Jul 20th, 2018
Jul 20th, 2018 / Nicki Chick
3 things to note about postpartum posture
by Women’s Health Physiotherapist Clare Bourne
The ‘P’ word – the one all physios love- POSTURE! It is never more relevant than during and after pregnancy. There are three main areas where our posture changes during pregnancy and into motherhood – our pelvis, upper back and neck.
Pelvis: during pregnancy the pelvis tilts forward, as your bump grows, into what we call, anterior pelvic tilt. This increases the curve in your lower back, known as the lumbar spine, which for some can cause back pain or stiffness. Once we have given birth our pelvis often remains in this altered position due to our abdominal muscles being lengthened, and our awareness of where our pelvis should be altered during the 9 months of pregnancy. This takes some retraining, which is essential, as alterations around the pelvis have a knock on affect higher up. This leads me to the…
Upper back: To compensate for our bump, change in pelvic position and change in position of our centre of gravity, our upper back – known as the thoracic spine- moves backwards from its normal position. This helps to make sure we maintain our balance and is a natural compensation. Along with this our shoulders generally start to round forwards as our breast size increases. Targeted exercise to the muscles that stabilize the shoulder blades during pregnancy can help this. As we move into motherhood and we beginning feeding, however we decide to do this, we often sit in slumped postures with rounded shoulders feeding a little ones. This leads me to the…
Neck: Commonly due to the other postural changes mentioned and long times feeding looking down at our babes, our necks naturally start to move forwards into what we call a poking chin posture. This is when we might start to notice our neck getting tight, painful and a desperate desire for a massage, and though the massage will feel good it won’t resolve the underlying problem.
Do not fear though ladies, because this is all resolvable through firstly becoming aware, then making sure we optimize our posture as best we can through our daily mummy activities, and then through exercise. We need to strengthen the weakened muscles and stretch the ones that have got tight.
Make sure you check out the next blog where Lulu and I will teach you a few tips and exercises to help regain correct posture.