On Monday I shared a list of positions that can help ease pain during labor. As a follow-up, I thought I’d share some of the moves that I’ve learned in prenatal yoga that can help with some common aches and pains during pregnancy.
One of the biggest complaints in pregnancy is pain in the bladder/round ligament reason. My daughter set up shop on top of my bladder once I was about four months along, and it’s been her favorite spot ever since, much to my discomfort. I’ve learned a number of moves in class that really help when I’m having pain and discomfort in my abdominal region. One of the best is the hip circle (which is, incidentally, another good pain management move during labor).
You can do hip circles in a variety of positions, including standing up while leaning against a counter (best for labor), but the ones I like best to relieve pregnancy pain involve getting down on your hands and knees. Put a blanket under your knees for support, and use a yoga mat or something similar if you have one.
Once on your hands and knees, begin rotating your whole body in a circle. When you’re at the peak of the circle, unbend your elbows and let all of your weight rest on your hands. As you continue down toward the bottom of the circle, let your arms go straight again and fold your body in between your spread thighs. So really you should only be on the full hands and knees position when you’re rounding out the sides of the circle. After doing circles in one direction for 30 seconds or so, switch to the other direction.
The hip circles can be hard to manage at first, but they’re so good at getting the baby to move and relieving pain if the baby’s been sitting on your bladder. You can also do the hip circles on an exercise ball.
The next move is great for late pregnancy, but you should start practicing it at any time in your pregnancy so you get used to it: the deep squat. I went over the squat in the labor positions article, but when you’re pregnant, you should practice it on your own without any support. It’s simple enough: spread your legs wide, about a yoga-mat-width apart, and then sink down as far as you can without letting your butt touch the ground.
I know it sounds and looks easy, but isn’t actually so easy if you don’t have much experience with it. But trust me: with practice it gets so much easier, and later in the pregnancy, it feels so, so good to open the hips and get some space in the pelvic floor.
The last move I have for you today is a bit easier, to give you a rest after these more difficult positions. Sit on the floor (or your mat) with the soles of your feet touching. Gently press down on your knees, to try to widen your legs as far apart as possible. This will stretch your hamstrings, which helps loosen things up in your lower region, and is another move that gives you some space in your hips.
There are obviously multiple classes worth of yoga moves that are great for pregnancy, including alleviating pain, but these are my favorites (and some of the easiest to follow without visual representation).
*(The above image by imagerymajestic is from freedigitalphotos.net).