Physical Comfort During Pregnancy

December 8, 2009 by  
Filed under Education

Physical and hormonal changes are largely responsible for the common discomforts of pregnancy.

During pregnancy, your body’s center of gravity is altered due to increase in weight, and a change in how your weight is distributed. Hormones, particularly one called Relaxin, contribute to the looseness of ligaments that support the pelvic joints and join the uterus to the pelvis and abdominal wall.

It is important to maintain good posture and avoid muscle strain, and stress on joints of your pelvis and spine.

Correct Posture for Standing

  • Keep your feet almost parallel, a few inches apart
  • Knees straight, but not locked
  • Buttocks tucked under
  • Head held high, chin tucked in
  • Abdominal wall pulled up and in
  • Shoulder blades pulled back
  • Arms hanging relaxed by your sides

Don’t wear..

  • High heels and shoes that are too big or too small – you could trip and fall
  • Clothes that are tight, such as girdles, pantyhose and knee-high stockings or socks
  • High platform-type shoes
  • Shoes with slippery or unstable bottoms

Learn the right way to put on support hose if you need to wear them.

Getting out of bed

Lying on your side, bend knees, push with arms and until you can straighten elbows, and as you sit up, slowly swing your legs over side of bed.

Lifting

Never bend from the waist, always bend from your hips and knees, keeping your back straight. Avoid heavy lifting or carrying because your pelvic and spinal joints may be unstable, especially later in your pregnancy.

Squatting

Stand with feet and knees well apart. Keeping head and spine straight, bend your knees and gently lowering your body to a squatting position. Heels may lift off floor. To stand up again, push up with your legs and then straighten knees.

Kneel Squatting

Stand with one foot placed forward in front of the other. Keeping your head and back straight, bend your knees, and lower yourself onto back knee, which rests on the floor. To stand back up, push up from the floor, straightening your legs.

Always hold onto nearby support for extra balance and control while squatting, climbing stairs, and sitting down. Avoid standing for long periods, or sitting with your knees crossed as this adds to poor circulation in the legs and pelvis. When possible sit with your legs elevated to help the blood flow in your feet and legs.

Tags: muscle strain, Keeping head, Obstetrics, Pregnancy, Sitting, Pelvis, Childbirth

What are Kegel Exercises?

December 8, 2009 by  
Filed under Education

Doing Kegel (KAY-gul or KEY-gul) exercises will strengthen the pelvic floor muscles, which support the uterus, bladder and bowel and help you prepare for childbirth. By doing Kegel exercises regularly and keeping the pelvic floor muscles toned, you may reduce your risk of leaking urine and similar problems as you get older. Learning the right way to do Kegel exercises can be tricky.

Kegel exercises are simple exercises that strengthen your perineal muscles – the muscles around the vagina and urinary opening, that help to support the uterus (womb), bladder and rectum. To do Kegels the right way – with an empty bladder do the following exercises:

Exercise 1
Tighten the muscles, hold them tight for two to three seconds, then relax for 10 times. Build up to 10 seconds relaxed and 10 seconds contracted.
Exercise 2
Tighten and release the muscles five times as quickly as you can.

Why Are Kegel Exercises Important?

The Perineal muscles can become weakened by:

  • Childbirth
  • Decreased estrogen levels during and following menopause
  • Increased pressure on the perineal muscles, such as during running and coughing

When the perineal muscles are weakened, you may notice the following:

  • An uncomfortable feeling of pressure or heaviness
  • Leaking of urine when laughing, coughing, running or doing exercise
  • Bulging of the bladder into the vagina (cystocele)
  • Bulging of the rectum into the vagina (rectocele)
  • Dropping of the uterus into the vagina

How To Do Kegel Exercises

You can find the perineal muscles by stoping and restarting the flow of urine. If you can do this, you can control and strengthen your perineal muscle. Kegel exercises can be done anywhere at any time. No one can see you doing the exercises. You can exercise while watching TV, driving a car, doing housework, lying in bed, or while you’re at work. However, don’t do kegels by starting and stopping the flow of urine – this could weaken the muslces.

Developing a routine helps you to become more consistent; e.g. do the exercises during every stop light, during commercials on TV, after using the bathroom, etc.

These exercises may seem difficult or tiring at first, but with practice, the muscles will get stronger.

  • Try to tighten the pelvic floor muscles a little more strongly each day.
  • Keep the muscles of the abdomen, thighs and hips relaxed and don’t hold your breath.
  • Do these exercises everyday.
  • If continuous exercise causes fatigue, try exercising for one or two minutes, then rest for several minutes before continuing.
  • You should see results in about 8 to 12 weeks.
Tags: Muscular system, Sexual health, Kegel exercise, Pelvic floor, Sexual anatomy, Perineum, Organs, Pelvis

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