back pain

Indigestion, Lower Back Pain, Headaches – Are They Really “NORMAL” in Pregnancy?

There is a certain mindset today regarding pregnancy: if you are pregnant, it is “normal” to feel bad. Women frequently say to me, “I am just beginning to feel pregnant. I have indigestion, tender breasts, lower back pain, fatigue and the list goes on.” I believe that if a woman is balanced nutritionally and is healthy, she should be surprised to be pregnant.

Remember in old movies and still sometimes today where women suspect they may be pregnant, do the test and are surprised to find out they ARE pregnant! Probably the only way they suspected was because they missed their periods. I have two friends who had this happen to them. They were suspicious because they missed their periods and were surprised when they took the test.

Another friend did not stop her period at all. She still had the same monthly bleeding, but she was gaining weight. She was eating according to Pritikin and was going to the Pritikin center here in Los Angeles, only to find that she was gaining weight quickly. She decided that she might be pregnant. When she went to get checked, the doctor could hear the heartbeat! She was four months pregnant and didn’t have a clue!

It seems today that these cases are more atypical than typical. When a woman is experiencing discomforts, she simply is missing something in her diet or lifestyle or both. And when women say that these discomforts are “normal” in pregnancy, I don’t believe it is. Women should feel different when pregnant but not miserable. They should feel full of life and enjoy their pregnancies, not feel burdened by physical ailments just because they are pregnant. The three most common ailments are indigestion, lower back pain and headaches. These are all caused because something is missing in the woman’s life.

Indigestion

Indigestion is more common than not in pregnancy, but it is NOT normal. Indigestion is caused by the physiological suppression of hydrogen chloride (HCl) and other digestive acids because of the increased secretion of progesterone used to support the uterine lining for the pregnancy. If a woman is stressed, this will further decrease her enzymatic output. If she doesn’t eat relaxed or sits in a parasympathetic state, she will go into a sympathetic state of the nervous system. The difference is that a sympathetic state would also occur if she were running from the bear in the forest. Her body is not supporting digestion in the sympathetic state and will therefore create indigestion.

Indigestion can also lead to a whole slew of other problems such as hiatal hernia, anemia, cramping in the calves and feet, fatigue, hair loss, and not absorbing calcium in which case her body will pull calcium from her bones for the fetus’ needs. So this is NOT something to take lightly and just suck on Tums. Some antacids contain aluminum which is absolutely contraindicated for pregnancy, because it further depletes the stomach acids, which is the opposite of what really needs to be done.

Severe pain beneath the sternum may accompany the indigestion. This would be the creation of a hiatal hernia which is very common in pregnancy. A chiropractic adjustment most often times provides INSTANT relief and correction of the hiatal hernia, but will not fix the problem at hand.

To relieve the discomfort caused by indigestion is to analyze the woman’s lifestyle and eating habits as well as adding digestive enzymes to each meal. I have seen thousands of women benefit from enzymatic supplementation in pregnancy.

Another good thing to do is try some acid! That’s right! Sound crazy but eat more foods with acidity. Oranges, cooked tomato sauce, lemon squeezed on your foods and in water will trigger the brain to stop producing acid. Sometimes the body gets busy and puts the regulation of HCl on the back burner and it just keeps going on and on and on. By eating the acidic foods, the body sees that it doesn’t have to produce so much and will cut back.

Lower Back Pain

This discomfort could be one of the first signs that a woman is pregnant. When a woman experiences low back pain (LBP) during her period, it is usually because she is secreting relaxin to allow the cervix to open up to release the menstrual blood. During pregnancy, she will secrete relaxin in surges to allow for the ligaments to relax and change her body to accommodate the growth of the fetus. This should not be a severe discomfort. More often than not, these women who have LBP are, first of all, out of alignment. When the pelvis and spine are misaligned or “subluxated”, she will experience LBP. A simple chiropractic adjustment should relieve this quickly and effectively.

Sometimes, more vitamin E will help solve this problem. Vitamin E supports the uterus as well as the buttock muscles. Some experts in nutrition believe that vitamin E helps to reduce the chances of miscarriage. If you have a chiropractor who does Applied Kinesiology, as I do, he/she can test the muscles supporting the lower back that relate to vitamin E. Upon tasting the supplement the muscles will strengthen. This will help to support a pregnant woman’s lower back and pelvis, therefore minimizing and hopefully eliminating LBP.

Headaches

One of the very first signs of pregnancy can also be headaches. The reason for this is that the pituitary gland just got the message that there is a pregnancy and must alert all endocrine glands to start producing in order to create and maintain the pregnancy. These types of headache will mimic a “hormone” headache, a dull, overwhelming headache. Hormonal balance is the key here. The Phytosterols and the Glyconutrient complex along with a chiropractic adjustment should help to relieve this discomfort.

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