Pregnancy is a beautiful but challenging journey. Many changes will take place in your physical, mental, and behavioral states. It’s not going to be easy but it will all be worth it in the end, won’t it?
Speaking of changes, we’ll be talking about the ones related to posture. Postural changes are common and inevitable for pregnant women to experience. So, it is important to be prepared to avoid any further complications or injury.
If you’re the type of mother-to-be who exercises and keeps herself active to prepare for childbirth, there are factors to consider especially when your posture begins to change.
What are the postural changes associated with pregnancy?
Certain physiological changes take place when a woman progresses further into her pregnancy. This involves the alteration of posture, balance, and gait to compensate for the growing fetus inside the womb. This is why back pain is very much prevalent among pregnant women.
Also, expectant mothers should expect that their body’s center of gravity will move forward because of their growing belly and enlarged breasts.
Here are the following significant changes that occur during pregnancy:
1. Increased lumbar lordosis
This refers to the increased curvature of the spine due to the forward pull of the growing baby. Once this happens, the posture might end up in a “lordosis” or “swayback” position.
2. Increased cervical lordosis
This is what happens when there’s a slight forward curvature of the spine in the neck or cervical. This takes place when the breasts start to become bigger, with the growing fetus intensifying the pull. The chin can also extend forward because of this.
3. Head and sacrum tilt backward
4. Legs are wider apart from each other while standing
What makes these postural changes worse during pregnancy?
Some factors can make these changes during pregnancy worse. Here they are as follows:
- Having a poor posture even before pregnancy
- Having spine-related problems (e.g. Scoliosis)
- Having core instability (weak core muscles)
- Increased BMI
- Too much weight gain during pregnancy
- Experiencing pregnancy complications
How to reduce low back pain while pregnant
As mentioned above, low back pain is a common issue among mothers-to-be. It can affect your movements and daily activities. Therefore, certain measures are needed to be done to keep this from happening (Note: Even healthy pregnant women should take note of these.):
- Be physically active by exercising regularly
- Get enough rest
- Strengthen core muscles
- Practice and maintain good posture
- Seek help from spouse, family, or friends when it comes to certain activities (e.g. lifting weights)
How to adjust yoga poses
If you’re practicing yoga while pregnant, that’s great! Yoga is one of the best types of workouts for soon-to-be moms. It’s totally safe, healthy, and absolutely rejuvenating for both the mommy and the baby. However, will all the alterations in the spinal cord and everything else posture-related, it’s important to adjust the yoga poses you do as well. This is to avoid any injury or unwanted incident from taking place that might endanger you or your little one.
This is something that we also teach to our students in Prenatal Yoga Teacher Training. Aspiring yoga instructors need to be aware of the dos and don’ts during pregnancy so they can guide the mommas properly.
Here’s how you should alter the yoga poses to adapt to the postural changes associated with pregnancy:
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If you’re used to twisting yourself like a pretzel, then you can’t do this anymore. It’s important to avoid closed chain twists during pregnancy because it can affect the blood circulation to the baby. Fortunately, you can concentrate on doing open twists instead. This will help emphasize the creation of space for the baby inside your belly.
Many yoga poses involve balancing which is good for the health. But can pregnant women still practice poses that make them balance themselves on one leg? Given that they’re carrying another human being, the weight might make it a lot more difficult for them. Expectant mothers should be focused on improving strength and stability rather than endurance and flexibility. So, feel free to use props like blocks, pillows, and bolsters, or even the wall for support in balancing poses. Pregnancy may cause you to have loose muscles and ligaments, increasing your risk of injuries if you force yourself to do the complicated poses. There’s no harm in asking for a little help!
There’s no harm in being physically active during pregnancy. It’s actually a good thing because you’re preparing your body for the life-changing event of childbirth. However, it’s always important to take precautions. Always consult your doctor before engaging in any type of exercise or physical activity, no matter how healthy you think you are.
Here at Sweatbox, we teach not just prenatal or antenatal classes in Singapore but plenty of other yoga levels. We want to be as inclusive and extensive as possible to provide students with the best yoga experience.