The following are some excerpts from an article on Healthline.com which quotes Heather Jeffcoat on a number of topics related to prenatal (and postpartum) joint pain. There is a link to the full article at the bottom.
Relieving joint pain during pregnancy
Joint pain is the worst, especially during pregnancy. But the good news is there are several safe ways to find relief.
Correct postural dysfunctions
Heather Jeffcoat, DPT, owner of Femina Physical Therapy, says there are two places to start:
- correcting postural dysfunction to reduce joint strain
- ensuring adequate flexibility and strength around the affected joints
Beyond postural correction, she also recommends looking at what joints are under strain and developing a rehabilitation program specific to your needs.
First trimester exercise tips
During the first trimester, Jeffcoat says the first relaxin peak occurs around 8–12 weeks, making this is an especially vulnerable period for a pregnant person’s joints and the ligaments that support them. To help, she says strengthening and cardio exercises should be done in a controlled manner that avoids hyperextension of the joints to reduce the risk of injury.
She also recommends prepping your body for postural changes, starting with pelvic floor and deep core strengthening. The first trimester is an ideal time to learn how to do a pelvic brace, which you’ll use before performing any exercise throughout your pregnancy.
- Lie on your back with your knees bent and feet flat on the ground, about hip-width apart. Place your pelvis and low back into a “neutral” position. To find neutral position, make sure you’re resting on the back of your pelvis to create a very small space in your lower back (your back should not be pressed into the floor).
- Inhale to prepare, then exhale and perform a Kegel.
- Slightly draw the lower abs in with the Kegel. Inhale and relax the abs and pelvic floor. Exhale and repeat the contraction.
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