While pregnant with my first, I went to nearly weekly acupuncture appointments, got regular massage and saw a chiropractor or PT when needed. I was also teaching 10 yoga classes a week and regularly walking around the lake near our Seattle home. I had what felt like an easy pregnancy, with relatively little discomfort and pain. Granted, I have also been teaching prenatal yoga for over 10 years and have seen students truly dealing with the aches and pains of pregnancy and myriad of issues that can arise from debilitating sciatica to hop pain that kept them from sleeping to discomfort walking more than a ½ mile. So, I also set my expectations low for what my experience would be, but also made it a point to do as much self-care as I could.
Now, at 29 weeks pregnant with my second, having been in social isolation for almost 2 months already, my experience of pregnancy this time around is incredibly different. I’m not going to discount the fact that even before the pandemic hit, I was busy chasing an almost 3-year-old around the house, trying to mom full-time and teach yoga part time. I was exhausted, but I was managing.
Once my 3rd trimester grew closer I started to notice all sorts of aches and pains that had not been with me with my first. Hip pain that would wake me up in the middle of the night. Back pain that made it nearly impossible to sit on anything but the firmest of wood chairs. At first, I chalked it up to the difficulty of trying to be pregnant while also being a mom, but then I also realized that all the self-care I had available to me during my first pregnancy was no longer there due to social distancing and stay at home orders.
Knowing that while social distancing might start easing in my home state sometime in the next month, but that as a pregnant person, I will most likely continue to isolate I’ve been exploring ways to help address the aches and pains and stress I’ve been navigating. I hope this helps you as well:
You may be lucky enough to have a partner at home who is a trained massage therapist, but for the vast majority of us, we’re looking for relief that we can’t currently get from visiting our prenatal massage therapist. While it’s a far cry from a trained professional, I’ve broken out the several hand-held massage tools we have at home and stated using them daily. Yes, it’s not the same, but it has done wonders for some of the hip and back pain and glute tightness I was experiencing. Here’s a few areas to focus to address specific pain:
Belly bands can be helpful for addressing a number of issues including round ligament pain, sacral pain, low back pain and pubic symphysis pain. Since we might not have the opportunity to currently work with a PT, massage therapist or chiropractor to address these issues, a belly band can often help at least mitigate some of the discomfort we experience. I was surprised at how much of impact the belly band had on some of my regular low back pain. The great thing? You can easily research and purchase online.
For many of us, taking walks outside might not be a viable option, or we may feel like we need more than just a walk. Right now, we have the benefit of so many fitness options available online that can make it easier to continue to move our bodies from home.
My recommendation? Find something, whether its yoga or fitness that is geared specifically toward pregnant bodies and taught be a teacher who is certified to work with pregnant clients. There are important modifications that need to be made for pregnant bodies so working with someone certified to do so is incredibly important.
Make Some Time
One of the things I found myself remiss over following the birth of my first was that I hadn’t made enough time for myself before her arrival. Becoming a new parent, left me feeling isolated and alone, and also lost in my new identity. Right now, unless we have little ones at home we’re already chasing around, we may have an abundance of time. The important piece is earmarking that time as special.
Block your calendar for special time. While it can’t be a trip to the spa or a night out with friends, find ways that resonate for you that feel nourishing or like self-care. For some of us that will be taking a long candlelit bath, or a Zoom call with friends, we may also set aside time for meditation or journaling.
Right now, as we navigate the ups and downs of being pregnant during a pandemic the most important thing is to not judge ourselves for the choices we make around what feels good or nourishing in this moment.
Wisdom and insight with a dash of humor to help guide you on your journey through motherhood.