The Importance of a Balanced Pelvis During Pregnancy
by Dr. Kathryn Bacigalupo, PT, DPT, GTS
As a physical therapist, I often think about keeping a balanced, relaxed, yet STRONG and STABLE pelvis as I progress through my own pregnancy. Because the body releases relaxin to prepare for the growth of the fetus early in the first trimester, it is not uncommon to experience back or pelvic pain early in pregnancy. As the fetus continues to grow, the body continues to stretch and shift in response, continuing to make room for the growing fetus, and ultimately preparing for eventual labor and delivery. Given the amount of change a pregnant person’s body goes through in a short period of time, it is no surprise many experience discomfort or pain in the pelvic region. For this reason, it is important to consider ways to maintain a balanced and stable pelvis during pregnancy.
It is well known that staying active and mobile during pregnancy can help ease symptoms associated with these changes. This may feel difficult at times, especially in the first trimester when you may also be experiencing nausea, fatigue, or other “fun” symptoms that we get to endure. For me personally, I had a difficult time staying as active as I would have liked during my first trimester. Often nausea and lightheadedness got the best of me. Instead of getting angry at my body, I listened to it. I gave it space, and nurtured it the best way I knew how. Here are some tips if you are experiencing pelvic pain, but are possibly too symptomatic to stick to an
- Use a Heating Pad (never directly on your pregnant belly)
- Stay Hydrated (the recommendation is 8-12 cups a day)
- Get Enough Sleep
- Consider Your Sleep Position
- Eat smaller meals throughout the (make sure you are getting your protein)
- Purchase a maternity support bel
For most, once we reach the second trimester, energy is often restored and nausea has reduced. This is possibly the best time to focus on maintaining a balanced and stable pelvis through movement. Continue to listen to your body, but start to make time for movement as well. Here are some of my favorite exercises for pelvic stability and balance during pregnancy.
- Wide Child’s Pose
- Bird Dog
- Windshield Wipers with Wedge
- Pelvic Rocking with Wedge
- Diaphragmatic Breathing with Wedge
I personally tend to shy away from over stretching around my pelvis, despite it feeling SO GOOD at the moment. Because the pelvis is less stable, muscle guarding and spasm is common in pregnancy, especially around the hip flexors and glutes. Stretching is something that can feel amazing while you are doing it, but often can actually worsen symptoms after. This is why we tend to stick to more mobility and gentle stability work instead. Stretching may often still be necessary, but should be coupled with proper stabilization work to avoid strain.
If you are experiencing continued pain throughout the pregnancy, it may be a good idea to check in with your doctor, or schedule a physical therapy consultation for a more specific regimen.