Hey Mama's, it's Korin here!
As I’m now officially in my third trimester (YASSS!!! 🙌) and D day draws closer, I’ve also been reminded of a few pregnancy niggles!
Pregnancy can have a huge effect on your posture, which can result in numerous aches, pains and discomfort (as if there’s not enough going on with your body right now!) For many women, discomfort often occurs in the lower back, this can be due to the weight of the baby naturally pulling you forward and creating a bigger arch in your lumber spine (lower back). The increased pressure in the lower vertebrae can results in back pain.
This usually happens more in the second and third trimesters, when the baby gets heavier, but you may also experience discomfort earlier than this.
The hormone Relaxin develops in the first few weeks of pregnancy. The role of Relaxin is to loosens the joins, ligaments and muscles in preparation for Labour. This means that the skeletal frame becomes less supportive. This is why high impact exercise is not recommended during pregnancy, as you’re at greater risk of injury.
Unfortunately some aches and pains are unavoidable, BUT there’s a lot we can do to help ease pain and avoid injury.
First of all check your posture and how you stand and walk on a daily basis. Are you standing and walking correctly? Keeping check on your posture is key! Make sure you draw your core muscles in, (pelvic floor & navel to spine) pulling your shoulders back and walking tall to avoid slouching and exaggerating the lower back arch, which will make things a lot worse!
In Pilates we always start by looking at the feet, as the feet determine how the rest of the body is aligned.
- Try to stand in parallel with your feet hip distance apart.
- Make sure you’re not rolling on to the outsides of your feet or rolling the feet inwards (this has a huge impact on the knees, hips and back).
- Try and place your weight evenly across your feet (think of the foot as a tripod, from the big toe to the little toe and back to the heel and balance your weight evenly across those points).
Then as we continue up the body:
Keep your hips square to the front
- Don’t slouch into one hip
- Draw up your pelvic floor, pull your navel into your spine and very slightly tuck under your tailbone using your glutes
- Pull your shoulders back and stand tall without pushing out your ribs and chest.
- Lengthen the back of the neck and don’t poke your head forwards.
You should also of course try and put these tips into practice when walking too.
A Stable Core
Are you practicing your core work? Gentle core work can really help you engage those deep postural muscles that support the spine whilst you’re walking and standing and help you with the above.
There’s often a lot of confusion around working ‘abs’ and working the core. Of course in pregnancy, there are certain abdominal exercises that we should avoid; things like ‘curl ups’ which work the rectus abdominals (aka the six pack). This is because during pregnancy your rectus abdominals split in two to allow room for the baby to grow, so we don’t want to tighten the muscles here by targeting them with specific exercises.
However, ‘core’ exercises target the deep abdominals called the transverse muscle, which wraps around the spine and acts like a corset of strength for the spine. This is why it’s important to include ‘core’ exercises, to help protect the back. Gentle core exercises can be done laying down, standing up, 4 point kneeling; pretty much in any position you like. In fact, you should always engage your core muscles when you’re doing any exercise: squats, push ups for example and even walking.
How strong are your glutes? The glute muscles (aka bottom) are the biggest set of muscles in the body and play vital role in supporting the lower back. Many of us have ‘lazy glutes’ not just in pregnancy. Meaning that other muscles have to work harder to compensate, which is where problems such as lower back issues arise. Keeping your glutes strong not only gives you the desired ‘peachy bum’ BUT will also help protect you from injuries and back issues.
And finally, take time to stretch it out. Theres so many wonderful stretches that feel so good in pregnancy and beyond and can really help alleviate those aches and pains. So, take ten minutes to have a good stretch and your body will thank you for it.
Hope these tips can help some of you ladies! They certainly helped me!
p.s Keep a look out for our pregnancy stretch video coming up soon!