By: Dr. Ariel Provasoli
As you may know, during pregnancy many women experience discomfort from all the changes their bodies are going through. It’s not unusual to hear soon-to-be moms sharing about back pain as the baby grows into new places and their center of gravity shifts. These drastic changes can cause an imbalance in the spine and also aggravate imbalances that previously went unnoticed as the hormone relaxin increases and the body’s joints loosen.
Here are nine tips you can use to help prevent mild achiness.
- Move Your Body: If you are working at a desk or sitting still, get up and take a break several times an hour. You can go on a short walk, get a glass of water or stand up and do some shoulder rolls. When you sit, use a small wedge or a hand towel folded into thirds and placed under your sit bones. Using this support will tilt your pelvis forward, slightly lifting and lengthening the muscles that flex your hips and tighten as your baby grows.
- Lift Properly: Chances are you have a little one who wants to be picked up or if this is your first pregnancy you aren’t experienced in what your physical limits may be quite yet. When you lift, be sure to keep your spine straight and hinge at your hips, drop your behind low so your chest is close to what you are picking up and hold it close to you. The further away the object is from you, the more strain it will put on your spine. Avoid twisting to reach for something in the car or while doing laundry or loading a dishwasher.
- Stand Well: Your abdominal muscles are changing and the loss of their engagement can cause low back pain as well as pubic bone pain. While you’re standing you can still engage those lower tummy muscles and relieve discomfort by softening the backs of your knees and tucking your tailbone down toward the floor. This shift will create some relief by removing the curve from your lower back, which is being exaggerated by the weight of your baby.
- Exercise: Regular exercise during your pregnancy will help get your body’s natural endorphins going and it will also help keep your endurance up to prepare you for labor. Walking, swimming, prenatal yoga or pilates, and some bodyweight exercises and cardio are all great. Getting regular adjustments will help keep your joints moving and properly aligned so you can do these activities pain free.
- Rest Well:Living in the beautiful Bay Area it’s easy to do, do, do. NOW is the time to get good rest. Rest can be taking a nap, getting a massage, having a day with nothing planned, or reading a book (not being on a computer reading). Rest is equally as important as sleep.
- Meditation: By taking time to calm your mind or disengage from all the new information you may be getting from every angle about your pregnancy and what to expect, you are creating space to check in with your breath, yourself and your baby. Using visualization and breath can be the most self supportive things you can bring to your birth and clearly visioning what you desire will help you to create a calm, confident space for yourself before you embark on your birth journey.
- Sleep Right: Sleep is a common issue for pregnant women and to make it more comfortable start with your mattress: it should be supportive and not too soft. Side sleeping with a fort of pillows will best support your body. Place a pillow between your knees and arms so you have something to hug. A thin pillow placed under your ribs where your waist is, and maybe something under your growing belly will help support those areas too.
- Under Do It: You’ve heard people say, “I just over did it today.” A goal I like to suggest is to Under Do It. This is an opportunity for you to check in with yourself throughout each day and ask yourself where you’re at: physically, mentally and emotionally. If there’s too much going on, you are on the brink of being overwhelmed or you’re starting to feel physical discomfort ask for help or delegate a chore to someone else. And if a friend, family member or doula offers their help, accept it. Getting assistance won’t push you beyond your limit and your body and baby will thank you.
- Ask Me: Pain, whether in your back, pelvis, neck, or hands and feet is never normal, especially during pregnancy. If you are experiencing pain or discomfort, please consult with a chiropractor who specializes in prenatal care. This specific work is largely focused on assisting women feel more comfortable throughout their entire pregnancy by removing imbalances in the body. Chiropractic adjustments are gentle, safe and naturally remove interference which may be in the way of your body’s own self healing capabilities. Regular chiropractic care during pregnancy assists with reducing pain and discomfort. I would be happy to answer questions you may have or find the right person to work with you through my extensive network of perinatal practitioners.
Implementing these tips can help prevent injury and lead to a more comfortable pregnancy while creating a calm environment for you and your baby. Remember the most important way you can take care of your baby while pregnant is to take care of yourself.
Dr. Ariel Provasoli, Family Chiropractor, provides gentle, holistic chiropractic care for the whole family, specializing in pediatrics, pregnancy and postpartum care. Please contact us via our website: www.berkeleyflow.com to schedule your complimentary 60 minute phone consultation on Creating Your Ideal Pregnancy or an appointment at Flow Chiropractic and Family Wellness Center.