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by J. A. Bennett

Having a Healthier Pregnancy, Part 2

Yesterday I talked about pregnancy issues regarding eating and exercise. Today, I’m going to talk about Body issues (such as swelling) and ways to sleep better.

Body Issues

There are so many things that can go wrong during a pregnancy that it’s a wonder anything goes right. There’s preeclampsia, diabetes, and myriad of other “little things” that can go wrong.   In addition to having experience two pregnancies myself, I’ve talked with lots of other expecting mothers and found these three things to be the biggest body issues –

1. Swollen Ankles / Wrists

This is one probably every pregnant woman is going to experience (unless you are one of the lucky few who experience no discomfort during your pregnancy) Here are a few things that worked for me [side note: I am not a doctor and this is not medical advice, just my own opinion.]

I. Eat less salt

Salt can be found in pretty much every packaged/canned food there is out there. Let’s say you’re eating a lot of canned soup because it’s low on calories and packed with veggies. That’s all fine and good, but take a hard look at the sodium content. If you want to eat it, consider skipping the salty crackers that go with it or buying a reduced sodium version.

Salt is an agent that retains water in your body. Salt does not dissolve in water (go ahead and try it, you can mix it up fairly well, but the salt will always sink back to the bottom of the cup when the water settles.) Therefore, eating a high sodium diet will lead to further swelling. Try and cut the salt and you may find a little relief.

II. Walk

I know this seems totally contrary to how you are feeling, but if you get up and move every once in a while (10 minutes for every hour is preferable) it will help your circulation which will reduce swelling.

2. Leg cramps/ Charlie Horses

I had major issues with this in both my pregnancies and I didn’t find much information on how to stop it out there. The number thing I did when I had a cramp anywhere was focusing on relaxing. If you think you can’t solve the cramp it will only wind tighter which will make it harder to release the tension.

If you get a cramp in your leg, stand up and dig the heel of your foot hard into the ground. Flexing your leg in this manner will unwind the knot. Try to stay off your toes during that day because that can make for a stronger likelihood of cramps. Stretching before bed can help reduce the risk of cramping as well.

Sleeping

Sleep is a much needed and sought after thing during pregnancy. With a loose bladder and the bulge in your way it seems like a miracle if you sleep at all. You’ve probably heard the basics about sleeping — lay on your left side, yada, yada, yada. Here are a few things that worked for me –

1. Don’t drink anything after six pm.

But make sure you are getting plenty to drink, try and drink one glass of water every hour from the time you wake up until six. Then you will have had plenty to drink and not as many potty breaks. Use a water bottle with measurements if you must, but just try to get it done before the evening hits. The same should go for eating, the baby will be more active if you have just charged it with food energy.

2. Buy a body pillow

A little bit of support under your belly can relieve pain in your back and help you sleep better. Body pillows are great because you can stick them under your belly and have a nice cushion between your knees. Your husband will just have to get used it until the baby is born.

3. Change positions

Sometimes that little one gets comfortable with one foot in your ribs and the other in your lungs. Don’t be afraid to flip to the right side or even sleep propped in a sitting position for awhile. It will help the baby move and you sleep better. Win-win.

None of this is sure-fire, but all of it something to consider to have a happier, healthier pregnancy.

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