Pregnancy can be exciting, as the human body changes to support growing a new human. It can also be painful and terrifying… as the body changes to support growing a new human. ;)
Movement during pregnancy is encouraged, for both the future health of your baby, as well as the health of the mom to be. If you’re having new aches and pains though, even the thought of being active and moving is overwhelming. Guidelines put out by CSEP/SOGC suggest that, ‘Pregnant women should accumulate at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity physical activity each week over a minimum of three days per week; however, being active in a variety of ways every day is encouraged.’ Given these guidelines that encourage activity (provided you are medically cleared to do so), here are some tips to staying more comfortable while being active during your pregnancy.
Soothing achey feet - our feet need to support increased weight as pregnancy progresses, and there is some research indicating that the soft tissues in our body become more relaxed. These two things increase the demand placed on our feet, causing them to become tired and achey. Wearing footwear that is the appropriate size (think wide toe boxes here) can help, as can applying RockTape to the bottoms of the feet and completing some foot strength exercises. Try lifting all of the toes up while keeping the ball of the foot on the floor, spreading the toes out, and lifting the arch while keeping the heel and ball of the foot on the floor. Hold the positions for a few seconds, repeat often throughout the day to help those foot muscles get stronger.
Lumbopelvic pain - classic areas here are the muscles along the lumbar spine, and sacroiliac joints (SIJ’s). These joints are located at the right and left sides of the low back, where the pelvis bones join together via ligaments and soft tissues. As lumbopelvic posture changes during pregnancy, the load on these joints also changes. We can help relieve this pressure of this strain by doing some appropriate strength work (glutes are a great area to focus on here), and making sure the tissue across the area is moving well. RockTape and RockPods can work well here, helping with tissue mobility and pain relief. This picture is of a simple ‘x’ application of tape over a sore left SIJ.
Upper back strain - the shift of our centre of mass during pregnancy can cause the natural curves in our spine to change. The upper back can round forward more to compensate for the increased lordosis in the lumbar spine.‘Undoing’ postures that we are in frequently throughout the day (slouching through the upper back while sitting, for example) can help reduce the chances we will experience discomfort. Suggestions for ‘undoing’ the upper back rounding are sitting tall and arching your upper back over the top of a high-backed chair, laying on your back along a foam roller or towel roll with your knees bent and your arms out (if you are permitted to lay on your back in your current stage of pregnancy), and completing strength exercises such as the bent over row, wall push-ups, and resistance band pull aparts.
Our bodies are designed to accommodate to the changes of pregnancy. Discomfort arises if we adopt these new posture changes permanently, or do not complete exercises to support our bodies during these changes. I hope the above suggestions give you some tips for staying comfortable and active during your pregnancy!