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This exercise could be the most important addition to your well being that you have ever learned! It is important to you now during your pregnancy and your birth, but it is just as important for the rest of your life.
Your uterus becomes heavier and heavier with pregnancy, and standing upright causes it to push lower and more tightly into your pelvis. The pressure and the weight cause you to “give in” to the uterus, letting it fall forward and sway your back. Backache and pressure pains are the result.
Pelvic rocking on hands and knees allows your uterus to fall forward, releasing the pressure in your pelvis and causing no discomfort in your spine because of the all-fours position.
The Rule of Pelvic Rock:
When standing, hold your spine straight so that the baby is contained in the pelvis. At regular intervals during the day, get on all fours to do pelvic rocks for the release of pressure in your pelvis.
Pelvic rock will strengthen and tone the muscles in your back and abdomen, which will allow you to keep a straight spine and avoid back aches as the uterus pulls on the inside of your back. The uterus is attached by ligaments on the inside of your lower back. As it gets heavier with the baby’s growth, you need to have very strong muscles in your back along the spine to maintain good posture.
Recap: A straight back when standing with regular all fours pelvic rocks to release the uterus and let it hang out!
This is an exercise to help you during pregnancy. It strengthens muscles in your back and abdomen; therefore, it makes it easier for you to carry the baby in your pelvis. These muscles are also involved with the birthing process.
- Pelvic rocking improves your posture for the rest of your life. This is a lifetime exercise. A straight spine makes you feel and look better whether you are pregnant or not.
- Pelvic rocking strengthens your back muscles. The muscles along your spine need to be very strong to be able to maintain a straight spine while a heavy uterus is attached to it.
- Pelvic rocking strengthens abdominal muscles to support your core.
- Your tummy will be flatter than ever before.
- You may even reduce the size and flabbiness of your hips and thighs.
- Pelvic rocking will help prevent varicose veins by increasing circulation to pelvis and legs. Relieving the pressure of the uterus in the pelvis will relieve pressure on the blood vessels.
- The relief of pelvic pressure and increased circulation helps prevent hemorrhoids, too.
- Pelvic rocking increases mobility of the pelvis, which may help in labor as you push the baby through the birth canal.
- Pelvic rocking will definitely help relieve tensions and relax you in preparation for sleep at night.
Get on the floor in an “all-fours” position, making sure that you form a Box position. Have your knees and hips in a line and your wrists and shoulders in a line, both of these “lines” are perpendicular to the floor. Your knees may be comfortably apart.
- Lower your abdomen toward the floor until you look like a “sway-back horse.” (Dr. Bradley’s expression!) But only so that you are comfortable. It may be a very small movement.
- Lift your lower back until your back is parallel with the floor.
- Tighten buttocks. This raises the back slightly and tightens the abdomen.
- Slowly return to the “sway-back” position with control.
- Repeat movements 2 through 4.
This must be done rhythmically, with as much control lowering as raising the back. It should be done slowly, the whole movement taking about five to seven seconds.
There are a few DOs and DON’Ts:
- Do not move your shoulders and upper back. This exercise is for your lower back and pelvis and we ignore the upper back completely. It is a different exercise when you raise your upper back and it is not specifically helpful in pregnancy or birth.
- Do it as a separate exercise if you want but I have not included it.
- Do not move your arms either.
- If you develop a pain or a “stitch” in your side as when running, it is a result of dropping your abdomen too quickly or too low. Stop and check to see how you are doing the movement.
- Be cautious with how low your back goes down. Sometimes just tightening the back muscles is all you need to do. It does not have to be a large movement.
- Use more control and there will be only comfort, never discomfort.
It is very hard to combine this with any other activity in your life. You will have to get off by yourself several times during the day to do enough pelvic rocks to keep you comfortable. For those of you working outside your homes it is a bit difficult. You might find a ladies’ lounge or an unused conference room, a supply room or any place where you can get on all fours and do pelvic rocks to relieve the tension in your back.
- Do the pelvic rock the last thing before bed. That is very important.
- Do 80 before bed, with a rest in the middle if you need it.
Caution: do not start by doing this number. Work up gradually toward the goal of 80 before bed.
Try 10 at a time to begin and make sure that you do not make your back stiff and sore by overworking these underused muscles!
- Do at intervals during the day. For example: midmorning, midafternoon, and early evening, 40 each time (start with 10 and increase gradually), then 80 at bedtime. I suggest you increase to eighty when you are able to do so comfortably.
After your bedtime pelvic rocks, crawl into bed. Organize your body into the side-lying Relaxation position discussed in a later chapter. Now your body is in the perfect posture for the comfort and health of baby and you. You are not lying on the baby nor is the baby’s weight resting on you.
Do not let anyone tell you that it is normal to have back aches throughout your pregnancy. Do your Pelvic Rocks to cure and prevent backaches. If your back aches, get on all fours and rock that backache away!