Tips for Pregnancy with Fibromyalgia
Pregnancy is a journey for any woman, truly miraculous and filled with incomparable excitement and anxiety. For a woman who suffers with FM, there can be additional challenges along the way. Starting with tips for your own nine-month journey can help this be a time to enjoy that beautiful glow.
Medication, exercise, pacing, and naturopathic remedies can help a lot. If you're planning to become pregnant, be in the best shape possible.
Tip 1- Educate yourself before becoming pregnant. FM itself should not harm an unborn child; but discussing medications during pregnancy is important? Consider discontinuing naturopathic treatments due to a lack of solid information on effects to the unborn child. Perhaps a medication will have a safer alternative and a decrease in them all to a level where symptoms are still manageable will be recommended.
Tip 2- Be at your best mentally and physically at the start of a pregnancy. It takes a toll on your body to support the growth of another little being, so start out ahead. Exercise throughout the pregnancy with your obstetrician’s approval. Think about switching things around. If walking your dog becomes difficult because of back pain, start walking in a pool, with the water at chest level. The water takes the weight off your body and provides a relief. Be sure to talk with your doctor before undertaking any exercise program during pregnancy.
Tip 3- Try to educate your family and friends about FM. The fatigue of pregnancy hits harder than for most women because of FM. It helps to have friends and family who understand why you are sleeping most of the day, need encouragement, and help to continue things like home-cooked meals.
Tip 4- Manage the pain and fatigue like you always do, but make sure to approve what you do with your OB. Long, hot baths early in the pregnancy are not recommended. Medical pressure stockings can decrease calf pain, as well as a maternity belt to decrease hip and back pain (until the later stages of pregnancy). (Be sure that the constriction is never tight enough to cut off your circulation.)
At times, fatigue and faintness are overwhelming, and what you can accomplish can be minimal, especially in the first and last trimesters.
Tip 5- Get some help lined up for the postpartum stage. You will most likely need it. There will be two patients coming home from the hospital—you and the baby. This is too much for your significant other to handle, even if he takes time off from work.
Tip 6- Breastfeeding is a topic in itself. Be flexible and realistic. Sometimes FM pain and sleeplessness flare up a few weeks postpartum, and there is a need for more meds to just be able to function as a new mom. Some women stop breastfeeding because of the effects the meds would have on the baby.
Tip 7- Have no expectations. Pregnancy and parenthood can be likened to holding onto your partner’s hand and jumping off a cliff together into the great unknown. You just really do not know what is to come. Some women do well, and others recognize the benefits of only-childhood. Being mommy for one can prove to be plenty of a challenge for a women with FM.
No research confirms concerns for women to be afraid of pregnancy. Educate yourself. You are the responsible party, not the docs. Women with FM usually learn, the hard way, how to prioritize and what is really important in life.
If bringing a child into the world is important to you, take care of yourself, surround yourself with understanding and help, and enjoy the journey!