PART II: PRENATAL EXERCISE
Early into your pregnancy, the placenta produces a hormone that helps your whole body physically become a bit looser. The release of relaxin accommodates the growth of your baby and helps in easier delivery. By doing so, it is also the culprit of ligamentous laxity, reducing tendon stiffness and softening joints; ultimately leading to instability, and often pain.
Low back pain during pregnancy is often multifactorial. A mother-to-be can experience low back pain due to altered posture, and altered soft tissue mechanics. For example, a change in her center of mass causes an increase in lumbar lordosis or arch through the low back, and fatigue of postural muscles that are otherwise not stressed during weight bearing. More specifically, the sacroiliac joint is comprised of strong ligaments that become vulnerable during the hormonal spike in relaxin during pregnancy. SIJ dysfunction often results in difficulty walking, bending, sitting, and more importantly sleeping.
Diastasis of the rectus abdominis muscle is common both during and after pregnancy. DRAM is related to lumbopelvic instability and pelvic floor weakness, increasing the likelihood of occurrence and severity of pregnancy-related lumbopelvic pain. Safe, modified abdominal strengthening during pregnancy has been shown to promote a faster recovery, a quicker return to pre-baby figure, less back and pelvic pain, and can minimize abdominal separation. Other pregnancy-related injuries are plantar fasciitis, knee pain and hip pain. These injuries are often due to poor mechanics down the kinetic chain secondary to poor core stability. A mother-to-be can benefit from skilled physical therapy care.
Physical therapists are movement specialists that can teach you how to maintain alignment and recruit adequate core stability as your joints become more flexible. A supervised, structured exercise program consisting of aerobic and resistance training has been shown to have meaningful, beneficial effects on the severity of lumbopelvic pain in pregnancy, reducing the intensity of pain and increasing functional capacity.
There are a number of fitness studios that offer pre- and post- natal classes to educate you on safe ways to maintain health, wellness and strength.
Namaste – Yoga For Two: In addition to improving morale and alleviating stress/anxiety, yoga has been found to be effective in reducing the discomforts of pregnancy, and at the same time improving functional strength and mobility.
CorePower Yoga has already drafted a blog specific for a mother-to-be with postures to avoid and postures to embrace in your practice. If you are new to CPY you can try a week for FREE! Inquire about featured CPY Pre/Post Natal Classes. CPY Pregnancy Blog click here.
CHI50 Pre/Post Natal Mega Reformer Class in Bucktown! Megaformer has been shown to improve posture and control of movement, improve flexibility, improve lumbar spine and core stability, and so much more!
By: Stephanie Ferro, DPT