When Pregnancy Is Painful

07.29.11 Goats, CARE, Beauty and Famine


Kelly is seven months pregnant and injured her round ligament. She was chasing her dog; who was chasing a goat, at the dog park. Yeah, the dog park. We live in Portland (of Portlandia fame). We like to keep things weird.

Kelly was newly pregnant when we lobbied together in Washington DC last spring for CARE’s National Conference and the 100th anniversary of International Women’s Day. She’s the one who scarfed down red Jell-O and pickled vegetables in the Senate building cafeteria. Kelly and I met up again at a local CARE event and she shared with me that this pregnancy hasn’t been as glamorous and fabulous as she’d expected. Stuff keeps happening that knock the shine off her maternal glow - like the goat story:

Upon reaching the park’s off-leash area, Kelly spied a couple of Jack Russell terriers, nosing the grass on the far side of the field. She unclipped her dogs – Gypsy and Roux – and cut them loose to play. Gypsy took off and a moment later Kelly realized those weren’t terriers. Those were goats and Gypsy was hunting them. The goats turned tail and ran; bleating and squealing madly. Seriously freaked out, Kelly realized it was only a matter of time before they turned their horns (antlers? Tusks?) on her dogs in self defense. While Gypsy was busy irritating goats; Roux (still a puppy) hid behind Kelly’s legs.

Kelly scooped Roux up, chased Gypsy down, clipped on his leash and that’s when she felt it – a painful tug right over her pubic bone. It hurt like heck as she dragged Gypsy away from her new, weird playmates. Kelly limped to the car, drove home and called her midwife. Long story short, she’ll be spending the next few days on the couch letting that painful ligament heal.

The round ligament stabilizes the uterus, attaching it to the pubic bones, groin and pelvic muscles. As baby and the uterus put on weight, the round ligament has a big job. When you do something sudden, like scooping up dogs and chasing goats, the uterus might lurch one way while the ligament stretches in an entirely different direction. The result…ouch. It won’t do any permanent damage and rest, Tylenol, ice and mild heat will help it heal. Kelly’s take home message: Don’t chase goats when you’re seven months pregnant.

I watched a news segment this week on the Today show about an advertisement featuring Christy Turlington’s face. I’ve written before about Christy (super-model, CARE ambassador, documentary maker and founder of EveryMotherCounts.org – a nonprofit shining a light on global maternal health issues). Apparently, Lancome makeup (parent company for Maybelline, for whom Christy models) has come under scrutiny by the UK's Advertising Standards Authority. They say the ad Christy appears in is overly airbrushed and misrepresents the product.

Later today, I read that Christy joined Secretary of State Hillary Clinton for the Saving Lives at Birth Development XChange hosted by Grand Challenges Canada, in partnership with USAID, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the Government of Norway, and the World Bank, in Washington, D.C.

The advertisement controversy doesn’t mention the work Christy does to make pregnancy safe for women all over the world. But let me tell you: I’ve met Christy a time or two. We work on the same CARE issues and share a passion for making life better for the mamas of the world. Does she look just like she does in the Maybelline ad? Nope…that picture doesn’t do her justice. She’s more beautiful in real life. Anyone who uses that advertised makeup can only hope it helps them radiate with inner beauty. That’s what Christy’s all about. Of course, she has external beauty too, but she’ll be the first to tell you, “That’s just genetics.”

Christy, CARE, Kelly and I are watching the famine in the Horn of Africa with tears in our eyes. It’s the worst humanitarian crisis in the world today and it’s escalating. More than 11 million people in the Horn of Africa are now in acute need of food assistance. This famine is brought on by the worst drought in 60 years. Thousands of families are walking for days to reach refugee camps like the one in Dadaab in Kenya (the biggest refugee camp in the world, with a growing population nearing 380,000). 80 percent of these refugees are women and children.

It was stories like this one that got my tears flowing: A young mother left her homeland in Somalia with her baby in a sling on her back. She hadn’t eaten for days. There was no food or water in her country and no hope for survival if she stayed. So she walked, without water, without food, with her baby strapped to her body in a sling. Her milk had dried up and there was nothing she could do for her tiny baby, except keep walking. When she arrived at Dadaab, she opened her sling. Her baby was dead.

What can CARE do? They’ve been in Dadaab for decades. They’ll do what they do best, but in the face of this catastrophe, they’ll do it on a larger scale: provide water, food, healthcare, shelter, bedding and whatever else they can to save lives.

What can you do? Log on to CARE or Every Mother Counts and learn more. Donate if you can. Add your name to their advocacy network and use your voice to help your sisters around the world.

Jeanne Faulkner, R.N., lives in Portland, Oregon with her husband and five children. Got a question for Jeanne? E-mail it to labornurse@fitpregnancy.com and it may be answered in a future blog post.

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This Fit Pregnancy blog is intended for educational purposes only. It is not intended to replace medical advice from your physician. Before initiating any exercise program, diet or treatment provided by Fit Pregnancy, you should seek medical advice from your primary caregiver.