Postural changes that occur in pregnancy mean that certain muscle groups are forced to work harder to support the body in an upright position. As a result, these muscles shorten and tighten. So, just how does pregnancy affect my posture?
Which muscles shorten and tighten?
1. Hip Flexors
3. Lower & Upper Back
6. Upper Back
Opposing muscle groups work less to support the body and as a result these muscles weaken.
Which muscles tend to weaken?
1. The Buttocks
2. Back of the thighs
4. Middle of the back
5. Pelvic floor
As pregnancy progresses, postural changes tend to worsen which only increases these muscular imbalances.
To prevent or counterbalance these effects, a prenatal exercise programme can help by:
Stretching those muscles that have become shorter and tighter.
Strengthening those opposing muscles that have become weaker. E.g. a resistance exercise programme.
Incorporating exercises that require you to stabilize a neutral spine position.
When you are postpartum, a postnatal exercise programme can also help address the postural changes and muscular imbalances that occurred during your pregnancy. Therefore aiding your recovery and improving your overall strength and fitness which will only benefit you in coping with the physical demands of motherhood – all that bending, lifting, picking up (those babies only get heavier and not forgetting the daily toy tidy up time which let’s face it is sometimes quite exhausting!)