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How to endure pregnancy with fibromyalgia

Being pregnant is awesome, but having to endure a pregnancy combined with fibromyalgia can have more than the few discomforts most women have for nine months. According to Dr. Mark J. Pellegrino, in his book Inside Fibromyalgia, some of his pregnant patients who indicated that they did not have symptoms prior to pregnancy, now are aggravated with muscle pain and other maladies of this disorder. And others who had pre-existing fibromyalgia flared with pain where other women felt better during the first trimester with all the hormonal changes. It’s individual. Overall, symptoms increased during pregnancy but returned to their previous baseline level after the baby was born. Some women may be discouraged about a pregnancy, however the reward of a beautiful baby is well worth the discomfort. One of the main reasons for flares is the fact that prescription medications used for pain prior to pregnancy is not safe for the fetus and must be discontinued. This article gives tips and ideas to endure the aches and pains with a more natural approach.

You can still engage in daily activities with these fibromyalgia tips.
Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images

Quell the morning sickness…

Performing acupressure on a wrist point can alleviate nausea and morning sickness many pregnant women encounter. The acupressure point is located two inches above the wrist fold on the inner part of the wrist (a little toward the inside of the center). Other women have had success with sucking on fresh lemon slices prior to getting out of bed. If you feel that the lemon juice is strong on the tongue or teeth, squeeze the juice into a small amount of water to drink.

Natural pain control with hot and cold…

For anyone with fibromyalgia, the use of heat, especially moist heating pads and warm baths are both relaxing and help with muscular pain. Others find that ice relieves their discomfort. This may lead to a trial and error testing of both to see which method brings the best relief. Making a simple rice sock can be used in both ways. Take a tube sock and fill two-thirds with uncooked rice. Sew or knot the top securely so the rice doesn’t escape. This special sock can be warmed in the microwave or placed in the freezer for a cool pack. The sock is flexible and can be placed around the neck; draped over the shoulders or placed anywhere the pain exists.

No smoking or exposure to second-hand smoke…

Nicotine decreases the blood flow to the muscles by constricting the arteries, which in turn decreases the oxygen and increases the pain in muscles. Cigarette smoke can also be harmful to the fetus. And excessive coughing cannot only strain the back but exacerbates the fibromyalgia as well. If you are a smoker, work with your doctor for a safe step-down program for quitting.

Regular exercise is helpful…

Mothers-to-be must begin and maintain a regular exercise program. Start with gentle stretches and then include a fun exercise that is mild. Work on back exercises and use proper posture to strengthen this area. The program doesn’t have to be time-consuming, as studies have shown that 20 minutes or exercise three times a week will significantly improve overall conditioning and strength. Some women may want to work with a trained therapist to set up a program. Proper exercise especially during the last trimester can lead to an easier delivery and faster recovery.

It is imperative to avoid dangerous positions (bending, twisting, reaching and lifting). Make sure pregnant mothers practice proper posture and body mechanics, called fibronomics. A physical therapist can guide you in safe motions for daily living.

Schedule some me time…

Many pregnant women work full-time jobs or take care of other children at home. Including relaxation is so important for women with fibromyalgia whether pregnant or not. Set aside some time to do relaxation techniques such as yoga or meditation. Some women relax with a good book, listening to music or working on a fun hobby.

Talk to your doctor about safe pain relief…

Physicians may allow some over-the-counter pain medications. Most pain relievers can decrease pain levels and combat any acute inflammation in the body. Tylenol, on the other hand, is safe but only helps with pain without the added ingredients for inflammation. Since fibromyalgia is not considered an inflammatory disorder, the Tylenol may work along with heat or ice packs to decrease painful spasms and increase blood flow.


Pellegrino MD, Mark J.; Inside Fibromyalgia; Anadem Publishing, 2001

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