I’m a mom of four, a doula, and a women’s pelvic health physiotherapist. I often get asked by moms why more information isn’t available about what “really” happens to your body during pregnancy. I’ve collected some of what I would consider, very important information, that will help your body while pregnant.
Five things to know about your body when you’re pregnant
- See a Pelvic Health Physiotherapist and have your pelvic floor, core and more checked. Leaking urine during your pregnancy or after the birth of your baby is common but NOT normal. A functional pelvic floor is important to prevent leaking. Not all pregnant women can do a “Kegel” correctly and may need strategies other than Kegels to have a healthy pelvic floor.
- Pregnancy aches and pains are common but NOT normal, and they shouldn’t be expected just because you are pregnant. Pregnancy changes your body in many ways often leading to muscle and joint issues, especially in the back, pelvis, and hips. Sometimes things as simple as correcting your posture, or wearing a maternity belt can give you huge relief.
- In a recent study, it has been shown that 100% of pregnant women will have some degree of abdominal separation by 35 weeks pregnant. Learn to strengthen your deep abdominals and use postures and positions to decrease stress on your abdominal wall to minimize the separation. AVOID crunches, v sits/bicycles and planks as these activities could make an abdominal separation worse during pregnancy and early postpartum.
- Posture counts when you poop! Certain positions and chronic straining can increase pressure on your pelvic floor and pelvic organs putting you at risk for hemorrhoids, leaking urine, and pelvic organ prolapse. Stay hydrated and eat a healthy fibrous diet, and AVOID straining. When on the toilet, use a stool under your feet so that your knees are higher than your hips, lean forward slightly, and remember to breathe.
- Relax and prepare your pelvic floor for baby’s birth. Pelvic floor relaxation is just as important as pelvic floor strength. Learning how to relax your pelvic floor is integral to delivering your baby. Studies have shown a reduction in perineal trauma when women have used massage and stretch techniques to prepare your perineum for birth. If you need some help check out the Epi-no©, as it may be a good tool to assist you. You can find more information and order the Epi-no© here and here.
Corina Kerrison is a Women’s Health Physiotherapist and mom of four in Calgary, Alberta. She is co-owner of Optimum Perinatal Health, where she works with women prenatally to ready their bodies for labour and delivery, and postnatally to recover and restore after the birth of their babies. You can find her at www.optimumperinatal.com or on Facebook @optimumperinatalhealth.
For information on when you can start running again after baby, see our article here.