Pregnancy is a beautiful, life-altering experience, but it can also be
painful. The female body is used to the normal monthly cycle and average
hormone levels most of the time. When pregnancy occurs, hormones like
estrogen and progesterone flood the body, weight gain occurs and the
abdomen stretches larger than most women can even comprehend. The pain
associated with these changes can often be scary and confusing.
Lower Body Pains During Pregnancy
Lower Back Pain – The abdomen is growing out and down and back muscles are not equipped for the added weight. This additional pressure can lead to back aches and pains during pregnancy. Progesterone may also be partly to blame. Progesterone works to loosen ligaments for birth, but it cannot dedicate that work to the pelvic region only. Loose back ligaments can lead to hyper-extension of the back and back pains during pregnancy.
Hip and Pelvis Pain – Progesterone is to blame for these pains as well. The same ligament loosening process that allows baby to move through the birth canal will loosen connective tissues in the pelvis and hips causing pains during pregnancy.
Upper Body Pains During Pregnancy
Abdominal Pain – As the fetus grows the uterus will expand and so will abdominal muscles and skin. Stretching skin and lengthening (and thickening) ligaments can easily cause pains during pregnancy.
Sciatic Pain – The sciatic nerve is the longest in the human body running from the neck area down through the midsection and down the leg. Pains during pregnancy associated with the sciatic nerve are often associated with increased pressure on the portion of the nerve located in the buttocks. Sitting for long periods of time may increase the risk of sciatic pains during pregnancy.
Shoulder and Neck Pain – Back to progesterone, the ligaments in the shoulders and neck are loosened during pregnancy. Combine this looseness with the weight of the abdomen and already taxed back muscles and posture may be affected. Something as simple as a small change in posture can cause shoulder and neck pains during pregnancy.
Limb and Head Pains During Pregnancy
Wrist and Arm Pain – Often referred to as carpal tunnel syndrome, swelling of the hands and wrists may cause pains during pregnancy. The carpal tunnel is a small hole in the wrist through which nerves pass. When pregnancy swelling occurs, these nerves can be pinched causing fingers to tingle, go numb or hurt. Wrist braces can be used to prevent swelling induced wrist and arm pains during pregnancy.
Headaches and Migraines – Good old hormones are often responsible for headaches and migraines. Some women who suffer from migraines before pregnancy find symptoms are worse while pregnant while others seem to find relief from migraine pains during pregnancy. Each female body will react differently to hormone changes.