man squeezing pregnant woman's hips to relieve pain as she leans against a wall

Pregnancy Does Not Have To Be Painful

Special thanks to Alissa Marie Newberg and Yoga Based Birth for writing this guest blog! Alissa is a 200hr yoga teacher with specialized certification in Prenatal Yoga and doula training. She has worked with pregnant and postpartum mamas at Renew Mama Studio since 2014. Alissa has created her own 6 Week Yoga Based Birth Prep Series, Partner Positioning Workshop, and Postpartum Prep Workshops. These programs are offered regularly at Renew Mama Studio. In this blog, Alissa digs into pregnancy pain and discomfort – and what to do to help.

pregnant woman laying on her side

The Normalization of Pain During Pregnancy

“As a Prenatal Yoga teacher and Birth Worker/Educator I receive lots of questions about physical pain and discomfort from pregnant women all the time. I love being able to walk a mama through movement and posture adjustments to help solve or lessen the “pregnancy discomfort” they are experiencing as their bodies shift and change to support the growth of baby. When needed, I also refer them to a specialist that can better serve their concerns and needs. 

I am also very aware that many mamas have discomfort or pain that has been dismissed by their care provider or by other women in their lives as “normal.” They’re told that pain is something they just have to “deal with”. Pregnancy does not have to be painful mama! It is not normal to have constant low back pain, or any sharp or shooting pain in the pubic bone or hips. There are ways to lessen and relieve these discomforts with a little body work.

We are surrounded by amazing practitioners who specialize in women’s health here in the Grand Rapids area. As women we have a responsibility to share this information with our friends and family. We can begin to change this idea that pregnancy = pain, and that discomfort is just a normal symptom of pregnancy.

Here is a list of ways to make pregnancy as pain free as possible:

Move Your Body!

Now more than ever you need to make sure you are getting up from your chair/computer regularly throughout the day and walking, squatting, stretching and moving the spine and pelvis. A great way to explore movement and to learn some new moves is prenatal yoga classes. Prenatal yoga classes specifically focus on strengthening muscles needed for comfort in both pregnancy and birth. Prenatal yoga is also amazing for building a community of mamas for support and encouragement. I teach prenatal specific yoga classes at Renew Mama Studio Tuesday at 7:30pm, Thursday at 6:00pm and Friday at 12:30pm. Sign up for classes here.

pregnant woman on yoga ball, moving from side to side

Check Your Posture!

Did you know that if you were to imagine a flashlight shining out from your bellybutton that light should be shining straight out? This helps reduce low back pain with proper positioning of the pelvis. If this position feels impossible to achieve or maintain it is a good idea to see a chiropractor who specializes in women’s health and pregnancy. I highly recommend Dr. Theresa Osmer of Flow Chiropractic.

I also teach a workshop for mamas and their partners to learn techniques/positions to practice together weekly throughout pregnancy to help with tightness in the ligaments that are involved in making room for baby. I offer this class a few times throughout the year at Renew Mama. Check the Events and Workshops page for current dates!

man standing over pregnant woman in child's pose, pushing on her hips to relieve pregnancy pain

Learn How To Soften The Muscles Of The Body!

We all hold stress, fear and tension in the body. In times of transition and facing the unknown, like pregnancy and birth, this increases significantly. Pain and discomfort in the upper back and shoulders, or headaches and neck pain are our bodies way of telling us we are stressed. Regular massage with a prenatal massage therapist can help relieve that muscle tension. I highly recommend the prenatal massage services at Renew Mama! Book a prenatal massage here or call the studio at 616-425-9642.

We also practice softening the muscles of the body with the breath in prenatal yogaKnowledge and preparation for birth is a huge weight off your shoulders and hearts mama!

Taking a childbirth preparation class with your partner will help as well. I offer a 6 week class Renew Mama where we discuss fear and expectation, learn breath techniques, learn positions for a comfortable pregnancy and birth, and create healthy communication skills for you and your partner. Check the Events and Workshops page for current dates.

man squeezing pregnant woman's hips to relieve pregnancy pain as she leans against a wall

Ask Questions If Something Doesn’t Feel Right!

You deserve to be heard. If you ever have questions or concerns that you feel are not being taken seriously by your care provider, ask someone else! Keep asking until you get an answer that makes sense to you! There is a community of a wellness team, birth workers, teachers, and other mothers at Renew Mama Studio. It’s always a great place to turn to for help in any way.”