This time its been nothing like that however...
... I am getting Braxton Hicks. I never had it before and am not used to it and I gotta say - I don't enjoy it at all!
I contacted my midwife recently and she was unable to help me, nor was a lovely doctor whom I was chatting with over dinner one night. The suggestions were rest, painkillers and water.
So I thought its high time someone put together a list of fail safe remedies that help to alleviate Braxton Hicks for suffering Mums.
To all you sufferers out there - I salute you (or rather my irritable uterus does!)
The Low Down on What Goes On Down Low
Your uterus actually goes through contractions quite regularly and its a normal part of functioning. Each time you have a period / menstruation begins, your uterus is contracting so that it can shed the lining. This is what the pains referred to as 'period pain' are.
Your uterus will also go through contractions during and just after orgasm.
So Braxton Hicks, whilst an unpleasant 'side effect' of pregnancy, is fairly normal and nothing to be alarmed about unless it becomes very intense and is accompanied with a 'showing' (muccous plug) or your waters breaking.
What To Do About Braxton Hicks?
1. S-L-O-W D-O-W-N
Firstly, its your body's way of saying TIME TO S-L-O-W D-O-W-N. As super Mums, we tend to keep doing everything we've always done at the same time as growing bones and knitting eyebrows in utero. Sometimes we have to slow down, put our feet up and rest and that is all there is to it!
Often times I find that sitting hunched over my computer or in a chair where I am lounging around is when these contractions will kick in. Reason being is that my breastbone and diaphragm are compressed. Always try to maintain an erect posture when sitting or standing - back straight, head up, chin in and breast plate lifted. Pretend there is a string pulling up upwards from the top of your head and straightening you out.
3. To the left, to the left
When Braxton Hicks starts, try to rest on your left side to avoid compressing your venae cavae. They are the veins that return deoxygenated blood from your body into your heart. I find when I lie on my left with a pillow under my tummy and between my legs, it starts to ease fairly quickly compared to when I am sitting or standing.
4. Rehydrate and stay hydrated
One of the things we forget to do as busy mothers is to HYDRATE ourselves. The cells in our bodies should look like plump little grapes when they are hydrated and full of fluids. If we are dehydrated, they look like shrivelled little sultanas. This is the same with all cells including those of muscle walls like the uterine wall. If you are dehydrated, your cells are all shrivelled and tightened up. You want plump little grape like cells happening because then your muscles can relax and release tension.
Make sure you are drinking enough beneficial fluids throughout the day. Things like kombucha, herbal infusions and teas (stay away from caffeinated teas as caffeine dehydrates your cells), pure water and fresh squeezed juices are perfect ways to stay hydrated whilst giving baby a dose of much need nutrients.
Remember - grapes, no sultanas - now drink up!
5. Empty The Balloon
I don't know about you but when my bladder is full, the baby thinks its like a balloon and starts kicking it continually. Yeouch!
An overfull bladder combined with poor sitting posture can bring on Braxton Hicks contractions. Ensure you empty your bladder as soon as you feel the need. This can help avoid those nasty Urinary Tract Infections too!
6. Check For UTI's
Make sure that you are not exhibiting any other signs of a urinary tract infection such as pain urinating, frequency or urge to go all the time, aching kidneys etc. If you have any of these symptoms as well as Braxton Hicks then you have probably developed a Urinary Tract Infection and it will need treatment by a natural health practitioner. There are many safe ways to treat UTI's whilst pregnant that do not involve medication or any contra-indicated substances. Go to your local health food store or speak to a local natural health practitioner for assistance if you think you have developed a UTI.
7. Immerse Yourself
Immersing yourself in water will always help to calm cramping or spasming muscles. I find a nice warm bath with some pure magnesium salts (magnesium crystals that dissolve in water and absorb right into the skin) and some Himalayan Rock Salt is just what the doctor ordered.
If you can not have a bath, sit under the shower for a while, leaning back so that the water cascades over your belly.
Muscle spasm and cramping is often the result of insufficient magnesium. If you are under any kind of stress (even normal day to day stress is enough) then you need to consider supplementation whilst pregnant.
I do not recommend just taking anything and sadly most of the over-the-counter brands of supplements especially for pregnancy are garbage and completely synthetic. Avoid these like the plague and read up on why here.
Supplementing calcium, magnesium and phosphorous is a good way to go to help combat the Braxton Hicks spasms and contractions. I take 2 magnesium every morning and night in addition to a practitioner strength, therepeutic (not over-the-counter) pregnancy multi vitamin and multi mineral by BioCeuticals which is excellent. The magnesium helps me sleep better and I have less trouble with Braxton Hicks the days I have it.
9. Yoga Poses
Some light stretching and specific yoga poses (such as lotus position) may help to alleviate the crampiness in your belly.
There are some good and gentle suggestions here.
If you find you are starting to struggle with 'carrying' your baby, then consider a Belly Band or some kind of support band that goes around your waist and sits under your belly. There are lots of these available and I have found them to be very helpful on days when I am very tired or sore. Wear as often as you need to for as long as you need to.
A little light exercise such a walking is a brilliant remedy for a myriad of ailments and can help just about any condition. Do not over exert or over extend yourself however if you can aim for 10 - 15 minutes walking each day, you will go far in managing your body and the Braxton Hicks before they come on.
So there are our Top 10 Tips for dealing with Braxton Hicks contractions! I have tried these and found them all to be very helpful.
What have you tried for your Braxton Hicks? List some helpful tips below and help our fellow readers out!
Love and blessings,
The Eco Mum xo
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Its a very exciting time and I am constantly surprised by how much easier this pregnancy has been for me.