There are many things to consider (or, in most cases, panic about) during pregnancy. Whether it’s your first pregnancy or fourth, every single thing a mum-to-be does will leave her asking ‘is this okay to be doing?!’ – cue an evening of avid google searches. Another factor to add to the ever growing list is posture. Hollie Grant, founder of The Bump Plan, explains why posture is so important throughout pregnancy.
It’s important to note that posture isn’t only important throughout pregnancy. Good posture (something that the majority of us have not achieved throughout ‘work from home’ life), can not only increase energy levels, but it can also help ease pain and boost confidence.
During pregnancy, however, a combination of hormonal and mechanical changes take place that can rapidly alter our posture. “Given that our bodies are used to working cohesively with our current posture, these changes can lead to discomfort, aches and pains. And it’s no wonder that we feel these things – by the end of your pregnancy your bump can weigh more than 5kg. Imagine strapping a dumbbell of that size to the front of your pelvis all day – it would be pretty tiring”, explains Hollie.
So, what changes actually do take place throughout pregnancy?
The main changes, it seems, happen in our pelvis and our chest – and can be the culprit of pesky tension pains. If we think of where our bumps sit, they are essentially at the front of the pelvis. The weight of your bump can pull the pelvis forward into an anterior tilt and many women feel this as tension in their lower backs. As for the chest, our breasts can grow by 2-3 cup sizes during pregnancy and this can feel pretty heavy. As the breasts grow (and potentially get tender) we can start to round the shoulders, or round the upper back, causing a more hunched posture type.
These changes not only affect our body, but our minds as well. Pregnancy related lower back pain is thought to affect over 50% of pregnant women, and as the name suggests it really isn’t enjoyable for anyone! Pain during pregnancy can really affect our mood, and it often leads women to stop moving – something that can not only make symptoms worse but can really affect their mental health. Staying active during pregnancy has massive health benefits and ensuring we have good posture, and strong functional muscles, can really help us continue doing what we love.
And how do we fix it?!
We all have our own posture “type” and no two postures are the same. But if we think about the areas of the body that will be under the greatest demand during pregnancy we can target those specifically.
“The glutes are the muscles that help to support the weight of your growing baby. They will aim to hold the pelvis in position, as your bump gets heavier. It’s therefore really important that you keep your glutes active and functional during pregnancy with exercises such as squats, lunges, adapted deadlifts and clams
The upper back – this part of the body is helping to support your growing boobs and bump, plus our modern-day lifestyles encourage a pretty rounded upper back as it is. So, maintaining strength in the upper back will really help encourage good posture during pregnancy. When the babies arrive we will be holding them A LOT, and they are heavy, so preparation for that is key. Exercises like rowing, reverse pec flies, thoracic extension, and superman can really help!”
Hollie Grant is an award-winning Pilates Instructor & PT, founder of Pilates PT and creator & founder of The Bump Plan. Hollie launched The Bump Plan in December 2020, the first holistic pre-natal fitness plan of its kind. She filmed it during her pregnancy with her daughter in 2019. The Bump Plan now has been used by over 5000 women and continues to grow rapidly. Her post-natal plan is launching in December.