13 Jul Pregnancy: Month 7: A Physiotherapist’s Professional Opinion
A lot of skin stretching will have taken place by now, at least 90% to be precise. Not much stretching to go, your skin will be grateful. Your looser joints with the combination of the increase in weight may lead to lower back pain with or without sciatica. Sciatica is a sharp, burning or pins and needle pain that travels down the back of your thigh, calf and heel. It is caused by an increase in pressure on your sciatic nerve, which starts in your buttock. Muscle spasm and a change in your hip and pelvis place pressure on the sciatic nerve. Using a heating pad on your buttock, stretching your piriformis muscle and changing your position frequently will all help make the pain more bearable.
Listen to your body and avoid activities that make your body uncomfortable or sore. Knee and ankle pain may hinder you if you stand for too long, so make sure to take frequent breaks from staying in one position.
Loose joints and carrying a lot of extra weight all change your normal walking pattern to one that resembles a waddling duck. Combined your cute new waddle with pregnancy brain, and you have the perfect conditions for increased clumsiness. Take extra care to look where you walk and when using sharp objects.
As fluid retention continues, you may start waking up with a puffiness in and around your face. This may be most noticeable around your eyes. Being upright during the day will give gravity the chance to drain the swelling throughout the day.
Braxton Hicks contractions start in month seven. These are experienced as light and irregular contractions and do not generally hurt. These contractions should become lighter as you move around, whereas a normal contraction will stay the same or intensify with movement. If this is not the case and these contractions do not become lighter, please contact your supervising gynaecologist immediately.
Some studies show that the fetus moves the most during the seventh month of your pregnancy, more specifically in the early morning and at night. Try to bear with all the rib kicks and powerful punches and jabs, as it won’t be long before your unborn baby grows a bit more and takes up more space in the womb, making it more difficult to move around in there. At the very least the fetal movements in the coming months will feel less powerful to you.
You will feel some flutters as the fetus starts to hiccup. It normally happens at the same time of the day, so if your partner misses the first hiccup performance, be sure that they are around for the encore the next day.
EXERCISE OF THE MONTH: SITTING BUTTOCK STRETCH
1. Sit on a chair with both legs hip-width apart and feet flat on the floor.
2. Lift the leg to be stretched to cross your foot over the opposite thigh and rest the outside of the ankle on the thigh.
3. Grasp around your knee with both hands, keep your spine long with the lower tummy gently pulled in and hug your knee towards your chest.
4. At the same time pull your knee towards your opposite shoulder and hold for 20 – 30 seconds.
5. Allow a few seconds rest between consecutive stretches.
6. To release muscle tone, push the knee against your hands, alternating a 5 – 10 second contraction with a 10 – 20 second stretch, perform 3 – 5 times.