Make sure your body is fit to carry a baby by addressing any issues associated with your core or posture before pregnancy. Here are a few tips for preparing your body for such a significant time of your life and to protect against problems such as musculoskeletal pain and malfunction throughout and after it.
1. Begin a regular fitness routine
In addition to building up your cardiovascular and muscle strength, crucial for carrying extra baby weight, exercise helps to reduce the levels of cortisol (stress hormones) released in your body. This, in turn, protects your baby against the harmful effects of stress which has been known to increase the likeliness of miscarriage. Low-impact activities including walking, biking and swimming should be chosen over high-impact activities like football or running during pregnancy. This is since fast, jarring movements can cause pelvic organ prolapse, a condition wherein the pelvic organs descend.
2. Practice good posture
Poor posture can result in detrimental effects for every part of your body, and can especially emphasise pregnancy pain. There a number of good habits you can develop before you are pregnant including carrying shop bags correctly, not sitting down or at a desk for long periods (especially if you tend to slouch), and participating in back strengthening exercises.
3. Focus on your core
Strengthening the core can prevent diastasis recti —abdominal muscle separation. This involves the abdominal muscles that run vertically beside either side of your belly button to be wrenched apart. If the separation is extreme, you will feel it in symptoms including pelvic pain, lower back pain and other injuries. While exercises including sit ups should be avoided due to the fact that they can heighten the likelihood of developing diastasis recti, a therapist can offer you many suitable exercises to strengthen your core during and after pregnancy.
4. Strengthen your pelvic muscles
Strengthen pelvic muscles can involve using floor contractions (or Kegels), which involves carefully squeezing the sphincter muscles (which shouldn't be confused with the thighs and buttocks). These contracting exercises help to prevent any leakages when a woman coughs or sneezes for instance, aswell as helping to eliminate pelvic discomfort.
5. Practice breathing
Learning to breath properly is important for getting yourself to relax. Once you have developed the right techniques, this will help your pelvic and core muscles to contract easily, resulting in better protection against injury during birth.