Q&A: I've been experiencing a numbing pain down my legs, is this normal?
I am 28 years old and 24 weeks pregnant. I am unmarried and currently living with my fiancé in his mother's house. My pregnancy has been stressful from the start but luckily I am blessed with no complications so far. A month ago I found out that my fiancé is using drugs and most probably cheating. The stress load has doubled and I have been having very bad cramps. The pain doesn't increase and comes every second day. It is a very sharp pain in my vagina and the pain runs down my legs making it almost numb. Is this normal because the baby is growing or should I be worried?
Tina Otte (midwife and childbirth educator) answers:
I am so sorry to hear of your predicament with your fiancé. What a shock that must be! Without a doubt your stress levels can affect your growing baby and the cramps (if they are from the uterus) may also be caused by stress. When you are upset and very distressed you release hormones that elevate your pulse and your blood pressure and adrenalin is known to cause smooth muscle (your uterus is made up of smooth muscle) to spasm and cramp. A certain amount of contractions (Braxton Hicks) of the uterus is normal, but if you are finding that you are very uncomfortable and would describe them as painful, then you must make sure you relax, breathe and take some Rescue Remedy. Your body protects your baby – even in times like this, but more importantly you need to spend some quiet time just lying down and talking to your baby – telling him that you love him, and that what you are going through is not because of him. Your baby can feel what you are feeling, but just does not understand what is happening. Be sure to keep as calm as possible and to find time to tune out of your problems and just ‘be in the moment’ with your unborn, developing baby. Sharp, burning pain in the pubic bone/groin area is due to the relaxation and loosening of the pelvic ligaments due to pregnancy hormones, which can cause movement and discomfort at the symphysis pubis joint. Do not do anything that makes this pain worse. Take small steps, and keep your knees close together and not crossed when sitting. Avoid awkward movements, especially when getting in and out of bed. Limit your weightbearing periods and wear an abdominal support belt.
- Avoid walking long distances and standing for long periods of time and avoid taking stairs if you can.
- Sit on a high stool if you are a teacher or hairdresser and take the weight off your pelvis. Make a plan in your work environment.
- Do not cross your legs, and keep your knees together when getting out of bed or the car.
- Put your feet up whenever you can.
I wish you luck and love with the balance of your pregnancy.