I started to learn what it meant to move with mindfulness when I was pregnant with my first daughter. I had hip and low back discomfort during my first pregnancy, and it was quite uncomfortable.
As a result, I began looking into ways to ease my discomfort, and I found that learning how to hold, move, and stretch my body, as well as strengthen my core, helped ease so many of my aches and pains.
As moms we move in all sorts of ways for the many jobs we need to do.
If you are pregnant the changes in your body can be enough to make you feel uncomfortable.
If your children are young, you probably have a little one on your hip or are playing on the floor at least a few times a day.
If your kids are older, you may be picking up backpacks, sports equipment, or carrying laundry up the stairs to your kids’ rooms.
Either way, we often sacrifice our alignment several times during the day, without even realizing it.
I am so excited to share this guest post with you, from my friend, a pregnancy and postpartum fitness expert, Kaitlin Spano, of kaitlinspano.co. Enjoy!
Good Posture During Pregnancy & Motherhood
Having proper posture during pregnancy and motherhood is crucial in reducing aches and pains, specifically low back pain during the later stages of pregnancy.
Why Does Posture Matter During Pregnancy?
Posture matters during pregnancy because as your body grows and adapts in order to accommodate your baby there is a strain that will take place on your body. Maintaining proper strength, posture and alignment is going to provide the least amount of pain and pressure on your joints and low back.
How to Stand During Pregnancy:
Imagine a string going from your ankle bone up through your knee, hitting your hip bone, your shoulders, up the neck and coming out the top of your head.
Understanding the placement of your pelvis is the basis of upper and lower posture as well as reducing the very ‘common’ back pain.
As the picture depicts you want too:
- Keep your head up straight with your chin in, keeping earlobes in line with middle of shoulders is another great visual.
- Tilting shoulder blades pulled back but chest neutral so ribs don’t flail open
- Knees straight, but not locked
- Neutral pelvis, think hip bones are attached to a string sticking straight out or a string coming straight out your belly button.
- Keep feet pointed straight, in the same direction.
- Avoid standing for extended periods of time.
- Refer to this video for a live demonstration
How to pick up another child or objects during pregnancy(You know like all those laundry baskets, toys, etc?!)
It may seem silly to think about your posture and form when you bend down to pick up objects but shockingly, many of us do it incorrectly! During pregnancy & motherhood it is very beneficial (and will save your back) to follow a few important steps!
- Ask for help if you feel its TOO heavy OK?! Asking for help is an OK thing to do Momma’s!
- Before you pick anything or anyone up be sure both feet are firmly planted on the ground
- Object lower than waist? Keep your back straight and bend your knees and at the hip
- Wide stance close to object, inhale on the way down, exhale on the way up using your leg muscles to support this move as you keep the object close to you.
- Stand without twisting!
- If its an object above your head be cautious it is not too heavy, inhale as you reach up, exhale as you bring the object down close to you.
- Always hold objects or children close to your body, either directly in front of you or off to the side a bit without using hips to holster or hold.
- Keep your body in alignment without pushing your belly out or sideways to support in the hold.
- Refer to this video for a live demonstration
Best Sleeping and Lying Down Position During Pregnancy.
Sleeping typically does not become an issue until the later stages of your second trimester and continues until the baby is born. (And then sleep really becomes an issue! HA!).
But in all seriousness there are small things you can do even in your sleep position that will leave you pain free so without further delay!
- Laying on your back. Much of the internet will tell you that you cannot sleep on your back during pregnancy. There is a large vein that runs down your back and the later your pregnancy the more pressure your baby will put on this while laying on your back. In reality laying on your back will not harm you and it is different for everyone! Your body will tell you whether you can lie on your back or not, if you begin to feel dizzy, lightheaded or just are not comfy than roll to your side!
- Side Lying: Typically this is what you will end up doing in the later stages of pregnancy. Sleeping on your stomach more than likely is not going to happen nor will it be comfortable. Many doctors suggest you stay on your left side as the blood flow works better during this time. Your liver is on the right side of your body so this prevents too many things feeling squished. If you enjoy sleeping on your right, then go for it!
- Use a Body Pillow: Using a pillow to put between your legs is going to feel best and reduce pressure on your low back. Be sure the pillow is supporting your legs from your knees to your groin area. Also keep your knees together! If you have one leg up, and one leg down this puts added pressure on your low back and your pelvic region which can cause much pain for you in the day time hours.
- Getting out of Bed: When getting out of bed, or up from any lying surface it is important to start by:
- laying on your side
- engage your deep core
- Push yourself up with your elbow
- Swing your knees over the side
- Sit the rest of the way up and take a step momma!
Overall proper posture during pregnancy is one of the keys to having a pain free pregnancy. The proper posture is also key in avoiding ‘common’ pregnancy and postpartum related issues such as ab separation, diastasis recti, incontinence, low back pain and upper neck and shoulder pain. I’ve seen some things floating around the internet such as purchasing a posture corrector to solve these issues. This seems like it would be supportive however understanding the true mechanics of proper poster getting through your day is what will help you the most in the long run. Using a posture corrector is a lot like putting a bandaid on something, it only helps to an extent!
Maintaining proper strength, posture and alignment is going to provide the least amount of pain and pressure on your joints and low back throughout pregnancy and postpartum.