by Dr. Katherine Wilson, chiropractor with Wilson Family Chiropractic
During our life we experience day to day stresses that can misalign the spine. Habits like sitting too long, holding a child consistently on one hip or past incidences like car accidents, sports injuries or even minor slips and falls will gradually misalign the spine causing stress and tension on the muscles and ligaments.
“Stand up straight! Watch your posture.” Do you remember hearing your parents or teachers say this to you? I certainly do! I'd try to push my shoulders back or lift up my head but I never really understood why they wanted me to do it. I’m not even sure they knew why for themselves. Sure it looks nice when we have good posture but there is more to it.
Proper posture not only means you look good but more importantly, it means your spine is straight. And when your spine is straight it means all the muscles and attached ligaments are relaxed and balanced.
When pregnant, it's imperative the pelvis and all the supporting muscles and ligaments are balanced and relaxed in order to provide the mother with a more comfortable pregnancy. An aligned spine allows the joints to have full motion. When this happens we have better and safer outcomes for labor and delivery. A balanced pelvis creates the optimal environment for the baby to settle into a head-down position, which is ideal for a vaginal delivery.
Posture is something that can be difficult to correct on a conscious level. Our muscles and nerves have memory and if we have been standing or sitting a certain way for a long periods of time it takes work to change. Pregnant women can begin the process of improving their posture by doing a specific set of stretches and exercises to encourage the muscles to change and strengthen.
Here are 3 things you can start doing now to improve your prenatal posture:
Be mindful of how you are sitting. We spend quite a bit of time with our legs crossed or angled to the side. It is important to embrace the more masculine side of ourselves and sit with our legs apart. In doing this we are helping the muscles and ligaments relax. This will also help as the belly begins to grow and pressure builds on the pelvic floor.
There are a few movements we can do on a day-to- day basis to assist balancing the muscles and ligaments that support the constantly changing pelvis. These include:
- Squats! Squatting is a great position for opening up the hips and relaxing the muscles of the lower back. We want to be sure when we are squatting we are keeping the weight of our body over our knees and not leaning forward. This is a great exercise that transitions into labor and helps ease labor pain and discomfort.
- Pelvic rocking: This can be done either on all fours or sitting on an exercise ball. Gently rocking the pelvis back and forth will help reduce restrictions in the pelvis.
- Figure 8 movements are best done sitting on an exercise ball. In a slow and even pattern move your hips in a figure 8 pattern. This type of moments supports joint function but will also help to establish optimal position for the baby.
3. Prenatal chiropractic care
Chiropractic care throughout your pregnancy is a safe gentle and effective way to keep the pelvis balanced. Not only will you feel more comfortable, have more energy and sleep better, but it will produce better outcomes for those wanting a vaginal delivery as these all help in optimal baby positioning. It is important when looking for a prenatal chiropractor that they certified in the Webster technique. This technique is a gentle and specific way of properly aligning pelvis as well as relaxing the ligaments and muscles that are constantly changing throughout the pregnancy.
To improve your posture during pregnancy, these suggestions when paired with light, easy day-to-day exercise like walking or swimming, allow you to have an enjoyable pregnancy with less pain and more energy. Self-care is worth the time and effort.
Dr. Katherine Wilson, chiropractor with Wilson Family Chiropractic serves prenatal and postpartum mothers in the metro Atlanta area. Her passion to care for pregnant women developed after the birth of her first born in 2007. She now has 3 wonderful children, 2 boys and 1 girl.
In her office she utilizes gentle, safe and effective techniques to accommodate the constant changes a pregnant woman experiences. Her care not only reduces prenatal discomfort but can increase energy, improve sleep and help to maintain pelvic balance which is ideal for those wanting a natural labor and delivery. Dr. Katherine is certified in Webster technique as well as Spinning Babies. She creates personalized care plans to ensure mother and baby have a healthy postpartum recovery and addresses any structural concerns that may affect baby’s ability to successfully breastfeed.