Pregnancy is such an intense time, loads of changes happening very fast, in your life but also in your body.
How does pregnancy affect your organism and what can you do to avoid pain?
One of the most dramatic changes you'll experience is your posture.
As the baby grows, your body accommodates, changing your postural alignment. By the end of the pregnancy your posture will be completely different! Why and how does this happen?
Your centre of gravity shifts forward as your bump and breasts grow, therefore your posture has to change in order to prevent you from falling over when you stand! Also the weight of the abdomen increases the curvature of the lower back and tilts the pelvis forward. When this happens, all your spine needs to adapt: your mid back region gets more rounded, the shoulders roll forwards and your chin and neck are pulled forwards while your head tilts backwards.
What are the consequences of these changes?
As you can see in the photo (from focusandmove.co.uk) your muscles get affected:
- stretched and weak muscles of the upped back
- weak glutes
- stretched and weak hamstrings
- stretched and weak abdominal muscles
- tight and short lower back muscles
- tight and short neck muscles
- the feet drop the inner arches
What happens when your body changes this much?
- The changes in your upper body can decrease the mobility of the ribs, causing breathing pattern changes and shortness of breath
- The changes in the neck can give neck pain, headaches and tingling sensation in arms and hands
- The changes in your feet can cause plantar fascitis, giving pain on feet and heels.
- The extension of the knees and the increasing weight cause pain behind the knees and in the calves
- The tilt of the pelvis can cause sciatic nerve pain and pubic pain
- The increased curvature of your lower back can cause pain and discomfort
The discomfort caused by these changes can be eased with massage and exercises
Apart from this mechanical changes, your body is producing relaxin, a hormone that softens the ligaments, making your body ready for birth. Because of this relaxation of some structures, your pelvis can become inestable and you can experience pelvic girdle pain (known before as symphysis pubis dysfunction or SPD). This affects up to 1 in every 5 pregnant women and can reduce their mobility and quality of life. Instability of the pelvis can last after birth, but it can be corrected with rehab and exercises
Another change that pregnant women experience is the oedema or swelling. This is because
of the increased amount of fluids they have in their system. Your body will increase the production of blood and fluids to meet the developing needs of your baby. It can be visible everywhere, hands, face… but it becomes more uncomfortable in the legs.
Lymphatic drainage can help reduce the swelling of your ankles and make you more comfortable.
Pregnancy not only affect your body for 9 months, your body will still experience changes for months or even years afterwards. Postural related problems (more pronounced if you breastfeed) or pelvic pain can still be treated after having your baby.
Make sure you look after yourself, getting in touch with a professional trained in Pregnancy Massage