Updated: Apr 7, 2020
Unfortunately, it’s pretty common for a lot of women to have poor posture before they are ever even pregnant, and pregnancy only magnifies any complications that poor posture can cause. For instance, before becoming pregnant, you may have occasionally experienced low back pain after long periods of walking or standing, due to poor posture, but once the added weight of a pregnant belly is thrown into the mix as well…the result can often be crippling low back pain all throughout pregnancy. Many moms don’t realize that simply readjusting their alignment and correcting their posture can help alleviate some of the aches and pains they are experiencing.
What does proper alignment look like?
Proper alignment occurs when your rib cage is positioned over your hips and your hips over your rib cage in a stacked position. This is important, as it allows each of your muscles and organs to work properly on its own, as well as work correctly in tandem with all of the others. There is a tendency to tuck your butt under and push your hips forward to compensate for added weight on your belly or your hips.
Notice the yellow dotted line down the middle of this mom’s body in both pictures. See how the left-side picture is all curvy and the right-side picture is straight? We want to aim for that straight line with our posture so that all of our muscles are firing correctly, and our skeletal structure is evenly stacked.
Why is proper alignment so important?
There are a couple reasons why you want to maintain proper posture throughout your pregnancy and into your postpartum chapters as well.
First of all, poor posture can contribute to a lot of the back-pain experience during this stage of your life. The added weight to the front of your body can pull your whole midsection forward putting additional strain on your back – particularly your lower back. This can lead to all kinds of discomfort, even sciatic pain which can be quite debilitating and affect your hips and legs also. The more you consciously think about keeping your ribs stacked over your hips and shoulders over your ribs, the better you’ll be able to alleviate the stress that is put on your back on a daily basis.
Secondly, improper posture can also exacerbate diastasis recti. Now, diastasis recti is a natural part of pregnancy. As your belly grows, there has to be a separation of the muscles in order to accommodate the extra space needed for baby to grow. However, you don’t want to add to the pressure already put on this expanding area. Tucking your butt under and pushing your belly out can put extra stress on an already very strained set of muscles. And these principles don’t just apply whole you’re pregnant – they also apply postpartum as well. Once you have delivered the baby, your diastasis needs to have time to heal. The best circumstances for healing to occur is when you have good posture, which allows your abdominal muscles to be engaged and to start gaining strength back.
How can I improve my posture?
Be mindful! Often, poor posture is simply caused by a lack of attention to or a lack of knowledge of what good posture is. Now that you know, you can bring your attention to it throughout the day and correct yourself when you find you’re standing or walking poorly. Remind yourself to stack your rib cage over your hips and your shoulders over your rib cage. Keep your torso in good alignment to keep everything working properly!
As you intentionally bring your attention to the times your posture is poor and correct it, you’ll eventually re-train your muscles and brain and your posture will start to correct naturally. It might get frustrating at the beginning, realizing all the times throughout the day that your posture is bad; but the more you correct it, the more natural good posture will become and eventually, that will take over as your new normal. Make it your goal this week be conscious of your posture and start to retrain your body!