Like many pregnant women, you may feel that you've disappeared behind your belly; that the essence of who you are has been lost in the guise of "pregnant woman." People may no longer ask about how you're feeling, or what's going on in your life. Instead of "How are you?", they might ask, "Is everything OK with the baby?"
It can be difficult for people, and even for you, to remember that you still exist in a role that is separate from pregnant woman or mother. If during your pregnancy you are feeling very frustrated by this, consider doing something just for you, maybe some pampering or a dinner for two, to make you feel special again.
This sounds like sciatica, a sharp pain that travels down the back and leg when the sciatic nerve-the longest nerve in the body-is trapped in a joint in the lower back. This is not related to your pregnancy, although it can get worse in pregnancy. For lower back pain, warm baths and a warm compress can help, as can gentle massage by an experienced practitioner. Exercise such as yoga or water aerobics classes can help strengthen back muscles, but check with your doctor before embarking on a new exercise regimen. Watch your posture (see Pregnancy posture) and wear comfortable, supportive shoes.
If you have sciatica, ask your doctor to refer you to a physical therapist. You'll be shown exercises to help relieve the pain and minimize the risk of it recurring.
You need to eat plenty of good-quality protein to encourage your baby's growth and keep you in glowing good health, so try to eat either eggs, cheese, lean meats, fish, legumes, or grains at every meal. Add to that lots of fruits and vegetables, nuts, seeds, and some unrefined carbohydrates (see Get carb loading).
Break the food down into a plan of five to seven small meals and snacks each day. If you usually have soup and a sandwich for lunch, try a vegetable soup mid-morning, and have the sandwich later; prepare snacks such as raw vegetables, cheese, nuts, and fruit and graze on them through the afternoon. Perhaps have a bowl of oatmeal early evening, followed by fruit later.
There are no "rules" about when food needs to be eaten, so eat these "mini-meals" when you're hungry. As long as you get the nutrients you need and don't overeat, you can graze as often as you like.
Excerpted from Pregnancy Day by Day.
Copyright Ã‚Â©2009 Dorling Kindersley Limited.
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