Posture is always changing depending on how we move, rest and load our bodies, how much energy we have, our emotions, digestion and so much more. Typically this happens over years of patterning. However, during pregnancy posture gets challenged much more quickly and significantly as belly and baby grow. All that weight on the front tends to cause the pelvis to tip forwards, increasing lower and upper back curvatures, as well as our center of gravity. Further, as the abdominal wall muscles get stretched to make room for baby, the deep central stability system of the core becomes more challenged, reducing its reflexive activation and strength around the middle. This in combination with the new alignment of the spine can cause compression of the joints, potentially leading to back pain.
Changes in posture during pregnancy also affect women after birth with the new demands of lifting, carrying, and feeding baby. Muscle imbalances, like tension and weakness including the core, or joint stiffness are just a few changes that can cause pain.
Here are some tips to maintain proper standing posture, whether you’re pregnant, holding or carrying baby, or have back pain:
- Feet shoulder width apart, with weight evenly distributed (no sticking your hip out)
- Weight in your heels
- Soft knees (it is very common to keep them hyperextended/straight)
- Hips slightly hinged to offload the lower back
- Pelvis in neutral (watch out for that arched low back!)
- Ribs stacked above pelvis
- Shoulders aligned with hips (no rounding) and head
The key to posture is that: 1. all adjustments should be small and subtle, allowing you to maintain fluidity and dynamic movement or breath, 2. you will not have perfect posture 100% of the time. Instead, when you notice your could be a bit more optimal in your posture, adjust. Even if just for 3 seconds – repeat that 30 times throughout the day, you are good! If you have time for longer, correct subtly for longer. Breathe in the optimal posture.
For more postural tips, check out the video below!!
Sarah will also be teaching a 4 week series of Prenatal PhysioAlignment movement classes at Bloom starting this January. Registration required. May be covered by private health insurance.
Sarah Trottier, Physiotherapist has a clinical focus in women’s and pelvic health. She currently lives and works in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada.
Disclaimer – Everything shared is for informative purposes only. It is not intended for assessment, diagnosis or treatment purposes. If you feel there needs to be further investigation, please seek out a qualified health care professional for a proper assessment.