Building Strength in Your Third Trimester

22 March 2017, 12:00 am
Published in Blog

This article originally appeared on Sonima.com

 

Activate key muscles for a healthy and safe delivery with this 20-minute workout.

By the third trimester of pregnancy, typically the stomach will be quite large, and the sickness of first trimester feels like a distant memory. The goal of all activity in this trimester is to prepare the body for an easy and uneventful delivery. In this video, follow along as alignment expert Pete Egoscue walks you through a very simple yet highly effective workout, that is both low-impact and restorative. The activation of the inner thighs, the contraction of the gluteal and scapular muscles, along with the articulation of the spine, will help with posture, easeful sleep, and a strong, healthy body for the delivery process.

QUESTION: What has been the most challenging aspect of your pregnancy?

As always, thanks for sharing these posts with your friends and family (it's easy, just click below)! Don't forget to join the conversation on Facebook and Twitter. You can follow Pete on Twitter, and you can follow me there as well. You can also follow me on Instagram, too! Let's connect!

Four Exercises for a Pain-Free 2nd Trimester

4 October 2016, 12:00 am
Published in Blog

I think it's safe to say that childbirth is a miraculous event. From conception through delivery, the body does remarkable things to provide a safe environment in which the baby can grow and develop.

For many of you ladies out there, you might consider the "miraculous" part making it through your pregnancy pain free! Your body goes through a tremendous amount of change from Week 1 to Week 40 and the combination of hormonal changes and postural changes can wreak havoc on the body if you're not prepared for it. Most of the women we work with start to experience difficulties in their 2nd Trimester as the baby starts to grow and their body begins changing.

My wife and I have three boys, and each of my wife's pregnancies got progressively better from a pain standpoint. The reason for improvement was the fact that she was much more diligent with her Egoscue menus with each pregnancy. She really struggled with sciatica during her first pregnancy, and she was determined to not let that happen again with the next two! I'm sure some of you can relate! I know many of you are struggling with sciatic pain right now and are constantly searching for answers. The key lies in maintaining balance and neutrality in your pelvis, but that can be extremely tough while pregnant, especially if your body didn't start that way. Your body most likely wasn't in balance when you got pregnant, and the bodily changes (and growing baby) experienced throughout the gestation period only add fuel to the fire.

If you are pregnant and close to one of our clinics, I'd recommend contacting them TODAY to get an evaluation either in-person or via webcam! Your body will thank you for it! Another great resource is Pete Egoscue's Pain Free for Women. It has an incredible amount of information in it, and not just for those of you who are pregnant!

But for those of you who are pregnant and hurting, help is on the way! Try these four simple exercises designed to restore proper function to your hips and balance out your body. Make sure you do them in order and once per day!

STATIC EXTENSION POSITION:

DURATION: 2:00

1.  Start down on the floor on your hands and knees with your major joints aligned (i.e. shoulders directly above elbows and wrists, hips directly above knees).
   • Hands should be placed shoulder width apart, palms flat with fingers pointed straight ahead.
   • Arms must remain straight, elbows locked.
2.  Walk your hands 4-6 inches forward and then move your upper body forward so that your shoulders are again above your wrist but now your hips are forward of your knees 4-6 inches.
3.  Relax your low back allowing it to arch with the movement coming from the tilt of your pelvis.
4.  Collapse your shoulder blades together and drop your head down.
   • Your shoulders should be directly above your wrist.
   • If your low back begins to hurt, back your hips up toward your knees; this will make the exercise a bit easier.
5.  Hold as directed.

 

DOWNWARD DOG:

DURATION 1:00

1.  Start on your hands and knees, hands directly below your shoulders, knees under your hips.
2.  Tuck  your toes under and lift your knees off the floor into the piked position.
3.  Try to place a small arch in your lower back.
4.  Keep your elbows straight, more weight should be on your thumbs and index fingers.
5.  Keep your thighs tight and then let your heels drop toward the floor.

 

SITTING ABDUCTOR PRESSES:

3 sets of 20 repetitions

1.  Sit in the middle of a chair with your feet pointed straight ahead, 4-6 inches apart.
2.  Place a strap around your knees.
3.  Roll your pelvis forward to place a small arch in your low back and hold this position throughout the e-cise.
4.  Press outward against the strap then release.
5.  Repeat as directed.

 

SITTING KNEE PILLOW SQUEEZES:

3 sets of 20 repetitions

1.  Sit in the middle of a chair with your feet pointed straight ahead, 4-6 inches apart.
2.  Place a pillow between your knees.
3.  Roll your hips forward to place an arch in your low back and hold this position throughout the e-cise.
4.  Squeeze and release the pillow with your knees.
5.  Repeat as directed.

 

QUESTION: What has been the hardest part of your pregnancy?

As always, thanks for sharing these posts with your friends and family (it's easy, just click below)! Don't forget to join the conversation on Facebook and Twitter. You can follow Pete on Twitter, and you can follow me there as well.

The Key to a Pain-Free Pregnancy

14 July 2015, 12:00 am
Published in Blog

If you're like a lot of women, you might believe (based on your own personal experience) that the words "pain free" and "pregnancy" don't have any business being in the same sentence with each other. For many of you, pregnancy has been anything but pain free. Many of you have experienced back pain, sciatica, headaches, and sleepless nights. Your body is screaming at you, and you're really having second thoughts on this whole kid thing.

But it's not supposed to be that way! We all know that the female body is designed to give birth, but have you really thought about the fact that your body is designed to give birth? We all know that the pelvis plays a major role in the gestation and birthing process, but what you might not realize is just how big of a roll it plays. Check out what Pete has to say about the female pelvic position in his book, The Egoscue Method of Health Through Motion:

Anatomically, the body is very democratic: All men and women are created equal.

A few years ago, I told a group of young women who were training to run in the New York Marathon about this anatomical equality and they didn't want to believe it.

"We've been hearing since we were little girls," one of them said, "that we're built differently."

"Think of it this way," I replied, "if form follows function what is the one function that men and women do not share?" It took less than a nanosecond to get an answer.

"Childbearing."

"Right. The female anatomical form primarily differs from the male in the pelvis and the hips. A woman's pelvis is slightly wider than a man's, but this alone has no functional consequences. The big difference is where the femur bone fits into the socket of the hip joint. It goes in at a reduced angle compared to a man's. The difference in angle allows a woman's pelvis to flare into the birthing position and return to normal once the child is delivered."

While the femoral head angle is different from men to women, the anterior/posterior tilt (when looking at the pelvic position from the side view) is no different. Both men and women should have a pelvis that, when viewing it from the side, is in a neutral position. In short, the pelvis should be level from front-to-back.

However, when a woman loses this designed tilt, she's headed for trouble. If the pelvis is tilted too far under (a posterior tilt) in what we call the Condition III posture, the pelvis isn't allowed to move into the proper birthing position, the baby isn't allowed to drop into the birth canal, and the birthing process gets delayed. If the pelvis is tilted the opposite way (an anterior tilt), in what we call the Condition I posture, we end up on the other end of the spectrum; her body will interpret the anterior pelvic position as a signal that "All systems are go!" and she'll be ready to give birth long before her due date. Either way, mom and baby are headed for potential trouble, and mom is most likely in pain.

We at Egoscue often refer to the pelvis as the "second brain" of the body. It's the locomotor for the lower half and the basis of support for the upper half, so it has two very important jobs! It's also home to the iliopsoas, or primary hip flexor, the only muscle in the body that connects your upper, middle, and lower sections of your body. If the hip flexor is too tight, too loose, too strong, too weak, or any combination of those traits, your pelvic position will be impacted. I always tell clients that having a hip flexor that isn't functioning properly is similar to the saying, "If momma ain't happy, ain't nobody happy." If your hip flexor isn't functioning properly, everything else gets impacted. Just like an unhappy momma, no one else is happy either!

So, what's the key?

What's the secret to a pain-free pregnancy?

The answer is the pelvic position. If you keep the pelvis aligned--which is tough to do anyway with all the pelvic movement that happens during pregnancy--you'll have a much better chance at a pain-free pregnancy. Not only that, but you'll give yourself a chance at a healthy and safe pregnancy as well!

If you're ready to find out what you need to do to maintain a neutral pelvic position throughout your pregnancy, contact us to be put in touch with one of our therapists!

Thanks for reading and sharing our articles. As always, you can join the conversation on Facebook and Twitter!

QUESTION: What was your biggest pain struggle during pregnancy?