As your pregnancy progresses, the added weight can wreak havoc on your back and your posture. But there some easy things you can do to quickly improve your posture after pregnancy, including the use of postpartum shapewear and C-Section shapewear. Here are some of our top tips:
1. Wear a Postpartum Recovery Garment
Designed to relieve pain, support your body and help it to recover, postpartum recovery garments are a great way to jump start your recovery process. Look for post pregnancy garments that provide compression and structure to stabilize your midsection, hips, and lower back. Another feature to look for is an anatomical crotch panel that protects and supports perineal tears and episiotomy incisions. And don’t forget that not all deliveries should be treated equal. A natural/vaginal delivery requires very different support than a C-section so look for a recovery garment customized for either a natural delivery or a C-section.
2. Sit Up Straight
When your mom said “sit up straight,” she was right! Practicing sitting up straight will improve your post pregnancy posture and make it a habit, relieving back pain, tight shoulders and other complications from bad posture. Take some advice from The Cleveland Clinic’s correct posture and body mechanics during pregnancy on how to sit up straight:
- Sit up with your back straight and your shoulders back. Your buttocks should touch the back of your chair.
- Sit with a back support (such as a small, rolled-up towel or a lumbar roll) placed at the hollow of your back.
- Find a good sitting position when you’re not using a back support or lumbar roll. First sitting at the end of your chair and slouch completely. Then draw yourself up and accentuate the curve of your back as far as possible. Hold for a few seconds. Then finally, release the position slightly (about 10 degrees).
3. Nurse with Support
Using a Boppy, or other supportive pillows and the proper nursing positions will help improve your posture post pregnancy. We found The Baby Center to have some great tips on proper breastfeeding positions.
4. Perform Short & Quick Exercises
The first set of exercises can be done from day one, as long as you did not have any complications or are on any restrictions from your doctor. Each of these exercises will tone your belly, strengthen you spine for stability and lifting and improve your shoulder stance, which may have rounded. For nine months your body has expanded and now it must go through the process of shrinking. You can help your body along by performing simple exercises to help with bladder control, promote circulation, strengthen the abdominal walls and help your body to recover. We found these eight moves straight from Pregnancy and Baby by Lindsey Jackson, expert in Pilates for pregnant women and postpartum moms.
All of these exercises and explanations can be found here on Pregnancy & Baby - Jelly Belly? : Improving abs and posture after birth in eight easy moves
Exercise 1: Pelvic floor
Fast and slow pelvic floor lifts not only regain bladder control of this stretched and bruised area, but also promote circulation (which will help ease swelling) and begin to tone the deep abdominal muscles that work in conjunction with the pelvic floor.
Exercise 2: Static tummy contractions
Each time you feed your baby, tighten your belly and hold it for the count of ten. Repeat ten times. These are tummy flatteners.
Exercise 3: Pelvic tilts
Tilting your pelvis requires a gentle contraction of Rectus Abdominus, your "curl-up" muscle. This has been stretched for nine months so it needs some help shortening again! Post Six Week Check Up Moves: With an OK from your doctor, here are more toning moves you can do in about 10 minutes each day to help strengthen and recover.
Exercise 4: Leg slides
Building up this core strength in your tummy will also prevent hip movement during the exercise.
Exercise 5: Shoulder squeezes
Great for keeping your shoulders from rounding.
Exercise 6: "Swimming"
This is a classic Pilates-based move that engages the muscles running the length of your spine. It's very safe and simple but VERY effective. Concentrate on executing it with great control and minimal movement of your torso.
Exercise 7: Chest/shoulder stretch
Letting the chest and shoulders open out is vital for neck and upper back posture. This is compromised with the feeding and cuddling we do for a new baby.
Exercise 8: Shoulder bridges
Based on a classic Pilates move this releases tension in the spine, strengthens it and also gently stretches across the hips for a woman who has recently had a baby. A wonderful move!