My Favorite Products for Common Pregnancy Complaints

Posted on Posted in Pain Management, Self-Care

Before you click away or delete this email thinking this post isn’t for you, have you ever…

-Had heartburn or indigestion?
-Sore throat?
-Had muscle cramps, especially at night, in your legs?
-S.I. joint pain from destabilization or overuse?

Then read on because most of the products listed in this post are for everyone at any stage of life

Don’t worry, when we get to the pregnancy-applicable only item, I’ll warn you 😉

Magnesium Oil for Muscle Cramps

I first heard about this years ago, and have been recommending it to clients and students since then. Magnesium is a natural mineral that pretty much everyone isn’t getting enough of. Magnesium deficiency can lead to a whole host of issues, one of them being muscle cramps and pain. Magnesium deficiency can also lead to feelings of excess thirst, showing us we need more electrolytes.

If you have recurring problems with excessive thirst, this can be a sign of a much more serious problem. Please seek out professional medical care immediately. 

The issue with taking magnesium supplements by mouth is that they are often not absorbed in the gut and simply excreted. Our modern diets high in sugar and grains makes it difficult for our bodies to properly absorb this mineral. The best way around that is to use it topically – enter magnesium oil. I’ve been spraying magnesium oil on my lower legs since the very beginning of the second trimester. I had lower leg cramps very early on in my pregnancy, and they’ve continued throughout. Magnesium oil has been a lifesaver! (This is the brand I use.)

How to Use

  • Simply spray the oil on your hands or directly onto your legs and rub it in. Be careful not to rub up against bed sheets or other fabrics.
  • I usually sit and relax for 20-40 minutes with the oil on and then wash off with just water. You can do this before your shower or after, just remember to step back in to rinse it off before bed if you choose after.
  • NEVER go outside in direct sunlight after applying magnesium oil as you can get burned.
  • Magnesium oil can also be used on the thighs, forearms, and back for relief of tight muscles. Some people say they feel a slight tingling sensation, but I have extremely sensitive skin and have never had an issue.
  • Lastly, do not apply to freshly shaven legs or to areas with broken skin as it will burn.

P.S.: Consistency is key. The more the oil is used, the better results you will see. Once per week is not enough to see a reduction in muscle pain or spasm. 😉

Slippery Elm Lozenges for Heartburn

Slippery Elm actually comes from the inner bark of the slippery elm tree. It is what is known as mucilaginous, or it contains a substance called mucilage which becomes “slippery” when added to water. It’s commonly used as a natural remedy for sore throat, but is also great for heartburn.

I bought a tin of Thayer’s Maple Flavored Slippery Elm Lozenges during my first trimester for heartburn, and they have come in handy many times. Not only have I used them for heartburn, but I also gave them to my daughter when she came down with strep throat not long ago.

Apple Cider Vinegar Water for Heartburn & Indigestion

Did you know that ACV water is an old Amish treatment for heartburn? There are many times I prefer ACV water over the slippery elm drops and here’s why…

  • The acidic levels in ACV mimic the stomach’s natural pH and also aids digestion.
  • Organic, raw, unfiltered ACV has other great stuff in it provided by the “Mother” – enzymes, etc.
  • ACV water also aids in keeping blood sugar levels in check and is overall a great tonic for good health.

Many times heartburn is caused by LOW levels of stomach acid, not high. The lower levels of acid don’t signal the esophageal sphincter to close all the way, thus allowing stomach acid to escape into the esophagus, causing heartburn. When we add more acid to the stomach via ACV water, it signals the sphincter to close. This is why so many people suffering with heartburn haven’t found relief when taking OTC heartburn medications like Zantac or Prilosec; they haven’t gotten to the root of the problem.

The key with ACV water is that enough must be ingested to cause a beneficial reaction. I’ve been playing around with dosages and read online about the Amish suggestion. What I prefer is 2 teaspoons of ACV to 8oz of cool water. Room temperature water and hot water make it quite unpleasant to drink. Ice water, however, effectively puts out the digestive fire, and we don’t want that either.

The Amish suggestion is 1-2 tablespoons per “glass” of water. Is “glass” defined as 8oz or 16oz? Really, it’s up to you to figure out what works best for your body. From my experience, 1 teaspoon per 8oz isn’t quite enough, but 1 tablespoon is too much, that’s why I like the happy medium of 2 teaspoons per 8 fluid ounces. (By the way, 1 tablespoon is equivalent to 3 teaspoons.)

 Serola Belt for SI Joint Pain

Oh the dreaded excess joint mobility. I had issues with this starting at just 8 weeks pregnant. My left SI joint has always been more mobile than my right, but it has gotten increasingly more painful with the extra weight from pregnancy. I was talking to a PT friend one day about how much my SI joints hurt and she suggested a serola belt. At first I wasn’t going to get one, they’re $45+ on Amazon, but when I read online that relaxin (the hormone responsible for joint laxity during pregnancy) persists until a few months after breastfeeding is finished, I decided to get one.

These belts aren’t just good for pregnant women though. Our chiropractor recently recommended my husband get one and his problem isn’t excess mobility, but lack of appropriate mobility. The only suggestion I have if you do decide to get one of these belts to use in the case of excess mobility is that the hips need to be in the correct position first, or the pain might increase. Our chiropractor showed me how to self adjust my hips so I do this before wearing the belt. My husband, however, since his issue is lack of mobility and overly tight muscles and fascia, won’t always respond to an adjustment the same way mobile hips do. Just something to think about and consider for your specific situation.

I wear the belt when I walk on the treadmill and sometimes in the mornings when I walk my daughter to school. I will also wear it if I have a big shopping trip and it makes a huge difference in my gait and pain levels.

And here is where we shift to the pregnancy specific topics! 

There’s just one more thing I’d like to recommend…

Pregnant Belly Salve from Motherlove for Itchy Skin

Any woman who has ever been pregnant for any length of time at all knows how itchy breast and belly skin can get. And sometimes thighs. This time around, my thighs also got very itchy. I used my regular lotion for weeks, multiple times a day, before I bought this belly salve from Motherlove. It’s a w e s o m e. I mean truly. I’ve even been putting it under my nose the past couple of days as it is raw and red from blowing it so much (yay, my first cold in over a year. Not.).

It has organic lavender, chamomile, and calendula in it so it smells amazing, but it’s not overwhelming. Even during my worst days of morning sickness during the first trimester the smell never bothered me, and that’s saying something. I was VERY scent-sensitive. It also goes on very smooth and easy. I’ve used it on my belly and breasts throughout my entire pregnancy.

It says it’s for stretch-mark prevention as well, but I don’t really buy into the idea that we can prevent stretch marks by using a cream, salve, or anything else topically. Part of it is just genetics and the other part is how fast we gain weight or when the baby drops. Just my opinion! If you want to use it to prevent stretch marks, I won’t judge!

Motherlove also makes a nipple salve that is 100% breastfeeding safe and certified organic. I just ordered some from Amazon a few days ago so I can’t comment on it quite yet, but if it’s anything like the belly salve, I know I’ll be totally satisfied.

And that’s it! Do you have any experience with the products I listed?

Do you have any favorite pregnancy or postpartum products you’d like to share?

Happy November!

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