Perform the perfect pregnancy pelvic tilt
OK, so it’s likely you already know that you shouldn’t be neglecting your fitness if you want to have the best chance of conceiving and having a healthy pregnancy. The fact that you’re reading this and thinking about what exercises you can do at such as early stage is a great starting point.
One such exercise is the pelvic tilt, an exercise designed to strengthen your lower back and abdominal muscles. Pelvic tilts are often recommended as a way for a pregnant woman to ease lower back pain later on in pregnancy, as weight gain begins to increase and they are even thought, by some, to help induce labour.
Plus, the exercise is also thought to encourage proper posture, so doing it now could mean you keep problems at bay which may occur further down the line.
Are pelvic tilts really a good exercise for early pregnancy?
While it may seem too early to be thinking about late pregnancy and labour, it’s a really positive thing to start doing this kind of exercise early on and throughout the full nine months of pregnancy.
You don’t have to wait until you’re visibly showing (or even before you’ve conceived) to take up pelvic tilts, because the benefits will help you throughout your whole pregnancy – so try to work them into your daily routine as soon as you can.
In fact, pelvic tilts are thought to be so beneficial for the lower back that they’re recommended for all women. Anyone can do them to improve their abdominal muscle strength and help with back pain. So you can do them when trying to conceive, during pregnancy, and in the post-partum period when you’re helping your body recover after giving birth.
How to do the perfect pelvic tilt
There are several different ways that you can perform a pelvic tilt, which we’ll discuss later, but for now let’s focus on the standing position.
First stand against a flat wall with your shoulder blades, the back of your head, and your bottom in contact with it. Focus on keeping your body as straight as possible and your knees soft. (The exercise can also be done standing freely, but standing against a wall helps you get your posture right.)
Now pull, or tilt, your tummy and pelvis so that your back flattens against the wall, As you do this, inhale deeply. Hold this position for a few seconds. Then release and go back to the initial position, exhaling as you do so. You want to try to repeat this for about 10 repetitions, but for now just focus on getting the technique right and completing as many as you feel comfortable doing. You can always work up to doing a higher number once you get the hang of it.
If you feel as though you’re struggling to get the right technique, be sure to ask your doctor or midwife about the best way to complete the exercise.
It’s possible that a standing pelvic tilt could be too challenging for some women. Luckily, there are various positions in which a pelvic tilt can be performed. You can also perform pelvic tilts while lying on your back. However, this isn’t the best position to be practising, because you may struggle with it later on in your pregnancy as your baby grows. Lying on your back will cause the foetus to push against a major vein, disrupting your blood flow. This can make you feel very dizzy and lightheaded.
A safer variation is to attempt the exercise on your hands and knees, when it essentially becomes the “Cat-Cow” pose – a yoga pose popular with many pregnant women.
The Cat-Cow Pose
Get on your hands and knees, keeping your hands shoulder-width apart and your knees hip-width apart. Start with a straight back. Drop your tummy ever so slightly towards the floor so that your tailbone naturally lifts up. This is the first position. Then raise your back towards the ceiling as far as it can comfortably go so that your tailbone is now tucked underneath you. Breathe in while you do this. Exhale while returning to the first position. Alternate between these two positions for about 10 repetitions.
Sitting pelvic tilts
The exercise can also be done sitting. Again, you will be doing exactly the same positions, alternating between slumping forward and arching your back so that your chest is sticking out. A sitting pelvic tilt is best done with the use of an exercise ball, as this will give you better mobility compared with doing the exercise on a chair.
By learning how to do your pelvic tilt exercises nice and early, you will help ensure your body is sturdy enough to handle your developing baby, minimising your chances of encountering back problems later on. And the best part is that, because they are so simple and quick to do, they are easy to fit around your daily schedule.