May 26, 2013 by Dadinator
Pregnancy has its shares of niggles. Swollen ankles, stretch marks, sore bits, nausea, tiredness and a bunch of other stuff can and do occur. Most of it can be worked on and even cured with any number of remedies from massages to medication. But there are things that go beyond niggles. Some women develop gestational diabetes. Some women experience dangerously high blood pressure. Some women can even lose their teeth.
The Mamanator didn’t do morning sickness by halves. Her condition is known as “hyperemesis gravidarum”. Or as i call it when I’m talking to one of the ladies down at the general store, “that thing Kate Middleton had”. Its great she had it. Not for her of course, I’m sure however she was treated constant nausea was still not pleasant, but it does make explaining it to other people a damn sight easier. And it raises awareness of the affliction. I can’t help but think there are women out there suffering from this condition in silence because they assume it must be normal to throw up all the time during pregnancy. If that’s you, go see your doctor about it, they may be able to help.
But this post is about another boon of pregnancy, a condition known as ‘Pelvic Girdle Pain’ (formerly known as Pelvic Insatiably).
I’ll try and explain it. Your pelvis (men and women) is a group of bones that make up your hips. They connect your legs to your body and are critical to your ability to stand up, among other things. The diagram shows what the bones look like.
See that large passageway in the middle? The baby has to pass through it as they come out. It is non-negotiable. In order to get ready for this the body produces a hormone called “relaxin” which, well, helps relax ligaments and tendons in the body, especially the ones labelled in the diagram “Sacroiliac Joints” and the “Symphysis Pubis Joint”. This helps the hip bones come apart a bit during child birth, creating a larger opening for the baby and ensuring it can make it into the birth canal and ultimately out the vagina. If it can’t get passed these bones, it cannot get out the front way.
Pelvic Girdle Pain can occur when these joints soften up too much too early. If these bones don’t hold together, especially given the extra weight of a growing baby, it causes a lot of pain in the surrounding area, mobility issues and in extreme cases can leave an expectant mother wheelchair bound. It can also put increased strain on other parts of the body, especially the lower back which has to compensate for the loss of stability in the pelvis.
The Mamanator suffered this condition when she was pregnant with The Lad (back when it was called “Pelvic Instability”). She thought it was just niggles, leg pains and back aches which were part of pregnancy. Then got really bad while she was pushing a trolley out shopping. She experienced sharp stabbing pains in her lower abdomen, and she thought she was miscarrying and got herself to the hospital quick sticks. As soon as she lay down she started feeling better. She was ordered to lie down for 5 days, got on with a course of physio and had to wear a support belt for a while, but it got better. This time around she knew what to look for. She’s been diagnosed with it again, is wearing the belt and has been given exercises to do at home to help strengthen the area and take the pressure off her pelvis as much as possible. Forewarned is forearmed, as they say. The second time through is usually worse than the first time too as the second time through you have a child to look after and don’t get so many opportunities to put your feet up…
So here’s where I get to the point of this post. Women take pregnancy differently. It’s not an Olympic sport, you don’t get a medal for coping with it better than anyone else. The Mamanator hated pregnancy the first time, and she’s hating it this time through. That doesn’t make her less of a woman than our friends who barely noticed they were pregnant for the whole 9 months. She’s seeking the help she needs, getting the support and doing what she has to do for her own health and, ultimately, the health of her children while I do what I can to support her. So fellas/partners out there, don’t laugh off complaints, don’t say “well, it’s just pregnancy” if the mother of your child is sharing concerns with you. If you or your partner are ever worried don’t hesitate to seek out advice or help about any condition. Ask questions at your ante-natal appointments, get things checked out and take care of yourself.
Yes, pregnancy will almost always entail some inconvenience and even suffering, but don’t assume it’s “normal”, and don’t assume there’s no help out there for you. At the very least your fears will be put to rest.