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WHAT POSTURAL CHANGES OCCUR DURING PREGNANCY?



WHAT POSTURAL CHANGES OCCUR DURING PREGNANCY?

This article is all about the postural changes that occur in a pregnant person’s body. I’ve listed some of the main anatomical changes that occur in a pregnant person’s body below to help you understand why you may be suffering with stiff shoulders, neck strain and constant back pain. Welcome to pregnancy!

ROUNDED SHOULDERS

As you well know ladies, it’s not just your bump that grows, it’s also your breasts. And boy do they get heavy! Because you start to carry more weight in this area, your shoulders are forced to come forwards to accommodate. At the same time, the upper back muscles, particularly those in between your shoulder blades become weak and lengthened, forcing the shoulder blades to separate. It’s no wonder your neck and shoulders become a constant strain, now then is it?!

INCREASED LOWER BACK CURVE

To accommodate baby bump at your front, your pelvis actually tips forwards and your lower back becomes more and more arched. If you didn’t quite understand, what happens is, your hip bones at the front travel further forwards, and your tailbone travels further backwards, creating an anterior, or forward pelvic tilt. Everyone has a natural curve in their lumbar spine (lower back), but, it becomes even more pronounced in pregnant women. Muscles which become affected to create this curve in your lower back are the hip flexors which are just below your hip bones which become tighter; the gluteals (your bottom) become weakened/lengthened as your backside protrudes backwards; your abdominals stretch (and sometimes) separate, and your back extensors become tighter. This goes a long way to explaining why pregnant women suffer with back, hip and pelvic problems, and it’s no wonder really, with the weight of your baby bump that you’re now carrying at your front.

CENTRE OF GRAVITY CHANGES

Another postural change is to do with your centre of gravity. Ordinarily, when a non-pregnant person stands side-on, you can easily draw a straight line from their ear, shoulder, hip, knee and ankle joint. When a heavily pregnant person stands side-on, the line is no longer in the same place, because your bump protrudes forwards, causing you to feel “front-heavy”. The closer you get to her due date, the more that central gravity line travels forwards and away from your ear, shoulder and pelvis.

Taking all of this into consideration, it’s really important that pregnant women are very careful when approaching certain situations eg stepping down on to the floor, moving around in bed etc to protect certain joints, and it’s vital that correct posture is maintained when you’re exercising. I hope you now feel a little more aware of your body as it goes through one of the most amazing changes possible.


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