Icy Hot While Pregnant

Icy hot is a kind of topical rubefacient made from menthol, camphor or wintergreen, and it is designed to provide relief for aching muscles and joints. It is often used to ease discomfort due to sprains, backaches, arthritis, cramps and strained muscles. Pregnant women often experience back pain, so many wonder if icy hot when pregnant is safe.

Can You Use Icy Hot While Pregnant?

 icy hot

Even though icy hot is a topical treatment, it should not be used during a woman’s pregnancy unless her doctor specifically advises her to do so. Although it is applied externally, small amounts can be absorbed through the skin and cause damage to the baby. Besides, icy hot stimulates the skin’s nerve receptors to cause cold and hot sensations to help ease pain, therefore it may irritate the nerve system, which is a bad thing for babies.

Safe Alternatives for Icy Hot to Treat Backache

There are several home remedies that are safer than icy hot while pregnant. It is important to learn about them since aches and pains are often associated with pregnancy. Try one of these to see if it helps with your symptoms.

1.   Maintain Good Postures


Your center of gravity will shift forward as your unborn baby grows. This will make you unbalanced at times. Instead of leaning back to compensate for the instability, you should practice good postures to avoid lower back pain. Think of these principles when trying to keep a good stance:

  • Stand tall and straight
  • Lift your chest high
  • Do not lock your knees
  • Hold your shoulders back
  • Maintain a wide stance when standing for better support
  • Take frequent breaks if standing for long periods

To maintain good posture, you need to sit correctly as well. Look for a chair that provides support for your back. Put a pillow against the back of your chair can also help.

2.   Wear the Right Shoes


Wearing inappropriate shoes during pregnancy will cause imbalance, which will lead to muscle pains, so it is important to wear the right type of shoes. While flat shoes might seem appropriate, you actually need a shoe with a very low heel and arch support. High heels are definitely not recommended as wearing them will increase your chances of falling.

3.   Lift Correctly

 Cardboard box

It is important to learn how to lift things properly when pregnant, so you do not strain your back. If you must lift a small object, lift with your legs from a squatting position, and do not lift with your back by bending at your waist. What's more, you should consult your doctor about your weight limitations and avoid lifting very heavy objects.

4.   Consider Side Sleeping

 Sleeping on Side

Sleeping on your back while pregnant can lead to back pain and discomfort. Ideally, you should sleep on your side with knees bent. You can also place a support pillow designed for pregnant women between your knees, behind your back or beneath your abdomen while sleeping.

5.   Do Physical Activities


With your doctor’s approval, you can add physical activity to your daily routine. If you exercised before you got pregnant, you can probably stick to the same workout unless it includes heavy weight training. Usually, walking or water exercises are okay. It is also helpful to meet with a physical therapist to learn about stretching.

If your lower back is painful, there is a stretch that might help: Get on your hands and knees, lining up your head with your back. Pull your stomach in so that your back is slightly rounded. Hold for a few second and relax, and keep your back flat. Repeat it ten times a day.

6.   Try Alternative Therapies


Talk to your doctor about alternative therapies. Studies have found that acupuncture can help with back and joint pain. It may be a good alternative to icy hot while pregnant as it does not typically involve medications. The same goes with chiropractic care. If you decide to try these treatments, make sure to tell the acupuncturist or chiropractor that you are pregnant.

7.   Apply Cold and Heat Method

 ice cube

Sometimes, applying cold and heat to your back can ease the pain. If your doctor allows it, you should give it a try. First wrap a bag of ice or frozen vegetables with a towel and then place it on the area with pain. Leave for about 20 minutes several times throughout the day. After a few days, start using a hot compress instead. Consider using a heating pad or even a hot water bottle. Make sure it is not too hot and only apply it on the area of your back experiencing the discomfort.

Note: Icy hot while pregnant is not safe, so are some medications. Always ask your doctor before taking any type of pain medication. Tylenol (acetaminophen) is usually safe for pregnant women, but aspirin, ibuprofen, naproxen and other nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs are not recommended. 

When to Call a Doctor

Back pain can often be resolved with simple home remedies that are safe for pregnant women. However, if you are experiencing any of the following symptoms, you should contact your doctor right away:

  • Increasing severe pain
  • Abrupt pain
  • Cramping rhythmic pains

Though rare, serious back pain may be due to pregnancy-associated vertebral osteoarthritis, osteoporosis or septic arthritis. Besides, rhythmic pains or cramping can be a symptom of preterm labor. Always call your doctor if you have any of these issues.

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