I’ve always had a keen interest in pregnancy and natural childbirth and now that I’m pregnant, for the first time, I’m realizing just how important it is to prepare your body for your baby’s birthday. There are so many thing that we do to prepare by making sure we are eating healthily, getting enough rest and staying active. Today I want to focus on making sure we are keeping our hips aligned to allow for an optimal, natural and easier birth and also to create a comfortable home for our little growing bean/s.
When we refer to our hips we are talking about our pelvis, which consists of four bones; Ilium x2, sacrum and coccyx. Our pelvis is not a solid structure but is designed to move. Our pelvis should ideally be tilted slightly anteriorly (forward) to allow for our natural lumbar curve. Our lifestyle has changed over time and this has had an negative impact our pelvis. We sit poorly for most of our day which cause our pelvis to change alignment and move into a posterior (backward) position which is not ideal for childbirth. When our pelvis is not aligned it can cause our little ones confusion and they can take on less optimal positions like the breech position.
Luckily there are easy, simple thing we can do to get our pelvis moving better and back into a great position. (Please consult your Midwife or Chiropractor before starting any new exercise plans as we are all unique and at different stages of our health journey.)
This should be common sense but we often get so busy during the day that we don’t move from our desk and plonk ourselves in front of netflix as soon as we get home. By adding 30 mins of brisk walking into our routine we can reverse a lot of the damage that sitting does to our pelvis.
- Sitting pretty
We cannot get away from the “S” word so let just make it better. When you are sitting, your knees should be below your hips, your belly leaning/tilting forward and your back straight with your natural curve intact. This gives your little one a comfortable home in your pelvis. It is best if you avoid a soft couch or recliner as this forces our pelvis into a bad position. Rather try sitting on an exercise ball or sitting on the floor with your back straight against the couch. You can also change your car seat by adding a pillow under your bum and a small pillow in the small of your back to allow for a good pelvic tilt and better posture while driving long distances.
- Wash the floor on all fours
Just joking, but now that you have visualized the position you can move it that position to “clean” your pelvis. You can even add some daily crawling to get those hips moving well. You can try the yoga pose Cat/Cow or even better join a yoga class (making sure your Yogi has experience in working with pregnant woman). Pilates is also a great way to stay active during your pregnancy. Always remember to take it easy with these new positions.
- Squatting the right way
This is a squat with our backs straight and heels on the floor. You can see in picture 1 that my pelvis is tilted forward and my back is not round like in picture 2. It is not an easy position for most of us as we do not get in this position often. I usually recommend adding a rolled towel under your heels if you are not very supple like me.
- Visit your Chiropractor
I have seen the benefits of regular Chiropractic treatment on my changing body and my patients bodies. It is difficult to determine how your pelvis is position without the help of a professional who specializes in preggy bellies. We are very gentle in our approach and will not harm you or your little one.
Your pelvis alignment will change throughout your pregnancy as your body prepares for birth by releasing different hormones. Research has shown that having your pelvis aligned can result in shorter labour time and a reduction in pain medication during labour. Chiropractors also look after the pelvic ligaments such as the round ligaments of the womb that attached to the pelvis on either side. If it is tight it can cause the pelvis to rotate one way or the other and create slight torsion and strain on the womb and make it difficult for your little one to move which can force the little one in a breech position.
So basically in summary. We want the pregnant body to still move well which allows our pelvis to assume the best position for our babies and birth.
Please don’t try any movement or exercise that you are unsure of or uncomfortable with. Consult with a Chiropractor, Midwife or your chosen health care provider before you start any new exercises.
May your pregnancy and birth be a special time in your life and remember you were born to do this. You’ve got this! We are amazing!
Dr. Anneke Lees
Fallon J. The Effect of Chiropractic Treatment on Pregnancy and Labor: A Comprehensive Study. Proceedings of the World Federation of Chiropractic, 1991:24-31
Henderson I. American Medical Association records released in 1987 during trial in U.S. District Court Northern Illinois Eastern Division, No. 76 C 3777, May, 1987