This week I had an interesting conversation with one of my pregnancy massage clients. She said that everyone talks about the pain of childbirth but no one tells you about the pain during pregnancy. It got me thinking about the conversations around pregnancy and she was right. How often do we talk about the common pains in pregnancy? Generally, the conversation is about a sore lower back or swollen feet. We forget about the other pains that come along with a body full of relaxin, the hormone helping all of those ligaments loosen up.
Lower Back Pain
Ok let’s start with the most common pains in pregnancy. Lower back pain begins as a result of the change in centre of gravity. We have a large wait growing out the front of our bodies and putting extra pressure on our lower back as it arches and muscles contract to counteract the load. When sitting, we can help by placing a step under our feet to take pressure off the lower back. While standing, try a step under one foot to give the back a little support. Pregnancy Massage can help to relieve the tightness in the muscles. While exercises to the glutes and lower back can help strengthen those muscles under pressure.
There are a few reasons for pain in the hips as those hormones get to work in this area. We can experience pain in the front of the pelvis where the ligament at the pubic symphysis is loosening. Pain can occur when your hips are twisting during movement. Pain in the back of the hips also occurs as a result of the sacro-iliac joint ligaments loosening with Relaxin. The gluteal muscles may tighten, also causing sciatic pain, as they work to support the hips. Pressure from side lying during sleeping may also contribute to hip aches.
Care must be taken when rolling over or getting in and out of the car. Try keeping your knees together to support these joints and to prevent that twisting action. A maternity support belt may be recommended to give greater support to the area. Until relaxin has settled in the body, support and prevention are your best ways to avoid pain. Pregnancy Massage can help relieve overworked muscles in the hips and provide you some relief. Improving your hip strength will also help support the area.
Shortness of breath is not something you expect to occur so early in pregnancy. However, our dear hormonal friend progesterone begins to relax the lungs early, as we increase our blood volume and oxygen intake. There may be times where this becomes painful, stressful and worrying as we try to get enough air in. Focusing on diaphragmatic breathing will help provide a deeper breath, also reducing the anxiety that comes with it. During the early months, you may also be experiencing ‘morning sickness’ resulting in frequent vomiting. You may not realise the impact that the constant upchuck movement is having on your diaphragm and abdominal muscles. Gentle stretching and deep breathing can help to ease this muscle tightness to improve the effects of vomiting on your body.
Later in pregnancy, the size of your uterus and kicking baby will have the greatest impact on your ability to breathe. Practicing deep breathing from an earlier stage in pregnancy will have you in a good position to relax and take the deepest breath available to you. However, it’s never too late to start. Pregnancy Massage can help to gently release the abdominal muscles and muscles between the ribs to help allow more space for baby and breathing.
Round Ligament Pain
As the uterus grows during pregnancy, the round ligament is working to support the uterus. As you grow, the ligament is stretching to continue to provide support. It can present as a sharp pain in either one or both sides of the lower abdomen, or in the groin. The best way to ease the pain is to rest, put your feet up and take some pressure off the ligament. Pregnancy Massage can help to ease the pain through gentle touch through the hips and abdomen. We would focus more on you bonding with the baby with abdominal massage, relaxing your mind and allowing your body to rest to allow the natural stretch to occur.
Mid Back and Neck Ache
Our belly is not the only area that is growing in our bodies during pregnancy. Often one of the early pregnancy signs is enlarged breasts. This growth continues as the body prepares for breastfeeding. This growth can put further pressure on the neck and mid back as your posture changes, bringing the shoulders forward to compensate. Pregnancy Massage can help release the muscles of the chest that shorten as a result of the rounded posture. We can also work on easing pain in the muscles of the mid back feeling the strain. Gentle stretches to the chest and neck will help prevent further pain and improve your posture for the duration of your pregnancy.
Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
In pregnancy, some women experience tingling, numbness and pain in their hands. This condition can occur outside of pregnancy when the space where your nerve travels through the wrist is restricted. In pregnancy, often swelling is a culprit for restricting this space in the wrists. We can ease the pain and numbness through gentle massage to help with movement of fluid from the wrists, while easing any muscle tension in the forearms which may be contributing. Gentle stretches to the forearms can help, as well as taking care when sleeping not to flex your wrists, further restricting that space.
Cramping in Calves
I’m sure many pregnant women will share their stories of being woken up at night with a painful cramp. I know it usually involves me swearing in pain and my husband wondering what is going on in his half asleep state. While it’s funny to look back on, at the time it’s terrible. Often it’s the simple movement of pointing your toes that sets it off. There’s many theories out there as to why cramping occurs. Generally, we find that stretching the calves, keeping hydrated and resting with your feet up all help with easing cramping. Pregnancy Massage can help to relieve tight and tired calf muscles, especially if you are still on your feet regularly while pregnant.
While every pregnancy is different and each women will experience different symptoms, let’s open up the conversation about pain during pregnancy. Also know that while you may have pain, there is help available. Pregnancy Massage and Exercise with the qualified therapists at Evolution Health Services will give you the tools you need to enjoy a more comfortable pregnancy experience. We are passionate about helping to support you in pregnancy and beyond. We aim to give you advice for your individual needs, so please get in touch today to book your appointment or contact us with any questions.
Vanessa Fritz is a Maternity Concierge, giving the pregnant women of Sydney a helping hand. After a difficult pregnancy, Vanessa created Bedrest Solutions, to help expectant mothers who are busy or who are also experiencing a difficult pregnancy. Services include nurseries, baby showers, sourcing baby items, bed rest support, mother help, household management, errands and more.
If you’re anything like me, you’re armed with your to do list and you like getting things done. Now that you’re pregnant, you have even more things to put on your never ending to do list. With the demands on your body, and all the baby preparation going on, it’s important to focus on what you need and what your body needs. And that’s nurturing yourself. If you need to write it on your to do list to make it happen then do so but mark it as a priority. Here are my top three tips for how you can nurture yourself during pregnancy.
Nurture your body
I was never prepared for just how much pregnancy would take a toll on me physically. Your centre of gravity is shifting, your ligaments are loosening to prepare for birth and you may experience a whole host of other pregnancy symptoms. I’m usually one of those people who puts off doing anything about aches and pains, but trust me, when you’re pregnant, they get worse very quickly and they don’t go away with time. This is the time to listen to your body and nurture yourself. Your body has an enormous task in making a little human, so give back to your body. Go to a physio about those aches and pains and book in that massage by someone experienced in pregnancy massage.
Rest and sleep
Rest is so important for each stage of your pregnancy for various health benefits. One of the common symptoms during that first trimester is tiredness, so make sure you listen to what your body needs. Yes, there are plenty of things to get done, but it can wait. During your second trimester, you might start to feel better so it’s the perfect time to get onto the nursery, organise your baby shower and look into what baby items. With all that going on, as well as growing a baby, you can easily burn out so make sure you rest during this time too. During your last trimester you will hear that you need to get all the sleep you can get because once the baby comes, you won’t be getting much sleep. I used to get so annoyed hearing this because I found it so difficult sleeping with the heartburn, my newly developed snoring habit and the giant watermelon belly. Try to go to bed earlier and if you don’t get much sleep and focus on getting enough rest if you’re struggling to sleep.
Make time to enjoy yourself
I know we are all busy and never have any time to get anything done but you’re probably feeling exhausted and emotionally spent. If you’re struggling to get everything done, see if you can outsource it, accept the help from loved ones or put it on the back burner if it’s not a priority. Don’t feel the need to say yes to everything. Why not make the time to do the things that actually make you feel good. Give yourself permission to enjoy this special time. You also need to make time to clear your head of anything baby related and just get back to being you. Read that novel, go on a date night with your partner or binge watch your favourite show. You deserve it.
If you need more time during your pregnancy to nurture yourself, a maternity concierge from Bedrest Solutions is the perfect person to prepare you for the baby, do the house chores and tackle that to do list. Check out www.bedrestsolutions.com.au or call 0435 058 509 to book your free consultation today.
Congratulations on your pregnancy! The first trimester of pregnancy is a time full of emotion, fear and dealing with early pregnancy symptoms. First trimester pregnancy massage is focused on relaxation for the mind and body as your body goes through immense changes. Most pain occurring during this time may be pre-existing and often unlikely to be caused from the baby… yet! When it comes to pregnancy massage there’s a few things we can do to make your experience more comfortable and to feel supported.
Managing your Early Pregnancy Symptoms
Pregnancy Massage Positioning in the First Trimester
You really want a massage but not that you are pregnancy you are feeling nausea, bloating and breast tenderness. Our Campbelltown Clinic is fully equipped to modify your position to suit every stage of pregnancy. In the beginning, you will be able to maintain your face down position but we will take care with pressure on your lower back, especially if you are also suffering from bloating. Breast tenderness is another concern during early pregnancy and we have pillows which can help ease the pressure on your chest. If you feel unwell faced down, we can treat you while laying on your back or in our seated massage chair. Our chair allows us to work on your whole back without the added pressure to your digestive tract. We will work with you to decide the best position for your current needs.
Sensitivity to Smells or Food Aversions
We are mindful of the scents that we use in our Campbelltown Clinic. Our Massage Oils used in our Pregnancy Massage are unscented. The use of any essential oils in the rooms are limited and especially take care that any used are safe for pregnancy. We would not apply any essential oils directly to your body in pregnancy. As smells can set off ‘morning sickness’, we also aim to ensure that our lunch and other foods are eaten in our lunchroom to limit the smells drifting into our treatment rooms. So many small details to ensure you experience a comfortable time during your massage.
Dizziness, Fainting or Low Blood Pressure
Some of the symptoms you may experience in early pregnancy are related to your blood pressure, the extra blood circulating in your body or those pesky hormones. When getting up after your massage, we will take care to ensure that you sit up slowly and feel well before standing. If you need to sit a little longer before driving home, you are welcome to sit in our waiting room on the comfy lounges. If at any time during or after the massage you feel uneasy on your feet, please let us know so we can take care of your needs. We don’t mind if you lay on our beds a little longer with your feet up.
In early pregnancy, fatigue is a major symptom to manage. When you come for your pregnancy massage, feel free to take the opportunity to sleep. We won’t even laugh if you begin to snore. Taking the time to sleep during your massage helps to enhance your relaxation response and has you well rested for the remainder of your day.
Is It Safe to Have a Pregnancy Massage in the First Trimester?
There has been a long held fear that massaging a pregnant women in her first trimester will lead to miscarriage. There is always concern whether it is safe. Miscarriage is sadly common in early pregnancy and the risk is much higher in the first trimester. There is no evidence to suggest that there is a link between first trimester pregnancy massage and miscarriage. However, we aim to put your mind at ease by avoiding certain areas and techniques throughout pregnancy to ensure it does not pose any risk. We avoid deep abdominal work in the first trimester to ensure no pressure is placed on the growing uterus. We are also mindful of the pressure we apply to your lower back and hips while lying face down. The body is an amazing being and has wonderful ways to protect your growing foetus, we will always have your safety as our number on priority.
If ever you feel uncomfortable during your Pregnancy Massage, please let us know. We believe in open communication during our treatment so we know when you need us to make changes.
Booking Your Pregnancy Massage
We offer Pregnancy Massage at our Campbelltown Clinic with our two Qualified Remedial Massage Therapists, Melissa Woodward and Rebecca Shaw. Both women are mothers and understand the changes your body is going through during your pregnancy.
To book your Pregnancy Massage, Book Online here. Private Health Fund Rebates available for Remedial Massage during pregnancy where you are treating a pain or injury.
Over the years I have been lucky enough to be privy to client’s pregnancy news at a very early date. I’m grateful for their trust in me to share their special news. One thing I failed to do in my first pregnancy was share the news with my Personal Trainer. I didn’t feel confident to share with him. I didn’t know whether he really needed to know. I didn’t know whether it had any impact on my training so I just carried on with my intense workouts with him, hoping I was doing the right thing. Well my first pregnancy resulted in a miscarriage which lead to fear around exercising when pregnant. The miscarriage may have had nothing to do with exercise (and probably didn’t, as we never know the reason). However, my mind made the connection as we searched for a reason. I needed someone to turn to for support during pregnancy.
So when should your PT know about your pregnancy?
The simple answer is whenever you are ready to share. If you want to continue exercising, it’s better to share early so I can guide you through any modifications to make to the workout. I am always discreet and will have a quiet chat to you before the workout with details of what will be changed. I can create workouts that allow for modifications without it being obvious to anyone else. I’m not going to share all my secrets of how we hide the news but it’s been done plenty of times before.
If you are struggling with fatigue and nausea in the first trimester, we can make up excuses for you to leave early once you have had enough. Exercise is about making you feel better and we aim to create more energy instead of making the fatigue worse. You can also bring snacks if you find they help keep the nausea at bay.
If you’re not ready to share and you can’t leave the couch, take the time to rest. When you feel well, go for a walk. I’m always here when you are ready to get back into it.
My experience has lead me to learning and understanding more about pregnancy and exercise. I am passionate about educating clients so they know when to share the news, how I can help and what changes can be made to ensure a healthy pregnancy. If you are looking for support to continue exercise when trying to conceive, during your pregnancy and following childbirth, contact us to find out how our services can help.
Exercise during pregnancy is scary. Yes that’s a statement not a question. I’m sure that’s not something you expect to hear from a Personal Trainer but for me it was the truth. Becoming a parent is so full of emotion and when things don’t go to plan it’s easy to create links to things that have no impact on your health. I have had to work on overcoming the fear of exercise during pregnancy.
Over three years ago now, I was pregnant for the first time. I was pretty fit and healthy. I was training with a Personal Trainer at a local gym in Campbelltown. I was studying my PT qualification and then it happened. I fell pregnant. It was the first time I had ever fallen pregnant and had no idea what to do or who to tell. I knew it was early days so I kept quiet. I didn’t even tell my Personal Trainer.
One Saturday morning we did another tough session together. While I was conscious of what was happening inside my body, I continued without sharing the news. He was not someone I was comfortable speaking to about pregnancy, which was my feeling and nothing against him personally. In my mind it was all happy times ahead. Until it started. I started to get pain in my lower abdomen and bleeding. I knew what this meant but had read all of the online forums that this could be normal as someone’s sister’s aunt’s first cousin had had this happen before.
I went to work on Monday with the thought still on my mind of what was happening. I called my doctor to make an urgent appointment and went in the next day. From there it was a blur with 2 days of scans, blood test, hospital visits, injections and emotions. The scans confirmed there was no more baby and due to my negative blood type I had to have an anti-D injection to ensure that if my baby’s blood type was positive, I wouldn’t get sick. I had miscarried.
I was devastated as we had already dreamed up life with a baby. I had calculated when I would be 12 weeks and it fell on my 30th birthday party. Perfect timing to announce. Then it was all over, so now what? I began to get very upset and angry. I started to retrace my days and I remembered that I exercised. It had to be that workout that did it. I went too hard and lost my baby. The connection was there and my mind focused on that.
I didn’t share what we had lost with many people, not even my family. It took me ages to be able to share. I felt stupid to be so upset when it was so early in my pregnancy. It wasn’t a real baby so why was I so upset. My logic was fighting with my emotions. Even talking about it today it’s tough to share because I think people have been through so much worse.
Luckily I fell pregnant about 3 months later, just after my 30th birthday. I waited to go to the doctor to confirm as l was waiting for the worst. I hadn’t been able to bring myself to exercise and was fast putting on weight. I slowly made it to 12 weeks and it was time to share. In the back of my mind I was still thinking nothing was safe with pregnancy.
I refused to return to exercise to make sure my baby was safe. I occasionally went to the gym and felt better for it but was always a gentle workout. I should mention that early in my career I had completed further studies around pregnancy massage and exercise. Despite this knowledge, when it’s your body, your emotions take over.
With all these thoughts in my mind and my actions on the day of my own miscarriage, I was scared to exercise. Now that I have my baby here, I do thinkabout how much easier my pregnancy could have been if I hadn’t let fear get in my way. The benefits of the correct prenatal exercise can manage the weight you gain, how strong your body is to carry the extra weight and assists in a faster recovery after birth.
At 15 weeks pregnant I finished my Personal Training Qualification and once my son was born I decided I wanted to be there for women during pregnancy. I wanted to be there when someone thought they might be pregnant and make sure that they were encouraged to continue to exercise and educate them on what was safe.
I know that if I have the chance again, I recognise that there is a safe way to participate in exercise during pregnancy. I am ready to share my story to show other women that need support that there are people here to help. If you share my fears, I would love to be able to be there for you. Whether it’s as you prepare for pregnancy, throughout your pregnancy or to help you have a safe recovery after birth, you can contact me to create a plan to achieve your goal of having a family.
Phone | 0414 990 335
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I often hear clients and potential clients share with me how they want to change their weight, their eating habits or their level of physical activity. They want to be fitter and eat healthier but struggle to keep motivation. They know what they should do, but fail to find a way to make it work for their busy lifestyle. They know the How but have you ever considered Why? Why do you want to change your lifestyle? One of our lovely clients who has been through our 12 Week Challenge twice before shared this story with me about why she wants to change. It really hit me how important it is to understand your reason for wanting change and when you discover this, you will maintain your focus on how you will achieve it. “On 1st February I start my third 12 Week Challenge with Evolution Health Services. I am looking forward to joining in the group of people ready to take on the challenge this time round. My journey through the first two challenges has been an interesting one.Through the first challenge I achieved so much. I was so proud of myself, and my confidence peaked. Then the second challenge started, and it was like I was just going through the motions. I was not motivated, I missed sessions, and I ate whatever I wanted. Looking back at it now, I know why this happened. I was not connected to my WHY. That’s why I love the new goal setting sheet Melissa has designed for this 12 week challenge. The first question is what is your Why. My Why is deeply personal. I have Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) – which causes my ovaries to produce more than enough testosterone in my body, and this means I often have cysts growing on my ovaries. The condition is so much more than that with a range of side effects. It causes me to have acne even in my thirties, unwanted hair, trouble losing weight, and potential infertility. Hence my WHY is to be fit, strong, and fertile so I can conceive children one day. I also hope one day I can be a role model to my children, but for the moment hope I can inspire others around me. The Outdoor Training is my favourite part of the 12 Week Challenge, and I love that the kids of others get involved. It gives me hope that I can achieve my goal of being a mother, and being a role model for them one day. The kids inspire me in more ways than one, often they are little trainers themselves, especially with JJ yelling ‘jump’ when I do squat jumps. I can’t wait to start this 12 Week Challenge. I have my goals sheet completed and pinned on my board where I can see it every day. I hope to achieve a few small goals during the challenge including running consistency for 2kms. Let’s do this!” Amy Woodley. Amy’s story really pulls at my heart strings as a mother. I know that it’s not something that comes easily for everyone and if there is a way I can make a difference to her life and help her fulfil a dream bigger than losing weight, I will do everything I can think of to help. I would ask you to dig deep and think about Why you want to make a change to your lifestyle. Think about how your current lifestyle is holding you back from what you want in life. When you hit that pain point, you discover what is important and there you have your Why. Is it for the kids? Is it so your hubby can’t keep his hands off you? Is it so you feel confident to speak to new people or make new friends. Whatever it may be, remember your Why whenever you plan to give up. Your Why becomes a greater motivator than any motivational quote we can post on Facebook. Once you have your Why, we can help you with the How. Our 12 Week Healthy Lifestyle Challenge is about educating you to make positive changes to create a healthy lifestyle that suits you and your family. It’s not a quick fix and we will not do the work for you but you have two Personal Trainers here ready to help any time you need it. Contact us Today to get started on creating your own Healthy Lifestyle.