Pregnancy And Parenting With Pain
Parenting is a tough job, regardless of your child’s age, but handling a young child when you are facing a chronic, disabling pain can make the job significantly more difficult. Because the disease impacts largely women (roughly 80% of all sufferers are women), imagine the stress and changes the body must endure while carrying a baby to 40 weeks and facing fibromyalgia pains. Both pregnancy and parenthood bring about changes, stress and fatigue; so how is it possible to manage everything without losing your mind. With no known cure for this disease and limited medication options available during pregnancy, and even breastfeeding your infant, how can you experience a pain-free parenthood?
Very little research has been done on the effects of fibromyalgia and pregnancy, though it has been reported that while the mother may be experiencing those pains there appears to be no adverse reaction or difficulties with the health of the baby. With hormones running rampant during pregnancy changes, fibromyalgia symptoms may worsen or simple feel like your pregnancy-related experiences of fatigue and soreness are more intense from day to day. One major concern with pregnancy and fibromyalgia is that reports indicate that a majority of women showed an increase in severity of symptoms following delivery. Additionally, problems with depression, anxiety and post-partum issues were higher in these women. One small study did report that women with fibromyalgia are at a higher risk of having a miscarriage and gestational diabetes during pregnancy.
During a time when your medicine options are limited due to the safety for the baby, how can you properly manage your discomfort? Most doctors will recommend that you suspend current fibromyalgia treatments as soon as you become pregnant. Some may even suggest that if you are planning on starting a family you slowly wean yourself from your medication, as the first trimester is a critical development period for the fetus and the risks are not all known. The best treatment options during pregnancy are massage therapy, relaxation techniques, low impact exercise, stretching, and rest. One option that has shown tremendous successful for not only improving symptoms, but alleviate pregnancy-related discomforts and preparing the body for labor is yoga. Yoga is a relaxing form of exercise that focuses on stretching muscles, balance, core strengthening, calm breathing and meditation. Participating in yoga at least three times a week could make a huge difference in the intensity and frequency at which you are experiencing symptoms.
Following the birth of your child, it is important to steer clear of your medication, but continue alternative therapies used during pregnancy to keep pain at bay and avoid slipping into bouts of depression. Following delivery, your body goes through a major hormonal change as things begin to return to their normal state. This fluctuation could intensify symptoms. As difficult as it may sound, especially with a little one that wakes at all hours of the night, it is critical for fibromyalgia mom’s to get enough rest. This is a wonderful time to take advantage of friends or family that has offered to help you once the baby arrives. Breastfeeding, while an excellent nutritional benefit for your baby, may limit your abilities to get adequate amounts of sleep each night. It is important to weigh the pros and cons of your health needs and breastfeeding before making a final decision. Discuss your desires and concerns with your partner and physician prior to the baby’s arrival, so that you can make the best choice for your needs. The hardest thing to do is being forced to make a quick and emotional decision in the middle of a situation. Should you elect to breastfeed your baby; here are a few helpful tips to make the process a little more comfortable:
- Speak to a lactation consultant at the hospital and follow-up as needed
- Store up energy – seek others to help with household tasks and other children so you don’t overdo yourself
- Be sure to stay hydrated and maintain a balanced and nutritional diet plan
- Try breastfeeding while lying down – reduces stress and tension in neck, arms and shoulders
- Play calming music or sounds while breastfeeding to promote relaxation.
Making the best choice for your health needs and your family will help you to ease into a “pain-free” parenthood!