Pregnancy in the second trimester- how yoga can help
The second trimester of pregnancy and what a relief to be out of the dark tunnel of lethargy and nausea and finally have energy again. Kate Middleton must be happy to be feeling like her old self again as she emerges back to her normal life.
This is a stage when you are likely to feel better than ever and can start to enjoy your pregnancy and connect to your baby. Your bump is starting to look more like a pregnant belly rather than just the result of a big lunch, which makes the experience start to feel more real plus you are starting to feel little flutters of movement around 21 weeks which will become more frequent and stronger as the weeks pass. As your bump starts to get bigger and heavier and your centre of gravity shifts some women may start to experience back pain or rib pain and shortness of breath.
Over the years of teaching pregnancy yoga I have noticed a big difference between the girls who arrive early in their pregnancy and practice yoga regularly with me and those who turn up around 37 weeks having just started maternity leave. The girls who manage to start earlier usually have less complaints (although they probably have lower stress levels if they aren't working full time). They are often amazed that they have sailed through pregnancy without any signs of back pain, rib pain or hip pain, have high levels of energy and are still sleeping well. Conversely the girls who haven't made it to the classes until the last trimester tend to arrive with more aches and pains.
Tips for preventing back pain:
- Avoid wearing heels whenever possible
- Go to a doctor, physio or osteopath as soon as you feel pain rather than waiting for it to get worse
- Have an expert come to your workplace to check your seating for optimum posture - this is a free service you are entitled to as an employee
- Treat yourself to a pregnancy massage - there are special cushions and tables where you can lie on your front that make space for your bump
- Be aware of your posture when sitting and standing
- Buy a medicine/fit ball - make sure you have the correct size for your height - and sit on it daily rocking or make hip circles
- Sleep with a lare pillow between your knees lying on your side
- Lie on the floor with your legs either up a wall or lie on a floor and rest your legs on a cushion on a chair with bent legs
Keep active and practice the following exercises every day to help your back be mobile and strong:
come onto all 4s with the knees under the hips and the wrists under the shoulders. Tuck the chin into the chest as you round up through the spine and inhale come back to a neutral position with the spine. Repeat exhaling as you round, hugging your baby in toward you and inhaling releasing back to neutral again, looking in front of your hands.
stand with your feet hip width apart leaning against a wall with the knees bent and circle the hips. Try for 30 seconds in each direction, breathe deeply.
Opposite arm and leg stretches
Come to the hands and knees on all 4s. Inhale lift the right arm and left leg and as you exhale release back to the starting position. Inhale lift the left arm and right leg and exhale release back down. Repeat 5 x each side keeping the hips in line, looking down at the floor. Aim to have the leg hip height and the arm shoulder height. This exercise helps to strengthen your back