Balance in your Body
We are now far more sedentary than we every have been. Try to make sure your body is balanced in the following ways:
Uncross your legs – leg crossing causes imbalance in the pelvis, shortening of muscles and ligaments
Make sure your pelvis is tilted forward and not back if possible. Knees below hips. This encourages the weight of the baby to move forward and not back towards the spine. This can be achieved with a little cushion under the bottom, a wedge shaped cushion or a slightly inflated children’s ball between your ischial tuberosities (sitting bones), or by using a birth ball to sit, rather than a chair
When relaxing in the evening, try to sit on a birth ball or on all fours draped over a birth ball, rather than slouching on a sofa
Be aware that if you wear high heels it shortens your posterior chain of muscles and will affect your pelvic floor
When sleeping, try to lie on the left side to keep the baby away from the spine and vena cava. Don’t worry if you wake in a different position. Make sure that your knees and ankles are supported so there isn’t a twist in your pelvis or back. You can also use a cushion under your baby bump so you can really relax comfortably.
Try to become aware if you lean your body when sitting to one side or the other and maintain a neutral spine as much as possible when resting
It is great to practice relaxation in pregnancy. Helping to reduce your levels of stress hormones and make it effortless to bring yourself to a place of calm, wherever you are and whatever is going on around you.
Find a space that is comfortable and quiet when you are first starting. Maybe before you go to sleep at night. Have your legs supported from your knee to your ankle when you are lying down, so your spine and pelvis are in line and your bump is supported
Hypnobirthing and mindfulness are excellent. There are many courses available, including my own which you can purchase here where there are relaxation scripts and soundtracks. These have been shown to improve birth outcomes and birth experience
Make an Inner Sanctuary of your Own
You can use guided meditations or your own imagination to create a safe space in your mind to go for peace, calm and relaxation.
The more time you spend there in your pregnancy, the easier it will be to find your calm space during your birth, just like finding your way home.
Using the Breath to find Calm
Making the out breath longer than the in breath helps to calm the nervous system by its effect on the parasympathetic nervous system, via the vagal nerve
Try finding a moment to take at least 4 breaths, counting on the in breath for 4 and the out breath for 6 or 8.
4 breaths will equal the length of a surge – You can do anything for 4 breaths!
Try to walk most days, 20-60mins is optimum (1-3 miles)
Continue any exercise you currently enjoy, if it feels safe and comfortable for you to do so. E.g swimming, weightlifting, dancing, hiit, etc. You are pregnant, not ill.
Harmonic Sifting with a scarf or Rebozo on hands and knees or leaning over a birth ball/sofa
Standing Sacral Release (this can also be done in a pool floating and feels wonderful)
Make sure you complement your workouts/walking/daily activity or inactivity with:
Playful – Hip swings, leg circles, butterfly hip opener, child pose
*Avoid if a healthcare practitioner has said inverting is not suitable for you, if you have high blood pressure, a stroke risk, or polyhydramnios. Best to do before eating or leave at least a few hours after eating to avoid heartburn
If you notice imbalance, tension, pain or pulling in your body, make an appointment with an experienced body worker e.g Cranio-Sacral Therapist or Cranial Osteopath, Osteopath, Pelvic Health Physio, Myofascial Soft Tissue Practitioner, Acupuncturist, etc