Aside from the obvious growing bump, your body will go through huge changes during pregnancy. These changes can often cause great discomfort throughout the nine months and even afterwards. Pre & Post Natal Specialist, Charlie Launder, aims to explain a few of the major postural changes that can happen during pregnancy and why.
There are a collection of muscles in the body known as ‘tonic’ muscles. These are responsible for keeping us upright and balanced, and in a pregnant woman these tonic muscles will be working harder than usual to accommodate for the growing baby. As muscles tend to work in pairs, when these muscles tighten, they will be weakening others causing imbalances throughout the body.
A common thing to see in pregnancy is hunched shoulders. This will weaken the muscles behind and in-between the shoulder blades and cause the head to protrude which can easily lead to tension headaches from restricted blood flow to the brain.
To combat this hunched over look, we aim to activate and strengthen those upper back muscles throughout the pregnancy with exercises involving pulling, such as TRX rows. Always remember to start each exercise with the correct upright posture trying to engage these muscles no matter what exercise you are about to do.
The increasing size and weight of the baby will cause an exaggerated forward pelvic tilt. This is the cause of the lower back pain that many women suffer from during pregnancy. As previously mentioned, muscles tend to work in pairs so as the back muscles shorten and tighten, the abdominal muscles will start to lengthen and weaken in response. This is the reason why the hips may start to come out of line. The alignment of the hips has a knock on effect throughout the rest of the body and so it is essential that this is addressed as early as possible.
Core strength is something women are often not sure of when it comes to pregnancy and obviously traditional exercises such as crunches and static plank holds are no longer useful, but carefully constructed exercises involving twisting and stability can activate and strengthen the core very effectively.
The forward hip/pelvic tilt will cause a weakening in the hips, glutes and even the muscles surrounding your shins. This then causes what is commonly known as ‘knocked knees’ where the hips and thighs inwardly rotate putting a lot of pressure on the knee and ankle joints. Watch your posture closely during exercises keeping your chest up, shoulders back and down, and the pelvis in a neutral position.
As you can see, even one small change in the body can have a huge effect on posture, so by addressing this early on, and working on creating the perfect balance throughout your pregnancy, a lot of pain and discomfort can be avoided. It will also greatly help you return to glory after your baby arrives so it is worth putting the effort in now.
Charlie Launder is the head of Pre & Post Natal Fitness at Lomax Chelsea. For more information about Bumps & Burpees or to book a consultation email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 08715 120 770.