9 tips to reduce aches and pains

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1. Hydrate

Expecting moms lose fluid through increased perspiration and urination. Not getting enough fluids can lead to feeling fatigued and make your muscles cramp and joints ache. Don't wait till you're thirsty to drink. Eight glasses of water per day should be the minimum.

2. Stretch it out

Swimming and cycling for 30 minutes, three times a week, increases natural endorphin release, improves sleep, mood, energy levels and more. As pregnancy progresses, movement becomes tricky. Stick to basic stretches for the lower back, legs, neck and calves, which you can continue with until your due-date and beyond.

3. Take a warm bath

Warm baths relax muscles that often get sore during pregnancy; they can also help soothe back aches and leg cramps. Bathtime can be emotionally relaxing as well because it provides some quiet time. Reducing stress levels by taking a warm bath can also benefit the baby. Health professionals agree that the water should not be too hot and that you shouldn't stay in it for too long. 

4. Get a massage

There are myths around the safety of massage during the first and third trimesters. If done correctly, massage can provide much relief from stiffness and tension. Find a qualified therapist, with whom you can become familiar and discuss your needs.

5. Hot and cold compresses

Heat is good for muscle stiffness. Ice can be used to reduce inflammation. Apply for 20 minutes, never directly to the skin. This helps aid circulation and relaxes muscles. Never fall asleep with a compress in place. 

6. Have a foot bath

Swollen feet and ankles are common. Soaking your feet in warm (but not too hot) water with Epsom salts reduces swelling and eases aches. Half a cup should do it.

7. Eat correctly

Follow a healthy diet. Calcium and magnesium work together to help with muscle contraction and blood pressure during pregnancy. 250-300mg per day is recommended. This will help combat fatigue, aches and pains.

8. Meditate

Deep relaxation and visualisation can help deal with many of the physical and emotional stressors caused by pregnancy. Relaxing your mind will cause overall feelings of well-being which, in turn will reduce muscle stiffness and strain. 

9. Correct your posture

Maintaining good posture can reduce strain on the body significantly. Keep your chin tucked in, shoulders back, squeeze the buttocks and tighten those tummy muscles.



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