Every motion in life can lead to postural dysfunction, especially motherhood! Motherhood is both a life-changing blessing and a profoundly physical challenge. The female body goes through some considerable changes throughout pregnancy, mainly by shifts in the center of gravity.
The hormone relaxin allows for the joints to loosen during pregnancy so that the pelvis can expand beyond its normal size...and that's a good thing! Relaxin also affects every joint in the body, however, so her body may feel a bit unstable especially as she nears full term. It can also stay in her body up to 12 months postpartum. When a new mom returns to activity, whether it's activities of daily life or sport, she needs to be mindful of relaxin.
Performing movements with core stabilization/strength and proper posture is crucial to help decrease the incidence of injury.
More: The New Mom Workout
The physical nature of caring for a child has the potential for many injuries, so how can new moms move in a way that may stave off injury? Here are some examples:
Move With Power
Before each movement, pause and brace the abdominals to support the spine, then draw the shoulder blades back and down. Aligning the body before movement could make the difference between health and injury.
More: The Power of Posture
Keep The Load CloseWhether moms hold their child in an infant car seat or anything else, keep the load/weight close to the body. When this is done, the spine is supported and neutral.
When beginning or resuming an exercise routine after having a baby, moms need to remember that pre-pregnancy stability may not have returned yet. Begin with lower-impact versions of the movements, and then progress as stability is regained.
Train for Neutral First
Because pregnancy, and then motherhood, can pull new moms out of postural alignment, the postural musculature is going to need some attention to rectify those shifts. Specifically, focus on abdominal and upper back strength, then hip flexor, low back and chest flexibility. This combination of strength and flexibility work will help to realign the posture.
More: The Mommy Diet
Because motherhood changes a woman's body in a very profound way, movements must be deliberate and appropriate to lessen the chance of injury...and to give her the strength for motherhood!
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