Are pregnancy symptoms inevitable?
If you’ve been told that back ache, pelvic pain, leg cramps, sore feet and abdominal weakness are to be expected during pregnancy and that there is not a lot that can be done about it, then read on.
It would appear from the internet, books, tv and talking to other people that women’s bodies are weak or somehow deficient and can’t cope with pregnancy.
You get the impression that rather than being a natural process it is some kind of illness.
Ever wondered though why some people get problems and others don’t and why some people really suffer to the point of being incapacitated?
I really want women to know their bodies are powerful and strong.
It’s not that your body can’t cope with pregnancy, but that we are living lifestyles that inhibit our bodies from maintaining their natural strength, balance and resilience.
Most of us have forgotten how much our bodies can actually move.
Our lifestyle demands limited movement – lots of sitting or for some lots of standing. There is a distinct lack of twisting, bending, stretching and squatting. This results in muscles and joints losing their ability to achieve a full range of motions, some muscles become weak from under use and some become tight from being overused. This causes an unstable body
When the weight of pregnancy is added onto an unstable body it causes stresses and strains resulting in the aches and pains that we all expect as normal pregnancy symptoms.
Weak glutes and a tucked pelvis cause lower back pain, instability of the pelvis causes pelvic girdle pain. High heels place most of your weight on the delicate front of your feet causing swollen and tender feet. Constantly having your arms in a forward position (typing, chopping veg on kitchen counters, pushing buggies, driving cars) means your ribs and upper back help your arms stay in this postion for long periods and this means a ‘rib thrusted’ position. Rib thrust leaves limited space for your baby compression in the upper spine and pressure on your abdominal muscles.
Untuck your pelvis build up the muscles in your glutes, hamstrings and calves
A tucked pelvis causes back pain, a greater likelihood of pelvic pain and makes it harder for your baby to get int he best position for birth. Building muscles in your glutes, hamstrings and calves will help to stabilise your pelvis and enable you to carry your baby more comfortably
There is plenty you can do to relieve, prevent or decrease the likelihood of those ‘common’ pregnancy issues.
- Get your body aligned
- untuck your pelvis.
- learn appropriate exercises and carry them out in correct form to help with strengthening or releasing tension (if nothing else do this stretch every day at least 3 times a day) ,
- use a scarf or support belt,
- walk every day for at least 15 minutes,
- wear flat shoes (really flat – no heels at all),
- alternate between sitting and standing at workstations,
- spend time sitting on the floor,
- minimize sitting in chairs (and bolster when you do) ,
Rosie Dhoopun is an antenatal teacher, pregnancy and postpartum exercise teacher, massage therapist, pelvic floor restore coach, babywearing consultant and trained in a variety of postpartum support techniques.
She runs online programmes in pelvic floor restore, pelvic pain and pelvic matters online, group programmes and 1:1. Currently online due to covid.