Oh pregnancy. It’s a very special time in a woman’s life. A miracle is growing inside of you every day. Cells are forming to create organs and lungs and every detail of the body. It’s amazing and a complete miracle. Every detail is perfectly created by a God who is in control of it all. But along with pregnancy comes a lot of changes for a woman. Not only is she carrying a baby, her hormones are changing which, less face it, can effect every single part of your life. Your sleep is interrupted, your taste is different. Your bones are moving and muscles are stretching and with all of the changes you can start to have poor posture and not even recognize it.
As your baby grows and your core muscles stretch and relax your hips begin to get pulled forward causing an arch in lower back. Then if this is not your first baby, carrying your toddler around will pull your hips forward even more. You wouldn’t think this is too big of a deal but really, it can cause damage to your core and pelvic floor. I have watched my wife carry our three children and she had to be mindful of her posture as well. Seriously, women are super heroes. But I do want to help make it a little easier and give you a few tips.
1. Protect Your Core
There are many workouts out there that say you can do all kinds of moves while pregnant but a lot of them don’t address the importance of protecting your core, especially protecting the transverse abdominals. (TA) Diastis Recti is the separating of the abdominals and all pregnant women will need to focus on repairing this after giving birth, but protecting those deep core (TA) ab muscles will speed up your recovery and protect you from long-term damage. Having proper posture in pregnancy is a great way to protect your core. When I say core I am talking about the muscles all around your waist, not the six pack. Six pack muscles are superficial and genetics have a huge role in that. I am talking about your lower back muscles, pelvic floor, and those deep muscles that are so crucial to your overall strength and health. Having good posture will support your core that is carrying a lot more weight than normal. Shoulders back, spine tall and belly button sucked in, like you’re giving your baby a hug will help make your core recovery smoother.
2. Relieve Pain
Good posture in pregnancy is key to relieving back pain. As your back is being stretched and organs are literally being pushed aside for your growing uterus a lot of lower back pain and round ligament pain can come. This is all normal, but being able to relieve the pain throughout the pregnancy is possible and beneficial. When your body is in alignment and you have proper posture you can imagine a line from your ears to your shoulders and to your hips to your knees. The hips to the knees is the most important place to focus, as they will naturally get pulled forward. That is actually putting more pressure on the lower back that already has stretched muscles so being aware of your posture and pulling those hips back in so to say will relieve the pain. Stretching daily is a lot another great way to help ease the pain. Every morning and every night get your body moving with stretching, you will be amazed by how much it relieves tension and helps your body relax.
3. Supports Healthy Digestion
Believe it or not posture can affect the digestive system. Again, pregnancy puts a lot of pressure on your body especially your digestive system. It can affect the entire process of eating to your bowel movements so doing everything possible to help your digestive system is very important. Eating smaller meals, making wise choices and drinking lots of water are all very important, so how does posture come in to play? Well, sitting in a slouched position compressed your abdominal organs, and can negatively affect your bodies’ ability to process food. So whether you have a desk job or are sitting more because you are feeling nausea or fatigue remember to keep your back tall and long. Get up and move every 30 minutes to help your body and blood flow.
4. Supports the Nervous System
As your body is adjusting and making space for your baby, your spine is so important and long and supported posture in pregnancy will protect your spine and support your nervous system. There are nerves that run from your spine to every part of your body and organs so making sure they are not being pinched by consistent poor posture is so important. These pinched nerves can cause neck and back pain but there are nerves that run to every area of your body, so a feeling you are having that you believe is unrelated to the spine actually has a high probability of being connected, so having healthy posture through the nine months can help ensure your body is getting the proper nerve supply to every single area.
5. Faster Postpartum Healing
The more you protect your core throughout pregnancy, the quicker it will heal in post pregnancy. The time right after having a baby is called the 4th trimester. It is a very important time for your baby. It’s the time to establish that incredible connection and bond with you, establishing breastfeeding and helping them adjust to life outside the womb. It is also a very important time for mom. Your body is beginning to heal from everything that it has just gone through. Pregnancy, though common it may be, is an incredible process that takes a toll on every part of a woman, so the 4th trimester is very important for healing the body. Your core has undergone many changes from making room for a growing baby but slowly and surely everything goes back together. I promise it really does! But having that support throughout the nine months of good posture in pregnancy will make the process smoother and easier.
Here is a great video showing the importance of posture and it gives you great visuals.