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Why I’ve Gone as Natural as Possible Fighting Fibromyalgia while Pregnant

Let’s start this conversation off right, some medicines definitely necessary, I’m not anti medicine, I’m just pro natural options first, for myself. Especially during pregnancy. Especially because I already have two medicines I need to take to survive.

After two pregnancies with wildly under treated pain, I was determined this one would be better. Plus I had a four year old, a one year old, a job and a blog.

Yoga and meditation have been my mainstays for a long time. I’ve also paid $60 a fortnight for physiotherapy for several years now because I’d rather skimp and take that than utilise the heavily subsidised medicine I’d have to take instead. New Zealand has a public system and for some reason they will subsidise medicines but not physiotherapy for Fibromyalgia.
why i've gone as natural as possible fighting fibromyalgia while pregnant. options for pregnancy with fibromyalgia

A note to remember

Let us just remember, as I mention a lot in my pregnancy diaries videos that I am super thankful that low dose naltrexone (LDN) is helping me so much that I don’t need pain relief other than the occasional Panadol and the things I mention below. I don’t take this for granted and I remember well from my last two pregnancies the pain levels that can occur. I also know that in the event the symphysis pubis disorder gets worse, I may need to stop so that I can take other pain relief (codeine is contraindicated with LDN) and everything would change in that case.

What I’ve been researching for pregnancy with Fibromyalgia

For the last few months I’ve researched essential oils, herbs and other more natural options and more recently, for pregnancy.

Essential oils in pregnancy is something you’ll want to personally research and hopefully have a practitioner you can speak with, here’s a webinar and article about using essential oils for pregnancy, nursing and babies.

Here’s my posts for Natural Pain Relief Options

Here’s a round up of what I’ve been using for pregnancy with Fibromyalgia this time:

Affiliate notice: Please note that some of my links are affiliate links and I may make a small commission if you make a purchase using my link at no extra cost to you. Every little bit helps me to keep creating resources.

Essential Oils

Peppermint – headache and nausea
Ginger – nausea
Lavender – pain relief

Supplements

Magnesium oil – people with fibromyalgia are generally recommended to take magensium oilmagnesium but in pregnancy this is especially helpful for leg cramps.
MSM – I have read the research and had a discussion with my doctor and chosen to continue taking it as it’s the only thing to help with my finger and wrist joint pain.

Other

Morning Sickness bands – these work on acupressure points in your wrist for nausea.
Arnica cream – arnica cream has been recommended as a natural option for pain relief.
If you want to learn even more information about pain relief during pregnancy, then Pain Managementmicro coursecheck out my 15-page printable PDF Pregnancy with Fibromyalgia Micro Course Workbook. It goes through the existing information about pain relief during pregnancy, my experiences, a list of natural pain relief options, a list of further reading, a template to make your own pain relief plan (pregnancy edition) with space for notes and the brand new Advanced Pain Relief sheet with links to research about medicine use in pregnancy. I have gathered the information and created these printables to make it easier for you to make the best decisions for yourself- it took me years to get it all together.

Looking forward to labour with Fibromyalgia

I’ve been reading the Spinning Babies website for daily and weekly activities to help baby with natural positioning (I’ve had both prolonged labours and a posterior baby). There are stretches and inversions and all sorts for good positioning and to relieve pain in the back and pelvis.

I’m also looking at using a Rebozo scarf for later pregnancy comfort and during labour, which you may read about on the Spinning Babies site.

The peanut ball is also something I am considering for use later in pregnancy and inpeanut ball labour – especially if the symphysis pubis disorder gets worse and makes my plan to birth on all fours and without an epidural disappear. You can lie on your side (with or without an epidural) and place the peanut ball between your legs for good positioning and comfort. I am learning lots from this YouTubing delivery nurse.

My swiss ball will also feature heavily in my pelvis care plan – sitting on it in generally is good for you, but also hip circles and tilts on the ball are very helpful for keeping things moving. It is also useful from week 36/37 when I want to start getting baby down (bouncing gentle on the ball).

I hope this gives you an overview of what I have been looking into to help direct you in your research for managing the fibromyalgia while pregnant.

For more information:

Come and join the Fibromyalgia and Pregnancy group on Facebook to chat through pregnancy, parenting and fibromyalgia.
Pregnancy and Fibro eCourse
Check out my course Pregnancy and Fibromyalgia for five full modules about managing Fibromyalgia while pregnant – and how you can access it for free.
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Pregnancy with Fibromyalgia Diaries Week 23

As a third time mama doing pregnancy with fibromyalgia I have been sharing my journey in case it helps you.

When I was pregnant for the first time in 2013, I would have loved to hear another mamas experience, read a book or take a course to help me cope.

In the absence of these things, I created my own.

Please note that some of my links are affiliate links. If you make a purchase using one of these links I may make a small commission at no extra cost to you.

Here’s my week 23 pregnancy with fibromyalgia diary.

A brief overview

At week 23 baby is the size of a large mango. I experienced a bit of a growth spurt over the weekend (I show you the bump)!

Bubby is kicking up a storm which helps me to know he’s all good.

I am off work sick for three weeks as the symphysis pubis disorder has really run me down. Walking, sitting and sleeping are difficult.

I am still super thankful to be sleeping better than before low dose naltrexone.

Pregnancy with fibromyalgia diaries, week twenty three stuff got real!

Talking about pain relief:

9 Inexpensive Items I Use to Fight Fibromyalgia –here is the link to the Deep Heat I mentioned

Essential Oils for Pain Relief and a Pain Cream I am Loving -here I mention the essential oil pain relief cream I’m using

My Favourite Five Pain Management Mechanisms – Pregnant or Not!

I also mentioned my book Pregnancy and Fibromyalgia, available now.

Don’t forget the Facebook group Pregnancy and Fibromyalgia.

Do let me know what pain relief options you are utilising during pregnancy with fibromyalgia!


Want more information about coping with pregnancy and fibromyalgia?

Sign up to my free course

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Pumping or Expressing for Your Baby: Parenting (Fibromyalgia or Not)

The one thing I disliked about the antenatal classes that we attended, is that they were not allowed to talk about bottles or expressing at all. I had to learn the hard way that mix feeding is a very good option to help your baby get some of that precious liquid gold.

In my Nursing with Fibromyalgia article, I recount my first two experiences with nursing. After three awful days with my son, during which I had to hand express onto a spoon while he screamed next to me while alone (they refused to let my husband stay and the night midwives didn’t want to help as I wouldn’t have their help at home *sigh*) the midwives showed me to the expressing machine. I didn’t even know that expressing was an option. My mum nursed all of her five children and if babies weren’t nursed they had formula, I hadn’t heard of this middle ground!

Video: Pumping/Expressing for your Baby

I wish I’d known about this middle ground so I didn’t have to take a crash course when so sleep deprived and sore.

Other articles you might like:

Pregnancy with Fibromyalgia The First Trimester Diaries

Navigating Pain Relief in Pregnancy with Fibromyalgia

Necessary Baby Items for a Fibro Parent

Now I always include expressing/pumping as an option when I discuss nursing with Fibromyalgia because my number one tip with coping postpartum is to express early, go to bed early and then have a support person give the baby the next feed. As someone who cannot nap, I need those precious hours of sleep at night. So, I would express at 9pm, go to bed right after and then my husband would do the next one or two feeds (depending how early on it was and if he was going to work the next day). I would then wake after a few hours sleep in a row to deal with the baby for the rest of the night. We couldn’t do this for our second because his reflux was so bad that we had to keep each other company to get through the scream-filled evenings. And I suffered for it. There were nights when I fell asleep upright while feeding him.

Affiliate notice: Please note that some of my links are affiliate links, if you make a purchase using these links I may make a small commission at no extra cost to you.

The Breast Pump and Supplies

For the first two I used a heavy duty hospital grade electric pump (Unimom, not currently available on Amazon UK or US). This is necessary if you are looking at exclusively expressing or regularly expressing.Avent single eletric

If you are going to express semi-regularly, say a few times a day (at work perhaps) then a double electric breast pump, like this Avent one, is a good idea.

If you are going to express once or twice a day, like I plan to with number three, then a single electric breast pump, like this Avent one, is a good idea. This is actually on my Amazon Baby Registry, and as a third time mama not many things are on my to-buy list.

If you only plan to express occasionally, a manual pump, like this Avent one, may be the way to go. I didn’t like manual pumps, they hurt me to use (I only tried two brands that were given to me by the hospital to use when my son was sick), but the Unimom hand pump was the best for me for a tight spot.

I want to try this Hakaa manual pump this time, this is more for catching let down from the other side while nursing or helping you out between feeds if you find yourself without a baby or a pump.

The reason I am so amped about using Avent this time is because their bottles are our favourite, we have used them for both of our first two and will use them for our third. I believe the shape of the teat helped Wyatt to avoid nipple confusion and enabled mix feeding. The anti colic bottles are what we used. Don’t forget to start off with the newborn teat size! We had no idea there were different flows with our first baby and that was terrible at first (far too fast a flow does not help wind!).

You can buy the Avent steam steriliser, which would make things easier, but we were on a budget with our first and found that a basic tub that we filled with water and put sterilising tablets in did the job. You should sterilise all bottles, teats and dummies for at least the first six months.

There are special bottle warmers that some people swear by, but we found a jug of hot water to be sufficient. Please don’t microwave your milk to reheat it, it may heat unevenly and burn baby.

The process

  • If you are exclusively expressing then you need to express as often as the baby would feed, approximately three hourly. You will need to do this until your supply is established at around six weeks. After this you can try reducing the frequency (say once overnight) or four hourly or both. The trick with expressing exclusively seems to be keeping up with what baby consumes, you may need to express more often than they feed to keep up with the growing amounts they consume.alarm-alarm-clock-analog-1162967 attribution fre
  • If you are mix feeding, then you choose which feeds you are replacing to express (say 9pm). If baby is due for a feed near the same time, then you can choose to pump before or after according to your comfort level or routine. This is best while you’re establishing your supply.
  • You may be able to just always use formula at the late feed and your supply adjusts, just don’t do that with more than one feed at a time or you may find your supply reduced.
  • Sit as comfortably as possible, if you have a good pump then you just sit upright and time yourself for the 10-15 minutes.
  • To get started it helps to massage your breast and it can help to look at baby or a picture of them to encourage letdown. Start on a lower suction level and gently work your way up (without getting too strong).
  • I was advised to pump for no more than 15 minutes at a time with my hospital grade electric double pump, check what the recommendation for yours is.
  • If you’re feeling a bit lumpy or sore (like a clogged duct) a hot flannel on the breast can help as does massaging down toward the pump to help clear it out. I also gave myself a good massage in a hot shower when I had that blocked/lumpy feeling.
  • It’s also good to treat expressing like nursing directly and have a big glass of water and a snack. Hydration is important as is adequate nourishment.
  • When you are finished you can store the milk in a milk storage bag, like this, label it and put it in the freezer. They are useful with the zip close top for reopening if you are putting in multiple expressions before freezing.

A few tips

  • If you are expressing exclusively, or regularly that day, you can place all of the pump parts in a snap lock bag in the fridge between expressing sessions (so you don’t have to wash them all every time).
  • You can keep one milk storage bag in the fridge and put it into the freezer when full (or at the end of the day).
  • Generally you can keep milk in the fridge for three days and in the freezer for up to six months. This was great for me as I made an abundance of milk for my first baby very early on and was able to keep him exclusively breast milk fed for another four weeks after I stopped expressing. For more information about storage, see this article.
  • breast milk storage.PNGIf you want to use previously frozen breast milk, put the milk storage bag in the fridge overnight. Use the thawed milk within 24 hours.
  • It takes several weeks for breast feeding to be established, but once this point has been reached you can generally reduce the expressing frequency. With my second I expressed four hourly during the day and once overnight to mimic how baby fed – but I did stop making the total amount he fed and that was OK because he had to have thickened formula for the bulk of his milk anyway.

Further information

For two great sites (I don’t want to overwhelm you with heaps of extra reading, but you can definitely Google “exclusive pumping” or “expressing breast milk”), see Kelly Mom and Exclusive Pumping.

pumping or expressing for your baby

Final notes about pumping or expressing for your baby

I feel like my whole life was taken up by milk for my second baby’s first 12 weeks, between the expressing, the thickened formula (for the reflux) and the direct feeding. When I read the research that suggests even 12 weeks of partial feeding breast milk is protective against Sudden Infant Death Syndrome, I felt very proud. So please don’t think it’s all or nothing. If you can give 20ml a bottle like I did (it made the milk too thin if I put more than that in the bottle) – that’s amazing. If you manage to give baby only breast milk for six months, that’s amazing too. If you can’t manage to nurse and you give your baby formula – you’re still amazing.

I found it ridiculous when people tried to say that giving the bottle was more impersonal, I didn’t feed with the baby an arm’s length away – I cradled him as if I were nursing directly and I looked into his eyes, spoke to him and stroked his skin in the same way, however I fed. And as a bonus, my husband was able to feed him about as often as I was and they bonded beautifully too (not that they can’t bond without that!) just a silver lining. The biggest silver lining was that I was better able to bond with my first baby this way, nursing directly was so painful for me and it was such a strain on me physically and emotionally – I was so relieved when parenting no longer included my breasts. Your physical and mental health is vital, your baby needs you more than your breasts.

Please remember that all of my learning shared above is just that, personal learning through a lot of reading and personal experience with two children. Always seek support from a lactation consultant or midwife if you need help, particularly with latching. However, if you feel that those who are supposed to be supporting you are just forcing you to do something you can’t or don’t want to do, I hope the things I share help.


Do come and join the Pregnancy and Fibromyalgia Facebook group, we are happy to chat through nursing, expressing, whatever with you.

For more information about Pregnancy with Fibromyalgia you can read my book! pregnancy and fibromyalgia def ed angle

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Pregnancy with Fibromyalgia The First Trimester Diaries

During my second pregnancy I wrote diaries here on the blog to share what my experience was like in case other people with fibromyalgia were curious. I would have loved to know I wasn’t alone with my symptoms during my first pregnancy – and that is why I started this blog, wrote my book, created the Pregnancy and Fibromyalgia Facebook group and now am videoing my diaries.

Pregnancy with Fibromyalgia Diaries Weeks 7-13As I’ve frequently mentioned in posts and videos the this pregnancy, despite the symphysis pubis disorder, it’s been a far better experience than my first two. It’s all thanks to low dose naltrexone improving my sleep, pain and fatigue levels. I started in a better condition and am continuing better.

Pregnancy with Fibromyalgia Week Seven

 

 

 

 

I experienced a few weeks of rather bad nausea and fatigue which is all very normal.

Pregnancy with Fibromyalgia Diaries Weeks 8-9

 

 

 

 

 

I went from very nauseas to very hungry (it was no joke, no food in tummy meant nausea big time!)

Pregnancy with Fibromyalgia Diaries Weeks 10-11

 

I started to get more tired, the 17 month old has been growing his double teeth and so has woken every night from week eight ongoing (still at week 16!). The symphysis pubis disorder (SPD) turned up *sigh*.

Pregnancy with Fibromyalgia Diaries Week 12

 

 

 

We had the nuchal scan (screening for genetic disorders) and I outline some ways I am managing the SPD.

Pregnancy with Fibromyalgia Diaries Week 13

 

 

I discuss the confusing matter of simultaneously being thankful that this pregnancy is not as miserable as the last two and upset because my much adored gains from LDN have started to recede (less sleep, more pain, more fatigue).

If you want to learn more information about pain relief during pregnancy, then check out my 15-page printable PDF Pregnancy with Fibromyalgia Micro Course Workbook. It goes through the existing information about pain relief during pregnancy, my experiences, a list of natural pain relief options, a list of further reading, a template to make your own pain relief plan (pregnancy edition) with space for notes and the brand new Advanced Pain Relief sheet with links to research about medicine use in pregnancy. I have gathered the information and created these printables to make it easier for you to make the best decisions for yourself- it took me years to get it all together.

So that’s all the videos from the first trimester. Week 14 will go up next week (I’m posting approximately weekly) so do subscribe to to my YouTube channel to be alerted about those.

Feel free to come and join the Pregnancy and Fibromyalgia Facebook group where we chat trying to conceive  pregnancy and nursing with Fibromyalgia.

Don’t forget to check out my video about coping with early pregnancy symptoms and fibromyalgia.

Find my book Pregnancy and Fibromyalgia here for everything I have researched and learnt about pregnancy with fibromyalgia. pregnancy and fibromyalgia def ed angle

Check out my course Pregnancy and Fibromyalgia – it’s a full five module course for planning the best pregnancy possible despite Fibromyalgia including a module on pain management. I am experimenting with offering the course for free with the option to purchase my book (technically the textbook) and/or the workbook which is available in my Etsy store. Find more information about the course here.

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Pregnancy Diaries 2018: The First Trimester of Pregnancy with Fibromyalgia

Surprise! We’re having baby number three. It was indeed a surprise, but here we are! During my first two pregnancies with Fibromyalgia I shared my journey. Since then I have written many articles, tips, a book and a course.

Now I can share my third pregnancy! This post is a round up of the first trimester.
Pregnancy Diaries 2018 The First Trimester
Affiliate notice: Please note that some of my links may be affiliate links. If you make a purchase, I may make a small commission at no extra cost to you.

Baby development

A ton of physical development happens in the first trimester, baby had been conceived, implanted and developed all organs. They went from a speck in their dada’s eye (so to speak) to a fully formed miniature human.

Symptoms

The hormone overload that is growing a baby hits hard during the first trimester. I first knew I was pregnant by sore breasts, low back pain, bloating and mild food aversions.
Knowing the hormones usually hit me hard enabled me to prepare.

Early Pregnancy and Fibromyalgia
Necessary Baby Items for a Fibro Parent
Pregnancy and Fibromyalgia book 

I had my ginger lollies, peppermints, teas, acupressure bands and snacks ready.

The fatigue, as always, is a whole other story. I am always super grateful for meditation when I get so exhausted and my sleep becomes more disrupted.

I managed stiffness and discomfort in my low back, hips and shoulders with my natural pain cream and yoga stretches such as downward dog, forward bend and child’s pose.

I was super thankful for the low dose naltrexone making such a difference for me. I looked back at my nine week diary with my second pregnancy and I was in a lot of pain already and was taking codeine just to try and get some sleep. This time I was only using essential oil pain cream a few times a day and Deep Heat in the night. I was also still achieving a few hour blocks of sleep despite Wyatt waking multiple times with his double teeth coming through and peeing.

At week 10 my pelvis started to get a bit achy (reminiscent of the symphysis pubis disorder which caused miserable pain levels in the third trimester with Wyatt) and my physio confirmed that it would hopefully calm down again once the uterus had “popped” up from behind the pubic bone in the next couple of weeks. I have spoken about SPD in my most recent pregnancy diary videos on my YouTube channel here.

What’s happened

In addition to a busy nearly four year old, I had a newly walking one year old. Active is a good adjective to describe our life.

We also went to Hawaii! It was my first flight longer than four hours. It went pretty well with good planning.

I started a new job! The job is good, the nausea in the first week was not. The intense hunger in the following weeks was much more manageable.

Look out for the next updates as we go.

In the meantime you can

sign up to newsletter
Join the conversation in the pregnancy and fibromyalgia facebook group.
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Early Pregnancy Symptoms and Fibromyalgia (2018 Edition)

Pregnancy is an exciting time but it can also be tricky dealing with the early symptoms. Adding the fibromyalgia complexity makes it just a bit more difficult.

Here’s my tips for managing pregnancy symptoms with Fibromyalgia:

Early pregnancy symptoms and Fibromyalgia

Affiliate notice: Some of my links may be affiliate links, I may make a small commission if you make a purchase at no extra cost to you.

https://youtu.be/STo4ze2j-FQ

(Find this as a FREE printable report Managing Early Pregnancy Symptoms on the Resources page)

Manage your normal human stuff first

  • Sleep as best as you can
  • Rest
  • Eat as healthily as possible
  • Pregnancy multi vitamin
  • Drink lots of water

(Don’t forget I literally wrote the book on Pregnancy and Fibromyalgia)

Specific for morning sickness

If it’s bad, as in you’re not keeping water or food down, seek medical attention. Hydration is crucial, as is nutrients for your developing baby.

There are a couple more options that I used that you need to do your own research on – essential oils.

(Catch your free report on Essential Oils for Natural Health on the Resources page )

Here’s two starter articles for you.

https://www.mamanatural.com/eo-pregnancy-birth/

http://www.thehippyhomemaker.com/using-essential-oils-safely-for-pregnant-nursing-mamas/

I used lavender for pain and peppermint for nausea and headaches. See here for my post about my journey into using Essential Oils.

Managing fatigue 

For me, fatigue is the big issue to manage. My fatigue levels can cause nausea and orthostatic intolerance even without morning sickness.

Really prioritise sleep and rest! After the children are in bed I found lying down to read (with my knees up to rest my low back) really helpful. Even if insomnia is plaguing you, resting helps. Try a meditation.

If, like me, increased pain hits you in pregnancy you might like to try these

  • Stretching – cat and cow pose, child’s pose, forward bend, hip flexor stretches, low back stretches etc.
  • Keep exercising gently
  • Warm baths and showers
  • Arnica pain cream
  • Physiotherapy/massage/osteopathy etc.

If you want to learn even more information about pain relief during pregnancy, then check out my 15-page printable PDF Pregnancy with Fibromyalgia Micro Course Workbook. It goes through the existing information about pain relief during pregnancy, my experiences, a list of natural pain relief options, a list of further reading, a template to make your own pain relief plan (pregnancy edition) with space for notes and the brand new Advanced Pain Relief sheet with links to research about medicine use in pregnancy. I have gathered the information and created these printables to make it easier for you to make the best decisions for yourself- it took me years to get it all together.

If you’re trying to head off pelvis issues like me, here’s what I’m doing (my physiotherapist taught me how to do these appropriately),

  • Knee presses
  • Mini squats
  • Calf lifts
  • Pelvic floor, stomach engaged pelvic tilts
  • Superman pose

Please remember that this is a finite time and you’ll soon be thinking on other things, namely your fast growing passenger.

Would you like this post as a PDF printable so that you can refer back to it? Find it on the Resources page


For more information:

Pregnancy and Fibro eCourseThis is the full eCourse full eCourse for planning the best pregnancy you can have. It has five lessons and plenty of templates for you to turn the learning around to make your own plan.

And do come and join our Facebook group Pregnancy and Fibromyalgia to chat with other mamas doing pregnancy with Fibromyalgia.

 

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Pain Relief in Pregnancy with Fibromyalgia

Pain relief is a big issue for those who live with chronic pain. It becomes an even bigger issue during pregnancy. For those of us whose symptoms worsen during pregnancy, it’s a minefield.

Author’s Note: This article appeared first on The Mighty

pain relief in pregnancy with fibromyalgia

My fifth tip for pregnancy with Fibromyalgia is to get a pain management plan in place – preferably prior to becoming pregnant.

There are some medicines that are categorically unsafe for pregnancy. There are a lot of medicines that they just don’t know enough about, performing experiments on pregnant women, particularly involving something that may harm a baby, would be unethical. So literature relies on data provided by pregnant women. This website Mother to Baby  provides fact sheets, access to professionals about medicine in pregnancy and more.

The first thing to do when considering pregnancy with a chronic pain-based illness would be to discuss plans for pregnancy with your doctor. With my first pregnancy, we didn’t talk to the doctor before conceiving, and then when we were discussing the only medicine I was on (amitriptyline) I nearly had a panic attack at the thought of going off it. My doctor called a specialist and they agreed that the benefits outweighed the potential risks – for me and my unique situation.

Sleep is a big battle for me, I enact a long list of sleep hygiene tactics every day; take a low dose of amitriptyline at 8pm, take a low dose of naltrexone (I only started this after I had my second baby, prior to this I would take pain medicine at this time) at 9pm, get into bed with my heat pack, do a body scan meditation, and if I’m lucky, fall asleep for a few hours at a time. A good night sees me fall asleep relatively quickly and only lose an hour to awake or restless times. It would appear that the second the pregnancy hormones enter my body, sleep runs away screaming. Pain also becomes a much bigger issue when I have to lie on my side (as you must once baby gets big enough to put pressure on an important vein when lying on your back).

More articles about pregnancy with Fibromyalgia

Pregnancy with Fibromyalgia The First Trimester Diaries
Necessary Baby Items for a Fibro Parent
Fibro Mama Pregnancy Diaries: The Delivery
Pumping or Expressing for Your Baby: Parenting (Fibromyalgia or Not)

You do not have to be miserable, there’s also research that suggests that under treated pregnancy and fibromyalgia def ed anglepain can negatively affect the pregnancy.[1] So if your doctor refuses to help you with pain relief, get a second opinion. Do some research for yourself and present it to them. I provide what I did during pregnancy to be as well as possible in my book Pregnancy and Fibromyalgia.

Here are a few natural pain relief mechanisms that I enacted during my pregnancies:

·         Heat pack
·         Warm shower or bath
·         Essential oils such as lavender and peppermint (for external use only and with a carrier oil after the first trimester) – see my Resources page for my free report about Essential Oils for managing pain
·         Magnesium oil (I never got a calf cramp in my second pregnancy using this)
·         Gentle walks and stretching
·         Meditation – especially ones specifically for pain relief on pregnancy, there’s heaps on YouTube to search up
·         Massage – either for yourself, or from a partner, friend, or therapist
·         Rest and sleep as much as you can
·         Belly support belt – I had symphysis pubis disorder (my pelvis basically widened too far) and this really helped.

If you want to learn even more information about pain relief during pregnancy, then Pain Managementmicro coursecheck out my 15-page printable PDF Pregnancy with Fibromyalgia Micro Course Workbook. It goes through the existing information about pain relief during pregnancy, my experiences, a list of natural pain relief options, a list of further reading, a template to make your own pain relief plan (pregnancy edition) with space for notes and the brand new Advanced Pain Relief sheet with links to research about medicine use in pregnancy. I have gathered the information and created these printables to make it easier for you to make the best decisions for yourself- it took me years to get it all together.

I always recommend remembering that pregnancy is finite, there is an end date and a beautiful baby as the pay off. I also was a bit smug in my second pregnancy because I knew that I am one of those very rare women who actually sleep better with a newborn baby than pregnant, the pain levels are just so high that sleep is almost non-existent in the final trimester. Last year, once I delivered my second baby, my bed that had previously felt as hard as a rock seemed luxuriously soft. So in those one, two or three hours that the baby was asleep – I slept like the dead, which is a very rare occurrence for me.

I really hope that this post helps you on your way to relieving some of the pain involved in pregnancy with a chronic illness.
[1] Malaika Babb, PharmD, Gideon Koren, MD FRCPC FACMT, and Adrienne Einarson, RN. Treating pain during pregnancy. Can Fam Physician. 2010 Jan; 56(1): 25, 27. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2809170/


For more information about pregnancy and Fibromyalgia:

This article is also available as a free PDF printable in my free Resources page.

Pregnancy andFibromyalgia_resources

 

definitive edition pregnancy and fibro
My book is everything I have learnt and researched over two pregnancies.

 

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Fibro Mama Interviews: Natalie from Surviving Lifes Hurdles

As we well know, our experience of chronic illness differs greatly. In order to shed some light on how other chronically ill parents do it I started the Fibro Mama Interviews series. Our first interview was with Brandi from Being Fibro Mom and our second interview is with the lovely Natalie from Surviving Lifes Hurdles.

Please give a brief introduction to yourselfNatalie- Surviving Lifes Hurdles.png

Hi, I’m Natalie, I’m 32 and I live in England with my partner and lovely 3 year old son who both help to keep me going whenever times get tough!

Since being diagnosed with MS 2 years ago my life has changed completely and I have so much more to deal with every single day.

I still love being a mum though and in many ways being chronically ill has made me a better parent than I was.  I certainly appreciate the little things more and I don’t sweat the small stuff now either!

I write a blog over at www.survivinglifeshurdles.com and you can also find me on;

Facebook

Twitter

Please stop by and say hi!

What are your diagnoses?

I have Relapsing Multiple Sclerosis, which I was diagnosed with just over 2 years ago.

How many children do you have, what are their ages?

I have one little boy who is 3.

Were you diagnosed when you were pregnant?

No, I wasn’t diagnosed until my son was 11 months old when I had a big relapse.  I did have MS when I was pregnant (although much milder at that point) but I didn’t realise it! I struggled with juggling fatigue with a demanding full time job during the 1st and 3rd trimesters.

What were your best coping mechanisms?

When I struggled with fatigue I used to rest as much as possible and break down tasks into smaller chunks.  I tried not to get stressed out about what I couldn’t do and at times work had to take a hit.

How long did you nurse for and what were your best coping mechanisms?

I stopped nursing when my son was 6 months old, so this was before my diagnosis but getting up in the night to feed certainly didn’t help my fatigue.  In the day, between feeds, I tried to rest as much as possible but also made sure I went out for a walk regularly for some exercise and a bit of fresh air.

How did you find the first year?

I enjoyed my maternity leave but found returning to a demanding full time job when my son was 6 months old so much tougher than I’d imagined.  My fatigue and brain fog steadily increased until I had a major relapse when he was 11 months old where I was admitted to hospital for a week for tests which eventually resulted in my MS diagnosis.

Following my relapse I struggled with severe fatigue, brain fog, balance and coordination issues to name a few.  I’d instantly gone from being a capable, working mother to being someone who had an incurable/progressive illness, was unable to work, depended on others and who needed help looking after her son for any long stretches of time due to fatigue.  It was a terrifying and confusing time and I struggled to accept my diagnosis initially.  I was scared for my future and what it would mean for my family.

Based on my own experiences, my tips for coping in the first year as a parent with a chronic illness would be;

  • Get as much help as you can; from family, friends, charities, medical professionals, paid help etc, whatever you can manage.  Leave your pride at the door and accept as much help as possible.  Parenting with a chronic illness is hard enough without trying to do it all!
  • Don’t be hard on yourself for what you can’t do.  If you don’t have the energy for loads of baby classes or you regularly have to take time out for yourself due to your illness it doesn’t matter.  Your baby isn’t missing out and what you struggle to provide in one area you will certainly make up for in another!
  • Look after your health.  It goes against all of your instincts to put yourself first when you have a child but when it comes to your health sometimes you just have to.  Accept that your health needs have to be met too otherwise you won’t be in a fit state to be the parent you want to be.
  • Don’t sweat the small stuff.  Being ill puts into perspective what’s truly important in life and what isn’t so use this to your advantage and leave getting wrapped up in pointless stress and over-the-top worrying to other first-time parents and enjoy the moment!

Knowing what you know now, what advice would you give to parents with chronic illness who are, or want to get pregnant?

Find out as much information as you can before you become pregnant.  Get advice from medical professionals about any potential complications due to your illness and whether you will need to stop any medication you are taking etc.  Also join a few Facebook groups and read some blogs of other chronically ill parents for the valuable real-life experiences and support networks they can provide.

Preparation is key.  All those sleepless nights with a newborn are hard enough without a chronic illness so it’s a good idea to get as organised as possible before your baby arrives.  Declutter to make room for all your new baby equipment and get everything you will need in the early days set up well in advance.  Stock your cupboards with loads of healthy and easy-to-grab snacks and batch cook a load of meals to freeze ahead too.

Believe in yourself.  Yes, parenting with a chronic illness will be tough and there won’t be many people who will understand but you will find a way to make it work.  Listen to your body, know your own mind and have confidence in the fact that you will love your child with every ounce of your being.  No chronic illness can ever take that away from you!

What resources would you recommend to support parents with chronic illness)

I know it’s very specific to both MS and the UK but for me personally I would have to say the  muMS UK Facebook group.  It’s great for finding out everything I need to know about parenting with MS and it’s a really friendly and light-hearted group.

surviving life hurdles


For more information about pregnancy and Fibromyalgia:

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definitive edition pregnancy and fibro

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Precious Knowledge for other Fibro Parents

In my quest to unearth further information and present it to those of us who need it, I am gathering a survey of fibro parents about pregnancy and early parenting for inclusion in my updated book and on the blog. 

Pregnancy and Fibro
My first book is available on Amazon now
I thought my mission would be complete upon the publication of my book Fibro Mama Pregnancy and Fibromyalgia last November and the eCourse of the same name. But, alas, there is more information needed and I have taken the call to seek it out. Particularly in the areas of fertility, pain relief, labour and the fourth trimester (early months).
 
I’d be super grateful if you wanted to share your hard earned knowledge about pregnancy, nursing and parenting with fibromyalgia. This survey is just nine questions on areas we desperately need information on. Of particular importance are the three questions where you can give a paragraph on what you’d tell another fibro parent just starting their journey on the areas of pregnancy, the early weeks and parenting.
There are also a couple of questions about pain management mechanisms you enacted.
 
Every drop of information counts for those of us fighting to live as well as possible while pregnant and parenting with Fibromyalgia.
 
Please feel free to share this to get this spread as wide as possible. The more respondents, the more information we receive!
 
Click to take the survey here.
call for info.jpgThank you in advance for contributing to the mission, I will let you know the results of the survey.

For more information about pregnancy and Fibromyalgia:

Find my pregnancy diaries from my second pregnancy, in 2016.
Find my book Fibro Mama Pregnancy and Fibromyalgia AVAILABLE HERE

For access to my free resource page, sign up here. This includes templates, reports and my free microcourse Pregnancy and Fibromyalgia: Arm Yourself with Knowledge will be up there shortly.
Enroll in my eCourse Pregnancy with Fibromyalgia here.
Join the group Pregnancy and Fibromyalgia on Facebook, we chat about pregnancy, nursing and parenting with Fibromyalgia.

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My Six Tips for Pregnancy with Fibromyalgia

I have been researching pregnancy with Fibromyalgia for the past four years and have written about my own experiences here on the blog.

Based on my research and exprience I have compiled six tips for pregnancy and Fibromyalgia. I talk about them in the video below.
[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Mm1xAgNaVrA&w=560&h=315]

The six tips are:

1. Arm yourself with knowledge
2. Get your body into the best place possible before conceiving
3. Prioritise rest and sleep
4. Nourish your body with good food and supplements
5. Get a pain management plan in place- discuss with your doctor what medicines you cannot come off, what you can and get your natural pain management mechanisms in place.
6. Make a plan for the final trimester, delivery and first six weeks that involves a good support system.
If you want to learn more information about pain relief during pregnancy, then check out my 15-page printable PDF Pregnancy with Fibromyalgia Micro Course Workbook. It goes through the existing information about pain relief during pregnancy, my experiences, a list of natural pain relief options, a list of further reading, a template to make your own pain relief plan (pregnancy edition) with space for notes and the brand new Advanced Pain Relief sheet with links to research about medicine use in pregnancy. I have gathered the information and created these printables to make it easier for you to make the best decisions for yourself- it took me years to get it all together.

For more information about pregnancy and Fibromyalgia:

Pregnancy andFibromyalgia_resources
definitive edition pregnancy and fibro
My book is available now

Pregnancy and fibromyalgia self paced course

facebook group

Some of my links are affiliate links, I receive compensation at no extra cost to you if you purchase using these links. I never promote anything I don’t 100% support myself.