Stretching During Pregnancy

Stretching During Pregnancy

Stretching is by far one of the most common recommendations during pregnancy for both pain relief and general maintenance. All you need to do is search “pregnancy stretches” and you’ll get a lot of hits, videos, blogs and more! The popular line of thinking is: stretching makes us more flexible and more flexibility is ideal. If we stretch a lot and become more flexible, we will feel better and we will prevent injury. Additionally, flexibility is often touted as something that can create / foster space for baby to come down and out. While it can feel good to stretch, having more flexibility is not in fact “better”, does not create “more space” and it certainly will not prevent injury or pain during pregnancy.

pregnant woman exercising with dumbbells

Let’s dive deeper into flexibility. In addition to the reasons above, another reason that pregnant people work on flexibility is because they think that it will help create more space for baby to come out.

What is flexibility?

Flexibility is passive mobility. Basically, how far you can passively stretch a tissue. Like with dropping into a split pose, a pigeon position, any position where you “hang out” into a stretch.

With flexibility, no control is needed. It is simply how far / deep you can get into a particular stretch or pose. Flexibility does not teach the body to utilize the range of motion, it just uses what is already there or uses gravity or even an external force to get us into the shape. Therefore, it’s not usable to the nervous / muscular system as a means of getting stronger or making long term changes.

Take the extreme example of a split. I can drop down into one, but do I have strength at that end range? Can I control my body there? No. I can just drop down into one. So that range is pretty useless in terms of offering me strength. Yes, great for Instagram. Not great for much more.

Stretching while pregnant

woman exercising

During pregnancy, a lot of people have an increased amount of passive mobility/flexibility due to relaxing and that relaxing is absolutely fanning the flame. When we increase our passive range of motion, but not our active range of motion – we can actually predispose injury and we won’t increase movement potential in a way that translates into birth or life, at all.

I am not flexible, what should I do?

Instead of flexibility as the goal, consider mobility and increased range strength training. Mobility training is the ability to actively control ranges of motion. Increased range strength training is when we strengthen our muscles in multiple range of motion. The combination of mobility and increased strength training actually leads to increased ranges and people often feel both stronger and more mobile.

For the prenatal client who perhaps already has a large passive range of motion (ROM), the goal may not be to increase ROM, but to increase the ability to control the range of motion that they already have. I am not saying, do not stretch. I am simply educating on the myths around flexibility and stretching. Many of us are taught that stretching makes us more flexible but in fact – mobility training plus increased range of motion strength training is what works best!

Our “stretching” routine should be done in a way that creates stability and greater ranges of motion. Otherwise not only is it useless, it can actually cause injury. This is especially the case when you take a pregnant person, already more flexible, and add in a bunch of stretching.

If your pregnant client has pain, please don’t tell them to stretch it away. Most likely, they need to learn how to control their ranges of motion properly! Want to know more? Reach out to us, follow us on Facebook and Instagram, and check out our Body Ready Method®️ course, where we teach birth and fitness pros how to work with the prenatal population.

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We would be honoured to support you on your marvelous journey.

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Baby Is In Breech Position, Now What?

Baby Is In Breech Position, Now What?

Don't panic if baby is breech.

The baby may not stay in breech position. It is common that a baby will be breech between 27 weeks and 34 weeks of pregnancy. Most of those little nuggets will find their own way head down. Some breech babies may need a little assist to find their way head down. Often, there are many choices and opportunities to help breech babies find their way head down, and plenty of time to do it.

 

Know your options if baby is breech.

  • Your client can choose to do nothing.  Many families choose to wait and see if baby turns back to head down on their own.  It is okay to take this route. However, if baby does not turn head down by 36 weeks an external cephalic version (ECV) should be suggested.  This is a relatively safe procedure where an OB/GYN or Midwife will use their hands to try and turn baby head down. ECV can be very comfortable to downright painful for your pregnant client.  There is a 50% chance it will be successful. If you are or know of a well experienced ECV doctor your client can see, the chance can increase up to 70%. Whatever the case may be with your client, make sure they are asking ECV doctors for their success rate.
  • Your client may also choose to do nothing, and opt for a cesarean section. This is the most common choice of families who find out their baby is breech.

Learn more tools to use when this happens.  Ep19: Evolution of birthwork and the power of working together

Use your BRAINN:

Whenever presenting a method of helping to turn a breech baby, run through the BRAINN acronym with your client. It is a good method to be sure they choose what is correct for them and their family. What does BRAINN mean?

  • – benefit – What are the benefits? This is an easy one.
  • – risk – What are the risks?  Every method will have risks. There is always risk when you choose to do an intervention.  Some risks are minimal, and some are a bit scarier.  
  • – alternative – What is the alternative?  There is always an alternative if the risk outweighs the benefit for your client. Make sure you are ready to offer one.
  • I – intuition – Make sure your client is listening to their intuition. They should do what feels right to them.
  • N – next – What happens next?  Typically with any intervention, there is a next step.  Sometimes it is homework, sometimes it is rest, sometimes it is medication.  Make sure your client knows what the procedure is for the practitioners they have chosen to work with.
  • N – nothing – What happens if we do nothing?  Often, clients have this choice.

Let your client know it is okay to only do as much as feels right.

 

Massaging Tummy

It is easy for your pregnant clients to feel overwhelmed. Keep in mind they are going to work, going to appointments, caring for their family, and doing breech homework, it may feel ridiculously exhausting. Make sure they are only doing what feels right for them and their baby. Let them know it is more than okay to try a therapy and decide it is not for them. Everything is not for everyone. Appointments and homework need to fit into their lifestyle. It should not feel like a chore, but a choice. With the BRM® Pro Training, YOU become the expert, equipped with a thorough understanding of their pregnant and birthing body, what it’s capable of, and the tools it will best respond to. Learn more today!

Author Bio: Adrienne C. Caldwell is a bodyworker and educator. She specializes in helping create space in the human body for baby to find their best position for labor and birth. 

Are you ready to rock your pregnancy with a free workout on us?

We would be honoured to support you on your marvelous journey.

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