Open letter to my pregnant self: you don't have to be in pain
For my pregnant clients, and in tribute to my pregnant & new mom self from then, here's what I wish I'd known at the beginning.
As you embark on this mind boggling adventure of hosting the development of a whole, new human being inside your body followed by the mind boggling and incredibly humbling adventure of nurturing that amazing new human, here are some things I'd like you to practice, practice being the key word.
1. Stand more and sit less.
In particular, for the health of your pelvis and low back, stand in alignment. Your tendency to walk with your feet turned out, your ballet badge of honor, will do your pelvis no favors. Give it up, sweets.
When you lean back into the cush of the couch or chair, you tuck your pelvis under which means your sacrum is stuck bearing the brunt of your weight.
Your back and pelvis will have something to say about this. You will not enjoy what they have to say, so get off your sacrum and sit on the base of your pelvis aka your ischial tuberosities.
3. Use the floor more and couches/chairs less.
I know you're tired and want nothing more than to lounge on the couch, but as much as possible chose the floor over the couch/chair.
Floor sitting will encourage you to shift your position more frequently.
This will give you more movement variety which your joints and muscles will like.
4. Give up your slip-on shoes and any shoes that raise your heel higher than the ball of your foot (aka a positive heel).
Yes, slip-ons are easy and convenient but your feet need a shoe that attaches securely to your foot.
Also, just say no to that pair of black boots with the chunky heel that you like so much.
Shoes with any heel height really throw off your alignment and mess with your back and pelvis. Flat sole shoes are your friends.
As your belly grows you'll have a tendency to move your pelvis forward along with it, which compresses your low back. Trust me, you don't want back pain during pregnancy.
Instead, back it up, baby, back it up and your low back will thank you. Let your glutes and hamstrings get in on the action and help you stack yourself vertically over your heels.
Keep paying attention to this after your girlie arrives. Don't fall into the habit of tucking your pelvis under or shifting it forward when you hold her.
You'll have to use your arms more, which will feel like weak noodles at first, but you'll save yourself lots of back agony.
6. Drop your ribs.
What you've been taught is "good" posture (chest up, shoulders back), isn't.
Let your ribs drop down into your belly and your back and abdominal muscles will thank you.
Yes, you'll feel like you're slumping. No, this is not how it will be forever.
7. Do the Monster Walk.
Use this exercise (video below) to strengthen those muscles on the sides of your hips aka lateral hip muscles. Your lateral hip muscles are really, really important for stabilizing your pelvis.
The more muscular support your pelvis has, the less pelvic pain you'll have.
This exercise will also help you avoid the infamous pregnancy waddle and discomfort that goes along with it.
Most of all, breathe and enjoy this miracle of life. She arrives safely, she's amazing and yes, she was totally worth it all.