When I was pregnant with my first I joined a pregnancy yoga class and a whole world opened before me. All of a sudden there was talks of aches here, pains there, (in all manner of places that just weren’t mentioned in polite society). Some women got these worse than others and some didn’t get any at all. At the time I had nothing but a passing curiosity as I had a smooth pain free pregnancy, which is more than can be said for the birth.
I did wonder though, why some people struggled more than others, was it just luck? There didn’t seem to be any answers. Spinning Babies (a site well worth browsing) talked a lot about getting your baby into an optimal position and lots of information on what to do if labour was stalled. This all seemed down to tight muscles around the pelvis and uterus and it made me wonder how it would be if these muscles didn’t get tight in the first place. Why did they get tight what was the cause?
(yes I ask a lot of questions!)
It was about this time that I discovered Katy Bowman and dived headlong into the wonderful world of biomechanics. From Katy I learned that the body is designed to be aligned in a certain way and there are optimal and non-optimal ways of using the body. Too much of one type of movement and too much sedentary behaviour can cause many aches and pains. At the time she was also pregnant and so I started to have my questions answered. Pregnancy issues are because of how the body is and is not being used and need to be looked at and treated as a whole body issue. For example an issue such as spd (symphysis pubic disorder) can be a result of misalignment in the ribs as well as the pelvis. But to remedy it not only do you need to realign yourself but tackle weakness and tension in opposing muscles and release and strengthen as necessary.
What was really interesting was that it is important to be mindful and stay aligned as you do each exercise. Not just keeping your back ‘straight’ but ensuring your pelvis, ribs, head and so on are all in alignment so that you are keeping your weight back in your heels and targeting the relevant muscles. Knowing which exercises will work for specific situations and which are best avoided. Previously in the yoga- based antenatal class I taught this had not really been mentioned, with it being more a gentle relaxing flow of movement rather than a way of providing relief from tension and weakness. The exciting thing is that as you get this relief you are also providing your body with the necessary preparation for birth and recovery afterwards.
8 years and 3 babies later I have read lots, put much of it into practice and attended several training courses. Importantly, I have learnt that this alignment business is a journey and it has subtly turned into a movement as well as alignment journey. This has fitted in beautifully with my love of working with pregnant people and so my pregnancy exercise programme has evolved. I still haven’t settled on a name (interestingly my second and third babies had to wait several days before we settled on names, so no real surprises there)
I am looking forward to teaching this in the Spring and putting the final preparations into place. If you would like to be one of the first to know when I am taking bookings (I will only be having spaces for 8 people per programme) then please drop me an email at email@example.com.