By Ros Gilfillan, FGHG Remedial Massage Therapist
Pregnancy by its very nature creates new postural patterns as the body compensates for a change in weight and shape. On it’s own this can be totally manageable, but many pregnant women have pre-existing postural issues, developed long before pregnancy and will need additional exercises to minimise muscular aches, pain and long term consequences.
Most people spend each day repeating other postural patterns caused by the lifestyle they live, i.e. sitting or standing for long periods of time at work and time spent repeating limited movements in our daily life. But it’s the bad habits developed over a long period of time that can be detrimental to our general wellbeing, taking years to undo.
If you are more aware of your posture during pregnancy and take measures to stretch and strengthen your muscles, you can avoid long term postural issues that can develop during pregnancy.
What happens to your posture during pregnancy?
So many things happen to affect your posture during pregnancy! Here are just a few:
What can be done to avoid problems with posture during pregnancy and beyond?
As difficult as it is to find lifestyle balance, just being a little mindful of the way we carry ourselves each day and by starting to incorporate good postural habits early, we can move through life avoiding a myriad of unpleasant conditions that can come back to haunt us later in life.
Stretching and strengthening exercises are so important to maintaining good posture; avoiding slouched shoulders, forward head and curvature of the thoracic and lumbar spine during pregnancy and in fact, all through life.
Stretching increases the range of motion and resting length of muscles while resistance exercise strengthens the integrity of the prime movers and their smaller assisting muscles, contributing to better posture. It’s important to try to make small adjustments to how you carry yourself daily and mix it up with some pilates, gentle yoga, swimming, or a brisk walk outside.
Massage during pregnancy can also assist by releasing some of the pressure on your posture as the baby grows. Offering relief for sore and aching muscles, it also helps to release tension in restricted muscles, lengthening them and increasing blood flow. Everyone feels “ironed-out” after a good massage!
10 Posture improving tips you can start right now:
If we consider the enormous change a pregnant woman’s body goes through during the gestation of a baby, you can understand why it is common for mums to get all kinds of pain, especially in the lower back. With just a little awareness, some simple exercises and the occasional massage your posture will survive the pregnancy and be ready for the fun times ahead when the baby arrives!
Ros Gilfillan is an experienced remedial massage therapist who enjoys working with a myriad of people from all backgrounds and ages. Her skills have been developed through treating conditions ranging from muscular, skeletal and postural issues, pre and post sports treatment for athletes and management of pain linked to injury, degenerative conditions and mental health.
Ros has also developed a special interest in working with women through their pregnancy journey and beyond. She considers the incredible changes in a woman’s body that accommodate and nourish the life of baby, to be both magical and a time that should be enjoyed given the right support system.