Posture isn’t something that is often spoken about with pregnant women. So, in the second of our series on the basics of Post-Natal Health, we’re going to have a deeper look into this.
It is almost as though people just expect to have back pain throughout pregnancy and deal with this as a side-effect of getting the most precious gift. Once your beautiful baby has arrived, lots of women often assume that their bodies will just snap back to how they were before pregnancy. For some lucky ladies, this may be the case, however, for many, poor posture and back pain isn’t something that goes away once they have given birth.
Everyone goes through such huge physiological changes during pregnancy and there is no denying that it has an effect on your postpartum body. Not to mention, breastfeeding, constantly lifting carrycots, pushing buggies and holding your little one whilst doing a million other things at once can all put a strain on your body and lead to physical imbalances and pains that you simply should not have to deal with.
To help new mums understand posture and get their heads around the causes of the post-natal back pain that they have been experiencing constantly since giving birth, Healthy Post-natal Body have put together a helpful guide. We have answered all of the questions that most women have about posture and can help you to see light at the end of the tunnel.
How does my posture change during pregnancy?
You will find that your posture changes quite a lot during pregnancy to enable your body to carry the weight of the baby, as well as the fat distribution in the different parts of your body. You might not notice many, if any, changes in the first few months but as the baby starts to get bigger there is no avoiding them.
As your uterus expands, the pelvis will naturally tilt back to counterbalance the load. The pubic bone and tailbone then also move backwards, which causes the arch in your lower back; this is called an Anterior tilt of the pelvis. Because your spine is a dynamic structure, alignment changes in the pelvis have a ripple effect on the rest of the spine. Your upper back will curve forward rounding the shoulders and collapsing the chest. Too much curve in the upper back is referred to as a Kyphotic posture.
So, during pregnancy, women experience multiple alignment problems, which augments all of the natural curves of the spine. This can cause your spine to create an ‘S’ shape, this posture is known as Lordosis. Lordosis can cause the typical swayback and waddling you see pregnant women do.
It doesn’t help that at the same time all of this is happening, your abdominal muscles also become stretched as the baby grows. These muscles are then less able to contract and keep your back in proper alignment. Hormone levels increase too during pregnancy and cause your joints and ligaments to loosen making it even harder to sit, stand and walk with correct posture.
What is correct posture during pregnancy?
Correct posture is when your body is in alignment. Imagine a straight line running from your ears to your shoulders and to your hips and knees, this is correct posture. You ideally need to keep your chin back, raise your head slightly and keep your shoulders down and pulled back, this will help you to stand up straight and tall. You should also tilt your pelvis forward to keep your lower back from arching in a swayback position.
We know that this sounds like an awful lot of work when you are carrying a baby and you are already exhausted. You might not be able to think about your posture all of the time, but whenever you can, try to stand properly as it will really help you in the long run.
Why is good posture important during pregnancy?
Good posture in pregnancy will help increase the room your baby has to grow inside you and promotes blood flow. Also, the majority of the back pain experienced throughout pregnancy is related to the strain on your back from the weight of your growing baby. To put it simply, by ensuring you have correct posture you can help prevent and even relieve some of this pain. Your body is designed to have correct posture and throwing this out of line can cause you lots of problems.
It is never too early to start thinking about your posture during pregnancy, don’t wait until your third trimester when you are already in a lot of pain. By this stage, it may be more challenging to maintain new adjustments with your posture so make sure that you are thinking about it from the outset. However, having said that, it is never too late to start thinking about it either, if you are already pregnant and only just looking into your posture then taking action now will still help with your pain and posture in general.
Will my posture correct itself after I have given birth?
Unfortunately not, if your body is used to this new incorrect posture then it will take some time and work to put right. Your body will naturally want to stay in this new position and you may even find that your muscles have developed to support this new posture, so you will need to re-train them to support your correct posture again.
It isn’t uncommon for women after having a child to notice that their posture is slump and some refer to this as ‘mum posture’. You aren’t alone if your posture hasn’t gotten better since giving birth and don’t panic about how to fix your posture after pregnancy as there are definitely ways that you can correct it.
One of the exercises we really like are Scapular Wall Slides. They are simple yet effective.
What is the best way to correct my posture after I’ve given birth?
Exercise is always the best way to correct your posture. You may be given post-natal exercise advice along with a series of exercises by your midwife to strengthen the muscles which have been stretched by pregnancy and birth. This should help to prevent your backache, promote correct posture and also help you regain your figure more quickly. However, the generic exercises don’t always work for everyone so it may be best to seek assistance from a professional to find something that works for you.
Pelvic floor exercises and gentle deep tummy muscle exercises are considered vital when trying to correct your posture and you should try to do them every day to encourage the muscles to function normally again. This won’t happen straight away though, it takes patience and may even take several months after birth. Of course, you should get the go-ahead from your doctor to make sure that you are alright to start exercising again and remember to take things slow to start with whilst you get back into things.
How Healthy Post-natal Body can help
Now that you understand a bit more about your posture both during and after pregnancy, if you require any further assistance at all in this regard, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with the expert team here at Healthy Post-natal Body. We can provide you with a post-natal exercise programme that actually works.
With the help of our incredibly experienced team, post-pregnancy back pain can be a thing of the past for anyone experiencing problems due to their posture. You will get full access to private forums where you won’t just get support from other members, but also a fully qualified personal trainer who will be able to answer any exercise-related question you might have.
Trust us when we say that over time, you will start to feel like yourself again and you will no longer have to worry about the pain caused by doing the simplest of tasks. You can just enjoy being a mum and looking after your little one. Remember, you don’t have to suffer alone. Healthy Post-natal Body is there for you and will do all we can to support you through this journey.
Do give me a shout via the contact form or on the forums if you have any questions.
And take care,