The journey to motherhood needs patience in order to deal with the various changes. Find out how heating pads help cope with the normal aches and pains that accompany a pregnancy.
A common question asked by most ‘to-be-mothers’ is, can pregnant women use heating pads? Most doctors would recommend its use, as long as certain precautions are taken. It is very convenient to use heating pads during pregnancy because it helps reduce pain and soreness to a large extent.
Relation Between Heating Pads and Pregnancy
So ladies, let’s look into why heating pads are a necessity during a pregnancy and how to use them.
- Electric heating pads that require to be plugged in, should be used with care and with the doctor’s prior approval only. The reason being, the electric and magnetic fields (EMFs) emitted by the pad may be unsafe for the fetus.
- The first rule to be kept in mind and followed at all times while using a heating pad is, not to place it anywhere near the fetus, which means to not place the heating pad on or near the belly or pelvic area. The pads should never be used to reduce the soreness felt in the stomach.
- If you do intend to use the heating pad on your back, then it would be safer to place a pillow between your back and the pads. This will help the heat to seep in and spread evenly without harming or overheating your back.
- These pads are very effective in reducing pain on the neck, shoulders, arms, back, thighs, knees, legs, ankles, and feet.
- The temperature can be adjusted to suit your needs and its use does not increase your overall body temperature.
Types of Pain That Reduce by Using Heating Pads
Let’s analyze some of the common pains experienced during pregnancy that leave us aching all over.
- Sciatic Nerve Pain: That is the nerve in your back that causes a lot of pain when it becomes weak with exertion. The sciatic nerve is the longest nerve in the human body which extends from the lower back, the base of the spine, under the uterus, and ends at the feet. The fetus exerts weight and pressure on this nerve as it grows, which causes the nerve to strain under the womb. Sometimes, the strain can cause this nerve to swell and ache. One convenient way of relieving sciatic nerve pain is to apply the heating pad on your lower back using a cushion or a fluffy pillow which will absorb the excess heat.
- Groin Pain: The heating pad should never be used to treat cramping or groin pain during pregnancy, as this area of the body or anywhere near the stomach and pelvic are extremely sensitive. This pain occurs because a woman’s body undergoes various structural changes. The weight gained by her as well as the weight added by the growing fetus, exerts a lot of pressure on her hips and causes discomfort in the pelvic muscles and bone. Secondly, hormonal changes drastically increase the level of estrogen, progesterone, and relaxin in the body, which leads of body ache.
- Muscle Pain: You may experience this pain if you carry weights or overexert yourself. Fortunately, heating pads help relieve muscle pain and spasms. Muscle cramps often restrict the movement of the lower back and hips. As the muscles in your body are already strained and weak from the pregnancy, it is advisable to take as much rest as possible and keep yourself active through mild yoga, stretches, and breathing exercises. Another way it affects pregnant women is when they sleep in the wrong posture. Sleeping on you sides will help reduce the pressure on your back and provide ample space for you and your baby to rest.
Consider going in for a heating pad that can be strapped on, so that your hands remain free and you can go about doing your work.