Pregnancy is an important period of postural changes in women. Indeed, the spine is subjected to significant physical stresses which modify the normal biomechanics of the body.
When the pelvic bones are properly aligned, the uterus can enlarge symmetrically with the growth of the fetus. When an imbalance is present in the bones of the pelvis, it creates a twist in the uterus, thus reducing the space available for the development of the baby.
On a daily basis, the abdominals maintain the organs in the abdomen, participate in breathing, support the back and accompany movement and pushing during childbirth. The transverse muscle plays a vital role and it is therefore very important to give it special attention. Strengthening the muscles in the pelvic and abdominal region during pregnancy can help relieve the pain often associated with pregnancy. Indeed, soliciting the perineum in common actions such as getting up from a chair, turning over in bed or getting out of the car reduces the involvement of the back muscles. In this way, the muscles are less overworked andjoint mobility is less affected.
According to the Society of Obstetricians and Gynecologists of Canada and the Canadian Society for Exercise Physiology, performing exercise during pregnancy does not increase the risk of miscarriage or neonatal complications. Additionally, pelvic floor exercises may reduce the future risk of urinary incontinence.
We usually recommend that women in normal pregnancies engage in moderate-intensity physical activity. These activities, when accompanied by mild shortness of breath, promote better oxygenation of the placenta and reduce the risk of water retention. It is recommended to do 30 minutes of cardio-respiratory activity 1 to 4 times a week and weight training and stretching sessions 1 to 3 times a week. At all times, listen to your body and reduce the frequency and intensity of your sessions according to your condition.
Physical activities such as walking, cycling, swimming, aqua fitness, cross-country skiing, snowshoeing are all exercises that improve cardio-respiratory capacity and are accompanied by energy expenditure important. Sports with a risk of impact such as basketball, gymnastics, downhill skiing, soccer should be avoided. The exercises should be accompanied by a heart rate between 110 and 140 beats per minute. The level of exercise is acceptable if the woman is able to maintain aconversation while she does. It is important to remember that during pregnancy, exercise is aimed at maintaining physical fitness, not breaking performance records. So avoid intensive workouts.
Strengthening exercises for the back, stomach, pelvic floor, arms and buttocks are important to improve posture, reduce lumbar discomfort and the risk of urinary incontinence. Stretching is also important to ensure good flexibility of muscles and joints.
During the different stages of labor and to promote engagement, it will be important to let the mother freely choose the position by ensuring that the posture promotes stretching of the spine and abdominal breathing. Various accessories such as cushions can be used to stabilize and secure the postures. It's also important to engage muscles like the transverse abdominis to help with the baby's engagement process.
During the postpartum period, strengthening the postural muscles and the pelvic floor is of primary importance. Certain exercises can be recommended in order to drain, avoid abdominal pressure and close the pelvis. These recommendations can also promote better breastfeeding posture and limit muscle tension associated with poor positions.
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