PREGNANCY WITH FYBROMYALGIA
Pregnancy can be a wonderful time in life. Thinking about another little person being fashioned inside your body should bring joy and anticipation. Although there are times within the cycle that can be stressful such as morning sickness, back-ache, and other things that can be uncomfortable, pregnancy should be welcomed and treated with expectation and love.
However, if you suffer from fybromyalgia, pregnancy can be anything but joyous. If you plan to become pregnant and have fybromyalgia, you should know about both conditions. Sometimes the pain, fatigue, and depression of fybromyalgia can be thought to come from the pregnancy, itself, and therefore go undertreated. Also, there is added stress with having a baby which could cause flare-ups of your fybromyalgia. All these need to be discussed with your spouse or significant other, and your doctor. But the good news is that it is possible to manage fybromyalgia during pregnancy. You need to take time to learn about what to expect during pregnancy and how it affects symptoms of fybromyalgia. Also stay in close contact with your fybromyalgia specialist when symptoms flare up.
EFFECTS OF FYBROMYALGIA ON PREGNENCY
When a woman gets pregnant, her body experiences change. There is a great increase in hormones, weight gain, and the body takes on a different form making the body off balance. Most women also have nausea and fatigue, especially during the first three months. No wonder that the symptoms of fybromyalgia are thought to be a part of pregnancy.
There have not been many studies with fybromyalgia and pregnant women. However, in one study, pregnant women with fybromyalgia were reported to have more pain, fatigue, and psychological stress than those without the syndrome.
Stress can be another effect on fybromyalgia, whether you pregnant or not. So with pregnancy, there come added stresses which occur during the pregnancy, during childbirth, and after giving birth. The hormone levels of estrogen, progesterone, and others will also affect the body so there may be more pain, fatigue, and even depression after childbirth that can play a very real part in a woman’s overall health. Knowing this in advance and preparing yourself for it will help alleviate your reaction to the situation.
TREATMENTS FOR PREGNANT WOMEN WITH FYBROMYALGIA
During pregnancy, there are no real medications that are safe to take. Even cold remedies and aspirin are off limits. In fact, your doctor will probably want you to get off the pain and anti-depressant medications before you get pregnant. O.K., if you can’t take medicine for the pain and other symptoms, what treatments can you use to help reduce the pains, fatigue, and overall stiffness. The safest treatments for pregnant women are yoga, message, exercise, meditation, and rest. For overall stiffness, try a warm, relaxing bath with an aromatic scent. For the tender point pains, use heat compresses. If you suffer from fatigue or just ache all over, make sure to get 20-30 minutes rest breaks at least three times during the day. Also, use gentle stretching exercises recommended by your doctor to help provide relief.
BENEFITS OF EXERCISE
Exercise is a very important treatment. It keeps you fit, tones muscles, keeps joints flexible, and helps with mood changes because it releases serotonin in the body. Serotonin is a neurotransmitter. Neurotransmitters are chemicals that send specific messages from one cell to another. Even though there is only a little of this chemical in the brain, it is believed to have a great effect upon moods.
Stress can lead to permanently low levels of serotonin. This, in turn, can lead to aggression and feelings of depression. Exercise increases the serotonin in the body so it makes sense to do some type of exercise to stay in a good mood. I know from experience, when I exercise, the workout creates calm, relaxing feelings within me and I have a better outlook on whatever tasks I have to handle that day.
Women are especially sensitive to levels of serotonin. During the menstrual cycle, menopause, and after childbirth, increased hormones have an effect on this neurotransmitter. However, there are some factors that have a positive effect on serotonin: Sunlight, certain carbohydrate foods, hormones, and again – exercise. Exercise acts as a natural tranquilizer. It also boosts the levels of other known chemicals like epinephrine and norepinephrine, which help boost alertness.
TYPES OF EXERCISE FOR PREGNANCY WITH FYBROMYALGIA
Besides doing gentle stretches and normal daily activities while pregnant, consider exercising in a warm swimming pool. The heat will relieve the pain associated with fybromyalgia and the stretching and low impact exercise will keep the muscles and joints flexible and toned. The water should feel comfortable but not too hot. Consult your doctor before starting this program. Moreover, never use a whirlpool or hot tub while pregnant because doing so could harm fetal development. Other exercises that might be helpful include tai chi, riding a stationary bike, and yoga.
Pregnancy with fybromyalgia does not have to be impossible. There are ways to manage the fybromyalgia. Knowing all you can about both conditions beforehand is wise. Doing so can help you prepare yourself physically and emotionally for the experience ahead.