Pregnancy–and the postpartum period, for that matter, can undoubtedly be a trying time for mothers. Speaking strictly of the physical toll that a mother’s body can undergo without even giving the nod to the emotional and mental grind of the process, pregnancy brings pain. Here are some of the many common conditions that a mother might experience during pregnancy: Charley horses, brain fog, general muscle cramping throughout, abdominal pain, morning sickness, back pain, and swollen ankles and feet. That list is exhausting to merely read, let alone endure through a pregnancy.
Luckily mothers have science on their side. A litany of biohacks exists that can alleviate a mother’s pain or frustration through pregnancy. Ranging from supplementation and diet to salting swollen feet, if there is an ailment, there is probably an action a mother can take.
But first, let’s back up a bit. What is biohacking, anyway?
What is biohacking?
According to Bernard Marr’s piece, What’s Biohacking? All You Need to Know About The Latest Health Craze, biohacking is do-it-yourself biology to improve performance, health, and wellbeing through strategic interventions. You’ve likely heard about some of the most prominent health trends that were ultimately born out of biohacking’s school of thought, such as intermittent fasting or meditation.
Although intermittent fasting and meditation have their origins in ancient times, biohacking officially entered the lexicon early as 1988. A group of researchers, individuals, and communities from the Bay Area initially pioneered the modern take on “do-it-yourself biology.” A seminal moment came in 2002 when the human genome was fully sequenced. This empowered DIY biologists to start working with biological material to explore their curiosities.
As biohacking has progressed to incorporate holistic medicine principles into its ethos, it has evolved to include nutrigenomics, DIY biology, and technically optimizing the human body through gadgets, wearables, and injections.
And how does this ultimately lead back to pregnancy?
Women are leading the biohacking movement
In what was initially a male-dominated community, women entrepreneurs are now leading the charge within the burgeoning biohacking industry. Consider the following: Liz Parish is the CEO of BioViva, which aims to target biological aging at the cellular level. Ellen Jorgen is the founder of GenSpace, a nonprofit that makes biohacking experimentation accessible. And surely you’ve heard of Goop, popularized by Gwenyth Paltrow, which advocates biohacking regularly.
In a similar vein, as CMO of BodyBio, I’ve been fortunate enough to have exposure to wonderful doctors and nutrition researchers, which lead me to write extensively about pregnancy best practices.
Regarding biohacking while pregnant specifically, I have a few thoughts to share.
3 ways to biohack while pregnant
As I mentioned before, supplementation, diet, and intentional care are where biohacking comes into play while pregnant. Let’s get to the list.
1. Eliminate Charley horses with E-Lyte
Charley horses, otherwise known as severe leg cramping, are thought to be from varying factors such as pregnancy fatigue from carrying the extra baby weight, compression of the blood vessels in the legs, or diet. Hydration is always important, of course, but it’s paramount during pregnancy.
BodyBio’s E-Lyte is an ideal antidote to the causes of leg cramping. E-Lyte mimics electrolyte levels in the body for optimal hydration with no added sugars and no nasty additives. E-Lyte originally was innovated to assist marathoners–what is a better description of pregnancy than a marathon?
I take it first thing in the morning, throughout the day, and in the glass of water on my bedside table during my pregnancies. Keep it flowing, but be sure not to overindulge–only drink an ounce or less a day unless you’re exercising. Additionally–I drink throughout my labors as labor is one massive muscle cramping. E-Lyte is a fantastic resource throughout and after pregnancy.
2. Hacking diet to alleviate morning sickness
Arguably the most famous pregnancy pain, morning sickness is typically associated with the first trimester. Despite the name, an expectant mother may feel nauseated any time of day. How a mother approaches her diet can bring relief, though.
An expectant mother should focus on maintaining a diet high in protein and complex carbohydrates and low in sweets and fatty foods, also be sure to eat fresh fruits and vegetables, which are an additional, sneaky hydration source.
To further protect against morning sickness, an expectant mother should think about the frequency in which she eats. I recommend eating frequent, small meals as opposed to the typical, traditional three full meals. I’ve found the ideal amount of meals to be 5-6, with healthy, light snacking throughout the day!
3. Soak those sore feet
Epsom salt baths for the feet increase magnesium absorption, boosting the mineral levels in the body and lessening inflammation. Alleviating pain and stiffness, this inflammation-reducing process can be a godsend. That’s exactly what a tired mother needs.
How to perform an Epsom salt foot soak:
- Submerge feet and ankles in warm water
- Add the Epsom salt–start with half of a cup.
- Soak your feet for 20 to 30 minutes.
- Thoroughly dry your feet
- Moisturize the feet.
It’s best to avoid overusing this practice as dry feet may result. Stick to once or twice or week, and you’ll be well on your way to an optimized pregnancy experience.
Also read: Baby Registry Checklist
There is always a solution to feel better
It’s no secret: There’s a ton that expectant mothers might have to endure while pregnant. I know I certainly had my ups and downs. Biohacking ultimately presents an opportunity for moms to beat their pains by eating healthfully, hydrating as much as possible, getting as much rest as they need, and following the advice of their healthcare team.
However, suppose you’re searching for other ways to support your child’s development. In that case, I highly recommend exploring these additional resources over at the BodyBio blog: 12 Essential Pregnancy Supplements for Healthy Moms and Babies and Benefits of Supplementing with Phosphatidylcholine During Pregnancy. Now pregnant with my third child, I’ve experienced firsthand the trials and tribulations of pregnancy, and I’m passionate about helping other moms, and their babies feel better and be healthier.