Let's trouble shoot pregnancy sleeping position.
Last week we spoke about why you shouldn't lie on your back on social medai. So this week let's expand on that. I regularly hear, "but on my side isn't comfortable."
The best way to sleep while pregnant as discussed last week about 16 weeks gestation is on your side, so I will throw out some ideas to help you get comfortable and stay as comfortable as you can.
Firstly, let's get real, you are going to have to sleep on your side during pregnancy, so it can be a good idea to gently wean yourself on to sleeping on your side in the first part of your pregnancy. How do you do that? Continue reading.
Pillows matter #1:
Your head pillow should be supportive, keep your neck in alignment and be adaptable to your growing body changes. You may find you want something higher if your boobs grow and when your rib cage expands.
I am a fan of the "complete sleeprrr pillow" because you can change the height by removing or adding parts of it. This means it has the capacity to grow or shrink with you. Don't be afraid to trouble shoot and make changes to your head pillow as this may help you feel more comfortable.
Pillows matter #2:
Your knees may need support between them, as you progress through pregnancy your hips shift and widen, when this happens placing a pillow between your knees can keep tension off the pelvis, low back and also help avoid that dreaded lightening crotch (more on lightening crotch next week).
Pillows matter #3:
There are many types of pregnancy/knee pillows but personally I love the massive U shaped pillow, here is why.
Sometimes you just NEED to lie on your back, or take weight off your hips for a few minutes. If you have a U shaped pillow then one arm goes between your knees and the other arm you can wedge behind your back which means you can roll on to your back and lie at a 45 degree angle for a short period of time and be comfortable and safe.
However if you are having a summer pregnancy this may not be an option as you may get too hot!
Pillows matter #4:
Support under your expanding tummy may be needed, this brings me back to the U shape pillow being my favourite. The U shaped pregnancy pillow has the capacity to support your knees, but also can be pushed under the abdomen and support your belly too. Without belly support you may feel tension build as the night goes on in your back, hips, groin and a pulling sensation in your stomach.
That hip pain when you are lying on your side is niggly, trust me, I know.
With the hip sharpness/tenderness it may be a good idea to soften the area your hips lie on. For an extreme example, I swapped our normal mattress for the spare mattress which has a softer topper on it. You could also put a pillow under your hips to give you some extra cushion, Or you could also get a foam topper which is cheap and easy to give you a little bit of extra softness.
Roll out your hips:
Throughout the day your hips may tighten when you a pregnant. This is more common in the later stages of pregnancy, however for some woman it starts early on.
Rolling out your hips before bed can help take some tension out of them before you lie on your side all night trying to sleep.
Obviously taking a foam roller to the floor can be a bit awkward, if you are still agile enough to do this and are familiar with how to do it (used a foam roller before getting pregnant) then go for it.
If not then grab a ball about the size of a tennis ball or slightly bigger. Stand with one hip against the wall and step out far enough to place the ball between the wall and your hip. You want to roll the ball in the soft space between the hip bone on the top side of your leg (greater trochanter) and the bone above it (iliac crest). Find any tender areas and stay on them until they loosen off.
Then place the ball in your glute muscles (bum muscles) and do that same.
I may not be explaining this very well, so if you would like further information about this then contact me for further help.
This affects some woman later in their pregnancy. It is something that is impacted by many different factors, however this is a sleeping blog so I will focus on that and write a blog on reflux in pregnancy at a later date. Sometimes it is bought on by lying down, if this is the case elevating your upper body using pillows can help ease the reflux. Do this by lying on your side with pillows propping you up from the waist up. It takes a bit of structural prowess to get the pillow set up sorted, but it is worth a try if it gets you some more quality sleep.
Be aware the U shape pillow may not be your ideal neck pillow, so you can open them up and take some or all of the stuffing out of the top of them. Then you can place your normal head pillow across the top. Easy.
It goes without saying that amongst all of these pointers getting adjusted is a good idea too, however this is a brilliant place to start.
If you have any questions then give me a yell as I love hearing from people!
Written by Dr Sheetal BChiro
Okay so it’s that time of the year now where you’ve either got a sniffly nose / the cold or you’re trying to save yourself from “catching” it from those around you. Whether you’ve got it or not, you can still protect or improve your immune system.
For starters, what is the immune system?
The immune system is the bunch of cells in your body that protects you from anything that it perceives to be dangerous, or corrects what may seem like an unhealthy cell. So, when we get sick with an infection the immune basically what helps us fight it off. A stronger immune system helps us get sick less.
I like to explain it to my little sister as the good soldier cells in our body fighting any bad cells.
Cool, how do I boost the immune system then?
1.) Well firstly, make sure you keep getting your regular chiropractic checks 😉 Because the chiropractic appointments make sure your nervous system (the control system of the body) is at it’s best it can be, it make’s sense that it can have an impact on how the immune system functions. The nerves have various modes of communication to the immune system.
If you wanted to have a read more about this, you can look up the comparison on many articles done in 2008 called “Chiropractic and the Neuroimmune Connection” by Ari John D.C.
For you curry lovers, you’ll be lucky to know you can eat more curry to boost the immune system. Well assuming all the ones you are eating has turmeric in them. Curcumin, found in turmeric has been known to help activate some immune cells in the body.
You can pop turmeric in your smoothies, food, or even in your lemon water in the morning.
3.) Exercising isn’t only good for building strength, freeing/moving joints, building stamina or losing weight (the common things we seem to know it for), but when you exercise you can reduce the risk of getting an infection as it stimulates the immune function too. But in saying that, strenuous workouts with not adequate recovery can also act as a stress and weaken the immune cells instead.
4.) Talking about stress, you want to make sure your body is not under too much stress otherwise it suppresses how well your immune cells are functioning. Any way that can reduce your stress, such as yoga, meditation, day planning or whatever works for you, can play a big role in how well you respond and work. Rather than your body worrying about responding to the stress factor, it can work better at fighting off any of those infectious or bad cells it needs to.
5.) Let’s talk probiotics.
Probiotics seem to be a craze these days right? Well.. yes and no. It’s not just one of those fad crazes. People are acknowledging that our gut is made up of bacteria that need to be kept in great proportion. Taking probiotics can help with the regulation of the immune system and making sure there is a good balance of these soldiers.
Yogurt can be a great way to get probiotics in, along with other fermented things. Look out for Lactobacillus, Bifidobacterium, and Saccharomyces – which are three commonly used probiotics in food.
Now that you know some quick tips on keeping your immune system healthy, you can walk around feeling a bit stronger knowing your “soldier cells” have your back. I’ll now go get a dose of turmeric via my homemade turmeric latte!
CHIRO N IMMUNE SYSTEM:
STRESS – my mind, we’ve learnt enough on it to say stuff ourselves right
It is that time of year again, the winter bugs are in full force, so what are you going to do about it?
Read this to find out how to stay ahead of the game rather than doing nothing and waiting for the symptoms of sickness to strike.
INTERNAL FACTORS IMPACTING WINTER HEALTH
You may find you need more sleep through these winter months. That is OK, listen to what your body needs. Bears go into hibernation, humans don't quite go that far under, but we do need more sleep.
The earth has seasons to keep the planet turning. It has rhythms and routines. Winter is a time for some things to go to sleep and rest so they can bloom again come spring and summer.
The human body goes through those seasons too, in summer people are a lot more social, don't sleep as much and are more active. Winter is time to recharge (don't use this as an excuse to be lazy) just be sure to rest adequately.
Eliminate things that make you feel stressed or things that keep you "too busy". Introduce more of what relaxes your mind, body and soul. If your body is in fight and flight mode you cannot fight off the bugs well as your immune system is suppressed.
While it is cooler, you are less likely to feel thirsty. But you are most likely spending more time indoors with heating that is sucking moisture out of your body. Drink hot water, cold water, lemon water, I don't care how you do it. Just drink more water.
This should go without saying, but some people are not aware that regular Chiropractic adjustments can help the immune system manage winter bugs. Research has suggested the regular Chiropractic care actually boosts the immune system. It makes sense as Chiropractic is about making sure you and your body is able to function optimally.
IMMUNE SYSTEM SUPPORT:
Make sure you are supporting your immune system internally, this means eating well. If you have questions about nutrition then Chantal Cuthers at Nutrition by Chantal is your woman.
Quality supplements at this time of year are also a good idea. If you have questions about these then ask next time you are in. We can chat over a system review to see what would benefit you personally.
In the mean time, make sure you are taking a quality Vitamin C at least!
I stock all you will need for winter supplements, so don't hesitate to ask about them.
Movement of the body is good for our mind, body and soul. Remember that regular movement can help keep the immune system strong. Just listen to your body, don't over do it in these colder months and be sure to warm up, warm down and stretch adequately.
IF YOU DO GET SICK:
REST, HYDRATE, EAT WELL and NURTURE your body. Your body needs rest and sleep to repair. If you are up and about while sick your body is having to take energy AWAY from the fighting immune system and put it into moving your body around. So resting early on when you feel something coming on can get on top of it and avoid 4 days in bed feeling miserable.
Please be aware that antibiotics cannot cure a VIRUS. Your body cures a virus, and you can help it do that by resting, sleeping, and nurturing your body with good food.
EXTERNAL FACTORS IMPACTING WINTER HEALTH
A house needs to breathe, just like you. If you live in a house that is damp or susceptible to mould you MUST make sure you are opening your house through the day to create movement of air.
Air movement decreases mould's ability to grow. Ventilation system's (such as DVS, HRV etc) are also helpful, otherwise you could be using a dehumidifier.
If you house is new, dry and double glazed then be aware you still need airflow through the house. Open a window, especially in the bedroom during the day to allow fresh air to replace the air you have been breathing all night.
DRESS APPROPRIATELY to keep your core, head and feet warm:
In Auckland it is often hard to dress to the conditions as the change every 5 minutes, so dress using layers. It means you can take a vest off, or put a scarf on if you are feeling warmer or cooler.
Being hot one second indoors and freezing the next second when you go outside means your body is wasting energy on keeping your core temperature steady. That is wasted energy, you could be putting that energy towards keeping your immune system fighting off bugs.
Also don't forget about your feet and head. These areas are great sources of heat loss, so if you are watching the kids rugby in the cold each weekend be sure to double sock if need be and wear a warm hat.
REMOVE STRESSFUL EXTERNAL ENVIRONMENTS:
Don't want to go to an event you feel obligated to attend? Don't go. By making yourself do something your heart and soul is not engaged with you are triggering fight and flight mode which suppresses your immune system, meaning your body is more susceptible to picking up bugs.
You got this, winter come at us!
Waking up with a crick neck. It has happened to most of us before.
However knowing what to do with it is half the issue.
It causes discomfort and pinches with pain when you try to move your head in certain (or all) directions.
Recently I woke up with a crick neck (yes chiropractors get crick necks too) so I thought I would chat you through what I did to get the best recovery possible.
Looking into what led up to my neck "cricking" helps me figure out a game plan.
I knocked my head HARD on a weird angled wall making a bed on Saturday (not ideal #1), on Monday a small branch fell out of a tree and hit me on the left shoulder (not ideal #2) and Tuesday night was so hot I could not stay in our bedroom so relocated to the air conditioned lounge, where I slept on the couch (not ideal #3) with the cool air blowing on my head and neck (not ideal #4).
So all in all we have a series of 4 events in close succession that led me to wake with a crick neck.
SO WHAT DID I DO?
Within 24 hours my neck was back to full ROM albeit still tender and slightly stiff.
There are varying degrees of severity when it comes to crick necks (and all other injuries) it pays to remember not everyone will see such improvement within 24 hours BUT why not give your body the tools it need to heal as quickly as it can.
As a Chiropractor I see crick necks regularly. It is important to remember that if you are waking with a crick neck often then there is dysfunction that needs to be addressed as soon as possible. Seeing a Chiropractor may be able to help you sort that out.
This fully rigid thick plastic back brace is one of the reason's I am a chiropractor today.
Hi. My name is Ainslee, I am a chiropractor and passionate about guiding people towards living their best. I love to facilitating people to get people well and stay well.