How Posture Affects Pregnancy
By Naga Wasserman, Postural Alignment Specialist (PAS)
and Community Health Education Specialist (CHES)
@ Acupuncture & Holistic Health Center, Jacksonville, FL
The pelvis and rib cage offer both support and protection to the internal organs. The reproductive system in particular is supported by the pelvis and the surrounding ligaments, tendons and muscles. As a baby enters into the birthing position, the pelvis naturally tilts forward (anterior) to clear the passage into the birthing canal.
If these same structures are out of alignment, your posture can impede the organs’ functions and make complications more likely. The pelvis can be tilted forward or backward, rotated, or one side may be higher than the other. In any of these cases, an expectant mother may have problems with her pregnancy and/or delivery.
Forward pelvic tilt is very common, largely due to how much time people spend sitting. If the pelvis is already tilted forward, the body recognizes the body’s posture as “ready for birth” and sounds the alarm to begin labor. This can lead to a premature birth.
Less common is backward (posterior) pelvic tilt. In this case, the pelvis is stuck in the posterior position and cannot tilt forward into the birthing position. In this case, a mother’s posture may make it difficult for the body to recognize when it’s time to give birth. If the pelvis can’t get into position to allow access to the birthing canal, contractions may not be able push the baby. This posterior pelvic tilt puts the mother at greater risk for induced labor and/or c-section because of the misaligned posture.
If the pelvis is rotated or one side is higher than the other, similar issues can arise if access to the birth canal comes too early or is not accessible.
The rib cage also plays a part in pregnancy. As any mother can tell you, having a baby in your belly puts a lot of pressure on the organs. Having a rounded upper back causes the ribs to press inward, putting even more pressure on your organs, including the lungs
The vast majority of people do not have well-aligned posture, generally because they don’t provide the body with enough functional movement. In fact, most people don’t know what functional movement is. Thankfully, these issues can be corrected with postural alignment therapy! With simple exercises and stretches, we can retrain the muscles to hold the body in a better position, reduce pain and improve pregnancy outcomes.