I get it … believe me, I get it. If you are pregnant right now, you’re probably tired and perhaps a little overwhelmed with the do’s and don'ts of pregnancy. With all the things you have to think about in your pregnancy, the last thing you may want to think about is developing and maintaining ideal pelvic posture. Am I right?
In many ways, pregnancy can be tough on your body. Your body creates strategies to deal with significant changes that happen in a short period of time; your pelvis shifts and changes to accommodate not only your baby, but also your growing uterus and placenta. Sometimes you end up in non-optimal pelvic positions. It's beneficial to recognize these pelvic positions without getting too hung up on the do's and don'ts of pelvic posture.
I’m all about meeting people where they are and creating an environment of informed consent. That way you have all the information to make choices that are best for you and your pregnancy. For these reasons I’ve created this simple exercise to help you develop an awareness of neutral pelvis in pregnancy and recognize when you may be in a non-optimal pelvic position:
Start by finding an easy standing position:
Feet hip width or shoulder width apart. Toes facing forward, knees soft.
Place your arms down by your sides.
Inhale and glide your shoulders up to your ears, exhale and roll your shoulders back down.
Do this a couple of times until you feel relaxed and at ease, the tension in your shoulders, neck and jaw melting away, your ribs softening.
Continue to breathe at a slow steady pace where the breath is moving naturally through your system. Place your hands on the tops of your hips.
From here, with your right hand, find your right hip point (the bony protrusion on the front of your pelvis).
Slide your hand on a 45-degree angle towards your pubic bone. Keep the base of your hand on your hip point and your fingers on your pubic bone.
Notice what’s happening.
If your fingers and your pubic bone move backwards towards your tailbone you are in an anterior pelvic tilt.
If your fingers and your pubic bone move forwards you are in a posterior pelvic tilt.
If your hand is in a straight line you are in neutral pelvis.
This is such an easy way to check your alignment and find your body in space! I learnt this technique from Kim Vopni @thevagiancoach – check out her awesome feed!
So why is developing an awareness of neutral pelvis important in pregnancy?
Here are the facts:
An anterior pelvic tilt further along in pregnancy can create a Diastasis Recti Abdominis (DRA).
An anterior pelvic tilt decreases the amount of structural support for pelvic organs and can lead to a pelvic organ prolapse.
A posterior pelvic tilt can shorten and tighten the posterior pelvic floor resulting in a weak pelvic floor. Imagine if your bicep was engaged ALL THE TIME! How well do you think that muscle would work when you needed to use it?
A posterior pelvic tilt can flatten and dis-inhibit your gluteal muscles, resulting in an even shorter posterior pelvic floor, low back pain and dysfunction in your pelvis.
An anterior or posterior pelvic tilt can lead to non-optimal fetal alignment resulting in longer and more intensive labours.
So, how can we educate and empower ourselves?
Check in with your alignment when you are performing both old and new activities of daily living, when you are standing, or when you are sitting. Notice how your alignment changes as your pregnancy progresses.
Because we know that neutral pelvis decreases our risk factors for the above, strive for neutral pelvis in your activities of daily living, standing positions and sitting positions. This doesn’t need to be perfect! You do not need to be in neutral pelvis all the time!
Don’t be afraid to move. We are living, breathing, fluctuating creatures. We are not static and our pelvis is not static. Just like that good ole bicep in one position, getting weak and being unable to perform when we need it the most, one pelvic position will do the same, whether that be anterior, posterior or neutral pelvis. One position will cause stagnate, tired and weak muscles. Embrace the joys of movement!
Give yourself a break. No matter what position your pelvis is in, your body is doing an amazing thing; you are growing, sustaining, and cradling a beautiful creature. It's actually amazing that in a mere 9 months or so you have grown a little human and developed a new organ. Let’s celebrate that!
Find out more! Check out: www.thepregnantpelvis.net