Many women encounter some sort of discomfort during their pregnancy. Here are a few examples of common issues and how to find relief.
Most women experience some amount of swelling during pregnancy, especially during these hot summer months! This is mainly due to the increase of blood volume as well as dilation of blood vessel.
Asanas to do – Standing poses, gentle vinyasa flow, viparita karani (legs up the wall) or “V legs up the wall (better for second and third trimester moms), arms over head poses
Asanas to avoid – Prolonged standing or sitting.
Alternative remedies- Swimming, increased fluid intake, red raspberry tea and nettle tea, reduce salt intake and increase intake of non-animal protein, compression hose if standing or sitting for a long while.
Wrist stiffness is similar to carpal tunnel in that there could be impingement of the nerve due to swelling in the joint, particularly the wrists. Unlike carpal tunnel there may not be pain in the wrist, just lack of full mobility to do the edema.
Asanas to do – Shoulder opening and shoulder mobility and chest opening poses will be helpful like Arm circles, gomukasana arms (cow face pose), garudasana arms (eagle pose), supported ustrasana (camel pose), reverse namascarasana (hands behind the back in prayer). Also putting a wedge or rolled mat under the heel of the hand to lessen the flexion of the wrist
Asanas to avoid – Prolonged weight on the hands
Alternative remedies – Acupuncture, icing the wrist, milking the wrists, keeping well hydrated to help move edema through the body
Acid Reflux and Heartburn
Because of the increase in progesterone which is responsible for the relaxation of the smooth muscles through the body, the sphincter at the base of the esophagus may not close as tightly as before pregnancy as well as increased pressure from the growing uterus. This can lead to acid escaping from the stomach and moving up the esophagus causing acid reflux and the sensation of heartburn.
Poses to do – Chest openers, arms up over head, inclined (about a 45 degree angle) supta virasana (reclined heros) with props.
Poses to avoid – Inversions and any pose where the head goes below the heart.
Alternative remedies – Raw almonds, papaya enzymes, slippery elm bark, apple cider vinegar. Drink one tablespoon of apple cider vinegar with water in the morning before eating. There are two theories to why this works. One- the stomach is fooled into thinking it has enough acid to digest food and will produce less acid. The second- the apple cider helps balance the pH level in the stomach.
In Holistic Midwifery, Anne Frye explains the hazards of relying on over the counter antacids. “Commercial antacids such as Tums and Mylanta should be taken only as a last resort and be used in strict moderation. Excessive use of antacids which contain magnesium can lead to lethargy, circulatory collapse, respiratory paralysis and coma if taken to excess. Poorly assimilated calcium from these products deposits in the placenta and leads to placental calcification later in pregnancy.” (pg 965)
I hope these remedies can bring some relief to the pregnant mamas!
*Disclaimer- not meant to take the place of medical advice.
Debra Flashenberg, CD(DONA), LCCE, E-RYT 500 is the director of the Prenatal Yoga Center. She has spent most of her life performing and was introduced to yoga through a choreographer in 1997. After several years as a yoga student, she decided to continue her education and became certified as a Bikram Yoga instructor. After being witness to several “typical” hospital births, Debra felt it was important to move beyond the yoga room and be present in the birthing room. In 2006, Debra received her certification as a Lamaze® Certified Childbirth Educator. In September of 2007, Debra completed a Midwife Assistant Program with Ina May Gaskin, Pamela Hunt and many of the other Farm Midwives at The Farm Midwifery Center in Tennessee. Drawing on her experience as a prenatal yoga teacher, labor support doula and childbirth educator, Debra looks to establish safe and effective classes for pregnancy and beyond. She is the proud (and tired) mother of new baby boy, Shay.
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