Proper Alignment of the Body in Pregnancy

Welcome Guest Blogger Christina Mroz of Complete Motions

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What I wish I had known :

There are two things I wish I’d known during my pregnancies that would have better prepared my body for labor and for recovering more quickly.

First: the dysfunction and alignment issues I had prior to pregnancy would only become more exaggerated during pregnancy and that new alignment issues would surface as a result of growing a baby inside my body.

Optimal alignment is when the body is vertical — the center of the heels, knees, pelvis, shoulder and the ear are vertical to one another.

In picture 1, I am 2 months postpartum after baby number 2.  My belly and hips are pushed forward and my belly is dumping outward.  These poor postural habits contributed to a condition called “disatasis recti.”  A disatasis recti is when the rectus abdominal muscles split.  The result — looking like you are pregnant when you aren’t — some refer to it as “mummy tummy” or “belly bulge”.

There are two things I wish I’d known during my pregnancies that would have better prepared my body for labor and for recovering more quickly.

First: the dysfunction and alignment issues I had prior to pregnancy would only become more exaggerated during pregnancy and that new alignment issues would surface as a result of growing a baby inside my body.

Optimal alignment is when the body is vertical — the center of the heels, knees, pelvis, shoulder and the ear are vertical to one another.

In picture 1, I am 2 months postpartum after baby number 2.  My belly and hips are pushed forward and my belly is dumping outward.  These poor postural habits contributed to a condition called “disatasis recti.”  A disatasis recti is when the rectus abdominal muscles split.  The result — looking like you are pregnant when you aren’t — some refer to it as “mummy tummy” or “belly bulge”.

alginment 2 months

In picture 2, I am 21 weeks postpartum after my third pregnancy (twins).  My belly and hips have moved back slightly towards my heels due to greater awareness of how I stand and my practice of restorative exercises to bring my body back into proper alignment and function.

alignment 21 months post

What contributed to my hips and belly moving forward toward my toes instead of back toward my heels?  There are many factors to this.  I probably stood this way before becoming pregnant, and then as the baby grew and I added more weight to the front side of my body, it pulled me forward even further.   I was also constantly carrying my younger children on my hips while pregnant and would push my hips forward to create a little shelf so that my arms could get a break from holding them.

The second thing I wish I would have known during my pregnancies was how important squats were to preparing a person’s body for labor and delivery.  Squats help strengthen and open the pelvis for labor.  However, squats are only effective for preparing for labor if proper alignment is maintained.  Most of our culture sits with their tailbones tucked under, so when we squat, our tailbone tucks under, too.  This causes the vaginal opening to become smaller and weakens the pelvic floor. This is the opposite of what a pregnant mom wants during labor.

The key to performing a proper squat (which will assist in birthing a baby) is to keep the tailbone moving backwards instead of having it draw or tuck under.

In picture 3 you can see that my lower back is extended and the tailbone moves away from the front side of my body.
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However, in picture 4, you can see that as I move into a deeper squat, my tailbone starts to tuck under and my lower back starts to round.   If this is your body’s pattern as well, simply regroup.  As you bend your knees, try to keep them in line with your ankles and your tailbone moving outward.  When you feel your tailbone start to tuck and your knees move significantly forward, this is the place you stop and hold.  Only move deeper into it if you can keep proper alignment.

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Squats are something that should be practiced from the start of your pregnancy so that your body can build the strength and flexibility needed to maintain proper posture.  Thirty four weeks is NOT the time to begin squatting for the same reason you don’t start training for a marathon a month before your big race.  The body needs time to work into this posture.

Christina Mroz, owner of Complete Motions is an active mom of four trying to restore her body to one of complete health while inspiring others to do the same.  She believes that COMPLETE fitness is possible for people of all ages and abilities. Christina teaches classes and trainings to babies and parents, children, older adults, people with disabilities and pregnant women.

Nichole Hirsch Kuechle

Nichole Hirsch Kuechle

Hi there, Nichi here! I am a Clinical Master in Advanced Nutrition Response Testing. Discovering natural healing methods for mind and body finally led me toward health restoration — and my calling in life. I have come alongside families in transforming their physical and mental health for more than 20 years and am honored to have their trust. Glad to have you join this community.
Nichole Hirsch Kuechle

Nichole Hirsch Kuechle

Hi there, Nichi here! I am a Clinical Master in Advanced Nutrition Response Testing. Discovering natural healing methods for mind and body finally led me toward health restoration — and my calling in life. I have come alongside families in transforming their physical and mental health for more than 20 years and am honored to have their trust. Glad to have you join this community.

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