We all know about the importance of stretching, but how does a pregnant woman benefit from stretching regularly? A woman’s body goes through so many changes when she is pregnant, from physiological changes to anatomical changes, to allow for her baby to grow. A mom-to-be must juggle these changes along with her busy life and stresses at work. Proper stretching can help make this incredible journey a little easier and a little more comfortable.
The two changes that every woman experiences during her pregnancy are weight gain and breast growth. With each passing month, the body naturally changes its center of gravity because of the increase in her anterior load – the extra weight being carried in the front of the body. This shift causes many other shifts in her body:
- The head sits more forward
- Her shoulders round forward
- The back curves forward
- Her knees can become hyperextended
- Her feet may become pronated
These changes and compensations trigger not only a gait and posture change but can also cause musculoskeletal pain. The most common pain associated with pregnancy is back pain mainly due to the change in the curve of her spine or sway back caused by the change of center of gravity. The sway back can cause the muscles around the spine to tighten in order to stabilize the pelvis. Other common pains are knee, hip, and joint pain. These could be caused by a combination of ailments: relaxation of the joints from hormonal changes, swelling, fluid retention and weight bearing.
Stretching these areas – shoulders, chest and lower body, will alleviate the pain, help correct her posture, increase blood flow, and release toxins.
Stretching will not only aid in pain relief but also will help the mom-to-be to relax. Stretching promotes blood flow and flushes out toxins. Along with the increase in blood flow comes an increase in oxygen circulating throughout her body, giving her a much-needed boost in energy.
Leah Goldglantz, creator of Leahsplate.com and also a LYMBR ambassador, added personalized stretching to her routine during her pregnancy. Leah started getting stretched at LYMBR around the beginning of her pregnancy for lower back pain, tight neck and shoulders. Not only did stretching help her with musculoskeletal pain and release muscle tension, it also helped her to relax and reduce stress. She said: “It was very good, mentally, for me during my pregnancy.”
When a woman’s body is properly aligned during her pregnancy, it makes a big difference when the baby arrives. Bringing her new baby home with a body that feels balanced and limber makes it easier to spend hours carrying, changing and feeding her new bundle of joy. We often recommend that new moms visit us after they’ve settled in with their new family so we can make sure the imbalances are in check and mom can focus on the joy of motherhood. There are new sets of challenges that arise with caring for a newborn, which we will cover in a follow-up post.
Written by Julie Diaz. Julie is a Stretch Therapist in our Tribeca studio.
This blog is written for information purposes. Please consult your physician prior to scheduling an appointment at LYMBR.