KEEPING ACTIVE DURING PREGNANCY

Keeping active during pregnancy is important for both your physical and mental health, as well as the health of your baby. Hereís a few tips for keeping active during pregnancy:

  • During pregnancy it is important that youíre not using too much of your rectus abdominis muscles (6 pack abdominal muscles) as this can increase your risk of getting a rectus diastasis (separation of your abdominals). Instead you should focus on using your deeper stabilizing core muscles and pelvic floor. To avoid overusing rectus abdominis, avoid any abdominal exercises where you curl your head and shoulders up. Particularly once youíre in the second and third trimester, its important that you are only doing gentle abdominal exercises. Be very cautious lying on your back as it can reduce circulation, depending on the position and weight of the baby, and therefore exercises on your back should be avoided where possible. It is always best to get clearance from your doctor.
  • Try to be really consistent with your pelvic floor activation/strengthening exercises (these are safe to do throughout the whole pregnancy). These exercises are great to do when youíre sitting at the computer or driving. The aim is to be able to switch on your pelvic floor (imagine youíre stopping yourself from passing urine or zipping up a tight pair of jeans).
  • If you start to notice any one-sided pain through your lower back/hip region, particularly when doing stairs, putting on pants, turning in bed etc. this may be a sign that youíre getting SIJ pain. Donít worry, this is very common during pregnancy and is just a sign that a hormone called relaxin is preparing your body to give birth. To manage this pain long term, you may need to strengthen through your glutes and abdominals, however it often settles after pregnancy. A few little things you can do to reduce/manage this pain is:
    • Sit down to put your pants/skirt/shoes on
    • Your physio can tape across your SIJ to stabilize it, as the increased movement through the joint is what causes the pain. If this helps alleviate your pain, your physio may recommend wearing an SIJ belt or SIJ compression shorts depending on your core muscle control and glute strength.
    • Take stairs slowly and one step at a time, use a handrail where possible.
    • Avoid any single leg exercises
    • Use an ice pack over the painful area for 10-15min at a time
    • Book in to screen your core muscle activation, strength, endurance and capability to stabilize your SIJ throughout your pregnancy.

Basically keep active but listen to your body and make sure you never push it over 70% of your maximum effort. Exercise should be gentle and feel good for your body.

If you have questions about being active during pregnancy, give us a call at Physiohaus at 519-204-4445 to book an assessment.