Recently I have been seeing a physical therapist. I've had three babies, and let's just say....I could use a bit of help regaining strength in certain areas. There are many things I struggle with as a mom, but one of them is allowing myself to be priority sometimes, and another one is believing that other people can actually help me.
Cognitively I know how important prioritizing my needs are, and rationally I *know* that we all need support and it is good to ask for help. But somewhere deep in my rooted psychological patterns I brush over this rational knowledge as if the benefits of getting help wouldn't apply to me.
The good news is, everyday is an opportunity to do things differently. Being responsible for 3 tiny humans has given me new opportunities to change and grow in ways I couldn't have anticipated.
It's funny because in someways I feel tied down by being a mother...I mean, I rarely see the sky after 7pm and my first thoughts upon waking usually are dominated by taking care of at least one child. But in other ways I feel this immense freedom to steer my own ship and dig down deep into my creative well of possibility. A well I never really felt before becoming a mother. ANYway...this all relates to seeing a physical therapist which all relates to modern life and baby positioning while pregnant. Promise :)
My PT's explanation about how my pelvic floor works and all the parts that make up this inner most part of me have been fascinating. I've learned so much about how my body tends to take the path of least resistance, and overcompensate for not wanting to use my weaker muscles (lower abdomen, glutes, etc.). She has brought my attention to the fact that I live in modern times where I spend a good portion of my day sitting, driving and standing, and very little time squatting while cooking, doing laundry or cleaning and because of this I avoid using my core system of muscles.
Modern posture is effecting my postpartum body in the same way it effected my babies' positioning in my pregnant body. Most of us have heard that squatting and lunging and leaning forward can help bring baby into optimal position for birthing, help labor be more efficient, and help reduce c-section rates due to "failure to progress". In fact, there is science out there that suggests we are seeing more OP (occiput posterior) births today than we ever have. The idea is that maternal positioning during pregnancy and labor are different than they used to be. We sit in office chairs, drive cars, stand with poor posture and labor lying down more than we used to. The good news is we can learn about how to manipulate our posture and positions to give baby the best chance at having enough room to get into the best position for birthing before labor begins as well as during labor.
I encourage you to think about practicing certain postures while you are pregnant to give baby the space inside your uterus to find the optimal position for birth.
The list of positions and exercise are taken from the spinning babies website www.spinningbabies.com. Gail Tully is a wealth of information in regard to fetal and maternal positioning, and her expertise is at your fingertips. I encourage you to begin this self care during your pregnancy and allow this information to help guide you down the path to a healthy and satisfying birth.
These postures and exercises can be practiced everyday:
Sitting with your hips higher than your knees
Sitting with your back straight and your rib cage lifted off your middle
Sitting on a firm exercise ball that allows your hips to be level with your knees or higher than your knees
Laying with your navel aiming towards the bed, floor or couch/ sofa, if not directly on your belly, then so that eventually an imagined light-beam coming from your navel would eventually find the floor
Brief Forward-Leaning Inversions, once a day
Squatting or supported squatting with your back flat against the wall and your knees bent (work gradually up to where you can squat with your feet flat on the floor for 2-5 minutes)
Holding your shoulders back, yet relaxed, while you walk briskly