Short Breath During Pregnancy

Short Breath During Pregnancy

When I was in my 3rd trimester, I started to notice how hard it was to TAKE A DEEP ENOUGH BREATH! The thing is, I would not have noticed this issue if I was not out of breath so often. While at first, I caught myself trying to breathe harder, I realized that it would be better to focus on opening up the thoracic (upper back) region so that I could breathe into my ribs more. This alone was a lifesaver to my upper body tension.

There are a few different ways we can breathe, here are the 3 most common ways:

  1. We can breathe UP. Watch someone breathe this way or try it yourself- your collar bones move up and down when breathing. This way isn’t good because it causes issues with the cervical spine and neck. This breathing is usually associated with stress.
  2. Another common strategy is to breathe down into the belly, plunging everything downward with every breath. Most who breathe down are not aware of this pattern nor of the challenge it introduces while pregnant. Those of us who tend towards belly breathing are the ones who feel this “I can’t get enough breath!” when breathing during pregnancy because baby is restricting the ability to do what we want to do – breathe. This breathing pattern isn’t ideal either because it increases intra-abdominal pressure and pushes our organs downward.
  3. The third way we can breathe is OUT- into the ribs. This is a more ideal way to breathe. Some call it 3D breathing. Our ribs are designed to MOVE this way and when we do so, we put way less pressure down on our core and pelvic floor.

Why is it so difficult to breathe OUT into the ribs?

Most of us have a rib cage that is restricted in some way from how we have moved and held our bodies throughout our lives. We’ve lost the ability to mobilize the upper back! As an example, sitting at a desk without moving much doesn’t help the mobility of our rib cage. So, yes, it IS going to be harder for most pregnant moms to breathe properly with these restrictions. In addition to being more mindful about rib breathing, we want to work on opening up the upper body, getting more mobile in common tight spots and gaining more space as we grow during pregnancy.

How to improve your upper body mobility?

Here are a few simple exercises that can really help with releasing upper body tension so that breathing becomes easier as well. These focus a lot on rotation. We are big fans of rotation because many pregnant moms are so locked down in their ribs that they cannot rotate, creating even more pressure in their core and pelvic floor and tension.

Chest and Shoulder Stretch and Strengthen + Core Work:

Sit comfortably. Hold both arms in front of you, inhale and as you exhale hiss the exhale slowly and twist your chest to the right ensuring that your hips are mostly stable. Keep gently twisting on each exhale and reach your right arm long long away from you. Keep your spine long, no slouching or excessive rib lifting / thrusting. Switch sides holding just a breath 6 times and then hold 5 breaths each side. Amazing for your spine, shoulders, chest and core.

Hands and Knee Rotation

Come to your hands and knees, knees a little wider than feet. A neutral spine so no tucking your pelvic or collapsing your chest. Inhale and raise your right hand toward the right, up to the sky. Turn your chest as you do so, twisting gently and allow your hips to shift to the right. Lift away from your left arm and try not to let your right shoulder fall into your ear so reach your right hand up to the sky. Gently move your chest in the direction of your nose (like back arching but way less). Hold 5 breaths and switch. This works your core, arms, spine and shoulders.

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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SI Joint Pain Prevention and Care

SI Joint Pain / SPD Prevention and Care​

One of the most common complaints I hear from pregnant people is the good old pain in the butt — lower back pain during pregnancy or pain in the pubic bone area in the front groin region. The pain can be absolutely excruciating and quite literally bring you to your knees. Expecting people are often told “this is just a normal part of pregnancy” and to “learn to bear with the pain.”

Adding to the confusion, what pregnant people often mistake as sciatica or lower back pain during pregnancy, is actually a Sacroiliac Joint (SIJ) issue. For symphysis pubis dysfunction (SPD), which is pain in the groin area, many people have come to us having been told to stretch their groin more when in fact that can make the issue worse!

Through our own pregnancy journeys and our experiences with thousands of other expecting people, we have learned that it’s entirely possible to feel at home in your body during your entire pregnancy with the right tools.

You don’t have to “just deal with” pelvic  pain, restless legs, or constant lower back pain during pregnancy. There are plenty of tried and true things you can do right now to feel better.

Both sacroiliac joint pain and symphysis pubis dysfunction are pelvis related stability pains that many people experience during pregnancy. After all, your body is changing to accommodate your growing baby and preparing for childbirth.

What Does Sacroiliac Joint Pain Feel Like?

The SIJ is in the back of the body where the pelvic meets the sacrum. 

You can usually characterize sacroiliac joint pain by an aching, pulling sensation in the butt region. The kind of pain that makes you want to hit your butt with your fist to relieve the pain.

The pain can worsen with a lot of sitting. Getting from sitting to standing can be excruciating, as well as getting dressed. 

It might also feel like deep hip stretching can provide a lot of relief for lower back pain during pregnancy and while, deep hip stretching might feel good in the moment it can cause the SIJ to become more unstable.

What Does Symphysis Pubis Dysfunction Pain Feel Like?

The pubis symphysis is where the pelvic bones meet in the front of the body.  You can often feel symphysis pubis dysfunction pain in the front of the groin, also known as the pubic area.

Burning, sharp, aching pain for many movements that require the legs to move or move away from each other, like getting in and out of a car or turning in bed.

Exercises for Sacroiliac Joint Pain / SPD relief

There are exercises for relieving sacroiliac joint pain and SPD pain. Although lower back pain during pregnancy is common, be assured that with a few tweaks to your daily movement habits plus a few exercises, things can get better. 

You can become more comfortable and even eliminate sacroiliac joint pain and SPD pain altogether. 

One of the major things we want to stress is not to overstretch it! Do not treat your aches and pains by stretching them because that can sometimes really destabilize the region.

Here are two of our favorite OSM exercises to relieve that lower back pain during pregnancy.

Thoracic Mobility

  • Get more space and relieve tension in your body during pregnancy. 
  • Use a bolster or some type of elevated surface, with your elbows spread out and your hands pointing up towards the sky, with both knees on the floor..
  • While still on your knees, start walking your body away from your bolster, and position yourself properly. If you can, place your hands on your back, and start to traction and pull your body away from your elbows, breathing three-dimensionally into your rib cage and opening up your back.
  • Repeat for 10 reps.

Inner Thigh Squeeze & Pelvic Floor Release

  • Relieve pelvic floor tension with this simple exercise.
  • Place an 8 inch yoga ball or yoga block between your thighs and gently squeeze.
  • Hold for 5 seconds and release by spreading your legs wider, untucking your pelvis, completely relaxing your belly and pelvic floor.
  • Repeat for 10 reps.

If you’re interested in more exercises and tips to relieve pelvic pain and discomfort during your pregnancy, get our FREE SPD / SIJ pain relief video below!

Are you experiencing SPD/SIJ pain?

We would love to offer you our favorite (and simple!) OSM moves for relieving SPD/SIJ pain. They are easy to learn and easy to incorporate into your everyday life!

Habits for a Better Pregnancy and an Easier Birth

Habits for a Better Pregnancy and an Easier Birth

We know what it’s like to feel exhausted, achy, and out-of-sorts in your own body during pregnancy. Trust us, we’ve been there!

But we also know what it’s like to feel vibrant, energetic, and totally comfortable all the way to 42 weeks (!!!) — because we’ve been there, too.

In our own pregnancy journeys and our experience with hundreds of other expecting mamas, we learned that it’s entirely possible to feel at home in your body during your entire pregnancy.

You don’t have to “just deal with” joint pain, restless legs, or constant backaches.

Instead, with a few simple movement tweaks and mindfulness hacks, you can begin to feel more comfortable again…starting today. Sounds like a dream? We’ll show you how.

Here’s What Every Pregnant Woman Needs To Know

No one’s talking about this in the birth community. But if you want to feel good in your body while pregnant, this topic is critically important. So, let’s talk about the key to a comfortable pregnancy; something we call “functional movement.”

Your daily movement habits are directly impacting the way you feel during pregnancy.

Now, of course, you’ve probably heard plenty of recommendations for soothing pregnancy-related pain—like doing yoga, stretching before bed, or buying fancy prenatal pillows. But we’re guessing that you rarely hear about how to avoid the pain or discomfort in the first place.

The truth is, the way we put away laundry, play with our toddlers, or unload the dishwasher can create a lot of problems if our bodies are out of alignment or not handling our “heavier load” in a functional way.

Think about it: we spend 95% of our day sitting in a desk chair, or driving in the car, or putting away toys in the living room, or lifting things at the grocery store, or leaning over the sink in the kitchen.

And unfortunately, minor misalignment (during any of these activities!) can lead to massive discomfort, create damaging compensation “blind spots,” and make pregnancy downright miserable.

Basically: the way we move through normal life really, really matters.

The good news? With a few small tweaks, you can start to move more functionally—and start to feel stronger, more comfortable, and more resilient.

Even better? You don’t need to spend hours in the gym before you start feeling better. Make these simple at-home tweaks, and start feeling the difference immediately.

Here’s How You Can Practice “Functional Movement” In Your Daily Activities

Many women, when they come to us for a prenatal assessment, are dealing with painful symptoms of misalignment and compensation, like constant backaches, round ligament pain, and core or pelvic floor weakness. When they put these simple habits into practice, they often experience massive relief within a few days. So, don’t discount the power of small, smart adjustments.

HABIT ONE—GETTING IN AND OUT OF A CHAIR:

Did you know that the way you’re sitting and standing might be contributing to your pelvic floor weakness? Most people get out of their chair using a combination of bringing their knees in front of their ankles and momentum.

However, this movement is the perfect opportunity to use your glutes and lengthen your pelvic floor. (Bonus: lengthening the pelvic floor is an important factor in easier vaginal births!)

In our birth prep protocol inside the One Strong Mama program, one of our main goals is to create a strong and yielding-for-childbirth pelvic floor. And how you get in and out of a chair is a great opportunity to create that space and strength.

To rise: Keep your knees on top of your ankles, lean forward, and send your booty behind you as you rise to stand. If this is too difficult, use a little bit of momentum until it becomes easier. It’s harder than it looks!

To sit: Reach your upper body forward for counterbalance as you reach your booty behind you. Notice if you have the tendency to “fall” after a certain point. This can often be traced back to tension in the hamstring.

Start to use your legs to come up. Lean a bit forward and sit more to the edge of your seat.

Keep driving through your legs and feet to push you to stand.

You made it! Come back into sitting by reversing it all!

HABIT TWO-PICKING THINGS UP:

If you added up the time you spent unloading the dishwasher, pulling clothes out of the laundry, and picking up toys from the floor…you might start to feel like you spend all day bending over and standing back up.

Unfortunately, most of us have picked up the bad habit of rounding the back and tucking the pelvis. This movement “blind spot” leads to back pain (and, additionally, less birth space in the pelvis for baby to come through).

Instead of rounding-and-tucking, practice untucking the booty, lengthening the spine, and hinging at the hips. This will feel foreign at first, but it’s the best way to promote a strong core and pelvic floor.

Plus, picking things up like this will build the muscles in your legs and glutes. These muscles are key to pelvic stability…and with a stable pelvis comes less pelvic pain for mom!

HABIT THREE—GETTING IN AND OUT OF THE CAR:

Sometimes, the simplest movements can create the most discomfort (or, on the flip side, the biggest opportunity for increased comfort!). Many mamas we work with have experienced pelvic or pubic pain, and it often shows up when they’re getting in or out of the car.

Instead of opening your legs to enter and exit your car, we recommend that you practice keeping your legs together and “swinging” them together.

Additionally, when you are in your car, notice if you are sitting with a tucked pelvis (we’ll talk more about this in the next habit!) and see if you can find a better pelvic position which will help with both baby position and pelvic yield—both of which are big contributors to ease of birth!

HABIT FOUR—SITTING POSTURE:

If you’ve experienced hip pain, back aches, or pelvic floor dysfunction, your seated posture is an easy place to start. Finding a neutral pelvis while sitting is extremely beneficial for pelvic floor health and making space in the pelvis for baby, which will help the birthing process.

When you unconsciously tuck your pelvis all day long, it creates a lot of tension in the pelvic floor. And we want that floor to be nice and supple so that a baby can pass through with ease.

Instead of forcing yourself into a neutral pelvic position, use a bolster to adjust your sitz bones up higher and gently relax into a more neutral pelvis.

Also, if you spend much of the day sitting, try to mix up your resting positions. Can you sit on the floor on a bolster? Or adjust your leg position? (Note: avoid crossing your legs as this can put torsion on the pelvis, which can contribute to pelvic pain and can lead to the baby having less space to find an optimal position.)

Pelvis tucked under. Less birth space!

Sitting on sitz bones. More birth space!

One Last Recommendation For You:

Feeling overwhelmed? We get it. Being creative about how you use your body takes some thought and intention.

However, once you make a habit out of caring for your body (and your baby!) this way, it becomes second nature. Soon, you’ll find your body getting strong and able just by moving a little bit differently.

As always, we don’t recommend trying to make huge changes all at once. Go slow and make small tweaks here and there, adding in new things every few weeks. Practice varying your movements—from which hip you carry your groceries on, to which hip you carry your baby on.

The power of these small changes will multiply, impacting your core, pelvic floor, and whole body function…and supporting an easier birthing process!

Creative ways to do your laundry. Getting 2 birds with one stone.

Stop and stretch throughout the day! No mat needed.

Gardening with a neutral spine.

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

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

Free Mama Power workout video