Google “coping in pregnancy with chronic pain” or “pregnancy with fibromyalgia” and you get a lot more hits than I did when I was first pregnant in 2013. But nothing really substantial exists.
There are many generic, “get good sleep”, “reduce stress”, “eat healthy” and all of those ones. And they are a great place to start. But how does one actually do these things? When pregnant? With unrelenting chronic pain and fatigue?
I have experienced four pregnancies now and, as it has been since the beginning in 2013, my mission is to share what I learn in case it helps you.
There is a page here on my blog here with all of the best resources I could compile for you. Including a free download of your personal pain management plan, other people’s articles, my articles and my free micro course.
Affiliate notice: Please note that some of my links are affiliate links. If you make a purchase using my link, I may make a small commission at no extra charge to you.
I also wrote a book, which I updated this year (2021). I added four brand new chapters and added to anything that I could update based on my fourth pregnancy and new literature.
Unfortunately there isn’t a lot of new literature. In fact, there is a lot of radio silence when it comes to research, pregnancy and fibromyalgia/chronic pain and fatigue.
This article puts it well:
“The perinatal period presents a particularly vulnerable state for women with chronic pain disorders, and data supporting their prevalence, course, and management are scarce…Women with chronic pain conditions who are considering pregnancy face numerous challenges for themselves and their infants. This is compounded on the part of clinicians by a lack of research and resources for making decisions about appropriate and effective treatment.” (my bold)
So, as a woman who has experienced pregnancy four times now, what do I recommend for coping in pregnancy?
Be as well as possible prior to becoming pregnant
This is not always possible, I wasn’t able to prior to my first or second pregnancy. But, by my third, I had my whole of life management plan firmly in place and it made a massive difference. Low dose naltrexone, pacing, Yoga Nidra, Recovery Factors supplement, yoga and all of my other coping mechanisms helped.
Need help with this one?
Yoga Nidra: The Tool That Changed My Life
Make a plan for managing your pain and fatigue during pregnancy and after
An actual plan. Below is a Pain Relief Plan that you can download, print, fill in and use. It also comes with a list of natural pain relief options to get your ideas going.
Why? Because if you KNOW what will help, you are more likely to do it. If you’re anything like me when a flare creeps up, you can forget what actually helps. Instead of trying to think, have a list of things you just do.
Help for populating your list
Yoga for Fibromyalgia/Chronic Pain
Do your research, become your top advocate and make a medication plan with your doctor. Get a second opinion if you feel you are not being managed properly. I’ve written about this extensively, but unmanaged pain isn’t just an issue for the pregnant person, it can be an issue for the baby too.
Make a plan for coping with the baby
After managing four postpartum periods and four very different (but all alike in that they disliked sleep) babies, my number one piece of advice is to spend more time increasing your rest than working on baby’s sleep. Especially in the first four months. By all means, put “good” habits in place. But in the first four or six months, just get by.
With my first baby I would go to bed at 9pm, leave my husband and a bottle and see them again at 1am. This block of sleep really helped.
By baby number two I had my secret weapon – Yoga Nidra. So whenever I had a person to hold the baby, I went to do my meditation/rest.
I read the book Sweet Sleep by La Leche League International which goes through the research around safe sleep, co sleeping and sudden infant death syndrome.
This is an awful lot of information, I hope something here helps you get started in your journey.
- Download your free Pain Relief Plan (above)
- Start going through the resources I have provided here and any others you find
- Populate your plan and use it
Tell us – your best tip for coping in pregnancy with chronic pain and fatigue