Importance of Proper Posture
Aside from looking bad, an improper posture can lead to pain and other negative long term effects on your body. Maintaining a proper posture while standing, walking, or sitting is very important for the health of your bones, joints, ligaments, and muscles. Maintaining a proper posture during pregnancy can help avoid common aches and pains, as well as keep the mother and baby more comfortable. Proper Posture helps keep bones, joints, and ligaments aligned so that the muscles are able to work properly, and to avoid misuse, which can lead to pain. Maintaining a proper posture prevents fatigue, strain, overuse, and muscular pain.
During pregnancy, a woman’s posture changes due to different factors:
-Growing belly shifts weight forward and alters center of gravity
-This may cause undercorrection or overcorrection of posture
-Hormones cause joints and ligaments to loosen
-This may cause incorrect posture due to end range changes
-Women may adapt different postures to offset pressure on other joints
-Various aches and pains alter how a woman stands and walks
-Depending on where the pain is, women may adapt pain avoidance postures
Expand for visuals and Posture Correction
What is neutral spine:
A neutral spine means that none of the joints are bent, the spine is aligned and not twisted. Most people have natural curves in their spine, it is not a straight line. A neutral spine is the optimal position of the curvatures in your spine.
-slightly arched lower back, slightly rounded upper back
Why is it important to have a neutral spine:
Many people tend to over exaggerate the curves in their spine, placing extra stress on the joints and leaving them exposed to injuries and pain. When you achieve a neutral spine, you will have the least amount of stress placed on your spine and the tissues surrounding it. With a neutral spine, you will be able to attain optimal balance, improve breathing, improve circulation to the tissues, and decrease your chances of injury
How to attain a neutral spine:
-Begin on your hands and knees with a straight spine
-Arch your lower back and move your stomach toward the floor
-Round your back as much as you can
-Repeat arching (full extension) and rounding (full flexion) your back a few times until you get comfortable, and begin narrowing in on a position between the two extremes that makes you feel the most pain free and balanced. That is your neutral spine.
Against a wall, in standing, or tall kneel.
-Begin with your back flat
-Arch your spine so that you stick your stomach out and your pelvis moves down and backward
-Round round your spine so that you are squeezing your stomach in and your pelvis moves up and forward
-Repeat arching and rounding your back a few times until you feel pain free and balanced.
*This is a great exercise for your pelvis and your core.
*To see videos about how to find your Neutral Spine, check out the Exercise section
Elina Skripochnik PT, DPT, CSCS
Elina is a Physical Therapist with experience in women's health and pediatrics. She aims to educate women on the importance of becoming and staying active during pregnancy, as well as to provide safe and easy exercises that can be done throughout pregnancy and beyond.