I always recommend these 3 steps to my clients and customers so that they too can experience and enjoy a pain free pregnancy just like I did.
1. Sleeping Position
Often during the first and early second trimesters women don’t assume that they need to change or modify their sleeping position. However, due to a large amount of pregnancy hormones released into the system, which affects the strength of ligaments and the muscles supporting the pelvis, if you are a side sleeper then it is best to follow my advice below to prevent pain.
Add a Pillow
If a women is a side sleeper from the start of her pregnancy it really helps to get used to sleeping with a pillow under the knee with the knee in front of the body, so not a pillow between the legs.
What you need to do to reduce discomfort is raise the knee inline with your pelvis so that the upper leg is horizontal. This reduces the pull on the lengthened muscle fibers reducing aches.
If the knee is not supported, the angle from the hip to knee increases, adding stress on one side, weakening the muscle and ligaments further often resulting in discomfort and then pain.
Women have become pain free overnight just by adding a pillow to support their knee! Not that this happens for everybody instantly; you have to try it and see.
As your pregnancy progresses you need to adjust the pillow height so that your leg remains horizontal. During my last pregnancy I actually used a specific pillow to do this job and found it worked very well.
More Relief for You!
By opening up the pelvis using a pillow to support the knee it reduces pressure on your internal organs and you may find that you have less toilet visits during the night!
If you are a tummy or back sleeper you can adopt this position when you start sleeping on your side.
Poor posture will increase pain during pregnancy. Poor posture stresses the musculoskeletal system when not pregnant but its effects are much worse during pregnancy thanks to the hormones progesterone and estrogen.
It is therefore important that you try to address any bad posture habits from the start or prior to conceiving.
Improving your posture will not only prevent pain but will also give baby more room to grow, move, and allow you to carry your pregnancy much more efficiently.
Why Good Posture is Important
Poor posture results in muscle imbalances and as females we constantly sit with our legs crossed or stand with one hip pushed out to the side. Its these bad standing and carrying habits that lead to muscle imbalances. This puts extra stress on one side of the sacroiliac joint* which often results in pain.
If you continue to stand on one hip or carry small children for long periods of time then the muscles on this side become very weak and can no longer support the pelvis which destabilizes the sacroiliac joint on the one side resulting in pain.
Try and think about the following points over the next few days:
- Stop slouching, instead sit up straight and lift your chest up.
- When you stand avoid pushing your stomach and head forward, think that you have a piece of string attached to the top of your head pulling you upwards.
- Avoid carrying children and babies on one hip or standing with one hip hitched to the side.Try to have your weight evenly balanced and carry small children with their legs wrapped around your waist.
- Avoid sitting with your legs crossed during your entire pregnancy!
Corrective exercise to help address the above muscle imbalances and poor posture are a must for every pregnant woman.
By strengthening weak muscles throughout a pregnancy with correct exercises will reduce and prevent pain. Concentrating on exercises that strengthen your glute muscles (that's your butt) will significantly help stabilize your pelvis. Strengthening weak core muscles will help correct your posture.
The exercises that can help are not hard exercises. They are simple and easy to do once you know how. They don’t even take up too much time! Just 10 minutes a day is all that is needed.
The programs I have created that I sell on my website are not just any safe exercises that have been thrown together just because they look good. Instead they are specific exercises to prevent pain during pregnancy.
Of course there are exceptions. Often at certain times during a pregnancy, during weeks 11-13, weeks 21-23, and weeks 30-33, there is a surge of hormones which can lead to your lower back aching as the ligaments start to stretch, preparing your body for your growing baby, labor and birth. This type of lower back discomfort is different as it normally lasts only 2-3 days and will be quite concentrated around the sacroiliac joint with the pain often disappearing. This is pregnancy hormonal back pain.
Many women will visit chiropractors and or osteopaths to help ease back pain. This is great and these practitioners can work wonders, but you have to address why the pain has occurred and what to do to prevent it. If you can get regular pregnancy massage this will also help as it can reduce muscle tension.
To enjoy a pain free pregnancy change your habits:
Adjust your sleeping position, change and correct poor posture and enjoy regular corrective exercise.
Reduce Back pain during pregnancy: http://positivelypregnant-mummytrainer.blogspot.co.nz/2011/06/are-you-suffering-from-hip-and-lower.html
*Sacroiliac Joint: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sacroiliac_joint_dysfunction