Why new Yorkers should give up their chairs to pregnant subway riders.
Pregnant New Yorkers face an array of challenges that pregnant women in other parts of the country don’t ever have to deal with. One of them is dealing with the subway day in and day out. The subway can be a hugely stressful event if you’re pregnant. If you’re a New Yorker and you’re not pregnant, here are the top medical reasons you should not only give up your own seat if you have one, but suggest someone else give theirs up too.
1. Pregnant women produce 50% more blood than you. The normal adult human body is around 50% liquid, so you can imagine what is going on in there. Ever hear that a pregnant woman is glowing? That is why. You are actually seeing the blood closer to the surface of the skin as it moves through the capillaries causing a rosy glow. More blood in the same amount of space raises your blood pressure . A higher BP raises your respiration, temperature, and can cause dizziness and fatigue. At the very least your heart is working much harder just to do the normal tasks it is doing at rest, let alone fighting a rush hour crowed on a sweltering platform in mid town.
1. Her feet. Your feet are a fairly complex structure of interlocking bones and supportive ligaments. All that extra blood is HEAVY, not to mention the extra weight of the baby. An average pregnant woman could be carrying 35 pounds of extra weight. That extra weight pressing down can literally overwhelm the arches of the feet causing inflammation as the bones press together and micro tearing along the bottom of the foot causing painful conditions like plantar fasciitis. Pregnant women’s feet have often been reported to grow, when actually its more likely that the arches are stretching length wise under the stress of the extra weight. Giving up your seat may actually be saving her from future health problems with her feet.
2. Pregnant women might fall over, especially if pushed or jostled. All over your body you have small sensors called proprioceptors. These sensors constantly give you feedback on where your body is in space, so you can navigate your environment. When you’re pregnant, your body often can’t keep up with the changes because you remember your non-pregnant form. It’s a lot like when kids going through puberty get really awkward and klutzy because they grow really fast, but instead of growing up… pregnant women are growing out.
3. They are unstable, literally. If a pregnant woman falls or slips she is far more likely to hurt herself than you are. There is a fantastic and beautiful reason for this. During the end of her pregnancy, she will start to secrete a hormone called Relaxin. Relaxin does a number of things like helping them adapt to the need for more oxygen, but the other thing it does is soften all of their connective tissue to prepare for birth. This means they have a lot more space between their joints then us because they are preparing to open the joints in their pelvis so that they can have a safe delivery. Because of this, pregnant women are subject to sprains and joint injuries more so than the rest of us. So if she were to fall, she would be far more likely to do serious damage to herself as her bones are much more mobile.
4. It’s the right thing and it will make her feel good. Remember when she feels good so does the baby as there is a direct connection, she is passing all the hormones that she feels to her unborn child. So you’re not really making just her day better, you’re making two people’s days better.
Body Mechanics has a lovely prenatal massage therapy service where we can help you address all the issues previously mentioned so you can feel good and enjoy those special months. Stay tuned to the following blogs for our ongoing series on pregnancy health and massage.