Daily Routine During Pregnancy: Reducing Pain and Improving Mobility
Pregnancy is full of life changes, big and small. Maybe you expected morning sickness and crib shopping. But you might not have anticipated how various aches and pains affect your daily activities.
Pelvic and lower back pain are common because of changes in your posture; hormone changes that loosen your ligaments to help prepare for labor; muscle weakness; life stressors; and more. All of this can make it harder to get in and out of bed or up and down from the floor. If certain activities or movements are giving you trouble, small adjustments can make these tasks easier and less painful.
Remember: You’re pregnant and self-care is important. Try not to push through activities that make pain worse.
Getting In and Out of Bed
When sleeping, keep a pillow between your knees.
When getting in and out of bed, try to keep your knees together and turn slowly onto your side or back.
When adjusting or scooting while in bed, roll onto your back and press through both feet equally to raise your bottom and reposition yourself.
When standing up from a lying position, turn on your side, draw up both knees toward your chest and let your legs gently drop off the bed. Sit up by pushing yourself up with your hands. Avoid bending forward at your waist.
Get dressed sitting in a chair or on the bed if it’s painful or difficult to stand on one leg.
To put your shoes on, sit and cross your legs in a figure four position to reduce abdominal and pelvic floor stress.
Going Up and Down Stairs
Take the stairs one at a time.
Think: “Up with the good. Down with the bad.” In other words, when going up stairs, lead with your less painful leg. When going down stairs, lead with the more painful leg.
If it is painful going up and down stairs facing forward, try going sideways one step at a time.
Use the railing for extra support.
Modify your daily routine to limit how often you have to go up and down stairs each day.
Because of a growing belly, many people widen their stance and do the classic pregnancy “waddle” when they walk. This can cause tension in the low back and hips. If walking is painful, try taking smaller steps. (Imagine you are walking while wearing a pencil skirt.)
Engage your abdominal muscles slightly while walking to improve stability.
If walking continues to be painful, ask your Hinge Health physical therapist for additional recommendations or exercise modifications.
When possible, try to avoid sitting on the floor. Use a chair or couch instead.
When sitting in a chair, sit with both feet flat on the floor. Avoid crossing your legs, which can put more strain on your joints.
Getting Up and Down from the Floor
If you need to sit on the floor, use the following steps to transfer from sitting to standing:
From a side-sit position, place one leg in front of you and come to a half-kneeling position. If you feel unstable, increase the distance between your legs and use a stable surface (a couch or heavy, sturdy chair) for balance as needed.
Place your hands on your thigh or sturdy object, activate your abdominals, pelvic floor, and gluteal muscles and think “nose over toes” as you use your legs to push yourself up to standing position.
Exhale or blow out as you rise.
Make sure you have your balance before walking.
Lifting Objects from Below Your Waist Height
Before lifting an object (20-25 pounds or less), make sure you feel like you have good balance and are wearing supportive shoes.
Make sure to get close to the object and keep your feet hip width apart or slightly wider.
Distribute your weight equally across both your legs and bend your knees. Do not bend forward from your trunk or hips.
Activate your abdominal and pelvic floor muscles prior to lifting the object using your legs.
Make sure not to overuse your arm muscles, avoid sudden motions and twisting the trunk.
Aches and pains are common during pregnancy, especially low back and pelvic pain.
Normal pregnancy-related body changes such as a growing belly, hormone changes, muscle weakness, and life stressors can all contribute to joint and muscle pain.
There are a lot of ways to make minor adjustments to daily activities to keep you comfortable and safe as you go about your day.
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