Why Does My Pregnant Body Ache?

Photography: Victoria Gloria Photography

By Lana Fort

Pregnancy is such a special and exciting time but unfortunately can bring unwanted aches and pains. Most of these pains are a completely normal result of your body adapting to a growing baby and preparing for birth.

Common complaints include:

  • Headaches
  • Neck pain
  • Back pain
  • Rib pain
  • Pelvic pain
  • Sciatica
  • Pubic symphysis dysfunction (SPD)
  • Leg cramps
  • Carpal tunnel
  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Constipation
  • Reflux

Why do we get these pains?

These aches and pains happen for several reasons. One of the biggest factors is that our hormone production changes so we produce more relaxin, a hormone that helps to relax our ligaments to allow for expansion of the pelvis to prepare for birth. With this relaxing, the joints end up a little less supported which means the muscles work a bit harder to try and hold the joints together – which make them more prone to injuries and strains.

Your posture also changes to accommodate for your growing baby and extra weight gain means your centre of gravity shifts forward. You also have a 40% increase in blood volume.

Together these changes put more stress on your body. The growing baby also adds extra pressure internally which means there is less space for all of your organs to function normally (that’s why we need to pee more as our bladder gets squashed). As the baby grows bigger it also squashes your lungs and therefore your body’s oxygen capacity is less efficient and your muscles get less oxygen as your oxygen is trying to keep all your vital parts functioning. If you have an old niggle or injury it often becomes flared up.

Just remember that after pregnancy these changes don’t disappear overnight. It can take a few months for your body to return back to normal. An osteopath’s role in pregnancy is to aid the mother through this process, alleviate pains and help the body to return back to normal efficiently.

The good news is, there is a lot you can do to help manage those pains.

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