For women, pregnancy is always a taxing experience – expecting mothers are all but guaranteed to suffer from morning sickness, strange food cravings and other challenges. Pregnant women diagnosed with fibromyalgia face an especially difficult task, as their pregnancy-related issues are compounded by frequent episodes of pain and mood swings. If you are an expecting mother and have fibromyalgia, or know pregnant women who have this condition, it is especially useful to be aware of how fibromyalgia affects pregnancy.
You don’t have to be a medical doctor to know that pregnant women gain weight. Along with this weight gain, women also experience frequent nausea and fatigue during the first three months of pregnancy. Fibromyalgia only makes pregnancy tougher for women, causing women to experience pain throughout their bodies. As with non-pregnant women and men, pregnant women with fibromyalgia can expect this pain to strike a number of tender points. These tender points are listed below:
- Back of the head
- Between shoulder blades
- Top of shoulders
- Front sides of neck
- Upper chest
- Outer elbows
- Upper hips
- Sides of hips
- Inner knees
Stress, in both its physical and emotional forms, often triggers fibromyalgia pain. Of course, women face no shortage of stress from pregnancy, labor and childbirth, leading to increased amounts of pain during their pregnant months. Making matters more difficult is that expecting mothers are strongly advised to avoid both painkillers and antidepressants, two of the most commonly prescribed treatments for fibromyalgia.
Since painkillers and antidepressants are not safe options during pregnancy, mothers-to-be must seek alternative methods of treatment. Fortunately, expecting women can pursue several methods for alleviating fibromyalgia symptoms. Safe alternatives for pregnant mothers include massages, exercise, yoga, tai chi and medication.
These aren’t the only options available for future mothers. Below is a list of other techniques that can reduce the effects of fibromyalgia.
Regular Rest – Pregnant women suffering from body-wide aches can benefit two to three daily rest periods. These rest periods should last for about 20 to 30 minutes.
Heat Can be Helpful – Fibromyalgia patients often apply heat to their tender points as a way of reducing pain. Taking a nice, warm shower or bath is a very effective way for applying heat to the body.
Stretch Regularly – Gentle stretching exercises have earned a solid reputation as a useful pain-fighting technique. Pregnant women should consult with their doctor regarding which stretches are most helpful.
Spend Some Time in the Pool – Performing exercises in a pool full of warm water can prevent fibromyalgia symptoms from becoming overwhelming. Before jumping in the pool, please discuss the subject with your doctor. If your doctor approves, then begin exercising in a pool with water between 83 and 88 degrees Fahrenheit. Pregnant women are advised to avoid whirlpool baths and spa, as well as pools full of hot water.