Relaxation Techniques

Mamas on Bedrest: Relax Your Back!

January 22nd, 2014

Hi Mamas!

It’s video Wednesday! After receiving yet another e-mail asking about how to relieve back pain while on bed rest, I thought that it is time to do a review of how best to support your back while on bed rest. Be sure to check out our other helpful videos on our YouTube Channel, and if you have questions, suggestions or comments, please share them in the comments section below.

Mamas on Bedrest: When Your Legs Won’t Rest

June 17th, 2013

Restless Leg Syndrome, involuntary twitching and tingling in the legs, can be a problem during pregnancy and a particular problem for Mamas on Bedrest. The increased weight as a result of pregnancy and the increased stress on the circulatory system are the major reasons that the symptoms occur. Restless Leg Syndrome is primarily relieved by changing positions and/or getting up and moving around-both options that are limited or non-existent for Mamas on Bedrest. Conditions such as pregnancy induced hypertension and pre-eclampsia often require that Mamas on Bedrest lay on their left sides to increase blood flow back to the heart from the lower extremities, relieving stress on the circulatory system. With this requirement, leg discomfort may be exacerbated with few options for relief. Restless Leg Syndrome can progress and become quite uncomfortable, limiting Mamas’ ability to rest. So how can Mamas on Bedrest manage this non-life-threatening but very annoying problem?

Massage. As previously stated in other posts, prenatal massage is an excellent way for mamas to relax tired, aching muscles during pregnancy. Because of the additional weight, mamas’ bodies shift to accommodate the weight and as a result, the musculoskeletal system shifts out of alignment creating stress on muscles, ligaments and tendons. Prenatal massage therapists are able to rub and soothe these tired, achy tissues and relieve tension, fatigue and pain.

Relaxation. Meditation, hypnosis and deep breathing can also help relieve the symptoms of restless leg syndrome. Calming the nervous system, relaxing the mind and relieving worry, stress and anxiety often relieve the tingling and twitching associated with restless leg syndrome.

Support your legs. Adequate support and positioning will go far to relieve leg pain and restless leg syndrome.  A Must have for Mamas on Bedrest is a Body Pillow, and positioning that pillow to properly support and align Mama’s body is essential. View our video on pillow positioning for a better bed rest.

Stretch. As previously stated, movement is essential to helping relieve symptoms of restless leg syndrome, yet movement for Mamas on Bedrest is limited. There are several simple stretches that mamas can do while on bed rest and we provide them on our free video channel for easy access.

Water. One reason that leg cramps and other symptoms of restless leg syndrome occur is due to dehydration. Adequate water intake is a must for all pregnant women, but especially for pregnant women with restless leg syndrome. Adequate hydration ensures that circulation flows that muscles and soft tissues are well lubricated and that muscle wastes are properly flushed away. But staying hydrated can present an additional problem for Mamas on Bedrest in that the increased fluid intake will result in increased urination. Many mamas try to limit fluid intake which only increases leg cramps, symptoms of restless leg syndrome and can increase the risk of developing a urinary tract infection. Its a delicate balance, but mamas, be sure to drink plenty of water while on bed rest.

Vitamins and Minerals. Most pregnant women are prescribed prenatal vitamins, but many of these vitamins only provide the minimum amounts of vital nutrients necessary to sustain pregnancy and mama and baby may need more. There have recently been several studies and articles published documenting the functional amounts of vitamins and nutrients that are needed to ensure that mama is getting all that she needs to remain healthy, for healthy development of the fetus and to sustain the pregnancy. Mamas with restless leg syndrome may be low on potassium or calcium. While it is not advised that mamas take mega doses of vitamins, ensuring that there is adequate, functional levels of vitamins and minerals will help prevent some of the twitching and discomfort of restless leg syndrome. In addition to prenatal vitamins, mamas may want to add or increase bananas-a good source of potassium-and calcium fortified orange juice and green leafy vegetable (also good sources of calcium) to their diets.

Restless Leg Syndrome can be an annoyance, but it needn’t incapacitate Mamas on Bedrest. Implementing the few tips above can go along way to relief and a bed rest free from leg cramps, twitching and tingling. 

 

Mamas on Bedrest & Beyond would like to thank Tammy Mahan, a contributing writer to Healthline.com, for sharing the perils and pearls of Restless Leg Syndrome with us.

Mamas on Bedrest: Find Moments of Bliss on Bedrest

January 11th, 2013

Good Morning Mamas,

I’ve been wondering, How are you holding on while on Bed Rest? How are you finding the bliss and blessings of Bed Rest?

Pregnancy in and of itself is a time of intense change. Your body is changing in ways that you cannot even imagine all the while creating a wholly new and completely perfect little being. When I stop to contemplate the absolute majesty that is childbirth, I am overwhelmed by the sheer magnitude of what is really taking place. It is truly magnificent indeed.

But for those of us for whom the journey has had some “road humps”, the rays of magnificence have been dimmed a bit. We are worried-for ourselves and our babies and praying for Divine blessing that our little loves will arrive healthy, happy and complete. It is often hard to find the joy, the blessings and the bliss that was once our pregnancies, yet it is essential to do so.

Bed Rest is prescribed so that preterm labor (labor before 37 weeks of  gestation) and preterm birth are avoided. But the very bed rest prescription itself is a stressor, as is often evidenced by the decrease in cervical length in mamas put on bed rest for cervical insufficiency.  In an uncomplicated pregnancy as delivery is imminent, the cervix will begin to soften and shorten (ripen) in anticipation of the passage of the infant. I won’t go into all of the details, but in short summary, chemicals are released from the brain and adrenal glands that act on the cervix to “ripen” it in preparation for birth. Unfortunately, these chemicals can be released at other times, most notably in response to inflammation and stress. Kathleen Kendall Tackett, PhD has studied this association extensively and wrote a really nice, readable article about it on the La Leche League website. Since the cervix cannot discern whether or not the chemicals are being released due to impending labor, a stress reaction or inflammation, it has no choice but to react in the only way that it knows how-by “ripening” and preparing for birth-even if it’s not time.

So what can mamas do? I in no way want to imply that cervical insufficiency, that is cervical ripening before the appropriate time for labor and delivery, is in any way a mama’s fault. However, I do want to say that mamas can help themselves and their babies when cervical insufficiency occurs by remaining calm and as stress free as possible. Stress is one of the major reasons that cervical insufficiency occurs. When we are stressed, our body goes into the “fight or flight” response, releasing brain chemicals and adrenal hormones in preparation for “battle”. As previously stated, these chemicals soften the cervix and prepare it for the passage of the baby. Sometimes we are not even aware that we are stressed; we may call it being “busy” or “worried”. But the response is the same.

So again, how can mamas remain calm and really “rest” while on Bedrest?

  1. Join our Facebook Community. We are now 500 strong and growing every day! Our community is all about support and sharing ideas, tips and tools for surviving bed rest and delivering healthy babies. Also, as previously stated in recent blog posts, community or being in community has been found to be a potent predictor for pregnancy outcomes. Women in community and with a strong support system fare better and seem to have a lower risk of complications than do women who are isolated and have limited support.
  2. Participate in Mamas Bookclub. We started a book club last fall and this month’s read is Girl Gone by Gillian Flynn. It is a suspense thriller about a woman who goes missing and how her husband is the suspect in her disappearance. We are scheduled to discuss the book on the facebook page the week of January 21, 2013. (Yikes, I’d better get reading!)
  3. Mama’s Meditation. Root Mama Freya Morani holds a weekly meditation for mamas on Saturday mornings, 9:30 am – 9:50 am Central Time.  Here is the description,
    “Join us for a free guided meditation call designed just for pregnant women. Mama’s Meditation will provide relaxation tools, breathing techniques and practical tips every Saturday at 9:30 am Central. Find a quiet place in your home, brew a nice cup of tea, and call-in to participate in a relaxing meditation call.”

Relax and Enjoy Mamas and know that all is as it should be!