When you become pregnant your body goes through some monumental changes, not least that you have a little person growing inside of you! In 4 Tips For Postural Health During Pregnancy we provide an explanation as to why and how your body changes which should help put your mind at ease so that you can fully enjoy the next nine months…
1. Pelvic floor exercises are important particularly during pregnancy
Unfortunately, when you become pregnant the effects of relaxin (the hormone that causes soft tissues and joints to become more lax) also affects the pelvic floor which makes exercises even more important. It is advisable to do the exercises at least 3 times per day and if like most women, you forget to do it then try to associate it with something e.g every time you have a drink or look at your phone. Here is a link to an explanation of how you should perform the exercises.
2. Sleep and positioning in bed
It’s important to know about this. Most pregnant women report that they are not able to get comfortable and have usually been told at some point that they shouldn’t lie flat and ideally should lie on their left side but they very rarely know why. Basically, as the foetus grows it can compress the aorta and vena cava (two of the main arteries in the heart) which can restrict blood flow and have the effect of making you feel faint. This primarily happens in the 3rd trimester but can occur any time from four months and the advice is to not do any exercises in a supine position from the 4th month of pregnancy (however short periods of time are fine).
3. Low Back Pain (LBP)
It has been suggested that up to 76% of women reported LBP at some point during their pregnancy. There are many reasons why this might be; amongst which are altered posture, change in position of pelvis which can cause more pressure to go through the joints in the lower part of the spine and discs and lengthened abdominal muscles which causes a reduction in stability. There are many forms of treatment to help alleviate low back pain some of which include core stability exercises, maternity support belts and postural re-education.
4. Don’t start high impact activities such as running (or anything new) during pregnancy
If, however you are considered low risk and were doing regular exercise before pregnancy then the recommendation is to exercise 30 minutes or more at moderate intensity (while being able to hold a conversation). Exercise is so important during pregnancy as it maintains fitness and stability, can prevent or reduce back and pelvic pain, prepares you for labour and facilitates a quicker postnatal recovery, as well as make you feel great!
Hopefully this has shed some light on explaining what is normal and part and parcel of (the pregnancy process and) what you’ll ultimately be delivering at approximately 9 months as well!