Pregnancy Week 21/22 : Symptoms

Hey y’all! I’ve been in Austin, Texas all week and I’m typing this as a huge thunderstorm moves through the area. Not gonna lie, it’s pretty exciting for this SoCal chick. I’m pretty inexperienced with weather so I felt pretty stranded when I walked to dinner and then got stuck waiting for an Uber under the valet stand while a torrential downpour/ electrical storm descended upon the area.

This trip has been pretty fantastic, but one particular issue has been hanging over my travels lately. Pregnancy symptoms.

Not a super sexy topic, but one that is a pretty essential experience for any pregnant lady. There are a couple that I didn’t have with my first pregnancy that I’m battling this time.

Migraines.

I’ve spent a lot of time either having headaches, avoiding headaches, or in fear of headaches. Specifically migraines. I get some pretty gnarly ones. They last 3 days, may or may not include vomiting. Pretty fun.

It seems like there are  a lot of triggers for them and not all are avoidable. (side note to all Uber/Lyft drivers, let’s all agree to stop with the air fresheners, mmkay? thanks.)

Triggers include:

abrupt weather changes
dehydration
emotional stress
hormone changes
neck tension
too little sleep
too little food
perfume and cleaning product odor

I’m working on addressing this symptom from all angles. Chiropractic, supplements, hydration, massage, keeping my blood sugar levels normal, deep diaphragmatic breaths, going to bed early, etc.

Pelvic floor dysfunction.

Quite frankly this didn’t start with the pregnancy, it started with Atlas’ birth, for obvious reasons.

I’ve seen pelvic floor physical therapists (PFPT’s), learned about proper breathing and movement techniques, and kept up to date on the best ways to retrain the coordination of the pelvic floor with the diaphragm and other muscles that make the core function well. I’m sharing all this to let you know that even with all the knowledge and help and homework, pregnancy/birth/subsequent pregnancies will CHANGE your body. You can’t get your old body back, but you can find resources that will help manage symptoms and possibly move you towards being symptom free. That’s just not my reality right now with another kiddo pressing against every side of my core. Most of the time, everything works pretty great but if I lift heavier (during pregnancy) or get sick and have a persistent cough or sneeze (ie. lots of intra-abdominal pressure) then I’m stuck managing my pelvic floor symptoms (specifically a feeling of heaviness or leaking/incontinence).

If you’re here cause you’ve experienced similar issues; here are some great resources for training for or rebuilding healthy pelvic floor function.

Brianna Battles, Pregnancy and Postpartum Athleticism

BirthFit, Functional Progressions

Julie Weibe, The Piston Breath

Side note: It can feel a little embarrassing or even shameful to struggle with these symptoms but please know there are a lot of options and tons of well-educated folks sharing tips and helpful information. I try to think of it like any other injury. If you go through a physical trauma like an ACL tear, car accident, or ankle sprain then you’ll probably have to spend some time recovering, rehabbing, retraining and strengthening that area. Not only that, but injuries usually leave those parts of our bodies more vulnerable to future stress. Just because it’s in a more “intimate” part of the body doesn’t mean the injury is shameful or worth hiding.

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