Simple Stretches to get your Back in Shape Post-Pregnancy
Every month postpartum really does bring its own challenges. In the fourth month for me now, I’m feeling the effects of incredible back strain. Some of it, yes, is a result of the hyperextension you endure for 10 months while pregnant. But I think the majority of it is coming from holding a little 13 pound bundle of cuteness for hours every day. Not to mention hunching over a changing table, crouching to hold her up and have her walk around, sleeping in uncomfortable positions. She is worth every bit of it!
It’s near impossible to get in any extra time with a little one to relax your back. I’ve been sitting on a massage certificate for several months now, just because I can’t find the proper time. But I’ve found a few quick things that seem to be helping.
The Pelvic Tilt
This is a very “minor” movement, but amazingly, it seems to work. You can do this lying on the floor at home, or if you’re in an office, you can do it sitting with your knees bent 90 degrees against the wall. You essentially press your lower back to the wall or floor, hold for 30 seconds, and release. I’ve found that using the wall is a little bit more challenging since you have to engage your quadriceps to hold yourself up, but it mimics more your standing position, which might be a good thing for standing posture.
There is another form of a pelvic tilt where you assume the standard position lying down above, but instead of pressing your back to the floor, you raise your butt off the ground and into the air. Some people do repetitions of this while squeezing their glutes to get a good workout. In our case, however, you want to simply lift off the ground, relax and keep the hold for 30 seconds. You’ll feel your upper back repositioning and laying flatter on the ground. This is really important, because the upper and lower spinal curves are intricately related. It’s like unwinding a cord; you have to unwind the entire thing to get to the smaller loop.
I like this exercise even more because it feels more like a total spine stretch. And your spine is still likely anteriorly positioned because of pregnancy. Pregnancy lordosis and how to correct it is something I talk about in depth in my postpartum care book.
I wanted to include kegels not because they are a back exercise, but just as a reminder. So long as you are doing something really simple for your back, you can get in a few bouts of kegels without having to worry about it later. Kegels really help with restrengthening your vaginal cavity, but another thing they do is “draw up” the cervix that tends to sit slightly lower after giving birth. The more you do these, the more your lower abdominal area will snap back into shape as your internal structures return to their original positions.
So try these out. Do as many as you want–or have time for. Even getting in just a few each day will make a difference! If you want to read more about the pelvic area and how you might be able to fix your “tilt,” I was able to find a very interesting article written by a Pilates studio on the anterior/posterior positioning of the pelvis and some interesting ideas on how to correct posture.