As pregnancy progresses, women are often plagued with back pain, random abdominal pains, headaches and are just plain uncomfortable. Here is a list of non medical ways to stay comfortable and sleep well during pregnancy:

Body Pillow-Most likely this is one of the first things someone has recommended to you. This is especially valuable to have as you head into the second trimester.  Most common ones you will see are either the straight long pillows, or even the curved ones. However, it is not necessary to purchase an expensive pillow to achieve the same results. Use a pillow for under your belly while lying on your side, one between your knees (thick pillow works best) and one tucked in behind your lower back. Although it will need readjusting every time you move (or get up to pee every five minutes), it should help you feel supported and reduce pressure on your spine.

Belly Band-As your baby grows and belly expands, the “S” shape of your spine becomes more pronounced. This causes much of the back pain and abdominal pains that gravity contributes to more and more. Finding a good belly band, one that is supportive, adjustable and “lifts” your stomach using breathable material is going to help your overall ability to function. Many athletes use belly bands to be able to continue their work out during pregnancy, and are also great for pregnant women that work on their feet or are in care of younger children.

Birth/Exercise Ball-It is commonly thought that birth balls are only used during labor, but research has proven that they can be of great use during pregnancy as well. Many women that have desk jobs keep a birth ball at their workplace and for good reason. The birth balls help with tailbone pain from sitting in one spot for long periods, as well as aiding in circulation. Also, birth balls help to stretch the pelvis, hips and lower back with gentle easy movements (figure 8s, or “twerking” as I like to call it!).  Many women have reported that when used towards the end of pregnancy on a regular basis, movements on a birth ball have helped their baby to settle into their pelvis better, helped them to begin to slowly dilate and prepare their body for birth.  It is also a comfortable place to rock your newborn after birth!

Pedicures-Believe it or not, pedicures during pregnancy are physiologically beneficial! They help with circulation and can help to ease swelling, lower blood pressure and calm anxiety. Having cute toes during labor is an added bonus!

Warm Baths-Warm baths are a wonderful sleep aid, relaxation agent and pain reliever. Often called “nature’s epidural”, baths also serve to help with circulation, relieve restless leg syndrome, and steam can also benefit pregnancy induced rhinitis (stuffy nose). Many women that experience insomnia during pregnancy have benefited from a nightly soak before bed time, allowing their muscles to relax and alleviating pressure on their spine.  Talk with your medical provider about adding essential oils or salts to your bath to make it that much more luxurious.

4-7-8 Breathing Method-If you suffer from insomnia, this method has been supported by research as being very effective. Using biofeedback and controlling your breathing in this manner encourages your pulse and blood pressure to lower, encourages your body to relax and promotes entering a sleep cycle. Basically, breathe in for a count of 4 seconds, hold your breath for a count of 7 seconds, exhale fully and completely for 8 seconds, then repeat the cycle. Do this several times and you will find yourself drifting off easily. **Women suffering with breathing issues should contact their medical provider before attempting**