4 Doctors You Need During Your Pregnancy
If you’re pregnant, then you probably have your OB-GYN and your midwife already lined up. But pregnancy means a lot more than just giving birth and growing a baby. Pregnancy changes your body in a variety of ways, affecting all parts of your body. You’ll find yourself faced with potential discomfort and pain from a variety of conditions that can be eased with the proper medical care from the right professionals. Here are just four of the essential doctors that you need to visit during your pregnancy to ensure your maximum health and comfort.
When you get pregnant, you gain weight very rapidly, putting extra strain on your feet. You may notice this when your feet ache and no longer fit into your shoes, but changing out for a new pair isn’t going to be enough. As your weight changes, so can the way you walk, affecting the health and structure of your feet in the heels, arches, and toes. It’s important to schedule regular visits with a podiatrist before the swelling starts and after to ensure that your feet are getting the support they need, or you may end up suffering from flat feet. The swelling can also cause pinching of the nerves in your ankles, so you’ll want your podiatrist to monitor the health of your nerves and blood flow to your feet and ankles. Otherwise, you could develop lasting conditions like Tarsal Tunnel Syndrome, a serious condition causing intense pain, tingling, and even complete numbness in your toes and feet. This condition can become irreversible if not treated, so speak to a podiatrist immediately if you experience that tingling or sharp, shooting pain for more than 24 hours.
Not many would think of seeing the dentist as a pregnancy essential, but as important as your bi-yearly checkups are normally, seeing a dentist is essential during pregnancy. The hormones caused by your pregnancy actually affects how your body reacts to and deals with plaque, greatly increasing your chances of gum disease and tooth decay. Dentists actually refer to this phenomenon as “pregnancy gingivitis” and absolutely must be treated. Infections in the gums can spread in the body, endangering both your life and the one you’re carrying. Early in your pregnancy, take the preventative measure of getting a thorough cleaning at a dental clinic to remove any tartar to ensure your teeth have the best start. Then, talk to your dentist about extra measures you can take to keep your teeth clean of plaque for the rest of your pregnancy, and potentially set up a follow-up appointment or two before your next regular visit. If you’re concerned about getting an x-ray, you have nothing to worry about from the dentist. Dentists now use digital x-ray machines, emitting so little radiation that you don’t even need a lead apron anymore. Dental x-rays pose no risks to you or your baby, and can help detect faults in your teeth that can be fortified before your body goes through hormone changes. Your dentist can also prescribe unflavored toothpastes that may be a lifesaver should morning sickness prevent you from using your regular toothpaste.
As you’re probably very much aware, pregnancy brings its own aches and pains to your body. As the uterus grows, it stretches and puts a huge strain on your back. In addition, the added weight and the increase in hormones can all put stress on your muscles. This tension and weight creates intense knots in your back muscles, which your chiropractor can treat and help you prevent. Gentle exercises can also be prescribed to strengthen your back and whole body, preparing you both for the weight you’ll be carrying as well as for the birth itself. This may not seem like a top priority visit, but the stress on your body can be unhealthy for your baby, altering the hormones in your bloodstream. Tense muscles and knots can also trap toxins in your body, preventing your lymphatic system from properly cleaning your system and your baby’s. A strong core and a healthy, relaxed body is key to a safe and pregnancy and delivery, so be sure to talk to your chiropractor about how to take care of your body for all stages.
See a Physical Therapist
In addition to a chiropractor, Physical therapists are well-versed in helping women deal with the specific pains of pregnancy. They can help you cope with vaginal and rectal pain, incontinence, core weakness and bladder problems. When working with a physical therapist throughout your pregnancy, they can help you develop personalized exercises and stretches that will both aid in the flow of blood and nutrients to your child, as well as strengthen your body. Potential treatments that they can give you include strength training routines for the core, back, and pelvic areas, biofeedback therapy that strengthens your pelvic floor, Kegel exercises, and massage treatments to keep your muscles relaxed and your blood flowing.
Your pregnancy should be a time of joy and bonding with the life that is growing within you. If your body isn’t fully prepared, however, then health problems can arise that put both you and your child at risk. Growing a baby and carrying it in the womb is very taxing on the body, so your immune system may not be able to function as well, and stress further lowers your immune system function as well. Calling on a variety of specialized health professionals will help you get through your pregnancy with minimized stress, pain, and discomfort, freeing your body to focus on the task at hand.
Meghan Belnap is a freelance writer who enjoys spending time with her family. She loves being in the outdoors and exploring new opportunities whenever they arise. Meghan finds happiness in researching new topics that help to expand her horizons. You can often find her buried in a good book or out looking for an adventure. You can connect with her on Facebook right here and Twitter right here.