Expert tips by Lorraine Scapens from Pregnancy Exercise
Good postural alignment will:-
- Reduce pre and post pregnancy diastasis recti (abdominal muscle separation)
- Reduce lower back pain
- Strengthen pelvic floor muscles
- Help you carry a pregnancy more efficiently
- Speed up your recovery post birth
There are many more benefits too!
For you to stay pain free and help you get rid of your ‘baby tummy’ post pregnancy, you really need to stand and sit up straight!
In this short blog we are going to check out your posture with a couple of simple assessments that will give you a better awareness of your posture. You can do this assessment at home in front of the mirror and I want you to do this if you are pre or post pregnant!
First strip off minimal clothes for this test, you need to be able to see yourself properly. Stand approximately one metere back from a full length mirror facing forward. Have your arms and hands down at your sides.
You are now going to do a postural assessment on yourself. Have a notebook handy to jot down what you see.
You need to assess your posture to see if any off the following relate to you:
First let’s have a look at your head- Is your head straight or is it tilted to one side – If it is slightly tilted, it is quite common, especially if you work on a computer or always use a phone on one side.
Next your shoulders- are your shoulders level? – Lifting and carrying children and always carrying a shoulder bag on one side along with computer work can increase dominant muscle on one side.
On to your mid- section: Is the gap between your waist and arm the same on each side?- If they aren’t it can suggest a muscle imbalance in the pelvis and or spine
Now for hand placement: Are your hands at the side of your legs or towards the front where are they placed? If your hands are relaxed and you palms are facing backwards this would definitely suggest that you have round shoulders.
The last point in this assessment is your pelvis. Can you see if your hip bones are level-, put your fingers on the bony points of your pelvis if you drew a line between the 2 bony points would it be horizontal?
Note down all what you see
Now I want you to have a look at yourself from the side and try to imagine a piece of string hanging from the ceiling to assess the next points. Have a look at the photos to guide you.
|Good posture and these key points align:Ear, Shoulder (in this photo the shoulder is slightly too far back) Pelvis, Knee and ankle joints should all be aligned|
|Poor posture -you are either forward or behind the key pointsIn this photo, her ear too far forward (forward head posture, which places stress on the neck muscles).Her pelvis too far forward. This is called the sway back posture and indicates weak abdominals.|
|When facing sideways, what sticks out the most: your tummy or your boobs? Your breasts should always be forward of your stomach. If your stomach leads or points on further forward then you possibly have a diastasis, which leads to still having your ‘mummy tummy’ and a sway back posture.|
Once you have assessed your own posture, take down the notes and in next month’s blog we will decipher them and I will show you the exercises and stretches you need to do to have great postural alignment!
Lorraine is a Personal Trainer and Corrective Exercise Specialist with 20 years experience training pregnant and post natal women. She has specialized in Pregnancy and Post Natal Exercise for more than 15 Years. Her websites are Pregnancy Exercise and Turning Baby, and you can read her blog here. She is also on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube. You can contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org. To see all of Lorraine’s articles, click here.
Disclaimer: This information is general advice only, and you are advised to discuss any concerns you may have with your GP or midwife, or before starting a new exercise regime. Lorraine is not able to provide you with medical advice. You cannot hold Lorraine liable in any way for injuries that may occur whilst training.