Being pregnant, giving birth and then looking after a baby – it’s all particularly hard work on the body and comes at a time when you are more focused on the baby and less focused on you. However you need to look after your own body, you only get one and if it isn’t functioning as well as it should is makes life a lot harder.
Three of the key complications that can occur during pregnancy and postnatally:
1. Diastasis Recti.
This is a seperation of the tummy muscles that run vertically down the tummy (the Rectus Abdominus or 6 pack muscles). It can happen naturally but there are also things you can do to prevent it from becoming too large an issue whilst pregnant. After your 6 week check is then the time to get this checked out and to address it.
Top Tips: No sit ups in pregnancy and post-birth. Don’t go back to high impact exercise too quickly as it can make this worse and use safe postnatal Pilates exercises to fix it.
2. Pubis Symphysis Derangement:
Otherwise known as pelvic girdle pain or SPD. This occurs when there is movement in the symphysis pubis, and a misalignment of the pelvis. It leads to pain in the pelvis and groin region. This is usually worse on standing, walking, climbing stairs, getting in and out of a car and activities that involve having the weight on one leg. Pilates can help by strengthening the core (above the pelvis) and the thigh and bum muscles (below the pelvis). These strengthening exercises effectively help the body support the pelvis and take the pressure off. This can happen in pregnancy, during labour or after birth.
Top Tips: Your local obstetric physiotherapist may be able to help with misalignment. Then use Pilates specific exercises to help strengthen and maintain the correct posture and position.
3. Hunched Posture:
Being pregnant means heavier breasts, a bump and often rounded shoulder to compensate for the heavier load. Having a baby means you end up leaning forward a lot to play, pick up, feed and change your little one. Carrying a baby around leads to tense shoulders and feeding can be awful for the posture too. Having a rounded upper back leads to tight shoulders and neck, tight hamstrings, weak gluteals (bum) and tummy muscles. It also doesn’t look great.
Top Tips: Keep checking your posture in the mirror, think about it when you feed and carry baby. Make posture part of your everyday awareness.
For specific exercises and more top tips try “Beyond Your Bump”