Pregnancy would be great if it weren’t for these meddling symptoms…

I’ll admit, I complain about pregnancy quite a bit. I’m sure there are people who have it worse than me, but for me this new physical state is quite distressing. For the most part it’s not that bad, but there are those few things that if they were eliminated, pregnancy would be almost a breeze for me. Everyone has the symptoms that bother them most. And they will be different for everyone. My most annoying symptoms are based on things that impede my ability to be productive, since I’ve always been productive and gotten things done. These things are also the things that affect me in a way that put me out of touch with my body in a way I’ve never experienced. And I don’t like it at all.

The first, and probably the worst for me is round ligament pain. Almost all women will experience some round ligament pain as the uterus grows and puts stress on the ligaments that hold it in place. For me, I’ve had chronic round ligament pain for most of my pregnancy. It seems that my baby has decided “down in front” is their motto. The baby is also running large (thanks to my husband’s family’s trend for big heads and big babies apparently.) Nothing seems to work to relieve the pain for long, so I just have to cope with it. It makes walking even more difficult and painful, so it impedes my ability to exercise as well. I still do what I can, but with the pain, I’m not doing as much as I want. The only exercise that I’ve had consistent success with is doing T’ai Chi Chih (TCC). I plan on writing a whole post on the benefits of TCC later, but suffice it to say that even 5-10 minutes of TCC during the day does relieve the pain and make me feel more flexible. I wish the relief lasted longer, but I’ll take any relief I can, and honestly I enjoy doing T’ai Chi Chih so much that even doing it 5 times a day is fun. In addition, my once comfortable bed has become a torture device for my round ligaments. I’ve taken to sleeping in the living room, in the recliner chair. Despite the parade of cats throughout the night, this new position minimizes the stiffness and pain I was experiencing every time I had to get up from the bed.  If you don’t have a recliner, I’d consider getting one, it may save you in those last few weeks of pregnancy.

The second most frustrating symptom for me is fatigue. In my first trimester I could barely stay awake for a few hours at a time. Then during my second trimester, that eased and I was actually able to function fairly well for a bit (until the aforementioned round ligament pain started.) Now, with only 5 weeks or so left, my fatigue has returned, but in a new and improved form. In addition to wanting to nap most of the day, I also get exhausted from doing very little.  I’ve always had very good cardiovascular strength. I’m not used to getting winded from everything. I’m a doer-I get stuff done. And I do it quickly and efficiently. I am no longer quick or efficient. I do a small task and become winded and need to rest. I think that the fatigue is more psychologically distressing to me than physically, but it’s still distressing.

In the progression of my pregnancy I now have encountered the dreaded swollen feet/joints issue. In addition to the swollen feet (and I used to have such dainty ankles) I have developed carpal tunnel syndrome. If I thought the round ligament pain was fun, this is better. I’ve never experienced pain like this. Similar to the round ligament pain, there seems to be nothing that helps with the pain for long.  I do know what makes the pain worse-immobilization. Normally this is a suggestion for carpal tunnel syndrome, but braces on my wrists actually make them worse. Of course, so does movement, which makes cooking dinner much more interesting.

Those are the big 3 symptoms that if I could vaporize them I wouldn’t be such a cranky pants during this pregnancy. Until recently, I could have added constipation to this list, but I finally found relief for that-I’m now on a Metamucil regimen. Three times a day I take the maintenance dose and since I started that, I’ve been feeling much better in that department. In addition, I’ve discovered the joys of green smoothies (a post will follow on these later as well.) Green smoothies have been the internet buzz and searching for recipes can be quite daunting. For me, deciding to start having a smoothie every day also aided my digestion, since I’m now getting a pretty hefty serving of whole fruits and leafy greens which have been pretty hard for me to stomach most of my pregnancy. Seriously, having a food aversion that involves basically everything you used to love and is good and healthy for you is really frustrating. Why couldn’t my food aversion be to chocolate chip cookies?

What have been your most challenging symptoms to deal with during pregnancy?

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