Last night as I was trying to sleep, but not succeeding due to the giant baby in my belly, I had a sudden realization. So far this is the only pregnancy that I have not injured myself (knock on wood!).
Because of the relaxin in your body, your joints become looser in preparation of your baby having to be squeezed through your hips. I am generally thankful for this hormone, but in my last two pregnancies I had quite a few accidents. Not to mention that your center of gravity is off because you have a bulging bump that makes you front heavy. During my pregnancy with Ksena I sprained my ankle twice (both times stepping down off of the sidewalk), and got a serious neck spasm that made it so I couldn’t turn my head in either direction which had to be treated with muscle relaxers. If I thought that was bad, I never thought about the injuries I might get while being pregnant with Kati! I managed to sprain my ankle, drop a large glass container full of brown sugar which ended up cutting me in seven different places, and at 28 weeks, I slipped and fell on my butt trying to get Ksena to the bathroom because she was sick. That final injury ended up causing a bulging disc, something I still deal with today.
I should mention that even when I’m not pregnant, I’m pretty clumsy in general and tend to burn and hurt myself quite often, so you can imagine how this is magnified by pregnancy. But so far this pregnancy has been injury free, thank God!
Here are five tips on how to avoid common pregnancy injuries:
1. Watch where you are walking! It is really easy to turn your ankle with your joints being as bendy as they are. Take extra time to step down off of curbs, watch out for holes in the grass or on the sidewalk. When you are going down stairs, always use the hand rail.
2. Use two hands. When you are picking something heavy or slippery up, always use two hands. The joints in your fingers are also more bendy than normal, and that can result in a poor grip. This is especially important when picking up one of your little ones, if you have a toddler while pregnant. It also applies to kitchen items. I cannot tell you how many dishes I have broken while pregnant. Luckily I only got cut up once.
3. Slow down. One of the biggest favors you can do for yourself is take things a little bit slower, especially once you stop being able to see your feet.
4. Take it easy! Towards the end of your pregnancy this is especially important. Normal chores like scrubbing the bathtub and cleaning behind the toilet can take a toll on your back when your body is trying to accommodate your growing baby. I’m not saying you should sit around the house and do nothing, but just be mindful of what you are doing, and make sure you are not going to pay for it later.
5. Stay in shape. Being in shape will help your body to heal faster if you do sustain an injury and if you are exercising, your muscles will be stronger and you are less likely to have an accident in the first place. Walking is great exercise and is relatively safe, especially if you are walking on a track. Stretching is also important for your body (and is proven to have benefits during labor), just make sure you don’t push yourself too much because you don’t want to pull a muscle by over stretching. Swimming or water aerobics are also amazing ways to exercise that are super easy on your joints, and take the pressure of the baby off of your back and pelvis while you are suspended in water.
I hope these tips keep you off the pregnancy injury path, and that once baby T is born, I will still be able to report an injury free pregnancy.
For the next post in this series we are going to talk about packing your hospital bag! I am getting mine ready right now and I can’t wait to share with you what is inside.