Pain in the ab muscles and skin is a common condition for pregnant women as the baby grows and the muscles and skin are stretched. You may experience pain in the ab muscles and skin, itching, and cramping in your ab muscles as well. I’ve had the opportunity to research some of the best methods for treating these symptoms as my abs have been severely painful with my current pregnancy (right now at 30 weeks!) to the point where I can’t sit up, lay on my side, exercise, or breathe without ab pain. My skin has been incredibly painful as well and I haven’t been able to handle anything touching my skin!
Separation of the abdominal muscles can be very painful and is referred to as diastasis recti. This is when the ab muscles separate as the baby grows during pregnancy and after the baby is born the ab muscles may not return to their normal position. Not only do the muscles separate but the as the skin stretches it may become very red and painful to the touch. Stretching can also lead to stretch marks which can feel fire like or may not even be a problem. These issues may cause difficulty with walking, sitting up, digestion and general pain in the muscles.
Let’s start with stretch marks and skin pain. Earth Mama Angel Baby has a wonderful “Natural Stretch Oil” which can alleviate any discomfort or pain in the skin. I also use essential oils for the prevention and treatment of stretch marks. Try this formula from Valerie Ann Worwood:
Massage base oil: Almond oil – 2 tablespoons Wheatgerm oil – 1 tablespoon Borage Seed oil – 10 drops Carrot oil – 5 drops Shake the oils together and use as a massage oil.
Also try this recipe: Rose Bulgar – 7 drops Lavender – 6 drops Tangerine – 5 drops And mix into 18 drops of the massage oil and massage your belly.
Many pregnancy ‘stretch mark’ creams are highly toxic and putting them directly over your belly can present the toxins directly to the baby. Check out this site and look up your cream’s toxicity. Instead of toxic chemicals try the massage oil above or using wheat germ oil.
Muscle pain due to abdominal separation can also be helped in a number of ways. Try an Epsom salt bath with drops of Lavender essential oil. Visit our office for kinesiotaping to help the muscles group together and alleviate any pain when using your abs. After I applied the tape I had almost immediate relief from the pain in my ab muscles. There is some left over tenderness but I’m already feeling better! Since you can’t apply oils or lotion to your skin before the tape you can always apply lavender to the bottom of your feet for pain relief.
Some supplements that may help include minerals (magnesium, calcium, potassium) to help the muscles relax and Vitamin E tablets (take either internally or open to use on your skin). You may also try wheat germ oil or fish oil which helps the skin be supple and soft.
Most of the time stretch marks are not preventable (but the pain can be treated) and many women struggle with the post-partum effects of their new body. I love this post from Birth Without Fear as a reminder that all women experience changes in their body no matter how big or small with each pregnancy but that doesn’t change who we are as a woman or a mother and we should love and respect our bodies!
What products or tricks did you use to help with your stretch mark, skin, or muscle separation?