The Key to a Pain-Free Pregnancy
If you’re like a lot of women, you might believe (based on your own personal experience) that the words “pain free” and “pregnancy” don’t have any business being in the same sentence with each other. For many of you, pregnancy has been anything but pain free. Many of you have experienced back pain, sciatica, headaches, and sleepless nights. Your body is screaming at you, and you’re really having second thoughts on this whole kid thing.
But it’s not supposed to be that way! We all know that the female body is designed to give birth, but have you really thought about the fact that your body is designed to give birth? We all know that the pelvis plays a major role in the gestation and birthing process, but what you might not realize is just how big of a roll it plays. Check out what Pete has to say about the female pelvic position in his book, The Egoscue Method of Health Through Motion:
Anatomically, the body is very democratic: All men and women are created equal.
A few years ago, I told a group of young women who were training to run in the New York Marathon about this anatomical equality and they didn’t want to believe it.
“We’ve been hearing since we were little girls,” one of them said, “that we’re built differently.”
“Think of it this way,” I replied, “if form follows function what is the one function that men and women do not share?” It took less than a nanosecond to get an answer.
“Right. The female anatomical form primarily differs from the male in the pelvis and the hips. A woman’s pelvis is slightly wider than a man’s, but this alone has no functional consequences. The big difference is where the femur bone fits into the socket of the hip joint. It goes in at a reduced angle compared to a man’s. The difference in angle allows a woman’s pelvis to flare into the birthing position and return to normal once the child is delivered.”
While the femoral head angle is different from men to women, the anterior/posterior tilt (when looking at the pelvic position from the side view) is no different. Both men and women should have a pelvis that, when viewing it from the side, is in a neutral position. In short, the pelvis should be level from front-to-back.
However, when a woman loses this designed tilt, she’s headed for trouble. If the pelvis is tilted too far under (a posterior tilt) in what we call the Condition III posture, the pelvis isn’t allowed to move into the proper birthing position, the baby isn’t allowed to drop into the birth canal, and the birthing process gets delayed. If the pelvis is tilted the opposite way (an anterior tilt), in what we call the Condition I posture, we end up on the other end of the spectrum; her body will interpret the anterior pelvic position as a signal that “All systems are go!” and she’ll be ready to give birth long before her due date. Either way, mom and baby are headed for potential trouble, and mom is most likely in pain.
We at Egoscue often refer to the pelvis as the “second brain” of the body. It’s the locomotor for the lower half and the basis of support for the upper half, so it has two very important jobs! It’s also home to the iliopsoas, or primary hip flexor, the only muscle in the body that connects your upper, middle, and lower sections of your body. If the hip flexor is too tight, too loose, too strong, too weak, or any combination of those traits, your pelvic position will be impacted. I always tell clients that having a hip flexor that isn’t functioning properly is similar to the saying, “If momma ain’t happy, ain’t nobody happy.” If your hip flexor isn’t functioning properly, everything else gets impacted. Just like an unhappy momma, no one else is happy either!
So, what’s the key?
What’s the secret to a pain-free pregnancy?
The answer is the pelvic position. If you keep the pelvis aligned–which is tough to do anyway with all the pelvic movement that happens during pregnancy–you’ll have a much better chance at a pain-free pregnancy. Not only that, but you’ll give yourself a chance at a healthy and safe pregnancy as well!
Ready to find out how to maintain a neutral pelvic position? Request a complimentary consult today!
QUESTION: What was your biggest pain struggle during pregnancy?