By Lara Heimann, Yoga pioneer & Physical Therapist
Pregnancy is a beautiful and miraculous time but it can also be a very challenging time on a woman’s body. With the more obvious changes such as weight gain, an expanding uterus, and the accompanying fatigue from growing life, the changes to the soft tissue structures are often overlooked. Increased laxity in the ligaments during pregnancy occurs as the hormone, relaxin, prepares the body for the birthing process.
With the laxity, some women experience low back pain, pubic pain, in addition to increased tension in the shoulders as postural changes shift the center of gravity. Belly breathing practice can help minimize your discomfort during daily movements, such as getting out of bed or in and out of the car.
5 Moves to Alleviate Common Pregnancy Ailments
Lower Back Discomfort
- Come on to all fours and mobilize the spine with a cat-cow.
- Slightly arch the back with cow and then round the whole spine with a cat. These movements can free up some of the restricted tissue in the back and help realign the spine as it can become misaligned with looser ligaments.
- Repeat slowly for 10x.
Low Back and Pubis Discomfort
- Come on to your back with knees bent, feet on the floor, and lift hips in a low bridge.
- Work on lengthening the tailbone end toward the heels to create more space in the low back.
- Add a yoga block between the thighs and gently squeeze to bring the two sides of the pubic in alignment.
- Stay in bridge pose for 1-2 minutes, working the glutes and breathing into the back ribs.
Low back and Pubis Discomfort
- Stand with feet wider than hip-distance and turn the feet out slightly in a goddess pose.
- Bend the knees and get into a squat position while holding some tone in the abdominals.
- Lengthen the tailbone end toward the floor to create more space in the back and breathe into the middle back to relieve tension there and help with the increased pressure in the pelvic bowl.
- Pulse for 1 minute.
Shoulder and Thoracic Spine Mobility
- Stand in a door frame and place elbows at a 90-degree angle on the frame of the door.
- Pull the front body in to create length in the back ribs. Lean forward to stretch the chest wall and shoulders.
- Hold and breathe for 10-15 counts.
- You can have feet parallel or staggered depending on the comfort level.
- Restrain the low back from arching.
Shoulder and Low Back Stretch
- From all fours, lift knees off the floor and stretch into a down dog. Lift the front body up toward the back body to prevent arching in the low back.
- Press hands into the floor and keep the head in line with your arms.
- Breathe into the low back and hold for 10-15 breaths.
This move opens the shoulders and back body tissue, relieving the pull in the mid and lower back from the growing belly.
Note: You should always consult with a qualified physician or health professional before starting an exercise routine.