During pregnancy the body is constantly going through changes. The body is having to rapidly adapt to
those changes on a day to day basis. These changes are not limited to physical changes, but also emotional, mental, and chemical (hello hormones!). Physical changes are some of the most common changes talked about or experienced during pregnancy, so we wanted to focus on ways to help your body adapt and transition through pregnancy with a few tips to try at home.
Let’s look at a few areas of the body that changes are more likely to occur during pregnancy. The pelvis and low back are the most common places to feel and see changes early on in pregnancy, mostly because this is where baby is the entire duration of pregnancy. Here are some ways the body changes structurally throughout pregnancy:
Pelvis may tilt forward to make more room for baby
Relaxin, a hormone that creates laxity in all joints and ligaments, increases as it prepares for birth
Low back curve increases due to pelvic tilt and center of gravity changes
Tension in the upper back as the breasts grow
Head shifts forward and shoulders round adapting to center of gravity changing.
Postural changes lead to biomechanical changes that add extra stress on the joints, muscles and ligaments, which can leave the body less adaptive making pregnancy more uncomfortable. Here are some tips to make small changes to help improve pregnancy biomechanics and protect the pregnant body during transitions.
Sit with knees below the pelvis. Lift your seat or sit on a pillow to elevate your pelvis and allow your knees to be lower. This helps restore the natural curve in your low back without placing anymore stress on it.
Sitting on a rolled up towel or blanket can help prevent your pelvis from tilting back.
Make sure you are sitting on your sits bones by “popping” your bottom out before you sit.
Avoid crossing legs/knees/ankles, which will keep your pelvis in a neutral position and limit closing down the pelvis adding more stress on it, specifically the pubic symphysis.
Limit sitting/standing times. Try to move every 30 minutes to help circulation and get moving.
Sit up straight. Sitting in a hunched position can cause tension in the upper back and diaphragm. This can affect your ability to breathe deeply and shallow breathing can lead to poor motion of ribs which can be uncomfortable.
Pillows are your best friend. Use pillows between your knees and a thin pillow under your belly for extra support while sleeping on your side.
Get adjusted by a prenatal chiropractor! Chiropractic care helps balance the pelvis and bring less tension in the body creating a more comfortable pregnancy. You can find a prenatal chiropractor in your area here.
Postural changes are inevitable during pregnancy, but knowing how to support your body can help you adapt through the transitions of pregnancy better and create a more comfortable experience. Establishing great postural habits now can help decrease the stress and tension put on the body and create long term comfort. Your posture has a dramatic impact on the space your baby and uterus have. Optimizing pregnancy biomechanics helps you but also will help baby too.