What woman isn’t tired and achy during pregnancy? Whether suffering through morning sickness in the early months or slowly waddling around in the third trimester women may often feel pregnancy is closer to an extreme physical sport than the hearts-and-flowers ads depicted on TV. Add fibromyalgia to the mix and the pain and fatigue can leap to a whole new level.
With its symptoms of musculoskeletal pain and fatigue along with issues related to sleep, mood and memory fibromyalgia can take a lot out of a person even under the best of circumstances. A number of medications can help keep problems in check but many may not be fully safe to take when pregnant.
The good news is some women can experience a lessening of symptoms during pregnancy with the increase of serotonin and cortisol. This does not happen for everyone, however, so a woman should be prepared for any outcome.
Fortunately there are some things women can do both in advance of becoming pregnant and while carrying the baby that may help.
- Do any experimenting with treatments before pregnancy. Take the time to explore different treatments that would be safe to use during pregnancy and find one that works before actually getting pregnant.
- Evaluate your life situation and look for areas to cut back on to save as much energy as possible. Consider working part time or not at all depending on fatigue levels and other symptoms. Accept help when it’s offered. Everything from meals being dropped off to errands run by someone else can translate into extra time to rest. Delegate when possible. Ordering groceries online and/or hiring a cleaning service can be a godsend.
- Stay active as much as you can. Exercises like stretching and swimming in a warm (but not hot) swimming pool can be helpful in keeping muscles loose and symptoms at bay. Yoga and meditation may also offer some relief.
- Try non-medication options. A warm bath may soothe soreness though try to limit the temperature to 100 degrees or less and time to 15-20 minutes to avoid becoming too hot. Massage from a therapist who knows both fibromyalgia and pregnancy can also be something to try.
- Keep in touch with your fibromyalgia specialist as well as your obstetrician. Problems ranging from pain to postpartum depression (which can strike during pregnancy or after the baby’s birth) should be discussed and addressed.
- Keep your eye on the prize. As challenging as a pregnancy with fibromyalgia may be, remember it’s only nine months…and has a terrific reward at the end.
Written by Kristen Stewart
Kristen is a freelance writer specializing in health, nutrition, parenting and lifestyle topics. To learn more, visit her website at www.kristenestewart.com.