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Taking Care of your pregnant body

So many changes occur within a woman’s body during pregnancy. I mean, you are in fact creating another life! It takes a lot of energy and resources from mom. So it should speak to common sense that you need to be proactive in your health and wellness regime to ensure the most optimal health for you and baby during this crucial time. Let me just discuss a FEW of the many changes that are happening that you may not even think of- but you will definitely FEEL!

There is a realignment of the spinal curvatures to maintain balance. This produces postural changes such as an exaggerated lumbar lordosis. A lumbar lordosis is the curve in your low back. While pregnant, especially in the later stages of pregnancy, this curve becomes more defined leading to that recognizable pregnant waddle!

The abdomen begins to expand in the second trimester and by the end of this trimester the uterus is near the rib cage. So your ribs will need to expand to make room for baby!

Finally, leg cramps and swelling of feet and ankles. Leg cramps can happen for a number of reasons but two big ones are fatigue from carrying extra weight and compression of the blood vessels in the legs. Extra fluid in the body from pregnancy can cause your ankles and feet to swell.

I had every one of these things happen to my body while pregnant. So what to do about it?

MASSAGE

A registered massage therapist can knead out tension the muscles of your lower back, hips, and legs to make you feel more comfortable and relaxed during your pregnancy. The massage also increases circulation which helps with swelling and cramps. Manual lymphatic drainage can be performed which is very effective in decreasing edema in the ankles and feet. A massage therapist can also help to keep your joints mobile and teach you exercises to help you with pregnancy, labour and delivery.

CHIROPRACTIC

With your centre of gravity changing and all of the shifting your joints are doing, regular adjustments are crucial to a pregnant body. Chiropractic adjustments will also stimulate your nervous system to enable proper functioning of your reproductive system.

REGULAR EXERCISE

Throughout my pregnancy, I kept my body feeling loose and limber and strong.  How can you expect to carry a baby around for 9 months and then deliver it in what could be a long labour (it is called LABOUR for a reason) if you are not in tip top shape? Of course I am not suggesting a triathlon but here are three of my favourite pregnancy workouts:

  1. Pre-natal yoga – I cannot say enough about how fabulous this was for me. The focus was on opening my hips, strengthening my legs, core, and pelvic floor muscles, and learning proper breathing.
  2. Swimming – stiff joints need to move. But carrying around 20, 30, 40 pounds of extra weight can mean that going for a run is not an option – nor should it be. Your knees, hips and ankles will thank you for this.
  3. Walking. For so many reasons. But for me it was just getting out in the sunshine that made such a difference. If for no other reason than to brighten your mood. A happy mamma means a happy baby.

I hope these three things are a part of your prenatal care and that you have a wonderful pregnant experience. It is after all the start of a new life- literally and figuratively!

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