If you’ve been following us on social media, you’ve seen our reels this month on self-care and relaxation this holiday season. Week by week, we took you through ways to de-stress and relax all to benefit you and your pelvic floor.
For this month’s blog, we have a special topic for all our pregnant friends out there: how to relax and prepare for delivery and pushing.
While these tips will be focused for people nearing the arrival of their bundle of joy, you can implement many of these tips and positions in any trimester. Note: if you are experiencing a high risk pregnancy always consult with your medical provider before exercise.
By the midway point of pregnancy, you’ll notice your baby starts growing a lot more and can get themselves in some pretty funky positions, which can mean some uncomfortable times for mama to be.
You’re walking down the street and all of the sudden get a burning or sharp pull in your lower belly. It may be one sided or both. Maybe, baby all of the sudden feels super heavy. The culprit? Likely round ligament pain.
The round ligaments go from the uterus to labia and thicken with pregnancy. Two of my favorite positions for round ligament pain relief are pelvic sways and a variation of child’s pose.
Set up on hands and knees on a comfortable surface. Keeping your upper body pretty stationary, move your to the right and left. You can add a little arch or rounding to your lower back depending on what feels good to you. Try 10 sways per rise.
Modified child’s pose
You can go right from some pelvic sways into this one. From hands and knees, drop your forearms to the ground so your hips are higher than your heart. If you’re comfortable here, drop your chest all the way to the ground. Breathe and hold for 20-30 seconds. This is my personal favorite at the end of the day when the baby can feel a bit heavy in the pelvis.
Another common pregnancy ache is the oh so fun pelvic pain. For me, I felt this one pretty early on while kicking a drawer closed in my right sacroiliac joint and it’s been an annoyance here and there throughout pregnancy. Now prolonged walking will bring on some right hip achiness as well.
Before proceeding forward, if you experience severe pregnancy related pain that stops you in your tracks, speak to your provider right away. While it’s normal to experience some discomfort here and there related to growing a little human, pain that severely limits your mobility and day to day function is not okay. Seek out the help of a professional (ie a pelvic floor PT) for moderate to high pregnancy pains.
Strength training is half of my personal management of pelvic pain. Mobility work makes up the other half.
Prior to 20 weeks, you may feel comfortable lying on your back for this one, but past 20 weeks it’s best to do this stretch in sitting.
Sit up nice and tall with your knees bent. Cross one ankle over your other knee. Try to sit up nice and tall instead of rounding your back.
Inner thighs can get super tight during pregnancy. While we don’t recommend prolonged or very intensive inner thigh stretching, try this variation.
Start in a high kneeling position and extend one leg out to the side. Gently rock back and forth to feel a stretch along your inner thigh. Rock 10 times and keep the stretch light.
As the low back tends to go into an anterior pelvic tilt or arch during pregnancy, the mid back tends to get extra stiff.
Pre pregnancy, this type of rotation may have felt good lying on your back, but during pregnancy, your growing belly may feel too heavy and the twist may feel a bit too intense.
From a hands and knees position, take one arm and rotate up toward the ceiling. Take care to keep you hips still so the movement is more isolated to your mid back.
Isolated cat cow
From hands and knees, sit back on your heels. Place both forearms on the ground and arch and round your mid spine. Repeat 10x.
Pelvic floor relaxation
During delivery, your pelvic floor’s job is to lengthen and get out of the way so your uterus can do the work of pushing your baby out. These next two positions are good for pelvic floor length.
Traditional cat cow
Unlike the last cat/ cow where we wanted isolation of the mid spine, this time let your pelvis move.
Begin on hands and knees, arch your pelvis and low back as you inhale, round your pelvis as you exhale. Repeat 10x.
From a standing position, drop down into a deep seat. You may want to sit on a pillow or block if this is uncomfortable. Hold for 10 breaths.
For videos of all the exercises above, check out our instagram.
Stay tuned for next month’s blog, where we will go through specific positions to help your pelvic floor with labor and delivery.