Thursday, March 3, 2011

Pregnancy Stuff: Lower Abdominal Pain

Okay, before we all freak out here, I am quite aware that abdominal pain during pregnancy can be a sign of bad things to come. I've been there folks. This is different- so no worries. ;)

Over the last week or so, I've noticed some pain- kind of a pulling, sharp pain- in my lower abdominal area. (Read: groin.) It's present when I'm rolling over in bed, getting up from bed, or walking quickly (when I hit 3.0 speed on the treadmill, it's noticeable, 3.5- almost too much to bear). Putting on my pants in the morning is kind of horrible too- the lifting of one leg without the other is a motion I literally grit my teeth against.

I remember, when I was pregnant with Aaron, that rolling over in bed was uncomfortable, but I don't remember pain like this. Being the little research-when-you're-worried person I am, I spent a little time with my friend Google to figure out what's going on.

My Findings:
  1. I'm not the only woman who has experienced this and yet still given birth to a healthy, vibrant child. (Cheers!)
  2. There are apparently several completely normal reasons for the pain.
  3. The first is, like so many other pregnancy ailments, directly attributed to hormones. They actually work to loosen the muscles of the abdomen and pelvic area to prepare the body for birth- totally normal. But sometimes, the lack of support due to loosening is uncomfortable.
  4. The second is, duh, I've got something foreign growing in me and my muscles are sending me a message: "Despite the fact that we stretch regularly for your binge eating exploits, we never expected this intrusion and quite frankly, we're making you pay."
  5. Third: Round ligament pain. Okay, so there's a ligament that attaches to the uterus that is there to support it, and the only way it's going to support the 9 pound child I'm going to soon be lugging around within me (I make em big) is if it gets stronger along the way, which includes some pain.
  6. Fourth (and scariest): Symphysis Pubis Dysfunction. This is where, as above, the hormones loosen the muscles, but they work too hard at it, and the muscles holding my four pelvic bones together start literally going slack. The result is an over-separated pelvis, which can be a huge issue. (Read a horror story about a woman who needed surgery to reconnect them... ugh.)
So, obviously, there's something going on here, but luckily, it's NORMAL. (Three more cheers!) And, luckily for me, (note sarcastic tone), there are exercises that can provide some relief. While I fundamentally hate exercise in most forms, I think these ones are worth doing:
  1. Crunches- they suck, but apparently they also suck in your tummy, which helps.
  2. Pelvic tilts- easier than crunches, still lying on the floor.
  3. Roll backs- reverse crunches. Start sitting up, roll almost all the way down (just to that uncomfortable spot where you can feel your tummy muscles working), hold, and sit back up.
Luckily for us preggos, exercise is directed only three times a week, and pain is always a sign that you should stop or take a break.

I'll keep you updated on what works, and if I've found any relief. You know, after I sit here on the couch for a while longer. (It feels good, darn it!)

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