The weightlessness of being in the water is bliss in itself, but what it enables me to do is move. I can keep my mobility up without wearing myself out and causing further pain. I missed a swim due to illness and by the next day I was unable to walk more than a few feet – I fully believe I would be on crutches by now if I wasn’t still swimming regularly.
When I found out I was pregnant at 5 weeks I was halfway through a course of hydrotherapy to help with my Fibromyalgia but when I told the physiotherapy team about my pregnancy they decided that the hydrotherapy pool at the hospital was too warm for it to be safe for me to use and I wouldn’t be able to complete my course. I was absolutely gutted, the pain relief afforded to me by being in that pool was incredible. When they turned me away I almost cried.
Even before I found out I was pregnant the pain in my hips was the focus of my physiotherapy which I attribute to my son getting stuck during labour and requiring a forceps delivery. Naturally, I was apprehensive about hip pain being a problem this time and, unsurprisingly, I was right to be concerned.
As my normal fibromyalgia flares turned into sharper twinges I realised I needed to get back into the water and I knew I wouldn’t be able to maintain any level of fitness on land. Having spent several years saying I should join a gym whilst also avoiding actually signing up, I finally took the plunge. I packed my swimming gear and hit the local gym after dropping my son at nursery one morning and signed up for a swim only membership there and then and it has saved me from a whole world of pain since.
I have been swimming three days a week after the nursery run for four months now, at one point I got up to 40 lengths of the pool and I was feeling really fit, since the baby decided to move into my lung space I can only manage 20 but it’s not the lengths that are important, it’s about being in the swimming pool to take the pressure off of my hips, well, all of my joints really. The weightlessness of being in the water is bliss in itself, but what it enables me to do is move. I can keep my mobility up without wearing myself out and causing further pain. I missed a swim due to illness and by the next day I was unable to walk more than a few feet – I fully believe I would be on crutches by now if I wasn’t still swimming regularly.
This ability to move about was missing in my first pregnancy, so my health suffered. I gained a lot of weight last time which I think I have been able to avoid this time… I suppose we will find out how effective it has been in a couple of months!
As my pregnancy progresses I am slowing down somewhat but there is an amazing level of support from the other “slow lane” users at the pool. When I started this I was not expecting to make friends but I have. The support from these strangers means I know I will be able to continue to use the pool until the end of pregnancy… even if I can only wander about in the shallow end in a few weeks.
I am quite fortunate and very aware of it. My pregnancies seem to be quite mundane, the small human grows in there with very little interference for the most part and for that I am endlessly grateful.
I am quite fortunate and very aware of it. My pregnancies seem to be quite mundane, the small human grows in there with very little interference for the most part and for that I am endlessly grateful. I do, however, suffer some of the usual pregnancy complaints and this time it’s all happening a little sooner than before!
In my previous pregnancy my hips didn’t start to bother me too much more than usual until I was about 30 weeks, this time I made it to 16 weeks before the hip pain crept in. I’m not impressed and I starting to worry that it is going to affect me quite badly as the baby grows. If you are suffering with hip pain in pregnancy you can see what the NHS says about it here. To combat this (and to maintain some level of fitness) I have started swimming three days a week. Being in the water is a huge relief for all of my aches and pains whether they are pregnancy related or caused by Fibromyalgia.
My goodness, the heartburn is getting to me. I have indigestion tablets in every room and every bag and I have a huge bottle of heartburn relief on my bedside table. It’s aniseed and it is gross but it does a good job. This has happened much sooner than I expected as well, I was hoping to get a few more weeks before the pregnancy heartburn really kicked in. My mum keeps telling me I’m going to have a very hairy baby so keep an eye out in another 20 weeks and we will see if this old wives’ tale has any truth.
Kicks and wiggles
Of all the things in this pregnancy that have happened sooner I am sad that this was not one of them. I started showing sooner this time but didn’t feel any kicks until I was at least 16 weeks, if not 17. Last time I felt flutters at 14 weeks. After a few quiet weeks with just one or two flutters a day baby has now discovered there is room enough for a party in my womb. The kicks all feel very low down so I am taking a guess that the placenta is front and centre, which would explain why I didn’t feel anything for so long. I will see if I can find out at my scan next week.
I’ve had some oddly specific and slightly strange cravings this time, compared to fairly average ones last time. My first craving – before I knew I was pregnant – was burger relish. Specifically the one they use at McDonald’s on the cheap cheeseburgers. The cravings then moved on to basically anything salty, this was during ‘morning’ sickness and no one could understand why I was fine eating Greggs pastries for breakfast but not cereal. This is where it starts to get strange though, I craved the lettuce from inside a burger. Not the burger itself, not fresh lettuce or a salad – the soggy, warm shredded lettuce from inside a burger. And now it’s just Mustard. Mustard on everything. I don’t even like mustard but there we go. Compare that to peanut butter, strawberries and chicken noodle soup last time and things certainly are looking a little odd.
All in all, I am having a pretty good pregnancy and I am looking forward to the little milestones over the next 20 weeks.