Guest Blog by Melissa Hubbard.
As your beloved baby bump grows, you’re getting closer and closer to the arrival of your dear little one. As your baby grows, however, so do back aches and pain in the pelvic area, joints and ligaments. No matter what kind of shape you’re in, the excess weight of pregnancy can create muscle tension and lower back pressure because of your curving spine. Gaiam Life explains that because of significant growth in one central area (the uterus), your body becomes unbalanced, which can cause discomfort and strain on the neck, shoulders and back muscles.
Although it may be a low-grade back pain, an understanding and healthy response can provide a sense of control over the condition. Appropriate exercise designed to support a sensitive area can enhance your well-being. If you don’t already have an exercise regimen, start exercising regularly to help relieve pain, promote proper alignment and strengthen you body. You can find many helpful exercise, diet and overall healthy lifestyle tips at Laser Spine Institute’s wellness blog.
Stretching and yoga postures can help stabilize joints and provide pain relief. Keep in mind to always move cautiously and slowly to prevent injury. Also, check with your doctor before performing the following yoga sequence by FitSugar.
- Wide-legged forward bend: Stand with feet three to four feet apart, and fold over at the hips while breathing. Hold onto your elbows, and let your torso hang to loosen tight hips and hamstrings.
- Kneeling hamstring stretch: Sit on one leg’s shin, and straighten out the other leg. While keeping hips square, reach for your straightened leg and hold five breaths for hamstring isolation; alternate.
- Butterfly: Release tension in tight hips by sitting on the floor with bent knees, and touch your feet together. Breath five times, and fold forward for a deep stretch.
- Pigeon: Open the hips from butterfly, and extend one leg behind you. Pull the heel of your bent leg in toward the pelvis. Keep breathing with your torso lifted, or stretch over the bent leg.
Kegel exercises are pelvic floor muscle contractions that strengthen the muscles, support the uterus and bladder and even help with an easier birth. To do a Kegel, tighten the muscles around your vagina like you’re trying to stop the flow of urine while going to the bathroom. Hold while counting to four, release and repeat for a total of 10 times. Baby Center recommends doing three to four sets of Kegels about three times a day.
The squat position improves pelvic flexibility and strengthens your thighs. Yoga instructor Hilaria Baldwin also recommends the squatting pose because it can help with a smooth delivery by strengthening the lower body and abdomen, opening the birth canal and preventing tearing. With your feet hips-distance apart and toes facing outward, bend your knees and lower into a squat position. Form a prayer position with your hands, and place elbows on the inner thighs. Pull shoulder blades together, and sit tall with a lifted chest and relaxed shoulders while deeply inhaling and exhaling 10 times. Then push legs to a rising position and repeat.
Melissa Hubbard dedicated herself to living an active, healthy lifestyle eight years ago, and she’s never felt better. She writes health and wellness articles for a number of blogs.