Pregnancy is such a blessing—the gift of new life and miracle of childbirth. And then there are the other “blessings” that accompany pregnancy: heartburn, constipation, tiredness, AND the miracle of childbirth. Most women would agree that one of the longest lasting pregnancy issues is aches and pains, especially back pain.
This was definitely the case for my first pregnancy. Back pain, leg pain, sore feet and swelling. These tips brought me relief, and I hope with regular practice, you will benefit as well:
Don’t let your belly lead the way- adjust your pelvis
Because of the additional weight, my pelvis was pulled from its normal neutral position into an anterior tilt. I had sway back, walking with my butt out, hamstrings long and weak, and my belly led the way.
Work to move your pelvis back to neutral. Stand sideways next to a mirror to watch the change in your posture. Stand with feet hip distance apart, with the balls and heels of the feet sharing equal weight. Engage your pelvic floor and use your glute and leg muscles to adjust your pelvis from a tilted position with butt out, back to neutral with hip bones pointing forward. You can watch the change in your pelvis and back as you tilt for an anterior tilt to neutral. You’ll notice your natural back curve is a little straighter, lengthening your spine.
Practice sitting ergonomically correct
While it’s comforting to curl into a ball or sit with your legs crossed, think of the stress it puts on areas of your body not prepared for your new baby weight. When at work, at dinner or waiting those long minutes in the doctor’s office, sit with your feet touching the floor, the seat of the chair supporting the length of your thighs, knees bent in a 90 degree angle, and your back straight. This position is optimal for long periods of sitting to best support circulation.
A couple of adjustments to make you most comfortable:
Use a lumbar roll to support the natural curve in your back while sitting.
Use a step or footrest to elevate your feet for swelling issues.
Use relief positions
There are those long days when you need to stretch, relax and find relief in a few stretch positions. Here are our favorites for relief from most aches and pains:
Bridge Position– With your feet flat on the floor, back supported with a pillow for elevation, knees bent, tilt your pelvis and engage your glutes and hamstrings to stretch your back.
Child’s Pose– A favorite yoga pose for stretching the back and hips. Sitting with your knees bent underneath your bottom, stretch forward with your arms, shoulders and back. Your bottom should stay on your shins or ankles, and support your belly with your thighs. You can open your thighs wide to allow room for your beautiful baby bump.
Cat & Camel– find movement in your spine, hips and neck. Move into all fours, with your belly facing the floor. First find neutral, where your hips point straight to the floor. Then round your back into an angry cat position, letting your head hang, pulling your belly to your spine. Now reverse into camel where hips and head go to the ceiling, letting the back and bump droop to the floor.
Even when you don’t feel like it, it’s amazing how great you will feel after a beginner or moderate level Yoga or Pilates class. There are several prenatal-specific classes in studios around town, and experienced teachers can help modify any class to suit your body’s needs. Even if you have not exercised regularly, starting to walk short distances and taking a class going at your own speed and comfort will benefit both you and baby. Just listen to your body and monitor your breath and heart rate. Be sure to talk with your doctor before beginning any exercise program.
We at Simply Balanced want you to have a happy and healthy pregnancy. Let us know if you find these tips helpful, and next time you’re in the studio, be sure to ask your instructor for more tips and modifications for your workout.
Exercise is part of a healthy pregnancy. Always talk with your doctor before beginning any new diet or exercise.
Blogger Julia Shults is a Pilates Teacher Trainer, Marketing Guru, Freelance Writer and Mommy.