that cause the ligaments to loosen can all contribute to knee pain. When settling into bed, it can be awkward to find a supported position for your knees while also accommodating your hips and growing tummy.
5. Your ankles. Pregnancy symptoms (they sometimes seem never-ending, right?) even find their way down to your ankles. Swelling of the feet and ankles is very common due to your growing uterus and extra fluid in your body. This swelling can result in pain, and the best way to get relief is usually by putting your feet up, including at night. Lying on your side with your feet raised will help improve circulation, giving you some relief from painful, puffy ankles.
All of this is common - and unfortunately, expected - during pregnancy, but it doesn’t mean you need to suffer. Luckily, there are ways to both prevent and relieve discomfort in all five points.
Invest in a quality pregnancy pillow
For many pregnant women, the key to pain relief and better sleep is a good pregnancy pillow. However, a quick Google search may leave you overwhelmed with the many different shapes and styles available. So, what really matters when it comes to pain relief?
The length of the pillow is important, and most pillows aren’t long enough to provide head-to-toe support in a way that relieves pressure evenly across your body. So while some pillows may provide a place to rest your belly or support your back, they won’t be hitting all of your potential pain points.
You should also look for adjustability and versatility when making your choice. Many pillows are fixed in a static shape and level of firmness, and pregnancy is not a time for “one-size-fits-all" - everyone’s body and needs are different! Pick a pillow that’s adjustable in size, shape, and firmness so it can be adapted to meet you and body’s individual needs.
Designed by chiropractors, loved by pregnant women
Created by three women chiropractors specialized in pre- and postnatal care, the award-winning bbhugme Pregnancy Pillow offers an innovative design that provides unique five-point body support. With just one pillow, you can improve body alignment, ease existing pain, and prevent pregnancy-related pain before it starts.
Shop the bbhugme Pregnancy Pillow.
About the author
Hilde and her husband run a family chiropractic practice just outside of Stavanger, Norway. She works with pregnant women, new moms, and their babies every day. Her work reaches beyond treating only aches and pains, and centers around helping women understand their true physical strength and connecting with their inner voice that already knows what is best for them and their babies. As one of the founders of bbhugme, and part of the product development team, Hilde has a close relationship with all the bbhugme products.
Learn more about our Health Expert Panel.