Did you know that regardless of what delivery option you choose there is extra load and pressure on your pelvic floor muscles simply because you are pregnant? Which is one of the reasons posture during pregnancy is oh so important!
Being aware of your posture and modifying it during pregnancy can help protect your spine, decrease back pain and puts you in good practice for when you have a small precious wriggly and sometimes slippery child to hold and feed.
5 easy things you can do:
1. Neutral pelvis - as your centre of gravity has shifted forward you will have more lordosis (curve in your lower back), it’s important to gently contract your lower tummy muscles to tuck the pelvis under (small movement). Do this in all positions especially in sitting, but once you have the neutral position make sure you have a small cushion in the small of your back. This will be especially helpful when breastfeeding starts. The neutral pelvis position also make it easier for your Pelvic Floor muscles to contract.
There has been a lot of talk about "super" women who are giving birth without drugs, gas or epidurals especially on social media from their admiring husbands. And I get it, in the eyes of a man every woman going through labour is a superwoman especially as they feel powerless during this time and want to validate and appreciate their partners for all they are capable of.
However I feel this can have a detrimental effect on pregnant women who are already unsure about what labour will bring, what choices they will make and what criticism they will receive. Pregnant women have pressure on them from every angle but especially from themselves.
One of the questions I often get asked is will my pelvic floor muscles help me get through labour. The answer is yes! and for a couple of reasons.
1.If you have an increased awareness and strength of your pelvic floor muscles which only comes through practice you can learn to turn the muscles on and off. It is really important to be able to switch your pelvic floor muscle off and be able to relax as you’re going through 2nd stage of labour. If you have more awareness of the muscles this becomes easier.
Does your baby bump get in the way of your usual buttock stretch? Here is a great stretch on all fours to do in the later stages of your pregnancy.
1. On your hands and knees, more your left knee away from your arms.
2. Move your right foot in between your left arm and knee. The closer the right foot is to your left hand/elbow the harder the stretch is.
3. Straighten your left leg out behind you.
4. Stay on your hands or if you want a deeper stretch lean down on your elbows.
What would it be like if you didn’t have pelvic floor muscles? Well for starters your internal organs e.g. bladder, blowel, vagina and uterus would all be on the floor after falling out of your pelvic area. And no one wants that do they? Here is what these all important muscles do for you:
This is something I have shared with some of my clients a long time ago but has resurfaced recently while helping family and friends with their prams.
How are you pushing your pram? have you even thought about this before? Well you should! And if you are pregnant and looking for a pram, look no further than here. Poor posture is one of the main reasons new mums have back pain. This means poor posture during the tasks you do frequently whether it be with a heavy weight, repetitive or awkward can be detrimental to your back.
Can I exercise during my pregnancy?
This is the biggest question I get asked! My answer: Of course you can! Being pregnant and going through labour is a bit like running a marathon, and you would never just do a marathon without preparing, exercising, and having some idea of what you’re getting into. A client of mine was seeing her OBGYN in the later stages of her pregnancy and was asked if she had any other medical issues and she replied with “asthma, but only when exercising.” Her OBGYN looked at her dumbfounded and said “well what do you think you’re about to do? have your inhaler with you during labour!”
I'm Melanie, a Pelvic Floor Physiotherapist.
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